MR R SMITH (ACOUSTIC & ELECTRIC GUITAR)
After hearing Jimi Hendrix at a young age Mr Smith was inspired to pick up the guitar aged 11. After performing on a regular basis, he entered the prestigious Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in its inaugural year. Whilst at LIPA, Mr Smith reached the televised Northern final of ‘Young Jazz Musician of the Year’ hosted by Jools Holland, who described his performance as ‘Amazing!’
During this time Mr Smith was a finalist in the ‘Acoustic Guitarist of the Year’ (performing at Wembley and featuring in ‘Total Guitar’ magazine). After receiving masterclasses from Mark Knopfler, Joan Armatrading and Jose Feliciano amongst others, he had the honour of being awarded his degree by Sir Paul McCartney.
In early 2000 Mr Smith’s teaching career began and he quickly became in demand as a guitar tutor. Along with his many private pupils, Mr Smith teaches guitar at The Belvedere Preparatory School, Belvedere Academy and St. Julie’s Catholic High School for Girls.
Mr Smith combines his teaching with a busy freelance performing schedule which takes him throughout the UK and Europe.
More recently, Mr Smith has worked in the recording studio for multimillion DJ and Producer Matt Darey which has culminated in a coveted International Beatport Chart #1 hit single with ‘See the Sun’. The track stayed at #1 for 8 weeks and was voted into the winning category for ‘Trance Track of the Year’ at the International Beatport Awards in Miami.
MISS A JOHNSON (VIOLIN)
Violist and Violinist Miss Johnson was born in Merseyside, but brought up in Cumbria. She was surrounded by music in her family – her father was instrument maker Michael Johnson and both of her parents were folk musicians. In addition to Classical Music Aimee is also a keen Irish folk fiddler.
At the age of 18 Miss Johnson won the Keldwyth Award and gained entry to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where she studied with Nicholas Logie and Roger Benedict. She also studied baroque viola with Annette Isserlis.
Whilst at the RNCM she won the Cecil Aronowitz Prize for Viola and graduated in 2001 with a BA in Music, furthering her studies to gain a postgraduate diploma in performance.
For many years Miss Johnson attended Lake District Summer Music and the Yorke Trust Baroque Music course in South Creake, Norfolk. She has participated in masterclasses with renowned Violists Simon Rowland Jones and Paul Silverthorne.
Since completing her studies, Miss Johnson has worked with many orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Goldberg Ensemble, Northern Chamber Orchestra and Manchester Camerata. Miss Johnson has performed alongside Katherine Jenkins, Andrea Bocelli, and Russell Watson. Her wider musical interests have included performing with rapper Kanye West at MEN Arena and concerts and recordings with Rioghnach Connolly and Gavin Davenport.
Miss Johnson is a keen chamber musician and is a member of the Irwell Ensemble, with whom she performs regularly. She has also performed with the Pleyel Ensemble and Manchester Camerata.
Miss Johnson has organised several concerts in aid of Multiple Sclerosis charities which take place in Manchester involving other professional musicians with whom she works with regularly.
As a tutor, Miss Johnson has many years of experience teaching violin and viola, both in private practice and in schools across the Northwest.
MISS A R MARI (WOODWIND)
Miss Mari has taught in more than twenty schools throughout Greater Manchester and Liverpool with her students varying from complete beginners to Diploma level. She has experience in giving whole classroom tuition, group and individual tuition, preparation for examinations (ABRSM and Trinity) and entrance to specialist music schools and music colleges
Miss Mari has worked as a woodwind mentor with various authorities in the UK as well as organisations abroad, such as Keys of Change in India. Miss Mari has led classes on flute pedagogy at the Royal Northern College of Music Woodwind Department.
Miss Mari studied at the Royal Northern College of Music under Richard Davis (principal flute, BBC Philharmonic. She graduated with a Distinction for her Master in Performance Degree and achieved a ‘First’ for the Final Recital of her BMus (Hons).
During her studies, she received a number of scholarships and awards including a full scholarship from the Onassis Foundation and a scholarship from the RNCM. Miss Mari won the first prize in the Mediterranean Youth Music Competition, the International Flute Meeting and was also a prize winner at the International Flute Convention in Manchester.
A passionate performer as well as teacher, Miss Mari gives regular solo recitals throughout the UK. As a soloist and ensemble player she has performed in a number of prestigious venues including the Bridgewater Hall, Warwick University, Cantiere Interntional Festival in Montepulciano, Italy, Megaron Concert Hall and at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens.
Miss Mari has held the position of solo flute for the Greek National Chamber Opera, the Orchestra of the National Ballet, the Opera for Children and the Contemporary Opera in Athens. Miss Mari currently plays as a freelance orchestral flautist with the British Sinfonietta, the Welsh Session Orchestra and the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester.
Interested in all musical genres, Miss Mari has recently performed in with ‘The Lion King-The Musical’ Official UK Tour, playing a range of ethnic Bansuri flutes and panpipes as well as flute and piccolo. Miss Mari has also appeared on commercial recordings and broadcasts for BBC 3, S4C, the Greek National Radio and Rai Uno (Italy).
MISS TAVENER (PIANO)
Miss Tavener completed her BMus (Hons) degree at the Northern College of Music in Manchester. During her studies, she performed in a number of masterclasses with renowned pianists such as Philippe Cassard, Stefano Fiuzzi and Jin Ju. Miss Tavener has also obtained an LRSM diploma in piano performance and a DipABRSM in piano teaching.
Miss Taverner performs regularly as a soloist throughout the UK and is also highly sought after as an accompanist. During her studies at the RNCM, she achieved a high commendation award for accompaniment in the Alexander Young Prize and spent a great deal of her time working with singers and instrumentalists alike.
Teaching is a vital part of Miss Taverner’s freelance career. She teaches over 70 piano and music theory pupils each week. Alongside her passion for teaching, Miss Taverner enjoys taking part in and organising musical charity events. In the past year she has been involved in charity concerts with her choir in Knutsford and also works with the Gettalife Project.