James Boyd, a guitarist recognised for his lyrical and intensely moving performances, is an alumnus of the Royal Academy of Music in London. His playing style is strongly influenced by the vocal training he received from countertenor Charles Brett and his performing experience with singers. In recent years he has worked in partnership with leading composers, theatre groups, poets and some of England’s finest performers. An experienced speaker and raconteur, poetry and literature are often woven into his instrumental performances. He is a passionate advocate of new music for the guitar and much of his time is dedicated to inspiring and commissioning a new repertoire for the instrument.
Jonathan Leathwood was born in England in 1970 and now teaches in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. Recently Denver University awarded him their Artist’s Diploma, the first time they have made this award in individual performance, and made him the first recipient of the Ricardo Iznaola Guitar Scholarship.
In 1988, Jonathan was a string finalist in BBC Television’s Young Musician of the Year competition. Since then he has won awards from a number of bodies, including the Park Lane Group, the Countess of Munster Trust, the Myra Hess Trust, the Holst Foundation, the Eric Falk Trust, and the Ian Fleming Trust. He was the first guitarist to record a recital for BBC Radio 3’s Young Artists’ Forum. He has twice performed in the Park Lane Group’s Young Artist Series at the Purcell Room in London. One of these concerts involved an exciting collaboration with the Indian composer Param Vir, whose four-movement work Clear Light, Magic Body was dedicated to him and later published by Novello.
In 2001 he conceived and edited Guitar Forum, a new scholarly journal for the classical guitar published in the United Kingdom by the European Guitar Teachers’ Association (EGTA UK). The previous year, he was the British delegate at EGTA’s international conference in Cambridge, where he gave a lecture on analysis and performance. He owes the academic and scholarly side of his background to King’s College London, from where he graduated in 1991 with First Class Honours and the Purcell Prize for academic achievement. He was later invited back to King’s to teach Music Analysis and Techniques of Musical Composition, before eventually moving to the United States in 1998. His principal teachers in guitar have been Gordon Crosskey, Richard Wright, Paul Galbraith, Ricardo Iznaola and the pianist and conductor George Hadjinikos.
Born in Greece in 1980, Antonis Hatzinikolaou graduated from Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens, where he studied with Alexandra Christodimou, proceeding to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he gained his Postgraduate Diploma in Performance, under the tutelage of Michael Lewin, Timothy Walker and John Mills. Having completed a concert project exploring John Dowland's idiosyncratic evocation of melancholy as reflected in Benjamin Britten's Nocturnal, he received his MMus Degree with a Distinction. He was additionally awarded the Reginald Thatcher Award for General Excellence, and the Honorary Dip RAM - the highest performance award conferred by the Academy.
He has attended masterclasses with many of the world's leading guitarists, including John Williams, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Roberto Aussel, Roland Dyens, Hubert Käppel, Fabio Zanon, Aniello Desiderio, Jonathan Leathwood and Edoardo Catemario, and he has also worked with composers such as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Nicholas Maw, John McCabe, Stephen Dodgson, Bayan Northcott and Evis Sammoutis. He has received distinctions in numerous international guitar competitions, including the Patras National Guitar Competition (Greece, 2001), the International Hubert Käppel Koblenz Guitar Competition (Germany, 2004), the Ivor Mairants International Guitar Award (UK, 2005) and the prestigious Julian Bream Prize (UK, 2006), adjudicated by Bream himself.
After receiving the 2007 Park Lane Group Young Artist Award he made his Purcell Room debut in 2008, which led to solo recitals at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the 2008 Sounds New Festival in Canterbury. His professional engagements have taken him to Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and the UK where he has also been heard on BBC Radio 3. In addition to his solo playing, he is a versatile chamber musician, appearing as an accompanist for the NMC Songbook and guitarist of the Fugata Quintet, touring the music of Astor Piazzolla. In 2008, Draft Records released his debut solo CD, which Classical Guitar Magazine described as 'magnificent … simply magnificent! …this is playing of the highest standard (containing some of the best Bach performance the reviewer has heard) and easily stands alongside the best of them.'
Antonis's guitar is made by Nicholas P. Ioannou.