Whats On - Thursday 4th August 2022 - 7:30 pm




Adults: £16.50

Under 16s: £7.50


Toby Hughes & Ben Powell 

Alfred Desenclos Aria et Rondo

César Franck Violin Sonata in A major


Xander Croft, Kim Becker, Felix Hughes, Toby Hughes & Ben Powell


Franz Schubert Trout Quintet D. 667

Op. 114

Tickets on sale from June 1st.
Early access available if supporting the festival

Toby Hughes

In 2009 at the age of sixteen, Toby was invited to study at the combined universities of Lausanne, Fribourg and Sion with Professor Božo Paradžik. In his second year at university, he was awarded the ‘Future Talent’ Coombs Scholarship by the Duchess of Kent and in May 2011 was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s ‘Julius Isserlis Scholarship’ which enabled him to continue with his studies. 

In the autumn of 2011, he moved to Berlin, where he studied with Matthew McDonald, principal bass of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012 Toby returned to the U.K. to continue his studies with Juří Hudec at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, graduating in 2015 from the International Artists Diploma course.

After his return to the U.K. Toby won numerous competitions and awards, in 2013 he won Chandos Symphony Orchestra's ‘Young Musician of the Year’, the string section of the 2014 Royal Over-Seas League Competition (the first double bassist ever to do so), in 2016 the Bromsgrove International Competition and in 2018 won the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition.

Toby has performed with major international orchestras both in Europe and the U.K. His recital engagements have included appearances at Wigmore Hall, St-Martin-in-the-Fields, The Edinburgh Festival and at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the Royal Over-Seas League final. Having been awarded support from The Tillett Trust, The Musicians' Company and Making Music, he will be performing at many venues across the U.K. Toby has been a City Music Foundation artist since 2018 and his debut CD was released last year on the Champs Hill Record label.

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Ben Powell

“Pianist Benjamin Powell demonstrated an immense range of tone and sound in his programme: granitic and stern for Stockhausen, brilliantly light-fingered in Elliott Carter, fiery and moody for Anthony Gilbert, volcanically sensuous in Skryabin.” Ivan Hewett – Daily Telegraph


Since winning the British Contemporary Piano Competition in 2010 Benjamin Powell has gained a reputation for intelligent and expressive performances with a strong commitment to contemporary music. He has performed across the UK and Europe as a soloist, chamber musician, and song accompanist in venues including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Snape Maltings, Bridgewater Hall, IRCAM (Paris), and Harpa (Reykjavik). In 2014 he was appointed pianist for Manchester’s leading contemporary music group, Psappha, and in 2022 he will become Psappha’s new artistic director. 

He has taken part in a performance of the complete solo piano music of Helmut Lachenmann at the Aldeburgh Festival and a performance of Marco Stroppa’s Traiettoria in IRCAM, Paris.  Benjamin’s recording of selections from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier was used in the National Theatre production of Sir Tom Stoppard’s ‘the Hard Problem’.

Benjamin is much in demand as a chamber musician and has collaborated with many distinguished musicians including Stefano Canuti, Leland Chen, Levon Chilingirian, Toby Hughes, Craig Ogden, Miklós Perényi, Thomas Riebl, Sophie Rosa, Abel Selacoe, and Eva Thorarinsdottir. 

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Carole Presland and later with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alexander Melnikov at the Hochschule für Musik Cologne and RNCM respectively. Benjamin also attended the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove studying in the class of Thomas Adès. 

Since 2007 Benjamin has been a staff pianist at the RNCM. He is also a tutor in piano at both Chetham’s School of Music and Manchester University. His students have gone on to win prizes in major competitions, including BBC Young Musician of the Year, James Mottram International Competiton, Manchester International Piano Concerto Competition and the British Contemporary Piano Competition. 

Benjamin was born and raised in West Sussex and currently lives in Glossop with his wife and three children.

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Xander Croft

In 2011, Xander received a Music and Dance scheme Scholarship to study violin and piano at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music. Initially, under the tutelage of Ulla Benz, he began learning with Steven Wilkie in 2013.

He found early success winning the Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland Young Musician of the year, while also becoming a two-time winner of Caerwys Young Musician of the year. He was awarded the Ian McPherson, Rohi Gazder, and Rotary prizes by the JRNCM, while also receiving a Robinson Bursary by the Future Talent Organisation.

In 2017, Xander was awarded the Albert and Eugene Trust Scholarship to attend the RNCM. He has gone on to perform as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the UK, with highlights including a tour of Scotland and performance at Wigmore Hall with the Elmore String Quartet, and performances of Bruch and Mendelssohn violin concertos.

He currently holds the position of Junior Fellow in Chamber Music at the RNCM with the Elmore String Quartet, and has recently enjoyed recording for the BBC Philharmonic, and appearing with the Manchester Camerata.

Xander performs on a Mathias Albani II violin from Cremona (1702), and a Fétique bow, kindly loaned to him by Dr. Andrew Winter.


Kim Becker

Originally from Manchester, Kim Becker enjoys a varied freelance career playing with many different ensembles around the UK. She loves collaborating with different musicians in all settings and feels each group presents its own unique experience. 

From 2019-2020 Kim played with the Halle Orchestra as part of their String Leadership Training Scheme. She now freelances with the Halle among other orchestras such as the CBSO, LPO, RLPO, Manchester Camerata and Sinfonia of London. Alongside orchestral work, Kim is a passionate chamber musician and appears regularly with Sinfonia Cymru and also with the contemporary music group Psappha.

During her undergraduate degree, she was a member of the award winning Kirkman Quartet. They frequently performed in venues around the UK, and appeared at a number of festivals, both in the UK and Europe. They also appeared as part of the on stage sextet that opened Garsington Opera's production of Capriccio in 2018.

Kim is currently a member of the Victoria String Quartet, a Manchester based quartet that enjoys a busy schedule performing and recording in venues such as Stoller Hall and Bridgewater Hall, as well as appearing and coaching at festivals around the UK.

Kim currently holds the position of Junior Fellow in viola at the RNCM, where she has a varied schedule of coaching, taking performance classes and leading the string orchestra sessions. She plays on a modern viola made in 2019 by Jurgen Manthey in Leipzig.


Felix Hughes

Felix began playing the cello at the age of three. At nine, he joined the Royal Academy of Music Primary Department and progressed to the Junior Royal Academy. 


In 2011, he began studying with Guy Johnston and in 2013 won both the South Cotswold Rotary Club 'Young Musician Of The Year' and the Norma Simpson Lower Strings Prize at the Junior Royal Academy Of Music. Later in 2013, he was a recipient of a 'Future Talent' award which gave him the opportunity to perform alongside Guy Johnston at St. Georges, Hanover Square in London.   


He continued his studies in 2014 with Bruno Schrecker, former cellist of the Allegri String Quartet and pupil of Pablo Casals. 

Felix was awarded a scholarship in 2016 for a year of postgraduate study at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan U.S.A., where he studied both classical and jazz cello with Crispin Campbell.


Returning to the U.K. in 2017 he began a Bachelor of Music degree studying with Hannah Roberts at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating in 2021. 


In his first year at the Royal Northern College of Music, Felix became a founding member of the Elmore String Quartet and is now a Junior Fellow in chamber music with the Elmore Quartet at the RNCM.  

Felix performers on an old English cello of which the maker is unknown.

Arr premier - Woldemar Bargiel: Adagio (Double bass)

Serge Lancen: Concerto for Double bass


Dvořák: Quintet in E flat major, Op. 97, "The American"