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This string quartet concert celebrates two major Russian composers from different generations; Dimitri Shostakovich and his favourite pupil and life-long friend Boris Tischenko. At this concert Tischenko’s Fifth String quartet will be performed alongside Shostakovich’s Third.

Also on the programme are two string quartets by British and American living composers: David Matthews and Nors S. Josephson. Matthews is a highly regarded British composer, an author of thirteen string quartets. Nors S. Josephson is a Professor of Music from the West Coast of America, but now lives in Germany. The concert includes his only string quartet.


Dmitri Shostakovich     String Quartet no. 3 in F, Op. 73        
Nors S. Josephson     String Quartet        (2005)        
David Matthews         String Quartet No. 8        
Boris Tischenko         String Quartet No. 5     (1984)  

The Villiers Quartet
James Dickenson – violin
Tamaki Higashi – violin
Carmen Flores – viola
Nicholas Stringfellow – cello

Named after Villiers Street in London's colourful musical epicentre, the Villiers Quartet encompasses the grand and iconic spirit of the extraordinary music tradition in London. Hailed as one of the most charismatic and "adventurous" quartets of the European chamber music scene (The Strad) , the Villiers Quartet has developed an international reputation for its performances of British music. Championing music which reflects Britain's rich musical heritage, the Villiers Quartet (VQ) has performed works by Elgar, Britten, Delius, William Sterndale Bennett, Robert Saxton, Kuljit Bhamra, MBE, and Frank Bridge. The VQ has been praised for its "exquisite ensemble playing" (Seen & Heard International) , and its performances have been hailed as "masterful." (Classical Source).

The Villiers Quartet has been featured in numerous festivals including the North York Moors Chamber Music Festival, the Brit Jazz Fest, the Hungerford Arts Festival, and the British Music Society.

The VQ's internationally acclaimed VQ New Works Competition encourages audiences to interact with contemporary music performance online, and supports the creation of new works for string quartet. The Competition ran in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The winning compositions will be released digitally on the VQ’s own label imprint in 2017.

The Villiers Quartet is winner of the 2015 Radcliffe Chamber Music Competition, and holds the position of Quartet-in-Residence at Oxford University's Faculty of Music, and feature in the University Faculty of Music Concert Season. In addition to their work at Oxford University, the VQ has presented masterclasses at Dartmouth College, the University of Nottingham, Syracuse University, Goshen College, and Indiana University South Bend. The VQ is also Quartet-in-Residence at Nottingham High School, where they direct an extensive chamber music programme for young students. The Villiers Quartet are managed internationally through Mary Kaptein Artists.

James Dickenson studied both in the UK and the USA and lists Lydia Mordkovitch, Danny Phillips, Jerry Horner, Wen Zhou Li, and Christopher Rowland as some of his many teachers and mentors. After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music, James left the UK to lead the Degas Quartet in the USA. With this quartet James gave concerts all over the USA, in Carnegie Hall and at the Aspen Music Festival, and held various residencies in over ten universities. Since leaving the quartet in 2007, James returned to the UK to continue his teaching, performing, and chamber music career. An advocate of new music, James has worked closely with many American composers, including Jeffrey Mumford, Andrew Waggoner, and he is currently commissioning a new piece for violin from Shafer Mahoney. James has just completed a research and recording project of Louis Spohr Duos (due for release on Naxos). He is a regular contributor to articles published by the European String Teachers Association.James plays a violin made by Sergio Perreson in 1976.

Tamaki Higashi started violin at the age of seven and was a multiple winner of the South Japan Music Competition in her hometown of Kagoshima. She was invited to study with Lewis Kaplan in New York City, and she received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Mannes College of Music. After graduating in 2002 she founded the Degas Quartet. Together with her husband James, the Degas Quartet held residencies at Syracuse University and with the Western Piedmont Symphony, working closely with the Cassatt Quartet and Earl Carlyss of the Juilliard Quartet. The Degas Quartet toured frequently within the United States and was featured live on NPR broadcasts, appearing in many prestigious venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Aspen Music Festival, and the Library of Congress. Tamaki and James moved to the UK in 2007, and since then she has enjoyed a busy schedule as recitalist, teacher, and chamber musician. A passionate advocate for music education and community outreach, Tamaki organised several music projects in North Carolina, USA and Kagoshima, Japan, bringing chamber music to local schools and children's groups. She plays on a fine Italian violin by Antonio Ungarini of Fabriano, 1740.

Carmen Flores graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and studied viola at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. Her Principal teachers included Yizhak Schotten and Steven Dann. She was a US Fulbright Scholar to the Philippines 2000 - 2001. Carmen has held the position of Principal Viola of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia since 2007; Violist of the Villiers Quartet since 2010. She has given performances in the UK and abroad with ARC Ensemble, CHROMA, Midori, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the North York Moors Festival, Brit Jazz Fest, Barnes Music Festival, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the English National Opera and Canadian Opera Companies. Carmen plays a viola made in 2006 by British luthier William Castle.

Nick Stringfellow began his musical education at Chetham’s School of Music, performing in inspirational masterclasses from an early age with the likes of Heinrich Schiff and Janos Starker. After further study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Clive Greensmith, he completed his training at the Royal College of Music, studying jointly with Anna Shuttleworth and Anthony Pleeth. Nick cut his chamber music teeth as cellist with the London Mozart Ensemble alongside violinist David le Page. Subsequently he was invited to become principal cellist with the Orchestra of the Swan. Nick also appears as soloist with the orchestra and takes part in its extensive education and outreach programmes. As a chamber musician, Nick has enjoyed an exciting career, playing across a wide variety of styles and genres. He has performed with many ensembles including the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and the Brook Street Band and recorded for EMI, Naxos, Somm and Orfeo. He is the featured cellist on Schott’s “Baroque around the World” series and his trio “Spirituoso” is currently resident ensemble at Handel House. Nick is also passionate about the string arrangements of the great Jazz and Soul era and has led cello sections for Smokey Robinson and George Benson. Nick plays a cello made by Roger Hansell in 1994, which is a copy of an instrument made by Francesco Ruggieri in 1694.