Dimitri and Friends - Programme
Saturday, September 15
Dimitri Ashkenazy and Thomas Azoury - clarinets, Leigh Harrold - piano
Mendelssohn: Concert Piece No.2 in D minor, Op.114 for two clarinets and piano
Debussy: Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano (Dimitri)
Mendelssohn: Concert Piece No.1 in F minor, Op.113 for two clarinets and piano
Bernstein: Sonata for clarinet and piano (Thomas)
Richard Rodney Bennett: Crosstalk for two clarinets
George Palmer: It Takes Two, for two clarinets and piano
Dimitri Ashkenazy – clarinet
Born in 1969 in New York, Dimitri Ashkenazy began playing the piano at the age of six and then switched to the clarinet under the tuition of Giambattista Sisini, with whom he continued studying when he entered the Conservatory of Lucerne in 1989. Since completing his studies, he has gone on to perform widely, both as soloist and chamber musician. On tour, he has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Hollywood Bowl with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and in Japan with the Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Mito Chamber Orchestras.
In addition to the major concertos for the clarinet, his repertoire extends to include contemporary works such as Peter Maxwell Davies' Strathclyde Concerto No.4, which he has performed with the composer himself conducting in Spain, Germany, Hungary and the U.K., and Krzysztof Penderecki's own transcription of his Viola Concerto with the composer himself conducting both in Poland and on tour in Spain. He also gave the world premiere performances of concertos by Marco Tutino (with the Filarmonici della Scala, Milan) and
Filippo del Corno (with the orchestra «I Pomeriggi Musicali»), and of Peter Maxwell Davies' Clarinet Quintet «Hymn to Artemis Locheia» (with the Brodsky Quartet at the Lucerne Festival).
An active chamber musician, he has performed with the Kodály, Heath, Endellion, Auryn and Faust Quartets and with partners such as Barbara Bonney, Helmut Deutsch, David Golub, Edita Gruberova, Ariane Haering, Antonio Meneses, Cristina Ortiz, Maria João Pires, Aleksandar Madzar, and of course his brother Vovka and his father Vladimir Ashkenazy.
In addition to his concert activity, Dimitri Ashkenazy has made numerous CD (paladino, Pan Classics, Decca, Ondine, VDE Gallo, DUX), radio (Radio Nacional de España, France Musiques, Radio della Svizzera Italiana, DeutschlandRadio) and television recordings, and been invited to give master classes in Australia, Iceland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Romania,
Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and the U.S.
Thomas Azoury – clarinet
Thomas Azoury is the first of his family to grew up under the auspices of a musical constellation. In his final year of high school he completed Associate Diplomas in both Piano and Clarinet, and would continue to undertake a Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University under renowned clarinettist, Alan Vivian. After graduating in 2012, Thomas continued his studies in Melbourne with David Griffiths, Philip Arkinstall and Paul Champion.
Thomas enjoys a varied portfolio of orchestral, chamber and solo musical engagements, and has performed with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Canberra International Music Festival, been a two time finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod’s Musica Viva Chamber Music Competitions, and Doctor’s Orchestra Instrumental Scholarship, as well as having participated in the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp and the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute in Hobart. 2018 has seen Thomas perform throughout the ACT and NSW with the Dixieland Jazz group, the Zackerbilks, and join forces with his longstanding duo partner, Andrew Rumsey, in a highly successful concert tour of Canberra, Sydney and regional NSW.
When not practicing the clarinet and piano, Thomas is a keen student of Judo, and regularly competes around the country. He was awarded his first-degree black belt in 2017.
Leigh Harrold – piano
Leigh Harrold enjoys a reputation as a “musician of rare talent and intelligence”, and is one of Australia’s busiest and most sought-after pianists since being named The Advertiser ‘2008 Musician of the Year’.
Born in Whyalla, South Australia, Leigh completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies at The University of Adelaide with concert pianist Gil Sullivan. During this time he had many successes, including being a National Finalist in the Young Performer Awards and a recipient of the prestigious Beta Sigma Phi Classical Music Award – the conservatorium’s highest honour. He moved to Melbourne in 2003 to take up a full scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) under the mentorship of Geoffrey Tozer and in 2004 was made the Academy Fellow - the first person in the institution's history to be chosen as such after just one year of study.
Leigh has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Africa and Australia as both soloist and chamber musician, including concerts at Australia House in London, the Royal Academy of Music, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Harare International Festival of Arts, and concerto engagements with many Australian orchestras. In 2007 he undertook an extensive tour of the United States and Canada where he gave lectures on and performed the solo piano music of the American composer Robert Muczynski. In 2015 he gave a lecture-tour of England, promoting and performing Australian piano music at Trinity College and the University of London.
His international reputation as an associate artist has led to collaborations with such luminaries as Thomas Reibl, lecturer in viola at the Salzburg Mozarteum; Michael Cox, principal flautist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Gaede, ex-concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; London flautist Wissam Boustany; New York violinist Charles Castleman; Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling; and British pianist Mark Gasser, to name just a few. Other significant international collaborations have included performance and studies with Andrew Ball at the London Royal College of Music; Sophie Cherrier at the Paris Conservatoire; New York-based pianist Lisa Moore and English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. He has twice been awarded the Geoffrey Parsons Award for Associate Artists, and in 2014 was the recipient of the pianist’s prize in the Mietta Song Competition.
Leigh is a founding member of the Kegelstatt Ensemble and the Helpmann Award-nominated Syzygy Ensemble. Both ensembles are winners of major national prizes, with Syzygy releasing its independent debut CD ‘Making Signs’ in 2015. Additionally, Leigh has recorded and released CDs for Sony, ABC Classics, and Move Records.
An enthusiastic and committed teacher, speaker, and writer, Leigh is regularly invited to tutor and lecture at many institutions, adjudicate competitions, and has given several masterclasses around Australia, Africa, the USA and the UK, as well as regular pre- and post-concert talks for the Melbourne Recital Centre. In April 2012 Leigh was awarded a PhD for his research into the music of Robert Muczynski for which he received a Dean’s Commendation for Thesis Excellence, and in 2015 he was published internationally in the Liszt Society of London Journal. He holds two University medals - one for Music and one for Applied Science.
Currently Leigh holds positions on the Faculties of ANAM and the University of Melbourne, and is pianist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. When not seated in front of a piano, he finds time to go on long walks, read extensively, and drink lots of coffee and tea. He lives in Brunswick with Craig and Bart.