Matthew Olyver, the current Manson Fellow of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, is a composer whose music is regularly performed across the UK and in mainland Europe. He is especially interested in engaging with old Japanese poems from the Manyóshu, the oldest collection of Japanese poetry dating from the 8th century and earlier. Matthew uses the poetic aesthetics found in this collection as expressive tools to compose music with in his pieces. Much of Matthew’s current work involves collaborating closely with orchestras and larger ensembles. Matthew is currently composer in residence with the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra, an exciting young professional orchestra based in London, Vienna and Amsterdam. His first concert as composer in residence will take place this December in Vienna, where his piece ‘Christmas Lights for Olly’ will be premiered at the Wiener Musikverein. This piece is dedicated to the late Oliver Knussen, who was a huge source of inspiration and encouragement during his time as visiting professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music for Matthew. Matthew has been fortunate enough to have enjoyed many premieres in Mainland Europe. In the Summer of 2016 his Ballet Film Score for the feature film Iris Warriors was recorded by the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra in the Radio Station of Bratislava. In May 2017, his piece for viola and piano Altair was performed by Timothy Ridout at the Gasteig in Munich and was broadcast live on German Radio. In February 2018, the Recorder Quartet Block4 premiered his piece My Last Breath at the ‘Les Goût Réunis’ Concert Series in Amsterdam. Matthew is looking forward to returning to Mainland Europe with the Moonlight Symphony Orchestra this December.
Fabricio Mattos is a musician deeply committed in finding new paths for music performance in 21st century. He has collaborated with dozens of composers, performers, poets, dancers, and other artists of many nationalities, backgrounds, and styles over the last few years, adding in quantity and quality to the present and future of guitar performance. Recently Fabricio Mattos has only been involved in essentially collaborative projects; this attitude generated a healthy artistic output that could only be achieved through serious, creative, and passionate work in collaboration with other creative artists. The most impressive results of such artistic view came with the creative enterprise WGC - Worldwide Guitar Connections, founded in 2011. WGC has since contributed in numerous creative ways to expand the possibilities of music-making. Mattos works as a practical scholar in musical performance, performing regularly as a soloist and chamber musician in a great range of countries in five continents, from major music centres such as England, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States, to countries with rising concerts tradition such as China, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Brazil. He has launched many recordings, played numerous concert tours, and won prizes such as the worldwide acclaimed ‘Julian Bream Award’, which in parallel to his other personal projects in music-making helped him to reach an increasingly higher level of performance and research.
Ben began playing the clarinet when he was eight years old and soon realised that he would love to make this his career. He found help for fulfilling his ambition from some of the world’s most eminent clarinettists including Paul Harris, David Campbell and Keith Puddy in the UK, Patrick Messina in France, Karl Leister in Germany, as well as Ricardo Morales and Yehuda Gilad in the USA - attending the École Normale de Musique de Paris, the Royal Academy of Music in London, Temple University in Philadelphia, Wells Cathedral School and the Purcell School for Young Musicians. Ben appeared on the BBC Two programme “Classical Star” in 2007 and was a category finalist in the 2010 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. His many successes include winning the Buffet Crampon Clarinet Prize in 2015, the Marlow International Concerto Competition, the Purcell School Concerto Competition, a Philharmonia Orchestra / Martin Musical Scholarship Fund award and a Hattori Foundation award. As a concerto soloist Ben has performed in venues including the Cadogan Hall, London and the Corn Exchange, Bedford with conductors including Sir Mark Elder and Michael Rose OBE. An avid chamber musician, Ben has performed in many famous venues including the Wigmore Hall in London and the Salle Cortot in Paris, and is a founder member of the recently formed Ether Ensemble. Ben also plays with the Orchestre National de France on occasion and has performed the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is active in the contemporary music scene and has been the dedicatee of several new works for clarinet. Ben’s exciting performing schedule in 2019 will take him to five of the seven continents.
Joseph Howard (b. 1993) is a London-based composer originally from North Yorkshire. He writes new music for classical instruments, and his work has been performed across the country and internationally. He is the Music Fellow at Rambert Dance Company for 2018. Recent highlights have included a performance at Aldeburgh Festival, where he attended the Britten-Pears Composition Course, and the premiere of his piece Fever, which was conducted by Oliver Knussen with the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble. Movement (for Wind Ensemble) was premiered in Stockholm by the Blåsarsymfonikerna, and subsequently conducted by Pascal Tortelier at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2016 he participated in the prestigious Creative Dialogue course in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has had pieces performed at Cheltenham Festival, Bath International Music Festival, Ryedale Festival and York Late Music Festival. He was the 2013 winner of the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composers Competition. Joseph studied as an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham before attending a masters course at The Royal Academy of Music, graduating with distinction. His studies were supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the RVW Trust, the Howard Hartog Scholarship and the Charles Lucas Memorial Fund Award. He was the Manson Fellow of Composition 2016-17 at the Royal Academy, where he is currently working towards a PhD under the tutelage of Philip Cashian.
British cellist Sarah Gait comes from North Cumbria and is completing an MMus degree at the Royal Academy of Music with professors Guy Johnston and Robert Cohen, where she was awarded a Distinction in her final recital. Sarah previously graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a First Class BMus(Hons) degree. An awardee of the Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Foundation and EMI Music Sound Foundation, Sarah has performed for BBC Radio 3’s Live in Concert and featured in Classical Music Magazine. Also a composer, her works have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Sarah is a keen promoter of classical music with young people, appearing as Ambassador for the BBC Proms Inspire Scheme. Alongside award-winning American violinist Luke Hsu, Sarah is co-director of the group Platform Music, a project that shares contemporary chamber music in public spaces. She is the dedicatee of many new solo cello works and recently gave the UK première of the cello works of Soviet composer Philipp Herschkowitz.
Michael is quickly becoming one of the most sought after oboist in Yorkshire, with his work including orchestral, solo and ensemble playing. Michael has been heard on BBC Radio multiple times, most recently in collaboration with Leeds Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds, during which he was responsible for writing and performing the music for a series of radio plays. Michael holds principal oboe chairs with a number of orchestras such as Northern Philharmonic, Northern Contemporary Collective and is sub principal with Skipton Camerata. Michael has performed as a soloist and as an orchestral musician all over the world including: Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Thailand, Switzerland, Australia, Spain and Germany. In 2016 Michael was invited to premier a number of new works for the Bass Oboe at the Australian Double Reed Society Conference held in Sydney, as an international guest soloist. In 2018 Michael also premiered four new works at the International Double Reed Society Conference in Granada, Spain. Michael returned to Andalusia in October of 2018 to record a new concerto with the Malaga Philharmonic for two Oboes and Cor Anglais by Rob Keeley, this disc is to be released on Toccata records in the Spring of 2019. Michael has commissioned over 30 new works for the Bass Oboe in the last three years ranging from solo and recital, to ensemble and orchestral works. In later years he wishes to pursue a performance based PhD, with a thesis topic focussing on commissioning and performing works for the Bass Oboe.
Currently in his fourth year at the Royal Academy of Music, Toby Cook regularly performs in venues across Europe, including solo performances at the Tibor Varga festival in Switzerland and the Mozarteum Summer Music Festival in Austria, and has participated in several competitions, receiving first prizes in the conservatoire category of the North London Music festival and the Historical Women’s Prize at the Academy. A regular participant in masterclasses and workshops, Toby has received classes from Mate Szucs and Tatjana Masurenko and Nils Monkemeyer amongst others, and has had the opportunity to work closely with Garth Knox on his new studies and with Simon Fischer on his left and right hand technique lecture series. As an orchestral musician, Toby has had the opportunity to play under numerous acclaimed conductors, such as Manfred Honeck and Ginandrea Noseda, in major European halls and is currently a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra. In 2017 he played alongside the London Sinfonietta in a performance of Thomas Ades’s ‘In Seven Days’ at the Royal Festival Hall. He was a member of the National Youth Orchestra GB from 2014-2015 and Barbican Youth Orchestra from 2008-2010, performing in major venues across the UK, appearing on a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast and the televised BBC proms. An avid chamber musician, Toby is a member of the Feguro string quartet and the 4|12 collective; a contemporary music ensemble, and performs in chamber music festivals across Europe. In May had the opportunity to study and perform chamber music with members of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra and the clarinettist Matthew Hunt at HellensMusic festival, and in November worked with Rebanks fellowship musicians of the Royal Conservatory of Canada and members of the ARC ensemble, performing in Toronto and London. Toby regularly teaches and coaches violin, viola and chamber ensembles and assists on the Arpeggione viola course each year. He is a member of the European String Teachers’ Association, with whom he performed twice this year at conferences at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and in Valletta, Europe’s cultural capital in 2018. Toby studies with Juan-Miguel Hernandez and plays on a Grancino viola (1677) generously lent to him by the Academy.
A 22 year old clarinettist from Shropshire, Holly Isherwood is currently in the final year of her undergraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Christopher Richards and Mark van de Weil. At the Academy she enjoys a wide range of performance opportunities from orchestra to opera, contemporary music and musical theatre. She has performed as principal clarinet with the Academy Symphony Orchestra and Manson Ensemble, and in masterclasses with Andrew Marriner, Franklin Cohen, Robert Plane and Patrick Messina. Holly was a member of the CBSO Youth Orchestra for 4 seasons, with whom she worked under conductors including Edward Gardner, Jac van Steen and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. During that time she was also selected to participate in the prestigious LSO Woodwind Academy course. More recently she was accepted onto the Henri Selmer Paris Summer Academy held at Michigan State Univeristy, and this summer took part in masterclasses in Spain and Norway with leading clarinet professors Yehuda Gilad and Andreas Sunden. Aside from performance, Holly has a growing passion for community music and music education. This year her clarinet quartet are taking up residency at Oundle School, Peterborough, where they collaborate with composition students, give solo and chamber music masterclasses and perform recitals. Holly also regularly assists in the delivery of projects with the Academy’s “Open Academy” outreach scheme, most recently taking part in a series of workshops for autistic children, and she was recently appointed as the Orchestral Clarinet Coach for the Oxfordshire Music Service.
Roy began his training in music at the Royal Northern College of Music where he completed his Bmus (Hons) in composition. Having just completed his MA at the Royal Academy of Music on a Doctor Carner scholarship Roy has had much of music performed in England and internationally, and has won numerous prizes for his work, including Priaulx prize and the Ismena Holland prize. Roy has written for various ensembles as well including; the Juice vocal trio, and the Chroma chamber ensemble. Roy is currently completing a professional diploma at the Royal academy of Music, and is writing an opera.
Taiwanese flautist Yi-Hsuan Chen is currently studying for her BMus at Royal Academy of Music, in the flute class of William Bennett, and the piccolo class of Helen Keen. She is fortunate to be partially sponsored by the Royal Academy of Music for the duration of her undergraduate study. Before coming to London, Yi-Hsuan studied in Taiwan with Shu-Chun Chiang (RAM alumna) at The Affiliated Junior and Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University, and Hue-Jin Liu at Taipei National University of Arts. Yi-Hsuan’s accomplishments include several prizes in competition, including 1st prize in the junior category of 3rd Singapore Flute Festival, the open category of 2013 Taiwan National Music Competition. She was also awarded ‘very highly commended’ for the Jonathan Myall Piccolo prize, and ‘highly commended’ for All Flute Plus Prize at RAM. She will be the teaching assistant at William Bennett’s Summer School in 2019. Other achievements include an invitation to play as a soloist in the ‘Winner Showcase’ concert for both the 5th, 6th, and 7th Singapore Flute Festival, and RAM flute department concert. She also enjoys performing chamber music, playing in the orchestra, for opera and in musical. She played as a member of the Golden Flute Choir, led by Shu-Chun Chiang, in the 43rd Annual National Flute Association Convention, as well as in the 5th, 6th, and 7th Singapore Flute Festival. She has played with RAM Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductors including Oliver Knussen, and Edward Gardner, and alongside players from the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Semyon Bychkov. She had the privilege to perform in the prestigious venues including St. John Smith Square (London), Concertgebouw Recital Hall (Amsterdam), National Concert Hall (Taipei).