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Saki Kato is a Japanese classical guitarist, currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, who has performed extensively all over the world, including concerts in the U.K.,Taiwan, China, Australia, Italy, the USA, and Japan, where she gave her first performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez at the age of twelve. Since then she has performed this concerto numerous times, and most recently in concerts with the Welsh Sinfonia.
Having won many guitar competitions in Japan, she entered and became the first Japanese winner of the Guitar Foundation of America’s Youth Solo Competition aged eleven, with a perfect 100% score from each of the judges.
She gave a recital at the Japan Embassy in London in March 2019 as a part of ‘Japan-UK Season of Culture’ to represent cultural links between the two countries through music.
She’s very interested in working with living composers and has so far worked with many composers, including Geoffrey Poole, Judith Bingham and Edward Cowie whose piece Streams and Variations she will give the World Premier of at the Wigmore Hall on November 21st 2019.
Date of Award- September 2013 (two years)
Laura Snowden studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and later at the Royal College of Music, where she won the Guitar Prize in her first year and completed her Masters Degree with distinction. A recipient of numerous national and international awards, she is a solo and collaborative guitarist, composer and songwriter. Recently selected by the Tillett Trust, St John’s Smith Square and International Guitar Foundation for their Young Artist Platforms, she has also won First Prize in the 2014 Ivor Mairants Guitar Award, administered by the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Laura has appeared as a soloist at the Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and The Sage Gateshead, and given performances of newly commissioned works for the International Guitar Foundation’s North East and London Guitar Festivals. As a composer, her music has been played on BBC Radio 3 and premiered at Sadlers Wells, the Deal Festival and the Handel House. Some of her commissions have subsequently been performed at the Wigmore Hall and in Italy, Romania and Japan; her French Suite for harpsichord was a winner at the Alienor International Harpsichord Composition Competition in 2015. She has also collaborated as a composer with both the Royal Ballet School and the London Film School. Her song Live Free, composed for the charity ‘Voices For Hospices’, was performed at over 300 simultaneous concerts in 60 countries, spanning Europe, USA and Asia.
In addition, Laura writes and performs for the folk group ‘Tir Eolas’, who have received a City of London Music Foundation Award and released in 2015 their debut album Stories Sung, Truths Told. Other collaborative projects include her duos with guitarist Tom Ellis, which won First Prize at the Ligita International Guitar Duo Competition in 2012, and the violinist Joo Yeon Sir, for whom she was recently commissioned by the International Guitar Foundation to write a new piece. Her forthcoming solo recitals include the Guildford International Music Festival, Buxton Festival, Lake District Summer Music Festival and St John’s Smith Square.
Date of Award- September 2013 (two years)
Born in Moscow and brought up in Australia, Andrey Lebedev is currently living in London, where his studies at the Royal Academy of Music have been supported by the Julian Bream Trust, Countess of Munster Trust, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and the South Australian Government’s Carclew Board. He gained his BMus degree with First Class Honours at the Australian National University in 2012, in which year he became the only Australian to win 1st prize in the Adelaide International Guitar Competition, the first classical guitarist to receive the Australian National Fine Music ‘Young Performer of the Year’ Award, and the only classical guitarist to gain a Sydney Eisteddfod Instrumental Scholarship. After enrolling at the RAM in September 2013 he won 1st prize and the special Bach prize in the 25th Gisborne International Music Competition open to all instrumentalists, and in 2015, as well as the Academy’s ‘David Russell’ Guitar Prize and Recital Diploma, was awarded his MA with distinction.
His extensive solo repertoire includes many important works from the late 20th century, by composers such as Berio, Britten, Ginastera, Henze and Takemitsu, and he has given the world premieres of major compositions by Peter Sculthorpe and, under the auspices of the Julian Bream Trust, both Leo Brouwer and Sir Harrison Birtwistle. A lover of chamber music, Andrey performs regularly with flautists Bronte Hudnott and Alena Lugovkina, mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and, in Australia, with the Llewelyn Guitar Quartet. Recently, he has appeared as soloist in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with Orchestra Wellington in New Zealand.
Among the prestigious venues where has appeared are the City Recital Hall (Canberra), the Arts Centre (Melbourne), the International Guitar Festival (Adelaide), St.John’s, Smith Square and Wigmore Hall (London) and the World Expo (Shanghai). His forthcoming engagements include an evening concert at the Royal Academy of Music entirely of Australian composers, followed by UK recitals for the International Guitar Foundation, and solo recitals across Australia and for the Zagreb Music Institute in Croatia.
Andrey is an artist with Arts Global and has been selected by the Tillett Trust, City of London Music Foundation, Countess of Munster Trust and International Guitar Foundation for their ongoing ‘Young Artist’ schemes.
Date of Award: September 2014 (4 years)
Giacomo Susani was born in Padua in 1995 and studied the classical guitar and composition in Vicenza at the Conservatorio Arrigo Pedrollo. His progress soon became evident through a series of top prizes in Italian competitions for younger guitarists, culminating in 2012 with the Audience Award at the International Guitar Competition Ruggero Chiesa in Camogli, and 1st prize at the National Guitar Competition Giulio Rospigliosi in Lamporecchio. In July 2013 he completed his diploma course at the Conservatorio with distinction, thereafter attending Oscar Ghiglia’s International Masterclass at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena and receiving the Soroptimist Club of Venice’s 2014 Marfa Maggioli Prize.
At this point he decided to apply to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where a scholarship from the Julian Bream Trust enabled him to enrol on the BMus programme. Having graduated from this with 1st Class honours and the Bache Fund Prize, he is now working towards a MA degree, for which he is receiving additional support from the Calleva Foundation, the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and Help Musicians UK’s Ian Fleming Award.
In 2016 he was selected by the International Guitar Foundation for its Young Artist Platform and in October of that year he won 1st prize at the London International Guitar Competition, playing in the final round both Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Graham Lynch’s Orpheus for guitar and orchestra. Further successes in 2016 included a special prize for the best performance of a newly commissioned piece at the Guitar Masters Competition in Poland, 2nd Prize at the Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award in Switzerland, and the ESTA prize for the best performance of a contemporary piece at the Forum Gitarre Wien competition in Austria. 2017 has seen further achievements with Giacomo winning the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Ivor Mairants Guitar Award and the Royal Academy of Music’s David Russell Guitar Prize.
In parallel to his performing career, Giacomo has steadily developed his work as a composer, writing and premiering in London, most recently, a Quintet for guitar and strings, Songs of Elegance and Wisdom for soprano and guitar and Of Dark Tales for two guitars. He is also the Artistic Director of Momùs-More Music, a musical association based in Italy which organizes and promotes classical music concerts.
In February 2015 the record company Stradivarius brought out his first solo CD ‘Giacomo Susani plays Petrassi, Bach, Tansman and Weiss’, which drew excellent critical reviews from Amadeus, BBC Music, Gendai Guitar and Il Fronimo magazines. Among his future projects are solo and chamber music recitals in Italy, UK and Brazil, as well as a new CD of solo guitar music by Giulio Regondi and Johann Kaspar Mertz.