Introducing the performers…

Viv McLean (piano)

Winner of the First Prize at the 2002 Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, Viv McLean has performed at all the major venues in the UK as well as throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the USA. ?Viv’s concerto work includes appearances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva, Orchestra of the Swan, the London Concert Orchestra, the Scottish Concert Orchestra and the National Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra.

Recent concerto highlights include Mozart K. 467 with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall; Grieg with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Barbican; a tour of the USA with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performing Gershwin; Rachmaninov’s 3rd Concerto with the RPO in Cambridge; Gershwin and Bernstein with the Hallé at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester; and Beethoven’s 5th Concerto with the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall.

Viv has performed chamber music with leading groups such as the Adderbury Ensemble, Ysaye String Quartet, the Sacconi String Quartet, Ensemble 360, the Galliard Wind Ensemble and the Leopold String Trio, and has collaborated with musicians such as Natalie Clein, Marianne Thorsen, Daniel Hope, Lawrence Power, Eijin Nimura, Phillip Dukes, Matthew Sharp, Kate Gould, Guy Johnston, Richard Dubugnon, David Le Page, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Warren-Green, Owain Arwell Hughes, David Charles Abell, Carl Davis and Marvin Hamlisch. He has also performed at various festivals, including the Cheltenham International Festival and Harrogate Festival in the UK; the International Beethoven Festival; the Mecklenburg Festival and the Kultur Kreis Festival in Germany; the Melle Festival and Festival de Saintes in France; the Vinterfestspill i Bergstaden in Norway; and the Musik vid Kattegatt Festival in Sweden.

Viv studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Hamish Milne where he held the Hodgson Fellowship and was made an Associate of the academy in 2005. He made his Wigmore Hall recital debut through winning the Friends of the Royal Academy Wigmore Award. Whilst studying at the Royal Academy, Viv was the piano winner at the Royal Overseas League Music Competition and was selected as one of three winners of the National Federation of Music Societies’ Young Artists Competition, leading to various recitals and concerto appearances throughout the UK.

Viv has recorded regularly for the BBC since making his recital debut through the BBC Radio 3 Young Artists Forum scheme and has also recorded recitals for Classic FM, WDR Radio in Germany, Radio France, ABC Radio in Australia, NRK Radio in Norway and for the Sky Arts television channel. His commercial releases include recordings for such labels as Sony Classical Japan, Naxos, Nimbus and the RPO label.

The pianist Viv McLean seemed exceptional to me; he astonished us with his musical maturity and extraordinary sonority.

Le Monde (Paris)

The pianist Viv McLean never faltered, spewing molten lava.

The Times (London)

The fluent technique and brilliance of the interpreter were impressive. He played with insight and the greatest sensitivity.

General Anzeiger (Bonn)

Vanessa McNaught (viola)

Vanessa McNaught started to learn the violin at the age of four and took up the viola aged 12. She was awarded the Director’s Prize at Junior Guildhall, having performed as soloist with their String Ensemble on tour and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. She went on to gain a Masters degree in philosophy and mathematics before completing a postgraduate diploma at the Royal College of Music with distinction. While studying at the RCM, Vanessa won all the string chamber music prizes and the Bernard Shore viola prize in the Royal Over-Seas League competition.

Vanessa was a founder member of the Tavec String Quartet, winning many prizes and being chosen for the Countess of Munster Musical Trust Recital Scheme. She now plays with a variety of chamber music groups and chamber orchestras including the Adderbury Ensemble. She has enjoyed playing at the Edinburgh Festival, Wigmore Hall, and International Musicians‘ Seminar, Prussia Cove amongst others.

Katherine Spencer (Clarinet)

Clarinettist Katherine Spencer made her concerto debut at the age of fourteen at the Royal Festival Hall and has since performed there as concerto soloist many times. She has also appeared as soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Orchestra at the Barbican Centre, and at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, made many live Radio 3 solo broadcasts, and performs regularly on Classic FM and European radio stations.

She has recorded the Brahms Sonata and Beethoven Trio for the Oxford Classic label with Sam Haywood and Martin Storey, and many of her discs with the Galliard Ensemble (of which she is a long-standing member) are highly acclaimed in the international press as well as Gramophone and BBC Music Magazines.

Katherine has performed Mozart with the remaining members of the Amadeus Quartet in the presence of HRH the Emperor of Japan and, alongside her many other Royal engagements, has performed in the first live concert broadcast from Buckingham Palace.

As a chamber musician Katherine was chosen by the BBC to be on their Young Generation Artists Scheme, which has facilitated her continuing to perform internationally with her ensembles in festivals such as the BBC Proms and the Barbican’s “Mostly Mozart Festival”.

Katherine is a member of the Age of Enlightenment Orchestra and is principal clarinet of the City of London Sinfonia as well as being a regular guest principal with the Irish Chamber Orchestra and Gabrieli Consort and Players. Her freelance work sees her playing regularly with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Northern Symphonia.

Katherine is passionate about bringing music to all areas of society. She is always devising and delivering hugely valuable projects – from composing and recording an entire film score written in collaboration by a mainstream and special needs school, to linking art and music to homeless people, with the results exhibited in London’s main art galleries.

…that was a foretaste of fine musical things to come, especially from the period woodwind in the obbligato solos of this noble score.

The Times

The Glyndebourne Chorus plus the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – with its brilliant clarinet solos, and its melting harpsichord and cello continuo – wrapped everything in a glow of beauty.

The Independent

Sprinkled into the gap between quintets is a succession of other solo wind pieces including ‘Linoi’, in a knockout performance by clarinettist Katherine Spencer.

The New York Times

Her [Katherine Spencer’s] playing sounded effortless, coaxing a whole gamut of timbres from her instrument in a stunning display of virtuosity.

Manchester Evening News


January 7, 2018 at 11:15

  • Poulenc: Clarinet Sonata, op 184
  • Bruch: Three pieces for Clarinet, Viola & Piano (from op 83)
  • Daiken: Quatre Poèmes
  • Mozart: Clarinet Trio in E flat major, K498 (“Kegelstatt”)

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