Our People

Adrian Chandler

Artistic Director

Born on Merseyside in 1974, Adrian Chandler is recognised internationally as a leading interpreter of Italian baroque music with an ‘avant-garde approach that would have awed Hendrix’ (The Guardian). Adrian was introduced to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the age of ten via a live recording by Iona Brown and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields: the experience resulted in a lifetime’s dedication to Italian baroque music.

Known for his determinatination to share knowledge and a passion for great baroque music – whether celebrated, under-performed or unknown – Adrian’s commitment to broadening musical horizons is matched only by his formidable technique and powerful expression as a violinist. His charismatic addresses to audiences in concert and writing have been widely remarked on and he’s been praised by Gramophone Magazine for the ethos he has created: ‘a scholarly attitude to programming and performance style which is yet worn with light grace’.

© Eric Richmond

Whilst a student at the Royal College of Music under violinist and pedagogue Rodney Friend, Adrian founded La Serenissima with whom he has performed multiple recitals and concertos, and directed in an array of imaginative programmes at high-profile UK venues (from Bridgewater to Wigmore halls) and abroad for major festivals (from Belgium to Mexico) and prestigious concert series (from Denmark to Spain).

Adrian has driven La Serenissima’s ambitious and highly-acclaimed recording work, creating an extensive catalogue encompassing 15 albums of music by Albinoni, Caldara, Corelli, Legrenzi, Locatelli, Lotti, Montanari, Navarra, Pisendel, Porta, Sammartini, Tartini, Torelli, Valentini, Veracini, Vivaldi and Composer X. These recordings document Adrian’s unique editorial and research activities which make La Serenissima’s output so special, and have been widely praised through repeated award nominations, regular focus from specialist and broadsheet press, BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, frequent rave reviews and a Gramophone Award for the ‘Baroque Instrumental’ category in 2010.

Adrian’s trailblazing career has included directing six Vivaldi operas from the violin for La Serenissima in performances for organisations including Bath International Festival, Buxton Opera House, London’s Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music and Eilat Festival (Israel). In 2016 he gave a marathon of three full concert programmes (including 11 solo concertos) in 24 hours at the Valetta International Baroque Festival. He also curated the ensemble’s first ever residency The Grand Tour at St John’s Smith Square, London (during 2016/17) which explored a range of music from the Italian states and featured the modern-day premiere of Caldara’s Christmas Cantata Vò piangendo.

As guest soloist, Adrian has toured The Four Seasons with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and given performances of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas in Japan. As guest director and soloist, highlights include playing Bach and Vivaldi in the Oslo Chamber Music Festival and touring The Four Seasons with the Norwegian Wind Ensemble.

© Fatkoala Images
© Fatkoala Images

Adrian was awarded a three year Arts and Humanities Research Council fellowship in 2006 at Southampton University to research the development of the North Italian violin concerto between 1690 and 1740. The culmination of this project was the release of La Serenissima’s third CD in the Rise of the North Italian Violin Concerto series. Adrian has since completed a two-year post as a Turner Sims Professor at the University of Southampton.

‘an ensemble of unequivocal musical excellence made up of supremely talented players'

'The Italian Job’ - St George’s Bristol - Bristol Post, November 2016

Artists

Our artists encompass a whole range of instrumentalists and singers, some of whom are pictured here. We represent musicians at all stages of career which enables us to create vital opportunities for younger artists to form part of a high-calibre team.

Katy Bircher

Flute
Image © Eric Richmond
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    Katy Bircher is a specialist in early flutes, performing repertoire from Dowland to Mahler. She has been playing with La Serenissima since the group’s very early days and has been involved in many exciting projects, including the modern premiere of Vivaldi’s flute concerto ‘Il Gran Mogul’. As a keen educator, Katy teaches students of all ages in a range of settings from primary schools to music colleges and universities.

Elitsa Bogdanova

Viola
Image © Eric Richmond
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    Bulgarian violist Elitsa Bogdanova completed her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is an active freelancer on both modern and period instruments. Elitsa is passionate about performing in intimate chamber settings and has worked with ensembles including the Aurora Orchestra, Camerata Alma Viva, Florilegium, La Nuova Musica, London Contemporary Orchestra, London Handel Orchestra and 12 Ensemble alongside her work for La Serenissima. Elitsa is a member of the Consone Quartet, focused on exploring classical and early romantic repertoire on period instruments. elitsabogdanova.com

Rachel Chaplin

Oboe
Image © Fatkoala Images
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    Rachel Chaplin was born in the UK and received her musical training from Cambridge University, the Royal Academy of Music and Leipzig Hochschule für Musik, alongside formative years in the European Union Youth Orchestra and European Union Baroque Orchestra. Inspired by the sounds of the baroque oboe and the invigorating creativity of the early music scene she took up period oboes and has since performed around the world with many of the leading period instrument ensembles. She appears regularly in concert with English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Romantique et Révolutionnaire, Classical Opera Company, The Kings Consort and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, also playing an active role in their education and outreach projects. Her own area of musicological interest is the music of Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, which was the subject of her doctoral thesis. 

Tabea Debus

Recorder
Image © Andreea Tufescu
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    ‘Neat, unforced, beautifully articulated’ – thus The Times described Tabea Debus’s playing, who graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2017. Performances have taken her to renowned European venues and festivals, and as far as Japan, Singapore and the USA. She was selected as RAM Meaker Fellow for 2016-17, City Music Foundation Artist 2016 and St John’s Smith Square Young Artist 2015-16, and she has appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune and The Early Music Show. Winner of the 2nd hülsta woodwinds and 8th International Johann Heinrich Schmelzer competitions, she released her debut CD in 2012, followed by Cantata per Flauto in 2016. tabeadebus.de

Robert Howarth

Keyboard
Image © Benjamin Harte
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    Robert Howarth read music at the University of York before establishing himself as a keyboard player, director and conductor of early and classical repertoire. Robert has performed with La Serenissima since its early days – his playing features on our first ever recording Per Monsieur Pisendel – and he has co-directed productions including Vivaldi’s operas Catone in Utica and Ottone In Villa. Opera engagements elsewhere include productions for Birmingham Opera Company, Hamburg State Opera, Opera North and Norwegian Opera and he has conducted projects for Irish Baroque Orchestra, The Hallé and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment amongst others. Robert was Music Director for Claire van Kampen’s play Farinelli and the King starring actor Mark Rylance and counter-tenor Iestyn Davies.

James Johnstone

Keyboard
Image © Eric Richmond
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    The harpsichordist and organist James Johnstone enjoys a varied musical life as continuo player and soloist.  He has performed with most of the UK-based early music ensembles, recorded numerous ensemble discs and is currently recording Bach’s organ works for Metronome. He is Professor of early keyboards at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Simon Munday

Trumpet
Image © Eric Richmond
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    Simon Munday began his musical career with the Salvation Army. He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he studied for 4 years. Since leaving in 2000 Simon has established himself in the music profession and can be seen regularly performing with many of the UK’s period and modern orchestras, in studios and London's West End. Simon’s playing can be found on our popular releases Venice By Night and The Italian Job.

Lynda Sayce

Theorbo
Image © Fatkoala Images
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    Lynda Sayce is one of Britain’s leading lutenists with more than 100 recordings to her name. She is principal lute with The King’s Consort and Ex Cathedra, and has collaborated with leading historical-informed ensembles such as Le Concert d’Astrée, Les Talens Lyriques and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She also works regularly with modern instrument groups, especially opera companies, and was invited by Sir Simon Rattle to play continuo for the Berlin Philharmonic’s epic staging of Bach’s Matthew Passion which toured Europe and the USA. Also active as a scholar and researcher, Lynda holds a PhD on the history of the theorbo, which is shortly to be published.

Camilla Scarlett

Violin
Image © Eric Richmond
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    Camilla Scarlett was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford and London’s Royal Academy of Music where she held a scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Following a formative year touring with the European Union Baroque Orchestra, Camilla has performed for many of the UK’s leading period instrument orchestras and her violin playing has contributed to bespoke programmes for BBC Radio 3 and 4. A member of La Serenissima since 2009, Camilla is also proud to help run and fundraise for the UK’s most dynamic ensemble of its kind at a very exciting period in its development.

Hilary Summers

Contralto
Image © Claire Newman Williams
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    Born in South Wales, contralto Hilary Summers studied at Reading University, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. She has recorded over forty CDs spanning works from the early baroque period to the present day and has sung in most of the major concert halls and opera houses of the world. Her three octave range has excited the attention of many composers and she has sung in numerous world premieres including George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill at the Bastille, Paris; Elliot Carter’s What Next at the Staatsoper, Berlin; Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in Los Angeles; Peter Eotvos’ Le Balcon at the Aix Festival and Facing Goya and War Work by Michael Nyman.

Vladimir Waltham

Cello
Image © Eric Richmond
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    Vladimir Waltham was born into a family of musicians in the South of France. Passionate about all aspects of music-making, Vladimir divides his time between solo, chamber, orchestral and teaching work on both modern and baroque cello, as well as other early instruments. In 2012 he was chosen by the Jumpstart Jr. Foundation to receive the loan of a beautiful baroque cello by Nicola Gagliano and in 2016 he was a prize-winner at the International Bach Competition Leipzig. Vladimir has played with La Serenissima for several years where he has played continuo and performed a number of sonatas and concertos.

Peter Whelan

Bassoon
Image © Martin Usborne
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    Irish-born Peter Whelan is a versatile musician, with a diverse repertoire spanning over 400 years. He is in constant demand as a bassoonist, director, chamber musician and teacher. He has been described as a ‘phenomenon on the baroque bassoon’ (Crescendo Magazine, Germany), whose performances feature ‘jaw-dropping dexterous virtuosity’ (Gramophone Magazine). peterwhelan.co.uk

Trustees & Management

Honorary Patron

His Excellency The Italian Ambassador

The Italian Embassy

Board of Trustees

Rachel Boxall
Elliot Grant
Ben Mazower
Calum Thomson (Chairman)

Management

Adrian Chandler (Artistic Director)
Camilla Scarlett (General Manager)
John Bickley (Development Consultant)


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