Leeds Lieder Young Artists 2021

Cassandra Wright soprano 

Australian lyric soprano Cassandra Wright is completing her Master’s at the Royal Academy of Music under the tutelage of Kate Paterson and Jonathan Papp. She has been offered a place at Royal Academy Opera, commencing September 2021. Cassandra is a member of the RAM Song Circle and enjoys operatic and song repertoire with equal enthusiasm. At RAM, Cassandra was recently the joint winner of the Isabel Jay Memorial Prize and Very Highly Commended in the RAM Bicentenary Prize. 

Cassandra’s operatic roles include, Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor scenes), Spirit (Dido & Aeneas), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro scenes) Sandrina (La finta giardiniera), Manon (Manon scenes), Lisette (La Rondine scenes), and La Bergere/La Chouette (L’enfant et les sortilèges). 

Prior to moving to London, Cassandra studied at The Queensland Conservatorium where she received a Bachelor of Music with Honours and the University Medal. At the Conservatorium, Cassandra received many awards, including the Linda Edith Allen Postgraduate Award, and the Elizabeth Muir and Margaret Nickson Prizes. She has won the ANATS Bettine McCaughan Memorial Scholarship, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria Competition and the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship. 

Ilan Kurtser piano 

Born in 1996, Israeli pianist Ilan Kurtser began his piano studies with Enn Wittenberg at the municipal music school in Petah-Tikva. He continued his solo piano studies at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel-Aviv with Asaf Zohar. 

Ilan is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music under the tutelage of Michael Dussek and James Bailleau. At the Academy, Ilan plays for the prestigious Song Circle and the Academy Voices. He is the winner of the Major Van Someren-Godfrey piano accompaniment prize at RAM.  

 Ilan has participated in the David Goldman chamber music programme of the Jerusalem Music Centre and in numerous festivals abroad such as Meadowmount School of Music (USA), Rostock Sommercampus (Germany) and Zeist Music Days (The Netherlands). He has taken part in masterclasses with great musicians such as Paul Badura-Skoda, Murray Perahia, Menahem Pressler, Valentin Arban, Helmut Deutsch, Malcolm Martineau and Graham Johnson. 


Ilan was a scholar of America-Israel Cultural Foundation from 2010 to 2020. In September 2021, Ilan will commence his Advanced Diploma studies at the Royal Academy of Music as a Bicentenary Scholar. 

Lorna McLean soprano

Yorkshire born soprano Lorna McLean is currently studying on the Artist Masters course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutelage of Janice Chapman and Marcus van den Akker. Lorna recently received the Recital Diploma for an excellent final recital, which is only given to a small handful of singers each year. Lorna recently performed the role of Mimí (Puccini, La Bohème) recorded at the Guildhall School, and covered the role of Silvia (Zanetto, Mascagni) for the Guildhall School Opera Course. Opera scenes at Guildhall include Gioconda (La Gioconda, Ponchielli), Armide (Armide, Gluck), Agathe (Der Freischütz, Weber), Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier, R. Strauss), Arabella (Arabella, R. Strauss), Lady Billows (Albert Herring, Britten) and Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana, Mascagni). On the concert platform Lorna has shown her versatility by performing several song cycles, most notably Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Barber’s Op.10, Three Poem’s by Fiona MacLeod (Griffes) and Grieg’s Sechs Lieder. During her time studying at The Royal Academy of Music as a Leverhulme Scholar, Lorna performed the role of Chief Hen (The Cunning Little Vixen, Janáček) with Royal Academy Opera. Lorna looked forward to performing Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart) with Bloomsbury Opera, Nella (Gianni Schicchi, Puccini) for British Youth Opera and her Wigmore Hall debut, all unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. Upcoming performances include Mother (Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck) for British Youth Opera. Lorna is thrilled to have accepted a place on the prestigious Guildhall School Opera Course and will start in September. 

Claire Habbershaw piano

Claire is a highly experienced collaborative pianist and has given Song recitals at venues including St James’ Piccadilly, Faversham Assembly Rooms, Milton Court Concert Hall, PoundArts, Holy Trinity Sloane Square, Latvian Cultural Institute, Waltham Abbey, Farnham Maltings, Old Royal Naval College Chapel & the Painted Hall in Greenwich and Brentwood Cathedral. Awards include the Founders Prize for Piano Accompaniment and the Raymond Russell Prize for harpsichord. She recently performed “Out of Winter” for Jonathan Dove at Blackheath halls, as part of his 60th birthday celebrations and has participated in masterclasses with Roderick Williams and Sally Burgess (part of the London Song Festival), Julia Bullock, Kate Royal and Ido Ariel. Claire will play alongside soprano Hannah Crocker in the Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2021. Having just completed her MMus with distinction at Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a Guildhall Scholar, Claire is continuing in Masters’ studies for an MPerf. She is studying with Eugene Asti and Pamela Lidiard and is furthermore being privately mentored by Alisdair Hogarth. She previously studied as a Trinity London Scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where she won every duo Song prize available: the English Song Competition for voice and piano, The Elisabeth Schumann Lieder Duo Competition and The Lillian Ash French Song Duo Competition. She furthermore won the Chartered Surveyors Prize this year at Guildhall with baritone Alaric Green. Guildhall projects have included “The Complete Songs of Barber” curated by Julius Drake, “Emily Dickinson” curated by Iain Burnside and the “The Great American Songbook” led by Samantha Malk. Claire has been involved in numerous projects with Eugene Asti, including “The Complete Songs of Clara Schumann”, “Debussy and Beyond”, and “Brahms and his Female Contemporaries”.

Ellen Mawhinney soprano  

Originally from Northern Ireland, Ellen Mawhinney is a soprano who is currently studying on the MMus Vocal Performance programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Wilma MacDougall after graduating the BMus programme with First Class Honours.  

Her opera performances most recently include Die Fledermaus with NI Opera, the roles of Gretel, Konstanze and Marguerite in RCS Opera Scenes, Scottish Opera’s concert production of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel and English National Opera’s collaboration with RCS of Dove’s The Day After. 

Ellen has most recently enjoyed performing for NI Opera throughout their gala concerts this past year as well as recording with the BBCNI as their weekly spotlight recitalist for Classical Connections. Ellen is the most recent recipient of the Irish Heritage Bursary Award after winning the competition at the Wigmore Hall. This result is only after her success at the Charles Wood Song Competition where she was also awarded first place. Other results include third place in the Hugh S Robertson Award (RCS), third place in the Norma Grieg French Song Prize and a finalist of the Governor’s Recital Prize (RCS). Ellen was also appointed as a choral scholar for the Genesis Sixteen programme and has since joined The Sixteen in concert for their world debut performance of James Macmillan’s The Grand Inconnu at the opening of the Edinburgh International Festival at Usher Hall and the Barbican Hall in London.  

As well as being a soloist, Ellen enjoys her role as musical director for Carlisle Community Choir and Cardonald Parish Church. She is also a singing teacher for the National Youth Choir of Scotland. After this past year, Ellen is beyond excited to have this performance opportunity at Leeds Lieder and to make live music again with her duo partner, Mark Rogers. 

Mark Rogers piano 

Mark Rogers is a pianist from San Antonio, Texas, who specialises in vocal and chamber music. He was a 2020 Britten-Pears Young Artist and has three times won the Hester Dickson Lieder prize at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he has just finished his undergraduate studies with Graeme McNaught. This year he was awarded the Alex Menzies Memorial prize for accompaniment, and received the Sam Hutchings pianist prize to attend the Oxenfoord summer school run by Malcolm Martineau. 

Mark is the pianist for Les Sirenes choir, has been the assistant conductor for Edinburgh Studio Opera and has conducted the Edinburgh University chamber orchestra and Music Society. He also recently won first prize from the Royal Philharmonic Society for his article on Samuel Barber in their new Young Classical Writers competition. 

In September, he will begin a Masters in piano accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music, supported by a generous scholarship to study with James Baillieu and Michael Dussek. 

Mark is very excited to be performing with Ellen again for a real live audience. 

Victor Kassebeer baritone 

Victor Kassebeer is a danish baritone currently studying on a full ABRSM scholarship on the first year of the undergraduate at the Royal Academy of Music with prof. Giles Underwood.
He has previously to this studied three years on a pre-college in Copenhagen with prof. Jan Lund, and has received masterclasses from singers Nicholas Isherwood and Helene Gjerris.

Achievements include having won several minor prizes, most recently the Historical Women Composers prize at the Royal Academy of Music, together with his liedduo- partner Stella Lorenz.
Victor is a singer specializing in a broad variety of music. While the german lied has been his most prevalent focus, contemporary music is a great interest of his, and a field of music he feels great responsibility in perpetuating.

What excites him especially about the song repetoire, is the heightened tone- colouring potential, as well as the intimacy and delicacy provided by being just a singer and a pianist.

Furthermore, spreading awareness of female, marginalized and otherwise forgotten composers is of great importance to him, as he doesn’t see his position as a classical singer as necessarily being artificially anachronistic.

Stella Marie Lorenz piano

Stella Marie Lorenz is currently studying Piano Accompaniment with Malcolm Martineau and Michael Dussek at the Royal Academy of Music. She was awarded a Master of Vocal Accompaniment with distinction at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Performance venues have included the Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Wien, Schloss Belvedere Wien, Neues Schloss Stuttgart and Rosengarten Mannheim. Having previously studied with Roger Vignoles and Gerold Huber, she also took masterclasses with Graham Johnson, Helmut Deutsch and Christa Ludwig.

Stella is passionate to juxtapose the known and unknown in classical music, encouraging listeners to engage and discover. Regularly playing classical standards alongside 20th/21st century music, she has performed and will record several world premieres. Compositions of female composers represent a growing part of her repertoire: She recorded songs for Swap-ra’s Forgotten Voices this year and won the Historical Women Composers Prize with her duopartner Victor Kassebeer. In London, she started “Stella & The Astrophils”, a platform for chamber music and song concerts at Clementi House, London.

Starting in September 2021, she will study the Advanced Diploma with a scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music London, supported as well by the Help Musicians Postgraduate Award.

Marie Cayeux soprano

French coloratura soprano with a Berber heritage, Marie Cayeux trained in both piano and singing in Paris conservatoires. After obtaining her Bachelor of Law (Paris Descartes University), she moved to London where she is currently finishing her Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutelage of Rudolf Piernay. Marie has performed full and parts of the roles of Juliet (Britten’s The Little Sweep), Mme Donnadieu (Martin Squelette, Aboulker), Margaret (arranged version of Messager’s Passionnément for the Festival Lyrique-en-Mer 2019) ; Despina, Adele and Elisetta (Il matrimonio segreto) for GSMD 2019-2020’s opera scenes, Papagena (Bloomsbury Opera, March 2020) ; Adina (L’elesir d’amore), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) and Marie (La fille du regiment) in scenes directed by Leipzig Opera direktorin Franzisca Severin in August 2020 ; the First Apple (The Little Green Swallow, Dove) with Guidhall Opera, and Philine (Mignon, Thomas) and Fanny (La cambiale di matrimonio, Rossini) in Milton Court’s Studio Theater in March 2021. Furthermore, Marie has been selected to participate in the prestigious London Handel Singing Competition and the 27th Clermont-Ferrand Opera Competition this summer. Passionate about art songs repertoire, Marie has been learning from renowned collaborative pianists like Dalton Baldwin, Iain Burnside, Sholto Kynoch, Julius Drake, Eugene Asti, Andrew West, Bretton Brown, Lada Valesova and Helmut Deutsch. Next fall, she will be part of a series of concerts directed by Graham Johnson on Poulenc’s songs at GSMD, as well as joining the Alexander Gibson Opera School at RCS in Glasgow

Feilin Liu piano

Vocal and instrumental accompanist, Feilin Liu, is studying Artist Diploma at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, under the tutelage of Caroline Palmer and Pamela Lidiard. Feilin has gained Master of Performance in Piano accompaniment at GSMD and Master of Music in piano performance at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.  

With passion in both Vocal and instrumental works, Feilin has performed in various projects including Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer Op.52, Beethoven influences in song, Spanish project: Bécquer in Song, English and Swedish songs in Seasons project, concerts of De Staat by Louis Andriessen and Descensio by Sofia Gubaidulina with Ubu Ensemble; solo instrumental performances with Trombone, Oboe, Clarinet, violin and viola, focusing on 20th century music by Eugène Bozza, Axel Jørgensen, William Alwyn, Paul Hindemith, Malcom Lipkin and Stravinsky, among others. With great interest in historical performance, Feilin also plays harpsichord, and performed a harpsichord and piano recital at Dora Stoutzker Hall in Cardiff.  

Feilin has been on the stage of Milton Court Concert Hall and King’s College Chapel in London, Dora Stoutzker Hall and St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, St. Martin Church, Caerphilly and Macao Cultural Centre. Under the influence of feminism recent years, Feilin deeply felt the importance to bring out the ‘missing treasures’ – music by female composers, and recently arranged her concert with songs by Lili Boulanger, Germaine Tailleferre, Cécile Chaminade and viola sonata by Rebecca Clarke. 

Esme Bronwen-Smith mezzo-soprano

British mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith is in her last year of postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music, generously supported on the Leverhulme scholarship and studying under the tutelage of Rosa Mannion and Dinah Harris. She is also a 2019/20 Drake Calleja Trust Scholar and a 2020/21 Leeds Lieder Young Artist.

She made her professional singing debut as a soloist in the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony whilst at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying voice and composition.

Esme’s recent operatic engagements include the title role in Holst’s Svitri (HGO), Angelina
La Cenerentola, RCM Opera scenes), Unulfo (Rodelinda, RCM Opera Studio) and covering the role of Smeton (Anna Bolena, Longborough Opera Festival).

Esme has recently completed a 5 week course at the Gary Condès Acting studio and performed the role of ‘The Devil’ in Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale this May, a collaboration project with Sir Thomas Allen, RCM and the Central School of Ballet. Theatre and film has always feature heavily in her career; she has worked closely with Danny Boyle on a variety of projects, including Frankenstein at the National Theatre (2010), Trance (2013), Trainspotting 2 (2017) and a collaboration with Underworld and Iggy Pop (Teatime Dub Encounters, 2018) in which The Guardian reviewed her voice as ‘Sublime’.

Esme was the winner of both the 2020 Royal College of Music Lieder competition and the 2021 Lies Askonas competition.

To find out more about Esme, visit her website, www.esmebronwensmith.com

Avishka Edirisinghe piano 

British-Sri Lankan pianist Avishka Edirisinghe is a final year student on the joint Physics and Music Performance degree course at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music, where he studies Piano with Nigel Clayton and Collaborative Piano with Simon Lepper. Avishka enjoys playing as a solo pianist, but has a special interest in the collaborative side of piano playing. At university, he regularly accompanies singers in performance classes, concerts and masterclasses, as well as accompanying choirs. His work with musicians at RCM has led him to win prizes such as the Gregynog Young Accompanist of the Year award in 2019, the Pianists Prize at the 2020 AESS Courtney Kenny awards, the pianists prize at the RCM English Song preliminaries, and he was selected to be a Leeds Lieder Young Artist for 2020 with mezzo-soprano Esme Bronwen-Smith. Avishka also plays the violin and at university continues to play the violin in the Imperial College Symphony Orchestra where he leads the 2nd violin section. He also enjoys conducting and studies it as part of his degree. After completing his undergraduate degree, Avishka will go on to do a postgraduate degree course in Collaborative Piano with a second study in conducting at RCM for which he has been offered a scholarship, and subsequently go on to find work as a song accompanist and opera répétiteur/conductor. Avishka’s studies next year will be generously supported by Help Musicians, where he is a Henry Richardson Award holder. 

Helen Lacey soprano

Helen Lacey is a London-based lyric soprano with a particular interest in premiering new roles and in the art song repertoire.

Helen is a featured soloist on Will Todd’s Passion Music recorded for Signum Classics. She is also a BBC Introducing Artist for Radio 3’s in-tune and a Young Artist for Finchcocks Charity in Kent.

Among her recent engagements, is Peter Sellars’ staging of Bach’s St. John Passion conducted by Sir Simon Rattle (OAE / German Tour), Bach’s cantata Ich Habe Genug at St Martin-in-the-fields (Brandenburg Sinfonia), Haydn’s Creation conducted by Jane Glover at Dartington International Festival and a performance at Latitude Festival, broadcast on in-tune.

Max Bilbe piano

Max Bilbe, 23, is a pianist and scholarship holder at the Royal Academy of Music, studying piano accompaniment with Michael Dussek and Joseph Middleton. He attended Chetham’s School of Music in 2012, studying piano, composition, and percussion, and then studied an academic degree in music at the University of Manchester in 2017. During his time there, Max performed as a soloist for concerts such as Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 5 in October 2019 and was in demand as an accompanist for events at the university and at the Royal Northern College of Music. He frequently appeared as an accompanist for concerts, such as the Sounds Like This festival at Leeds College of Music in March 2020, and was coached in repetiteuring by Martin Pickard whilst at university, which greatly fused his passion for opera. He graduated with a first-class Honours degree and with several prizes in performance and academia. Since attending the Academy in September 2020, Max has collaborated with many singers and instrumentalists: amidst playing for many other classes, competitions, and concerts, he came highly commended in the English Song competition in October 2020, was selected to perform with a flautist as part of the Academy’s external concert series for February 2021, has performed for nine final recital examination performances in May and will appear twice in the Academy’s Transcending Borders series in June. 

Magnus Walker tenor

Tenor Magnus Walker has just completed his undergraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music and has remained there for his Masters, studying under the tutelage of Richard Berkeley-Steele and Matthew Fletcher where he has recently won First Prize in the Joan Chissell/Rex Stephens award for Schumann Lieder. 

While at the Academy, Magnus has undertaken many different projects: he has performed a recital of duets by German lieder composers Brahms and Schumann, taken part in the Spencer Collection, and given the world premiere of Mario Ferraro’s new song cycle Songs from a distant Land for tenor and guitar. He was a regular member of the chorale for the Kohn Bach Cantata series, and now sings in the ‘Bach the European’ series, including solos in the St Matthew Passion with Trevor Pinnock.  

Magnus made his Three Choirs Festival soloist debut in Elgar’s The Kingdom in 2016. Concert highlights since include Mozart’s C Minor Mass at St John’s Smith Square, the arias in Bach’s St John Passion and St. Matthew Passion, and David Owen Norris’ Song Cycle Think Only This, for Tenor, Cello and Piano. Magnus made his international solo debut in 2017, performing the tenor solo in Britten’s War Requiem with the Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra. In summer 2018, Magnus returned to the Three Choirs Festival to sing Lili Boulanger’s setting of Psalm 130: Du Fond de L’Abime. He has sung in the chorus for staged productions of  Semele (Royal Academy Opera, 2018) and Die Entführung auf dem Serail (2017). 

Magnus takes a big interest in the performance of Art Song, the most notable project this year being performances of Schubert’s Winterreise around the UK. 

Magnus also works professionally as an ensemble singer with groups such as the Oxford Bach Soloists, Classical Opera and the Mozartist.  

Recent engagements include performing the role of Lysander in the Royal Academy Opera’s production of Britten’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream and the role of Ferrando, again in a Royal Academy Opera production, in Mozart’s Così fan tutte.  


Eunji Han piano 

Eunji performs extensively throughout Europe in such prominent venues as Petit Palais in Paris, Opéra de Lyon, St Bride’s Church in London. She has been invited at the festivals including Festival Culturel International de Musique Symphonique d’Alger (Algeria), Les Allées Chantent (France), A casa de Aldán (Spain) and Lavaux Classic Off (Swizterland). Eunji has appeared at the Radio Télévision Suisse for her constant research of French women composers, Lili and Nadia Boulanger. 

Her passion for contemporary music led her to found Ensemble Dimensions where she premièred young composers’ works and held an education project for schools. Eunji is also a founding member of Trio Andé, which makes rediscover classical Piano Trio repertoires with Oboe, Cello and Piano. 

She studied at Ewha Womans University (S. Korea), Conservatoire de Lyon, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et Danse de Lyon (France) and Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne (Switzerland). Currently she is pursuing the Advanced Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music under the guidance of James Baillieu and Malcolm Martineau, generously supported by Royal Academy of Music and ADAMI France. She is also grateful to be a recipient of Mécénat Musical Société Générale.  

She has taken opportunities also to have masterclasses with Graham Johnson, Helmut Deutsch, Jeff Cohen, Hartmut Höll, John Fiore, Billy Eidi, Anne le Bozec, Laurent Cabasso, Sontraud Speidel, Françoise Thinat and Sharon Boaz. 

Eunji is the laureate of the Concours International de la Mélodie de Gordes and Young Artist Fellow at Aigues-Vives en Musique (France). 

Ava Dodd soprano

Irish soprano Ava Dodd is a Masters student in the Royal College of Music, London. Ava is a Karaviotis Scholar studying under the tutelage of Professor Janis Kelly.

While studying with Professor Mary Brennan and Dr. Dearbhla Collins at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, she completed a BA in Music Performance and graduated with a first class Honours.

Ava is a multiple prize-winner, and was recently awarded the RDS Collins Memorial Performance Award 2021, first prize in the International Grand Prix of Romania “Trophaeum Artis Cantorum 2021” and in the Royal Dublin Society Music Bursary Competition, 2020.

Receiving first prize in the Northern Ireland Opera’s Glenarm Festival of Voice Competition, Ava was named the “Young Opera Voice of 2019”.

She swept the boards at the 2019 Feis Ceoil, winning seven competitions, including the Gervase Elwas Cup.

In January 2020, she played the title role of Calisto in RIAM’s production of La Calisto by Francesco Cavalli, and performed in RIAM’s Productions in 2019: La Liberazione di Ruggiero by Francesca Caccini and Banished by Stephen Mcneff.

Ava will return to Ireland in July 2021, playing the role of Yum-Yum, in G&S’s The Mikado in the National Concert Hall and perform a solo recital in Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.

In October 2021, Ava will once again perform as a Young Artist in the Wexford Factory and play Perdita in Karl Goldmark’s Ein Wintermärchen in Wexford Opera festival. She will also appear as Papagena in RCM’s production of Die Zauberflöte, November 2021.

Joanna Kacperek piano

International concert pianist, Joanna Kacperek has performed in major concert halls in her native Poland (Warsaw Philharmonic, Concert Studio of the Polish Radio, the Royal Castle in Warsaw, NOSPR in Katowice) and abroad (including United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, Russia, the Ukraine, Canada and Japan). As a soloist, she has performed with such orchestras as the Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, State Academic Symphony Orchestra in Moscow and Lviv Virtuosos Chamber Orchestra.

Joanna is studying at The Royal College of Music in London in the class of Norma Fisher, as the recipient of the C. Bechstein Scholarship and The Zetland Foundation Scholarship. She is also a graduate from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw where she studied with Ewa Pobłocka. She also studied at the ‘Berlin University of Arts’ in Germany mentored by Professor Markus Groh as a recipient of an Erasmus scholarship.

Joanna Kacperek has won international piano competitions in Szafarnia (‘F.Chopin’), Pilsen (‘B.Smetana’), Paris (‘M.Magin’). She was also awarded a special prize at the International Edvard Grieg Piano Competition in Bergen (2016). In November 2017, together with violinist Roksana Kwaśnikowska, Joanna won The 2nd International Beethoven Chamber Music Competition, organized by The Krzysztof Penderecki European Music Centre, Internationale Beethoven Gesellschaft and The Ludwig van Beethoven Association.

Alongside a growing career as a soloist, Joanna Kacperek is highly celebrated for being a multi-faceted pianist. She regularly performs with singers and instrumental players. Her duo with violinist Roksana Kwaśnikowska represented Poland at the Kyoto International Music Students Festival in Japan (2015). Joanna has also just been awarded the Titanic Memoriam Pianist Prize during the Lies Askonas Vocal Competition 2021.

She has worked with many acclaimed artists such as Dina Yoffe, Arie Vardi, Boris Berman, Nikolai Demidenko, Bernd Goetzke, Katarzyna Popowa – Zydroń, Andrzej Jasiński, Simon Lepper and Audrey Hyland.

Dafydd Jones tenor 

Welsh tenor, Dafydd Jones, is currently studying as a scholar supported by the college at the Royal College of Music, London, under the tuition of Mark Tucker and Simon Lepper. In 2019, Dafydd was successful in winning the Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize – The Blue Ribbon – at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, giving him the opportunity to perform in Philadelphia in the Autumn of next year.  

At the Royal College of Music, Dafydd was recently awarded the Cuthbert-Smith prize for 2nd place in the Lies Askonas competition, and was a finalist in the Brooks Van der Pump English Song Competition in February 2020.  

In the summer of 2019, Dafydd made his operatic debut as Don Ottavio in OPRA Cymru’s touring production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and was cast for his international role début as Clotarco in Haydn’s Armida at the Bregenz Festival in Austria last summer, but this was unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19. Later this summer, Dafydd will travel to the Verbier Festival in Switzerland to be a member of the Atelier Lyrique Academy, and to sing the role of Joe in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West conducted by Valery Gergiev on the festival stage. Dafydd will also appear as Huw in a newly commissioned opera by Gareth Glyn called Un Nos Ola Leuad with OPRA Cymru, before performing a new song cycle by Brian Hughes, The Green Desert, at the North Wales International Music Festival. 

Shile Liu piano

Chinese collaborative pianist Shile Liu is currently doing the Artist Diploma programme with Kathron Sturrock, Simon Lepper, and Roger Vignoles at the Royal College of Music as a Frederick Cox Scholar. He was awarded Distinction for his Master of Performance degree at the RCM. He has played in many concerts and competitions at the RCM, such as More Music Concert Series: Composer and Patron, Song Plus: Valentine’s Day Recital ‘Secrets and Obsessions’, Myrthen: A Wedding Present for Clara, and he was the Highly Commended Artist in Joan Chissell Schuamnn Competition. He has taken part in the masterclasses with Helmut Deutsch and Alasdair Beatson. He has also performed in external activities, such as West London Festival, RCM at St.Mary Abbots, Kingston Upon Thames Festival of The Performing Arts, Christmas Concert at Queen Alexandra’s House and Hurn Court Opera Singing Competition.  

Before studying at the RCM, Shile studied piano performance at Xiamen University in China. He has performed in Kulangsu Concert Hall, Banlam Grand Theatre and Xiamen University Art College Concert Hall. He was also the accompanist of the Dream Children’s Choir. He participated in the 13th China International Chorus Festival with the choir and won second prize in junior group. 

As a piano teacher, his students have won many awards in well-known piano competitions. Shile was awarded teaching prizes, including Kyoto International Music Competiton, the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition (China Region) and Seiler & Samick Piano Competition.