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“The fine violinist Benjamin Baker…brought virtuosity, refinement and youthful exuberance to a daunting program”
The New York Times
“A compelling and utterly engrossing performance”
The Northern Echo
“Power, poetry and formidable technique” The New York Times
The Northern Chords Ensemble features present and future artists from the acclaimed Northern Chords Festival. For 2019-20 onwards, they are offering programmes for piano trio (Benjamin Baker, Jonathan Bloxham, Daniel Lebhardt) and also regularly collaborate with tenor Ben Johnson and violist Eivind Ringstad.
Founded in 2009 by Artistic Director Jonathan Bloxham, the festival takes place on the banks of the River Tyne, in Newcastle and Gateshead, and brings together the most exciting young musicians from across Europe.
Beethoven Piano Trio no 1 in E flat major, Op 1 no 1
Poulenc Sonata for violin and piano, Op 119
Mendelssohn Piano Trio no 2 in C minor, Op 66
In 2016 Benjamin Baker won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York and in 2017 3rd Prize at the Michael Hill Competition in New Zealand. Highlights during 2017/18 included a critically acclaimed debut at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany. He toured throughout Canada, China, Argentina, Colombia and Chile and appeared as a soloist with the Royal Philharmonic, BBC Concert, Sinfonia Cymru and National Children’s Orchestras.
Equally at home as a chamber musician, Benjamin took part in the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and Caramoor Rising Stars series in the US, and returned to the East Neuk Festival. Engagements this season include a Wigmore Hall Coffee Concert and his debut at the National Concert Hall in Dublin and Music for Galway Festival. He returns to the USA, Colombia, Chile and New Zealand and makes his debut in Australia.
Born in New Zealand, Benjamin studied at the Menhuin School and the Royal College of Music. He was selected by YCAT in 2013. He plays on a Tononi violin (1709) on generous loan.
An acclaimed cellist, Jonathan Bloxham is the recipient of several prestigious awards such as the Guilhermina Suggia Gift and Royal College of Music Cello Prize and in 2012 gave his concerto debut at the Berlin Philharmonie. He was a founding member of the Busch Trio until 2015, during which time the group won prizes at many international competitions including the Royal Overseas League in London, Pinerolo Competition in Italy and the International Schumann Chamber Music Award in Frankfurt. Jonathan has performed regularly at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and the Southbank Centre and is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 3. Further chamber music collaborations included projects with renowned musicians such as Michael Collins, Jack Liebeck and the Schumann Quartet.
Jonathan is also a celebrated conductor; he was Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2016-2018. In 2017-18, he made several debuts including the Malaysian Philharmonic, RTE Concert Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in 2018/19, guest engagements included the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the Basque National Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru and a return to Dublin’s National Concert Hall with the RTE. Jonathan founded the Northern Chords Festival in 2009 and looks forward to celebrating his 10th festival as Artistic Director in May 2019.
In 2014 Daniel Lebhardt won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in Paris and New York. A year later he was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in London and invited to record music by Bartók for Decca, and in 2016 won the Most Promising Pianist prize at the Sydney International Competition.
This season Daniel will give debut recitals at the Lucerne, Heidelberger-Frühling and Tallinn International Festivals, and returns to Wigmore Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Other highlights include a return to Paris for a recital at L’Eglise Saint Germain as part of the Week-end à l’Est Festival, and Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 at the Royal Festival Hall.
As a chamber musician, Daniel regularly collaborates with violinist Benjamin Baker and with the Castalian String Quartet. He took part in the BBC Proms Composer Portrait of Olga Neuwirth broadcast by BBC Radio 3 in 2012 and has performed chamber music at King`s Place with the Northern Chords Ensemble and Wigmore Hall and Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh among others.