Mark Nixon

“This magnificent hand-made masterpiece encourages playing without any tonal limits and inspires one to new-found levels of musical expression”.

Mark Nixon is a graduate of the Amsterdam Conservatory, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa. His teachers have included Laura Searle, Lamar Crowson, Håkon Austbø and Graham Johnson. From 2000 to 2002 he was the Anthony Saltmarsh Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music. He is the Head of Keyboard at King’s College School, Wimbledon. Mark has received many prestigious awards, including first prizes in the Adolph Hallis Piano Competition in 1994 and the Nederburg-UNISA National Piano Competition in 1998. In 1997 he was awarded the two most sought-after scholarships in the country: the SAMRO Scholarship for Pianists and the UNISA PJ Lemmer Scholarship for Performers. In 2000 he was selected a ‘Young Concert Artist’ (solo piano) of the National Federation of Music Societies in the United Kingdom (now known as ‘Making Music’). In 2002 he was again selected, this time as a duo with the mezzo-soprano, Julianne Young. In 2008 he was selected for a third time, on this occasion with the soprano Erica Eloff. He has performed as concerto soloist with all the South African orchestras, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and with several orchestras in England. As solo recitalist and pianist-accompanist he has appeared extensively in South Africa as well as at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and Linbury Theatre Covent Garden in London. He has also performed for numerous music societies across the UK. In 1999 he won the Guildhall School’s Schubert and Ireland Prizes and the accompanist’s prize in the English Singers and Speakers Union Song Competition in London. In 2006 he won the accompanist’s prize at the Great Elm Vocal Awards held at Wigmore Hall, London. Engagements have included concerts in Holland, France, Britain, Greece, China and seven extensive recital tours of South Africa with various singers and instrumentalists since 2002. He is a busy chamber musician, often collaborates with singers in art song repertoire and is a founding member of London Song Circle. He is also a faculty member of Piano Week masterclasses, under whose auspices he recently travelled to Beijing to teach and perform. In 2010 he released a CD of songs by Grieg, Wolf, Rachmaninov, Wilding and de Villiers in collaboration with the soprano Erica Eloff. In 2012 he launched a CD of works for solo piano by Liszt, Brahms and Debussy on Stringwise Records. Both recordings were extremely well received in the press and are often to be heard on Classic FM and Fine Music Radio. Recent performances have included solo recitals in South Africa, collaborative work with singers and the King’s Piano Trio in the UK, as well as a performance of Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in St Alban’s Cathedral.
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Can Çakmur

“The SK-EX is an instrument that inspires the performer. An equal partner in music making, it gives courage to the player to listen a bit more intently and to imagine the next note yet more vividly. The connection between the instrument and the performer while playing this piano is simply telepathic.”

Turkish pianist Can Çakmur is the first prize winner of the 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in 2018 (where he also won the Chamber Music Prize) and the Scottish International Piano Competition in 2017. Can has performed in a variety of concert halls worldwide; including Wigmore Hall in London, Glasgow Concert Hall, Eindhoven Muziekgebouw, Tokyo Opera City, Muza Kawasaki Hall as well as the most prestigious concert venues in his homeland, Turkey. He has appeared in the most important classical music festivals in the country including the Istanbul Music Festival, where he headlined the opening concert in 2015 with Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra under Sascha Goetzel. 2019/20 season saw him successfully debut with numerous European, Japanese and Turkish orchestras including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Telavi International Music Festival Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sapporo Symphony, the Osaka Symphony Orchestra, the Çukurova State Symphony Orchestra as well as the Presidential Symphony Orchestra and in halls such as Paris Salle Cortot and Wigmore Hall. He headlined the finale concert of the Festa Summer MUZA Kawasaki with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tadaaki Otaka. Recent and forthcoming season highlights include Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Carnival of the Animals with MDR Sinfonieorchester, Mozart and Addinsell Concertos with Camerata Schweiz at KKL Luzern, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Konzerthaus as well as ongoing appearances across Eurasia. Can’s latest SACD released in last October with BIS Records, featuring Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Schwanengesang has received glowing reviews from international critics including Diapason, Gramophone, Pizzicato and Crescendo. With this groundbreaking album Can won the Young Artist of the Year at the International Classical Music Awards in January.
See Can’s full biography here.

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Mikhail Pletnev

“A hobby pilot does not need the same machine as an acrobatic pilot. Acrobatic pilots require a machine that is at their complete command and allows them to perform any maneuver at any time. I need that same kind of piano because I am not a hobby pianist.”

Mikhail Pletnev entered the Central School of Music at the age of 13 and was awarded the first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1978. A gifted pianist, Pletnev has also achieved success as a conductor and is an active performer as Artistic Director of the Russian National Orchestra. Today, Pletnev is widely considered one of the finest contemporary pianists of his generation.
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Ivan Ilić

“A restless, inquiring mind”
International Piano (UK)

Serbian American pianist Ivan Ilić enjoys a unique place in today’s musical landscape thanks to his unconventional repertoire and multifaceted approach. By combining performing with writing, producing radio and video, and drawing upon key interdisciplinary experiences, he develops new audiences for unfamiliar music.

His eclecticism is reflected in his choice of musical projects, which range from the notoriously difficult Chopin/Godowsky studies to the delicate abstraction of Morton Feldman, to his most recent enterprise: the rediscovery of music by Beethoven’s Czech friend and contemporary, Antoine Reicha (1770-1836). He lives in France.
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David Quigley

Since his early successes in major competitions including BBC Young Musician of the Year, the Royal Over-Seas League music competition and his selection as the UK’s representative for the ECHO Rising Stars concert series, Irish pianist David Quigley now enjoys a varied international career as a recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician.

He has performed throughout Europe, USA and Asia in many of the world’s greatest concert halls including the Philharmonie Köln, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Musikverein Vienna, Mozarteum Salzburg, Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels, National Concert Hall Athens, Wigmore Hall London, Konserthaus Stockholm and Carnegie Hall New York.

As a concerto soloist he has appeared with many orchestras including the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Ulster Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Southern Sinfonia and Cairo Symphony Orchestra.

David is also a much sought after chamber musician and has performed with internationally renowned artists including oboist Nicholas Daniel, clarinetist Michael Collins and soprano Ailish Tynan.

He performs regularly with his sister, the violinist Joanne Quigley-McParland in both duo recitals and in trio recitals with cellist Jonathan Aasgaard. He also is co-founder and pianist of the Fews Ensemble, Ireland’s newest chamber music group.

David’s discography includes Piano Music From Northern Ireland (Lontano records), Saint-Saëns Carnival Of The Animals with the Lancashire Sinfonietta, Rediscoveries: Old and New Music of Ireland with Joanne Quigley-McParland (Ischia Records), Piano music by Philip Hammond (Lontano records), Piano Classics (El Greco Records) and Piano Nocturnes (Avie Records). He broadcasts extensively on both radio and television for the BBC, RTÉ, Classic FM, RTÉ Lyric FM and NPO Radio 4.

Aside from performing, David is passionate about musical education. He is a member of the piano faculty at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Birmingham. He is co-founder/artistic director of Newry Chamber Music, a concert society that provides concerts and education projects in his home town and surrounding areas. David is frequently invited to give Masterclasses and to adjudicate piano competitions throughout Ireland and the UK.
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Julian Saphir

Julian Saphir studied at the Royal College of Music, and is firmly re-establishing himself as one of Britain’s finest pianists after a long absence from the concert platform. He is renowned for his remarkable blend of profound musicianship, hair raising virtuosity and the ability to entertain as both soloist and chamber musician. Julian’s first venture with Kawai was back in 2005 where he enjoyed the twin roles of performer in and Artistic Director of his Master Musicians Concert Series at Harewood House, Leeds, UK which played host to a Shigeru SK-EX Concert Grand. The following year Julian chose the Shigeru for a performance of Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra. Further concerto performances have included Rachmaninoff’s 2nd and 3rd in 2009 and 2012 respectively. As well as a touring concert pianist, Julian is also a highly dedicated and experienced teacher. His students have come from far and wide and are inspired by his undiluted passion for music and its greatest figures. Julian recently set up his music education project Saphir Inspires -Piano Workshops. He has travelled all over the UK to schools and colleges presenting his Masterclasses and performing to young pianists of all ages and abilities. He plans to extend the project internationally next year.
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Ashley Fripp

Ashley says about Kawai: “The Shigeru Kawai EX Concert Grand is the Crown Jewel amongst Kawai’s pianos and is a model representing world class craftsmanship. It offers boundless possibilities for expression and delivers a deeply powerful and engaging creative experience.”
British pianist Ashley Fripp has recently performed throughout the UK, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Australia and the USA, at such prestigious halls as the Carnegie Hall (New York), Royal Festival, Barbican and Wigmore Halls (London) and the Audimax Hall (Regensburg). He has won prizes at more than a dozen national and international competitions, including the coveted Gold Medal from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Diploma of Outstanding Merit at the 8th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, 1st Prize at the Brant International Piano Competition and the Award for Keyboard at the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. He has also made appearances on BBC television and radio. He is a First Class Honours graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he is currently pursuing postgraduate studies with Ronan O’Hora. Future plans include performances throughout the UK, France and Germany. His CD recording of both Chopin Piano Concertos will be released by Spektral Records in Spring 2013.
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Warren Mailley Smith

“Kawai’s RX series deliver an exceptionally high quality of tone and touch across the range. Without exaggeration, these pianos are highly addictive so allow yourself plenty of time in the showroom! At the very top end, the flagship, handcrafted Shigeru SK concert grand series represent a pinnacle in the art of piano-making and provide the pianist with a further dimension of sound and potentially limitless degree of expression and control.”

The award-winning concert pianist Warren Mailley-Smith has made his solo debuts to critical acclaim at Wigmore Hall London and Carnegie Hall, New York. In 2011 he made his much anticipated debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto. Warren is in increasing demand as a solo concert artist, having been described recently by Classic FM as ‘Stunning…’, ‘Fantastic…’ ‘Sensational’, ‘Huge UK talent…’, ‘Gorgeous…!’ and by BBC Music Magazine as ‘Rising Star – Great Artist of Tomorrow” . He was recently featured as CD of the Week and Video of the Week on Classic FM and Classic FM TV respectively. He has received over thirty invitations to perform for the British Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, Highgrove House and Sandringham House. Warren studied at the Royal College of Music where he won numerous postgraduate prizes including a Countess of Munster Award and the French Piano Music Prize. He then took further private studies with Peter Feuchtwanger and the late Ronald Smith. Warren’s solo career now sees him performing in festivals and concert venues across the UK, accepting invitations from further afield to perform in Europe and the US. His concerto repertoire includes works by Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Mozart and Tchaikovsky and he works regularly with duo partners Rowena Calvert (cello), Susan Parkes (Soprano) and Matt Jones (violin).
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Anne Lovett

“Ever since playing a Shigeru Kawai while in Los Angeles, I have been fascinated with the quality of these pianos. They offer an incredible dynamic range, as well as a quality of tone rarely matched.”

Pianist and composer Anne Lovett has been described as one of the greatest artists of her generation, with a crystalline and beautiful tonal clarity and huge sonic power (an unusual combination), plus absolute virtuosity and a rare musical intelligence, expressiveness and ability to communicate. Lovett has a highly distinguished background as a classical performer in her native France. She is unique in combining this virtuosity with composing her own works. This background means that she is exceptionally well placed to seek out fresh, innovative, energetic works which are also highly lyrical. Anne has already recorded three albums since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, including one with the unusual trademark of introducing her own piano compositions; which received rave reviews upon its release. Other recordings include chamber music collaborations for the label Champs Hill, solo contemporary classical works and another innovative partnership with BRIT Award winner, producer James Sanger.
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Lara Melda

“Music overcomes all barriers and languages.”

Lara started to play the piano at age of 6 and she has won the BBC Young Musician 2010 competition at age 16, performing Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No.2 in the final round, with Vasily Petrenko and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff.
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