Meet our Adjudicators
Cellist, performer, composer, media commentator and educator, the increasingly un-categorisable Zoë Martlew performs and records around the world as soloist and with some of the world’s most renowned contemporary music ensembles, improvisation, film, electronica, multi-media, pop and rock artists, dance and theatre companies including London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Ballet Boyz, Phoenix Dance Company, Almeida Theatre, British Film Institute, Radiohead.
Her one woman musical cabaret Revue Z has recently played at festivals in Aldeburgh, Denmark and Iceland and goes to the Wigmore Hall, Bienale Festival in Luque, Spain, and Plush Festival this summer . Since being recently taken on by Schott’s, she has had four cello pieces and two choral pieces published. The Primrose Piano Quartet has given her Variation Z multiple performances and recorded it for Meridian label; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group premieres her Sound Investor commission “Broadstreet Burlesque” for ensemble this June, recorded for BBC Radio Three, and her new ensemble commission for CoMA will be premiered later this year.
Zoë was a judge on BBC TV’s Maestro and Young Musician of the Year; regular guest commentator/presenter for BBC Proms and Radio 3 and and was on the UK panel for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.
She is much in demand for educational activities, giving masterclasses, seminars and workshops at universities, music conservatoires and festivals around the world including Aldeburgh Music, Britten Pears School, Pro Corda, Dartington Summer School, and recently at Tromsø Conservatoire and Harstad String Seminar in northern Norway. She is artistic director of the Saigon Chamber Music Festival, coaching and performing in Vietnam, regular cello tutor /workshop leader for the National Youth Orchestra and is a regular jury member for international composition and string playing competitions, including the Royal Philharmonic Society awards.
She studied at the Royal College of Music, Clare College, Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and the Chopin Academy in Warsaw.
Tansy Davies characterises the role of the solo saxophone in her 2004 work Iris as that of “a shaman, or ‘one who walks between worlds’,” and in doing so she also describes herself – a musician whose boundary crossing curiosity makes her one of the most distinctive voices in British music today.
Born in Bristol on 29th May 1973 (Gemini Sun, Libra Rising, Taurus Moon), her studies in composition began with Alan Bullard at Colchester Institute, where she was later (in 2011) awarded an honorary doctorate. In 1996 she was a BBC Young Composer, and subsequently studied with Simon Bainbridge at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and with Simon Holt at Royal Holloway.
Early support from the Composers Ensemble and the London Sinfonietta led in 2002 to The Void in this Colour, a Spitalfields Festival commission for the Brunel Ensemble, vividly reviewed by Tim Ashley in The Guardian as “a prismatic soundscape at once alluring and alienating.” The work’s qualities of sensuousness and brittleness feature in much of what Davies has written since, while the prismatic aspect points towards her fascination with the physical world, both natural and manmade. The visceral impact of her music can be perhaps be partly attributed to her own immediate, physical sense of making sounds; from her background as a horn player, electric guitarist and vocalist.
Her work is often inspired by an acute visual/spatial sense. Components of Zaha Hadid’s buildings find exact parallels in the structuring of Spiral House (2004) – a trumpet concerto for Mark O’Keeffe and the BBC Scottish – while the work of Anselm Kiefer gave inspiration and a title for Falling Angel, a work written for Thomas Adès and BCMG and first performed successively in Birmingham and in Paris, at Présences in 2007.
Alongside works for sinfonietta and orchestral music of such brazen confidence as Tilting (2005) for the LSO, Davies has composed a series of equally vivid chamber works, some of which involve electronics. The almost literal tang of the textures and the title of salt box (2005) and the suggestiveness of grind show (2007) can both be heard on her much admired first album, Troubairitz (Nonclassical) which was released in 2011.
Davies has been commissioned by numerous world class ensembles and orchestras, including the London Sinfonietta, the CBSO Youth Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra, BIT 20, the BCMG, and a large-scale piece for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Wild Card, for the Proms in 2010.
International groups including the Cantus Ensemble, Grup Instrumental de Valencia, the Tiroler Ensemble für Neue Musik, Musiques Nouvelles, Melos Ethos Ensemble, Orchestra of Filharmonia Baltycka, Israel Contemporary Players, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo Ensemble Factory, have performed her work.
In 2009 she received a Paul Hamlyn Award. In 2010 the critically acclaimed As with Voices and with Tears, a requiem for choir, string orchestra and electronics, was performed to commemorate Remembrance Sunday in Portsmouth Cathedral, with the London Mozart Players. This work was nominated for the South Bank Show / Sky Arts Award 2011. Also in 2011, Davies collaborated with Norwegian choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard on Omega and the Deer, a dance project which toured to Oslo, Berlin, Potsdam, Hamburg and New York. Later that year her carol, Christmas Eve, was performed at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in King's College Cambridge and broadcast around the world.
2012 saw the premiere of a piano concerto Nature for Huw Watkins and the BCMG, conducted by Oliver Knussen (a co-commission with the Oslo Sinfonietta), as well as the release of her second commercial CD, spine, on the NMC label. The disc, which features many of her ensemble and chamber works, has been widely praised for its 'emotional depth & unrestrained exuberance', as well as its 'sensibility' and 'inventiveness.'
In 2014 he trumpet concerto Spiral House was performed at Warsaw Autumn Festival, with trumpeter Marco Blauw and the Warsaw Philharmonic. Later that year the Asko Schönberg ensemble brought neon to the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Her opera Between Worlds, written in collaboration librettist Nick Drake, was premiered by ENO at the Barbican Theatre, London in April 2015. Praised for its 'originality' and 'inexorable power', the work was well received by audiences and critics alike.
Following that, a new work Re-greening for large singing orchestra (without conductor) was premiered at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, by the National Youth Orchestra, who later performed the work at the 2015 BBC Proms.
Listed in the Evening Standard's Progress 1000, as one of the UK's most influential people of 2015, her current projects include a large-scale work for symphony orchestra.
Described as an ‘endlessly fascinating artist’, Ashley Wass is firmly established as one of the leading performers of his generation. He began playing the piano at the age of five, and studied music at Chetham’s School of Music from age 11. In his teens he studied on scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music, where his teachers included Christopher Elton and Hamish Milne.
Ashley Wass is firmly established as one of the leading performers of his generation. He is the only British winner of the London International Piano Competition, prize winner at the Leeds International Piano Competition, and a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. Increasingly in demand on the international stage, Ashley has performed at many of the world’s finest concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Konzerthaus. He has performed as soloist with numerous leading ensembles, including all of the BBC orchestras, the Philharmonia, Orchestre National de Lille, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, RLPO, and under the baton of conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Osmo Vänskä, Donald Runnicles, Ilan Volkov and Vassily Sinaisky. He has also performed at Buckingham Palace to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, a concert broadcast live to millions of viewers around the world. Highlights of this season include his first collaboration with the Sejong Soloists in Korea and his Australian debut at the prestigious Melbourne Recital Centre.
In 2014, Ashley was the keyboard adjudicator at the BBC Young Musicians competition. Ashley is currently a Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music, London, and is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.