Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
Aronowitz Ensemble
BBT Special Ensemble Scholarship 2009

Aronowitz Ensemble - Biography

Aronowitz Ensemble received support from BBT between 2009 and 2012, when this page was last updated.  For an up-to-date biography go

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 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 took them to the Bodensee Chamber Music Festival, to Hamburg and the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam as well as the St Magnus Festival and London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall (with Alison Balsom)

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.

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.

Photographs by Sussie Ahlburg