Academy of St Martin in the Fields
JAMES BURKE, clarinet
James leads a busy career as both Co-Principal of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Principal Clarinet of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. When not performing, he teaches as a Clarinet Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he once studied with teachers such as Andrew Webster, Nick Carpenter, Barnaby Robson and Joy Farrall. James continues to play as Guest Principal in other orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. James’ work with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields means that he also has many opportunities to perform chamber music on a regular basis, often with Music Director Joshua Bell. He has also worked with the London Sinfonietta, London Conchord Ensemble, Irish Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonia Soloists. As a soloist, James recently performed the Howard Blake Clarinet Concerto, with Sir Neville Marriner conducting. James also gives masterclasses, as well as orchestral and chamber coaching sessions in some of the best music institutions in the country, including the Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Southbank Sinfonia, and for the educational departments in the London Symphony Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
JOHN ROBERTS, oboe
Glasgow born John Roberts has been based in London since 2008, where, after studying at the Royal College of Music with former ASMF principal oboe Christopher Cowie, he quickly became immersed in the city’s rich orchestral scene, and was appointed principal oboe of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. Outside of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, he still holds his position in the RPO as well as being principal oboe in the English Chamber Orchestra, and visiting professor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has performed concertos in Europe, Asia and Africa, and is also a very keen chamber musician, having worked at various times with London Winds, the Gaudier Ensemble, Zarek Chamber and London Sinfonietta.
In recent years John also has a small presence on CD, having recorded Poulenc’s Sonata, Trio and Sextour with the pianist Mark Bebbington, and a solo number in John Rutter’s “I Sing of a Maiden” EP. A keen cyclist and mountaineer, John lives in Croydon with his wife and two cats.
JULIE PRICE, bassoon
An orchestral musician, chamber musician, soloist, and teacher, Julie Price has held positions as Principal Bassoon with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been Principal Bassoon of the English Chamber Orchestra since 1994 and Co-Principal, now Principal Bassoon, of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 2001. With conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Ralf Gothóni, Andrew Litton, Edward Gardner, and Douglas Boyd she has appeared as a soloist at the Barbican, Cadogan Hall, and Royal Festival Hall as well as many venues outside London and abroad. As a chamber musician she has appeared with such groups as the Nash, Gaudier, and Razumovsky ensembles, London Winds, and the Lindsay and Chilingirian string quartets. She first studied the bassoon with Sonja Smith, then with Edward Warren and William Waterhouse in Manchester, and later with Roger Birnstingl in Geneva. Julie Price has been a teacher at the Royal College of Music in London since 1998. Her discography includes recordings of Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto and Sinfonia concertante and Elgar’s Romance, all with the English Chamber Orchestra.
STEPHEN STIRLING, horn
Stephen Stirling is a renowned soloist who has appeared at almost every major British venue and with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, BBC NOW, BBC SSO, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of St John’s. Recordings of Mozart Horn Concertos with the City of London Sinfonia feature constantly on Classic FM and he gave the world première of Gary Carpenter’s Horn Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic on Radio 3. He holds the unique distinction of having been the soloist for the opening of both of London’s newest purpose built concert halls – Cabot Hall and King’s Place. His recording of the Weber Concertino Op. 45 with CLS conducted by Michael Collins recently came out with Chandos. He has a world-wide reputation as a chamber musician, in constant demand at festivals in the UK and abroad as well as being a founder member of Endymion, The Fibonacci Sequence, the Audley Trio, Arpège, and the New London Chamber Ensemble. Amongst over 75 recorded chamber works, Brahm’s Horn Trio, with the Florestan Trio, was nominated for a Gramophone award. CDs of York Bowen, Thomas Dunhill, Stanford, and Horn a Fibonacci/Deux Elles CD of rare chamber works featuring the horn, have met with great critical acclaim. Principal of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and the City of London Sinfonia, Guest Principal Horn with the Capella Andrea Barca, Orquestra de Cadaques and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and member then Guest Principal of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Stephen is privileged to have worked with many of the world’s finest chamber orchestras.
Other recent highlights include performing at the Wigmore Hall with Angela Hewitt and Isabelle Faust, releases of chamber music by Nielsen, Lennox Berkeley, Sound Census with Endymion for NMC and a disc of music for oboe, horn and piano for Oboe Classics.
Professor of Horn at Trinity College of Music, London, on the faculty of the Yellow Barn Summer Music School and Festival in Vermont, USA, Stephen is also a veteran of the Dartington International Summer School.
CAROLINE PALMER, piano
Caroline Palmer has established a reputation as a chamber musician and has worked with Johannes Goritzki, Alexander Rudin, Truls Mørk, Krzystof Smietana and Leonid Gorokhov. She has made over 50 broadcasts for the BBC and has also recorded for Swiss, French, German and Italian radio. She has recorded chamber works of Faure, Busoni, Saint-Saens, Fuchs and Brahms. Caroline was artistic director of the Paxos Music festival and appears at music festivals in Europe.She has been a Professor of Piano and Chamber Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama since 1990. Caroline was born in Singapore and later moved to London where she studied with Edith Vogel, Peter Wallfisch and Hans Keller. Caroline will be a guest pianist with the Chamber Ensemble in 2023.
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields was founded by Sir Neville Marriner in 1958 and is currently led by Music Director Joshua Bell. In 1967, the Academy Chamber Ensemble was formed to perform the larger scale chamber music repertoire with players who customarily worked together, instead of the usual string quartet with additional guests. Drawn from the principal players of the orchestra, the Chamber Ensemble’s touring commitments are extensive and include regular tours of Europe and North America, whilst recording contracts with Philips Classics, Hyperion, and Chandos have led to the release of over thirty CDs.
The Chamber Ensemble now performs in multiple configurations, including the Academy WindEnsemble, which makes its US debut with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips in the 2020-21 season, performing programs featuring the quintets of Beethoven, Mozart, and Brahms, among other works.