For a young chamber ensemble with big dreams and aspirations but limited financial resources, it was beyond thrilling when the BBT appeared and - in fairy godmother-esque fashion - granted us the means to make many of these dreams a reality. Quite apart from the generous economic assistance, the trust's personal guidance and advice has been invaluable at this pivotal stage in the Aronowitz Ensemble's development. Among our upcoming projects, we are enormously excited about the release of our debut CD and our peculiarly eclectic series of informal concerts at the Forge, Camden in 2010/11, with which we hope to draw in new and eager audiences. We look forward to welcoming you to share the journey, and we are ever grateful to the wonderful BBT for their help and support.Aronowitz Ensemble"
Aronowitz Ensemble received support from BBT between 2009 and 2012, when this page was last updated. For an up to date biography go to www.proartist.co.uk/aronowitz.html
Magnus Johnston violin
Nadia Wijzenbeek violin
Lily Francis violin/viola
Tom Hankey violin/viola
Guy Johnston cello
Marie Macleod cello
Tom Poster piano
The Aronowitz Ensemble was formed out of the desire of seven outstanding international artists to explore and perform chamber music together in the highly adaptable combination of string sextet and piano. Since its sell-out debut at St John's, Smith Square in 2004, the Ensemble has maintained a busy schedule of engagements across the UK and beyond, covering a vast range of repertoire - familiar, neglected and new. As BBC New Generation Artists, the Ensemble has featured extensively on BBC Radio 3. In addition to numerous studio recordings, broadcasts have included performances from the Wigmore and Bridgewater Halls, the Sage Gateshead, and the Aldeburgh, Bath, Cheltenham and City of London Festivals. The Ensemble made its BBC Proms debut in 2008, and returned for two further performances at the Proms in 2009. Engagements have included concerts at the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, St George's Bristol, Queen's University Belfast, and the Cambridge, Chichester, Gregynog, Dart, Newbury and Tetbury Festivals. The Ensemble gave the inaugural Aldeburgh Residencies tour in 2006, returning for a Prom at Snape Maltings, was ensemble-in-residence at the Two Moors Festival in 2007 and curated a series of performances at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. Further performances abroad have brought them to the Bodensee Chamber Music Festival, to Hamburg and to the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. Several composers have written works for the Aronowitz Ensemble in its full septet formation. Gwilym Simcock's Contours and Huw Watkins' Sad Steps, both commissioned by the BBC, were premiered at the City of London Festival and BBC Proms respectively, while a new work by Martin Suckling, funded by the Royal Philharmonic Society, received its first performance at the Wigmore Hall in 2010. In addition to its wide repertoire of chamber works for strings and piano, the Aronowitz Ensemble enjoys collaborations with artists such as Nicholas Daniel, Gerald Finley, Matthew Hunt, Andrew Kennedy, Dominic Seldis, Gwilym Simcock, Ailish Tynan and Elizabeth Watts. The Ensemble has also performed its own arrangements of lighter works by Gershwin, Weill and Katie Melua in cabaret performances for the Aldeburgh and City of London Festivals. They have recorded with Gerald Finley for Hyperion and received much critical praise for their recent release Climbing the Skies, music by Vaughan Williams, Huw Watkins and Edward Elgar, on the new label Sonimage. In 2009, the Aronowitz Ensemble was awarded a Special Ensemble Scholarship from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, providing support and financial assistance towards a number of exciting projects including their series One to Seven at The Forge in Camden. Highlights of 2012 include appearances at the St Magnus Festival, the Queen Elizabeth Hall (with Alison Balsom) and their return to Italy.
Photographs by Sussie Ahlburg
BBT Project: From ONE to SEVEN concert series at The Forge Venue, Camden
"The penultimate concert in The Aronowitz Ensemble's residency at The Forge, Camden, took the listener from the dazzling pop and spit of Salvatore Sciarrino's Notturni brillanti for solo viola (Lily Francis) to the night-scented arpeggios of Schubert's Notturno (Tom Poster, Guy Johnston and Magnus Johnston), and on to the fretful stirrings of Bartok's Fifth String Quartet and Schoenberg's shame-drugged idyll, Verklärte Nacht. Boccherini's rowdy Variazioni sulla Ritirata notturna di Madrid offered comic relief, while Poster's arrangement of Strauss's Morgen brought all seven players together for a cheesy sunrise... such an absurd abundance of talent in this ensemble"
Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday 6 March 2011
"Imaginative programming, high-calibre performances, convivial atmosphere. What more could one ask for?"
Barry Millington, The Standard 18 April 2011
BBT Project: Climbing The Skies, CD on Sonimage
"this enterprising CD debut breathes sensitivity and purpose. The programme is a beautiful one, linked by a clearly identifiable national image."
Financial Times, 8 May 2010
"This is an auspicious debut for both the label and the septet of performers. There are spacious accounts of Vaughan Williams’ Phantasy Quintet and Elgar’s piano quintet, the smoothness and subtlety of playing surrendering little in emotional intensity"
Classical Music, 13 February 2010
"On the Sonimage label, newly founded by Paul Segar, the Aronowitz Ensemble... here demonstrates not only the players’ superbly polished ensemble and intensity of performance but their flexibility too....superb playing and finely honed recording."
Edward Greenfield, Gramophone March 2010
"The premiere recording of Huw Watkins's Sad Steps (2008) – wistful yet lean and supple, written for pairs of violin, viola and cello with piano – complements the melancholy late-romanticism of Vaughan Williams's Phantasy Quintet (1912) and Elgar's Piano Quintet in A minor (1919). The players' exuberance keeps English nostalgia at bay and all stays in keen, bright focus."
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 31 January 2010
- Support for two recordings with Sonimage
- Support for a series of concerts at The Forge, London
- Redesign of website
- New photos
- Concert clothes
- Appearance in Queen Elizabeth Hall, Front Room concert after BBT concert for the International Chamber Music Season, May 2012
Mendelssohn Suckling Dvorak
Mendelssohn:String Quintet No.2 Op.87 (first movement excerpt)
Suckling:To See the Dark Between (excerpt)
Dvorak:Piano Quintet No.2 Op.81 (third movement, scherzo)
Aronowitz violinist Nadia Wijzenbeek comments: “This CD is all about playing music we love! It’s an unexpected combination, but they all fit nicely together.” The new work by Martin Suckling was specially commissioned for the whole ensemble of seven players.
SON 11202 | www.sonimage.co.uk
Supported by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
Climbing The Skies
Elgar:Piano Quintet in A minor, op.84 (second movement Adagio)
Huw Watkins: Sad Steps
Vaughan Williams:Phantasy Quintet (first movement Prelude: Lento ma non troppo)
The Aronowitz Ensemble’s first CD release, featuring two major works of the British ensemble repertoire, plus the première recording of a work by Huw Watkins specially commissioned for them by the BBC.
SON 10901 | www.sonimage.co.uk
Supported by Borletti-Buitoni Trust
LUCKY SEVENAronowitz Ensemble – An ensemble of individuals
Seven talented musicians undaunted by the rarity of repertoire for their unusual combination of six strings and piano. Flexibility and commissioning are the keys to their continued success and dynamism. It was filmed in rehearsal at The 1901 Arts Club, Exton Street and at The Forge in London’s Camden Town where the Aronowitz Ensemble is presenting its series of concerts From One to Seven.