Ruby Hughes began her musical studies as a cellist graduating from the Guildhall School of Music in London. She went on to study voice at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Munich and the Royal College of Music, London, graduating in 2009.
Holder of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, Shortlisted for a 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, Winner of both First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Singing Competition and a former BBC New Generation Artist, Ruby Hughes is the daughter of the celebrated Welsh ceramicist Elizabeth Fritsch.
She made her debut at Theater an der Wein in 2009 as Roggiero in Rossini’s Tancredi, returning as Fortuna in L’Incoronazione di Poppea. She has performed Euridice in L’Orfeo at Aix-en-Provence Festival, Sandrina L’infedelta delusa and Narcissa Philemon und Baucis at the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, The Indian Queen at the Schwetzinger Festival, and Rose Maurrant Street Scene at the Opéra de Toulon.
In the UK she has performed major roles with English National Opera, Garsington Opera, The Opera Group, Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera. She also appeared in Sir Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of the St Matthew Passion at the National Theatre.
In concert, she has sung under conductors including Rinaldo Allesandrini, Ivor Bolton, Jonathan Cohen, Laurence Cummings, Thierry Fischer, HK Gruber, Pablo Heras Casado, Philippe Herreweghe, Rene Jacobs, Juanjo Mena, Gianandrea Noseda, Marc Minkowski, Hervé Niquet, Thomas Søndergård, John Storgårds, and Osmo Vanska to name a few, and with ensembles such as Les Arts Florissants, all the BBC Orchestras, Britten Sinfonia, Le Concert Spirituel, Concerto Koln, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra.
Festival appearances have included the Bach Fest Leipzig, BBC Proms, Cheltenham, Edinburgh International, La Folle Journée, Gent Festival OdeGand, Göttingen, Marlboro, Lockenhaus, Manchester International, Spitalfields, and West Cork.
She has broadcast & recorded extensively covering a wide range of repertoire including works by Bach, Barber, Berg, Britten, Crumb, Handel, Haydn, Mahler, Maxwell Davies, Macmillan, Mozart, Schubert & Schumann.
Ruby is a passionate recitalist & works closely with the pianists Julius Drake & Joseph Middleton. In 2016 she released her first solo recital disc ‘Nocturnal variations’, songs by Schubert, Mahler, Britten and Berg with pianist Joseph Middleton for the Champs Hill label, named BBC Music Magazine’s choice of the month. In the same month she appeared on the critically acclaimed disc ‘Purcell Songs Realised by Britten’ for the same label. A champion of women composers, she recently recorded ‘Heroines of Love and Loss’: a disc dedicated to 17th century women composers for the BIS label, with long-term collaborator Jonas Nordberg, which was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine, and was awarded a Diapason d’or. In 2018 she releases a disc for Chandos Records with the OAE and Laurence Cummings dedicated to Giulia Frasi, Handel’s lyric muse.
She made her US recital debut in 2015 with Julius Drake at The Frick Collection in New York and in 2017 made her Carnegie Hall recital debut with a commissioned song cycle by Huw Watkins. She recently performed and recorded Mahler Symphony No.2 with the Minnesota Symphony under Osmo Vanska for BIS Records.
Recent and future highlights include recitals at Wigmore Hall (including a new commission by Helen Grime), Newbury Spring, International Handel Festispiele Gottingen, Presteigne, West Cork, and 3 Choirs Festivals. In the UK concerts include those with the OAE, BBC Phil, BBC NOW and RLPO and further afield a return to the RIAS Kammerkoor for performances of Purcell’s Fairy Queen, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with Garry Walker and Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie and a tour with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century.
Natalie Clein’s playing has been described by The Times as “mesmerising” and “soaringly passionate”. British-born cellist Natalie Clein has built a distinguished career, regularly performing at major venues and with orchestras worldwide.
She records regularly with Hyperion, and has recorded the two Cello Concertos by Camille Saint-Saëns as well as Bloch’s Schelomo and Bruch’s Kol Nidrei with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to great critical acclaim. A solo disc with works by Bloch, Ligeti and Dallapiccola was released on 27 January 2017 and awarded Diapason d’Or. She has previously released 3 discs for EMI.
In the upcoming season, Natalie Clein tours Australia, the USA and Ireland, and performs a programme of Beethoven cello works at Festival Cervantino with Marianna Shirinyan. In the UK, she returns to Wigmore Hall and Eaton Square and gives recitals in Cardiff, Nottingham, Bournemouth and Jersey. Concerto dates include Bloch’s Schelomo with Opole Philharmonic.
The 2017/18 season saw Natalie Clein perform as part of the Utzon Music Series at the Sydney Opera House, Haydn’s D Major Cello Concerto with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists in Brazil and the Recreation Orchestra Graz, Elgar’s Cello Concerto with Collegium Musicum Basel, Brandenburgische Staatsorchester Frankfurt and Philharmonia, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the Insula Orchestra and Laurence Equilbey for International Women’s Day 2018. She was a judge in the 2018 BBC Young Musician competition, and performed in a special BBC Prom celebrating the 40th anniversary of the competition. She also toured South America with Sergio Tiempo, and recorded Dobrinka Tabakova’s On the South Downs with BBC Concert Orchestra at Truro Cathedral, and her new disc for Hyperion, with works by Frank Bridge and Rebecca Clarke.
Further recent highlights include performances as part of the Cello Unwrapped Series at London’s Kings Place the world premiere of Sir John Tavener’s Flood of Beauty at the Barbican Centre with the Britten Sinfonia, Bloch’s Schelomo with the Orkiestra Symfoniczna NFM and Benjamin Shwartz in Wrocław, and performances at the Stavanger Chamber Music Festival in Norway.
Other recent performances have taken Natalie Clein to orchestras including the Philharmonia, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, New Zealand Symphony, St Petersburg Symphony, and Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires. She has performed with conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin and Heinrich Schiff.
A keen recital and chamber performer, she has recently performed Bach’s Complete Cello Suites in London, Southampton and Oxford; and has curated a series of four concerts for BBC Radio 3 at LSO St Luke’s.
She regularly collaborates with artists including Sergio Tiempo, Håvard Gimse, Anthony Marwood and Leif Ove Andsnes. She has also worked with Martha Argerich, Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Imogen Cooper, Lars Vogt, Isabelle Faust, and is the proud artistic director of her own chamber music festival in Purbeck, Dorset.
She regularly works with contemporary composers such as Thomas Larcher and Brian Elias and has also curated and been involved in cross-disciplinary projects with the dancer Carlos Acosta, writer Jeanette Winterson and director Deborah Warner amongst others.
In 2015, Natalie Clein was appointed Artist in Residence and Director of Musical Performance at Oxford University for 4 years, taking a leading role in concert programming, in developing new artistic projects, and in introducing new modes of teaching. A Bach project began in the autumn of 2016, along with visits from a number of leading contemporary composers.
Born in the United Kingdom, Natalie came to widespread attention at the age of sixteen when she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw. As a student she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship by the Royal College of Music. She completed her studies with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna. Natalie is a Professor at the Royal College of Music London and Music Academy Rostock. She plays the “Simpson” Guadagnini cello of 1777.
Julius Drake has been described by The New Yorker as the “collaborative pianist nonpareil”. Julius lives in London and enjoys an international reputation as one of the finest instrumentalists in his field, collaborating with many of the world’s leading artists, both in recital and on disc.
He appears regularly at all the major music centres and festivals: the Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Munich, Schubertiade, and Salzburg Music Festivals; Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre New York; The Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and Philharmonie, Berlin; the Châtelet and Musée du Louvre Paris; La Scala, Milan and Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid; Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Vienna; and Wigmore Hall and BBC Proms London. Julius Drake is also frequently invited to perform at international chamber music festivals – most recently, Lockenhaus in Austria; West Cork in Ireland; Oxford in England; Boswil in Switzerland and Delft in the Netherlands.
Director of the Perth International Chamber Music Festival in Australia from 2000 – 2003, Julius Drake was Artistic Director of the Leeds Lieder Festival in 2009, and musical director of Deborah Warner’s staging of Janáček’s Diary of One Who Vanished, touring to Munich, London, Dublin, Amsterdam and New York. Since 2009 he has been Artistic Director of the Machynlleth Festival in Wales.
His passionate interest in song has led to invitations to devise song series for Wigmore Hall, London, the BBC and The Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. His annual series of song recitals – Julius Drake and Friends – in the historic Middle Temple Hall in London, has featured recitals with many outstanding vocal artists including Sir Thomas Allen, Olaf Bär, Iestyn Davies, Veronique Gens, Sergei Leiferkus, Dame Felicity Lott, Simon Keenlyside and Sir Willard White.
Julius Drake’s many recordings include a widely acclaimed series with Gerald Finley for Hyperion, from which the Barber Songs, Schumann Heine Lieder and Britten Songs and Proverbs won the 2007, 2009 and 2011 Gramophone Awards; award winning recordings with Ian Bostridge for EMI; several recitals for the Wigmore Live label, with among others Alice Coote, Joyce DiDonato, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Christopher Maltman and Matthew Polenzani; recordings of French Sonatas for Virgin Classics with Nicholas Daniel; of Kodaly and Schoeck sonatas with the cellists Natalie Clein and Christian Poltera for the Hyperion and Bis labels; Tchaikovsky and Mahler with Christianne Stotijn for Onyx; English song with Bejun Mehta for Harmonia Mundi; and Schubert’s ‘Poetisches Tagebuch’ with Christoph Prégardien, which won the Jahrpreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik 2016. He is now embarked on a major project to record the complete songs of Franz Liszt for Hyperion – the second disc in the series, with Angelika Kirchschlager, won the BBC Music Magazine Award 2012 – and a series of four Schubert recitals recorded live at Wigmore Hall with Ian Bostridge.
Julius Drake holds a Professorship at Graz University for Music and the Performing Arts in Austria, where he has a class for song pianists and also teaches at the Guildhall School of Music in London. He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music. He is regularly invited to give master classes worldwide; recently in Aldeburgh, Brussels, Utrecht, Cincinnati, New York, Toronto, Minneapolis, Ann Arbor, Vienna, and at the Schubert Institute in Baden bei Wien.
Concerts in the 2018-19 season include recitals in his series, ‘Temple Song’ at Middle Temple Hall in London with Gerald Finley, Roderick Williams, Nicky Spence and Sarah Connolly; concerts in Cologne, Brussels, Manchester, and at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg with Ian Bostridge; in Amsterdam, London, Philadelphia, and Madrid with Sarah Connolly; in Vienna, Zurich, and Leeds with Angelika Kirchschlager; and in Vienna, Hamburg, and London with Gerald Finley. Julius Drake will also perform in Bilbao and Vilabertran with Christoph Pregardien; at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam with Barbara Kozelij, Simon Keenlyside, Rosanne van Sandwijk, and André Morsch; in Edinburgh with Benjamin Appl and Mary Bevan; in Vienna with Dorottya Lang; in Copenhagen with Alice Coote; at Wigmore Hall, London with Katerina Karneus; in Madrid with Fleur Barron and at Carnegie Hall, New York with Matthew Polenzani. Further engagements include a tour of the USA with Holger Falk, a tour of South Korea with Ian Bostridge, a tour of Ireland with Natalie Clein and Claire Booth, and a recording of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the Bavarian Radio Choir in Munich.