Surrey Mozart Players

Saturday 7 December 2019 - The Electric Theatre , Guildford : 7.30pm

Giacomo Susani.............Guitar Soloist - supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust

Giacomo Susani is a young classical guitarist (Padua, Italy, 1995). He completed his studies under the direction of Stefano Grondona in Italy and with Michael Lewin in London.

Along side his studies at the Conservatorio Arrigo Pedrollo in Vicenza (2008-2013 Diploma with the highest honours and special mention) and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (2014-2016 Bachelor of Music, with First Class and Bache Fund Prize; 2016-18 Master of Arts, with High Distinction, Dip Ram for an outstanding final recital and Gershon Ellenbogen/Maccabaen Award), he has taken part in masterclasses and attended advanced courses with leading guitarists, obtaining scholarships and Diplomas of Merit. In 2018-19 he is studying for his Advanced Diploma in Performance.

He won numerous prizes, awards and support among which the ones received from Julian Bream Trust, Calleva Foundation, Countess of Munster Musical Trust (Star Award), Help Musicians UK (Ian Fleming Award), The Worshipful Company of Musicians (Yeoman programme).

He has regularly taken part in guitar international competitions from an early age, always obtaining excellent results and, on many occasions, winning first prize. Among the most recent: in 2016 he won First Prize at the London International Guitar Competition, Second Prize at Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award in Switzerland, the Special Prize for the best performance of a newly commissioned piece at Guitar Masters Competition in Poland and ESTA Prize for the best performance of a contemporary piece at Forum Gitarre Wien Competition; in 2017 he was awarded in London First Prize at the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award and First Prize at the David Russell Guitar Award. In July 2018 he won Second Prize at the 7th Changsha International Guitar Competition (China).

As a performer he regularly appears in important venues in Italy around Europe as a soloist, a soloist with orchestra and in chamber ensembles.

In 2015 Stradivarius brought out his first solo CD Giacomo Susani plays Petrassi, Bach, Tansman, Weiss, which obtained excellent reviews from the public and critics alike published most notably in “BBC Music”, “Gendai Guitar”, “Il Fronimo”, “Classical Guitar” and “Amadeus”; in 2016 the recording project J. S. Bach. The four suites for Lute, under the direction of Stefano Grondona, in which he plays the “Suite 1006a”; in Autumn 2018 Stradivarius is publishing his second solo CD "Gebeth. Romantic music for Guitar. Mertz-Regondi".

In 2016 he was selected by IGF-International Guitar Foundation under their Young Artists Platform Scheme and in 2018 as a “Young Star” for EuroStrings – European Guitar Festival Collaborative (the first European platform in the field of classical guitar gathering 14 classical guitar festivals that have a professional structure to enable further education and professional development of emerging guitar players): with this opportunity he played and took masterclasses in most of European Festivals (Austria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, Finland, Estonia, Holland).

In 2017 the Polish composer Marek Pasieczny dedicated to him his own solo guitar composition called Tate Sonata.

Besides performing, he works in the field of composition, writing Of Dark Tales for two guitars, Songs of Elegance and Wisdom for Soprano and guitar and voice, Quintet for guitar and Strings (these last published by Armelin Musica, Padua 2017-18).

He is also the Artistic Director of Momùs-More Music, a Musical Association based in Italy which promotes and organises classical music concerts.

Christopher McMullen-Laird ........................ Guest Conductor

American conductor Christopher McMullen-Laird started his career at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where he prompted over 50 opera productions, working alongside Music Directors Kent Nagano and Kirill Petrenko and numerous guest conductors. He has also worked as musical assistant at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Welsh National Opera, Theater Erfurt, and Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar, and with Rambert Dance Company.

Christopher was recently named Music Director of the Phoenix Youth Orchestra in Brentwood, Essex, and has extensive experience working with young musicians as a regular workshop assistant for BBC Learning and the RCM Sparks programs. He previously was Music Director of the Munich International Orchestra (Germany) and Bjergsted Symfoniorkester (Norway) and appeared as guest conductor with Filharmonia Zielenogorska, Abaco Orchester, Oikomusica, and Jæren Symfoniorkester. He has conducted opera productions for Cape Cod Opera, Opera Providence, Opera Rogaland, Schlosstheater Rheinsberg, Tokyo Opera Association, and the education department at the Bayerische Staatsoper.

Christopher is currently a Leverhulme Arts Scholar at the Royal College of Music London, where he studies with Martyn Brabbins, Peter Stark, and Howard Williams. At the RCM he has developed a particular interest in memorisation and performing music with movement. Christopher’s work in these fields won him the 2018/2019 Mercers’ Arts Award for combining theoretical knowledge with public performance. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA and has held fellowships at the Hochschule für Musik Weimar, Germany, and the University of Stavanger, Norway.

Follow Christopher’s work on Instagram and Facebook.


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