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The Barn Concerts Bedfordshire

Northern Chords Ensemble

Friday 5th June 7.30pm 20 per ticket


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

The Barn Concerts

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.

Maciej Kułakowski - cello

Born 1996 in Gdansk, he began playing the cello at age six in the class of prof. Jadwiga Ewald.
In 2015 at the age of 19, Maciej won 1st Prize and a special award at the Lutoslawski International Cello Competition. He was a Laureate in the Finals of the 2017 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2019.

As a soloist Maciej has appeared with the National Philharmony Warsaw, Baltic Philharmony, Sinfonia Cracovia, Sinfonia Iuventus, the Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Brussels Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Calgary Symphony and Aukso: Chamber Orchestra of Tychy, among many others.
Recitals and chamber music have taken him across Europe and further afield, including the Piatigorsky Cello Festival in Los Angeles, Beijing Cello Festival, the Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Moritzburg, Kronberg, Krzyzowa Music, Hohenstaufen and Munich Rising Stars Festivals.

He has collaborated with Krzysztof Penderecki, Emanuel Ax, Christoph Eschenbach, Viviane Hagner, Charles Neidich, Arnold Steinhardt, Jan Vogler, Lawrence Power, Kian Soltani and worked with conductors Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Frank Braley and Stéphane Denève, Marek Moś in a wide range of repertoire.
Other highlights include the premiere of a new work especially written for him by Tadeusz Kassak with the Kassak Brass Ensemble and a residency at the Ozawa International Academy in Switzerland. As a member of the Wilkormirski Trio, he has given concerts throughout Poland and recorded music by Arensky for the DUX label.

Maciej studies with Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt at the Kronberg Academy. In 2016 he received a scholarship and special prize from the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben at the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb, and in 2015 won 2nd Prize at the TONALI Competition in Hamburg (2015).

Maciej previously studied with Marcin Zdunik at the Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk, Mannheim University and the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar. He has taken part in masterclasses with Sir Andras Schiff, Gidon Kremer, Frans Helmerson, Mischa Maisky, Truls Mørk, Gary Hoffman, Phillippe Muller, Jens Peter Maintz, Ivan Monighetti and Andrzej Bauer.

Maciej is playing a Charles Gaillard cello from 1867 on loan from by the foundation Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben.

Benjamin Baker - violin

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.

Daniel Lebhardt - piano

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. 

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