TJ, Abdul

Abdul Tee-Jay hails from Sierra Leone although his parents come from Guinea. At a very young age, somewhat secretly, Abdul learnt to play guitar. At the time there was music coming into the port of Freetown from many different genres including soukous and high-life, traditional and popular along with local musicians which influenced Abdul to join local bands. In 1979 Abdul travelled to Britain meeting other musicians and decided to form the band ‘African Connection'. In 1982 he felt the need to concentrate on more typical African music and the pan-African band 'African Culture', came into being. Even this however, was not quite satisfying and Abdul resolved to base all his music on Sierra Leone street and folk music. In 1988 the name of the band changed to Rokoto, the nickname of part of Freetown. Abdul Tee-Jay and Rokoto, a seven-piece band, brought out 3 albums: 'Kanka Kuru', 'Fire Dombolo' and 'E'Go Lef Pan You' and have toured extensively throughout many countries.
Image Credit: 
Fred Hines

Boyd, James


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.

Leathwood, Jonathan


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.


Hatzinikolaou, Antonis


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.

Image Credit: 
aRGo Photography
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