This is an exciting new foray into the Central London concert scene by the Choir of St George’s. They will be joined by local Russian superstar pianist Arina Lazgiian, who will be playing Beethoven in the 25oth anniversary year of the composer’s birth.
Mozart Overture to ‘The Marriage of Figaro’
Beethoven Piano Concerto No3 in C Minor op.37
Haydn – Nelson Mass Hob. 22 No 11
Arina Lazgiian – piano
Susannah Groome – soprano
Ian Maxwell – countertenor
Niki Zohdi – tenor
Paul Bonter – bass
Marcus Wibberley – conductor
Arina Lazgiian is an exceptional young talent. Since her arrival in England in November 2016, she has given some remarkable performances. These include two memorable concerts with the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra (video available on lazgiian.com) of the virtuosic Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto no. 2, the first of which was a gala occasion in memory of Sir David Willcocks. Her solo recitals display her prodigious technique, and the varied and colourful repertoire of her programmes, which have included works by Domenico Scarlatti, Beethoven, Medtner, Tchaikowsky, Liszt, Mussorgsky, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovitch, Horowitz and Desyatnikov.
In 2015 Arina graduated from the Moscow Conservatory where she studied under the renowned pianist Professor Vera Gornostayeva. In 2017, At the Royal College of Music, Arina won the Hopkinson Gold Medal for piano in 2017. She was also the Royal College of Music’s nominee for the final of the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition in the Wigmore Hall. In 2018, as a Future of Russia scholar, she graduated as Master in Performance at the Royal College of Music, and was then awarded the Benjamin Britten Fellowship for 2018/19. This Fellowship supports an exceptional pianist who has been accepted to the RCM Artist Diploma Course. In 2018, she reached the finals of world-renowned Busoni competition which will be decided this coming August in Bolzano, Italy. Meanwhile, she has given recitals for the Keyboard Charitable Trust, and in France, broadcast on France-Musiques’s programme Générations- live!
Susannah Groome is a Lyric Soprano specialising in Early Music, Oratorio and English Song. She has made many solo appearances in Cathedrals across the UK, many Central London Churches and on both BBC radio and television. Susannah sings regularly with the choir of St George’s Beckenham and professionally in the choir of St Matthew’s Westminster, where she has been part of a small chamber ensemble in BBC broadcasts, podcasts and concerts. She is looking forward to broadcasting Choral Evensong on Radio 3 and Sunday Worship on Radio 4 with St Matthew’s Choir in the Autumn. Susannah graduated with a First Class Degree from the London College of Music in 2004 where she also won several College prizes. Susannah currently studies singing with Sarah Pring.
Paul is well known in the Bromley area and has performed with many leading choirs locally both as chorus singer and soloist. He sang for nearly twenty years at St. Paul’s, Crofton in Orpington before moving to Bromley Parish Church and later St. Giles Cripplegate in the Barbican Estate. He has now been a regular member of the choir at St. George’s Beckenham for over 8 years.
He first trained with Rodney Williams (formerly of Westminster Abbey) and subsequently with Nigel Beavan at St. Paul’s Cathedral. His London appearances as a soloist have included ‘St. Matthew Passion’ at The Royal Albert Hall with Sir Willard White and numerous concerts at The Royal Festival Hall and Purcell Room with The London Cantata Choir. Paul currently performs with The Purcell Singers and Exmoor Singers of London in venues including St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. James’s Piccadilly, St. John’s Smith Square & St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields.
Some recent solo performances include Handel’s Messiah, Christus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Stainer’s Crucifixion, Faure’s Requiem, William Lloyd Webber’s The Saviour, Haydn’s Nelson Mass & Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
When singing engagements allow, Paul is Company Secretary to a national charity.
Marcus Wibberley is Organist & Director of Music here at St George’s, Beckenham. Since his arrival in August 2017, he has introduced new repertoire and new members to the choir, conducted the choir at a number of cathedrals, worked in conjunction with the Hammig String Quartet and – in July 2018 – will be taking the choir on tour to Estonia, its first foreign tour in a number of years.
Before returning to Beckenham (he was ‘Organ Student’ here in the late 1990s), he was Director of Music & Organist of Hexham Abbey, where his responsibilities included training and directing the Abbey Choirs. In addition to the four weekly choral services at the Abbey, he appeared with them in concert both elsewhere in the UK and in Germany, Belgium and Estonia. Marcus was also Festival Director of the annual Hexham Abbey Festival of Music & Arts, for which he developed the scope of the programme and secured majority funding from the Arts Council of England.
Marcus was a Chorister of Westminster Abbey under Martin Neary, and his organ teachers included Martin Baker and John Scott Whiteley. He studied at Dulwich College, where he was a Music Scholar, and the University of Hull, where he was University Organ Scholar, graduating with first class honours in Music. He held organ scholarships at Chichester Cathedral, Beverley Minster (while a student in Hull) and latterly York Minster before becoming Sub-Organist of Portsmouth Cathedral and the Diocesan Music Adviser of The Diocese of Portsmouth in 2005.
Marcus is in demand as a recitalist, and has travelled extensively. Recent performances have been given in prominent venues in Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Estonia, as well as most of the major cathedrals and abbeys in the UK.
The choir of St George’s is well-known locally, nationally and internationally. It has recently been described by one cathedral dean as, “The finest Parish Church Choir in the Country”. In addition to singing for two fully choral services on Sundays and for major weekday festivals, it has a long history specialising in singing the services in the country’s major cathedrals when their choirs are on holiday, in broadcasting and in international touring. The repertoire is vast, and is based on that of a cathedral choir.
The choir is comprised of auditioned volunteer adults who in many cases are professional musicians, teachers and ex professional singers. Many work in London and the surrounding areas, and several travel some distance on a regular basis to be members of the choir.
More recently, the Choral Foundation has developed paid choral scholarships for men and women in their late teens and early twenties. This has provided a wonderful opportunity, and the choir is immensely grateful for the support of the Friends of Cathedral Music, who have recently awarded a grant of £25,000 to help fund the choral scholarships and augment the FCM’s initial grant of £10,000 which they generously made several years ago.