RCM Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship
Awarded by the Royal College of Music every two years to an outstanding pianist.
The Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship is named in honour of Britain’s great composer of the last century who studied piano at the Royal College of Music between 1930 and 1932 under Arthur Benjamin. The College awards this fellowship every two years to an outstanding pianist embarking on the Artist Diploma course to prepare for a career as an international soloist. The RCM provides the opportunity for the Fellow to play for some of the finest international soloists including Murray Perahia, Evgeny Kissin, Andras Schiff and Eliso Virsaladze.
The biennial Benjamin Britten Fellow Wigmore Recital commenced in 2018 in London’s prestigious Wigmore Hall and has become a landmark feature of the Fellowship.
From 2023, the second year of professional development for this Fellowship will be under the direction of Rob Hilberink in conjuction with Vanessa Latarche, Head of Keyboard Studies at the RCM. The Benjamin Britten Piano Fellow has the opportunity to complete a project to launch their international career. Previous Fellows – from Ukraine, Russia, UK and Serbia – have produced critically acclaimed CD recordings, as well as a Music and Dance film. They receive additional support to attend masterclasses, festivals, publicity and professional guidance.
Royal College of Music
The Royal College of Music is home to 840 students, around half of which come from 60 countries outside the UK. RCM professors come from across the world too, bringing with them a wealth of experience and expertise. This dynamic and diverse community produces outstanding performers, composers, conductors and researcher, many of distinguished international renown. The RCM’s excellence was recognised by the 2017 QS World University Rankings, in which it ranked top institution for Performing Arts in the UK and Europe.
Notable alumni are composers and performers such as Sir Hubert Parry, Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, Sir Colin Davis, David Helfgott, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Lord Lloyd Webber, Dame Joan Sutherland, Sir James Galway, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Gerald Finley CBE and Dame Sarah Connolly.
Regular visitors to the RCM to teach and demonstrate are Bernard Haitink, Sir Thomas Allen, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Lang Lang. Our most recent honorary doctorates include Vladimir Jurowski, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Roger Norrington, Bryn Terfel and Steve Reich
Prize winner at the 2021 Leeds and 2022 Hastings International Piano Competitions, Thomas Kelly started playing the piano aged 3 and aged 9 performed Mozart’s 24th Concerto with Orchestra. Thomas studied at the Purcell School for Young Musicians and is currently at the Royal College of Music where he is guided by Professors Dmitri Alexeev and Vanessa Latarche.
Future engagements in the UK include London’s newest concert venue, Bechstein Hall, and Wigmore Hall. In Europe his 2024 performances include Kammermusiksaal at the Berlin Philharmonie.
Thomas enjoyed critical recognition at the Leeds International Piano Competition 2022 and has won numerous international competitions including 1st prizes at the Pianale International Piano Competition (2017), Kharkiv Assemblies (2018), Lucca Virtuoso e Bel Canto Festival (2018), Theodor Leschetizky Competition (2020), and Intercollegiate Sheepdrove Piano Competition (2022).
He regularly collaborates with fellow musicians, including stepping in for Nikolai Demidenko alongside Dmitri Alexeev in his transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite for 2 pianos in 2021.
Past performances include Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Steinway Hall, Leighton House, St James’ Piccadilly, Stoller Hall (Manchester), Leeds Town Hall, Paris Conservatoire, the Lunel-Viel festival near Montpellier, StreingreaberHaus in Bayreuth and Teatro Del Sale and the British Institute in Florence.
Future engagements in the UK include London’s newest concert venue, Bechstein Hall, and Wigmore Hall. In Europe his 2023 performances include Kammermusiksaal at the Berlin Philharmonie.
Martin James Bartlett
Martin James Bartlett’s early public success was as the winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2014. This led to engagements with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as recitals across the country.
He made his BBC Proms debut in 2015 performing Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also performed the piece with the Ulster Orchestra at the BBC Proms “Last Night” celebrations which was broadcast live from Belfast on BBC Four and BBC Radio Ulster. In the following year, he performed at Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday thanksgiving service, which was broadcast live on BBC One from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
During this period he received support from the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT).
In 2017, whilst still an undergraduate at the Royal College of Music, where he has studied with Professor Vanessa Latarche, Bartlett was a quarter finalist in The Van Cliburn Competition, held in Fort Worth, Texas, attracting a considerable following both live in the hall and online on Medici TV. In 2021 he graduated with a first class bachelors degree, masters degree and an artists diploma from the Royal College of Music, having been also awarded the Queen Mother Rosebowl by Prince Charles. In the 2021/22 season, Bartlett will embark upon a European tour with the LGT Young Soloists, performing Philip Glass’s ‘Tirol’ piano concerto at the Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Musikverein and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie culminating in a gala performance for the Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein in London. He will also play recitals at the International Chopin Piano Festival at Duszniki Zdrój, Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw, and Alte Oper Frankfurt. In the Spring of 2022 Bartlett will join the Britten-Shostakovich Festival Orchestra on a tour in Russia. Martin James Bartlett will make his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series this season, as well as recitals in Arizona, Missouri, and Washington DC.During the past season, Bartlett was invited to play recitals across the UK, including Wigmore Hall and the Belfast International Arts Festival, as well as internationally, including recitals at the Concertgebouw, Salle Cortot, the Elbphilharmonie, the Wiener Konzerthaus, and Muziekcentrum De Bijloke Gent. Bartlett was also invited to play with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and for his debut with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In this season Bartlett was also awarded 1st prize at the inaugural Cleveland international Virtualoso competition.Martin records for Warner Classics and has released two albums – Love & Death in 2019 performing BachSchumann, Wagner, Liszt, Granados, Prokofiev and Rhapsody: Rachmaninov & Gershwin 2022.
Arina Lazgiian, concert pianist, was born in Krasnoyarsk, Russia in 1991. In June 2019, she graduated from the Royal College of Music in London with the Artist Diploma, under Professor Vanessa Latarche. Arina has already been awarded her Master`s degree from the Royal College of Music where she was supported by a Future of Russia Scholarship. Since arriving at the Royal College of Music, she has won the RCM Concerto Competition 2017 performing Saint-Saëns’ Concerto No. 2 twice with the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra. Arina also won the Hopkinson Gold Medal for piano in 2017. She was a finalist in the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition at Wigmore Hall in 2017.
In June 2018 Arina Lazgiian was announced as the recipient of the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship for 2018-2020, awarded by the Royal College of Music. This Fellowship, named after the renowned composer and RCM alumnus, supports an exceptional pianist who has been accepted to the RCM Artist Diploma Course. The same year, Arina was selected to go through to the final stages of The Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition for the summer of 2019 in Bolzano, Italy. In December 2018, Arina was invited by the Royal College of Music to perform at a large fundraising VIP event, the Soirée d’Or, at the Victoria and Albert museum, Raphael Gallery. In March 2019 Arina performed on France-Musiques’s programme Générations- live in Paris. In July 2019, she was invited to Majorca to perform at the International Piano Festival “Torre de Canyamel” which included the renowned pianist Arkadi Volodos. The same year in July Arina has won the third prize on ‘Flame Concours’ in Paris, France. She has recently recorded Liszt’s Dante sonata which will be the musical basis of a newly-choreographed ballet film, with dancers directed by Margaret Williams.
Between 2010 and 2015, Arina was enrolled at the Moscow Conservatory where she studied under the renowned pianist Vera Gornostayeva. Before this, she studied with Yelena Plyashkevich at the Moscow Gnessin Special Music School between 2005 and 2010. In 2005 Arina was granted an honorary award from the mayor of St Petersburg. She has performed at the Grand Hall of St Petersburg’s Philharmonic Society, the Academic Capella and the Small Hall Glazunov in St Petersburg, the Salle Cortot and the Centre Spirituel et Culturel Russe in Paris.
Her repertoire includes various compositions by Domenico Scarlatti, Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Tchaikowsky, Dvorak, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, Faure, Busoni, Mussorgsky, Rakhmaninov, Medtner, Scryabin and Desyatnikov
Considered to be one of Serbia’s finest pianists, Nikola Avramovic is a sought- after performer. He is graduate of both the Belgrade Academy of Arts and London’s Royal College of Music, having studied and worked in masterclasses with pianists including Ninoslav Zivkovic, Ian Jones, Ashley Wass, Eliso Virsaladze, Wei-Yi Yang, Aleksandar Madzar, Janina Fialkowska and Sophia Gulyak.
Nikola has been the recipient of many scholarships and awards. He was the First Prize winner at the EPTA Competition and the Serbia Republic Competition. He was also granted the Yamaha scholarship, Second Prize winner at the Joan Chissell Schumann Piano Competition at the RCM.
During his studying at the Belgrade Academy of Music, he got two prestigious awards: award for the most talented student at the Piano department from the fund Olga Mihajlovic and award for the most promising pianist from the fund Emil Hajek.
Nikola has performed at prestigious festivals in Serbia, United Kingdom, Estonia, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Macedonia, Czechia, Singapore, Japan and China and venues such as the Wigmore Hall, St.John Smith Square, Steinway Hall in London, Wesley Chapel in Harrogate etc.
He has given masterclasses in Europe and Asia and was the president of the Jury at the Steinway Piano Competition in Changsha(China).
Nikola has recorded for Radio Belgrade and has appeared regularly on the Serbian National Television.
He is the previous recipient of the prestigious Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship at the Royal College of Music in London, which is supported by the Philip Loubser Foundation. As part of this scholarship, Nikola has recorded the CD for Genuin Record Label in Germany which was released on 6th of March earlier this year.
Nikola is a first classical pianist on a new social media platform called Pindify.
Currently, he resides in Shanghai.
Recent highlights include performances with the NCPA Orchestra in Beijing (Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 under Markus Stenz) and Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona (Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 under Josep Vicent), as well as his debuts at Lucerne Piano Festival and Montreal Chamber Music Festival. He also made his debut with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and performed recitals in Germany (Munich, Bayreuth, Weimar and Berlin), Austria (Wiener Konzerthaus and Liszt Festival Raiding), Hungary (Liszt Academy Budapest), the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Georgia, Mexico, Korea (Seoul Arts Center) and his native UK.
The 21/22 season sees his evening recital debut at Wigmore Hall and debuts with Münchner Symphoniker (under Joseph Bastian) and Hong Kong Sinfonietta (under Ola Rudner), both with Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3. He returns to the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra (Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 under Dennis Russell Davies) and Klavierfestival Ruhr, and performs a recital at Hong Kong’s Premiere Performances.
In Spring 2019, Alexander’s first album on Rubicon, featuring Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Prokofiev’s Six Pieces from Cinderella, as well as Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Firebird suites, received rave reviews. In Spring 2022 the label will release a second album, featuring Piano Concerto Nos. 1 and 2 by Franz Liszt with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Litton, coupled with his Piano Sonata in b minor.
The winner of the 2017 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht, Alexander has appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Budapest Radio Orchestra and Korean Symphony Orchestra, as well as the New Jersey, Fort Worth and Montreal symphonies, working with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Giancarlo Guerrero, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Valentin Uryupin and Cristian Măcelaru. In the 17/18 season he closed the Lille Piano(s) Festival with Orchestre de Picardie under Jean-Claude Casadesus.
He has performed at Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Gewandhaus (Leipzig), Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Oriental Arts Center and the NCPA in Beijing, and has been featured in the Nottingham and Oxford international piano series, on BBC Radio 3, France Musique and MDR Klassik.
Chamber music highlights include performances at the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove (UK), Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany), the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades (France) and La Jolla Summerfest (US) with performers such as the Dover Quartet, violinists Barnabas Kelemen and Aleksey Semenenko, and cellist Michael Petrov.
Alexander first came to international attention in 2011 after winning the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition in Budapest. From 2014 to 2017 he was represented by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT). Born in London, in 1991, he studied at the Purcell School, the Curtis Institute and the Royal College of Music, completing his Artist Diploma as the “Benjamin Britten Piano Fellow” in 2017 (awarded by the Philip Loubser Foundation). His teachers have included William Fong, Leon Fleisher, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Robert McDonald, Dmitri Alexeev, Ian Jones and Elisso Virsaladze.
In 2012 pianist Pavel Kolesnikov became a sensation at the Honens International Piano Competition when he took home the world’s largest piano prize. The London-based pianist was born in Siberia into a family of scientists. He studied both the piano and violin for ten years, before concentrating solely on the piano. Following his Wigmore Hall debut in 2014, The Telegraph gave his recital a rare five-star review and called it “one of the most memorable of such occasions London has witnessed for a while”.
Celebrated for his imaginative, thought-provoking programming which offers the listener a fresh, often unexpected perspective on familiar pieces, Pavel has given recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, as part of the international Piano Series, Carnegie Hall and Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Louvre and Salle Gaveau in Paris, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam. In recent years he also performed at La Roque d’Antheron festival, the Musiq3 Festival in Brussels, Piano aux Jacobins in Toulouse, and the Aldeburgh Festival, among others. In 2020/21 he is Artist in Residence at Wigmore Hall performing three recitals throughout the season.
An avid ensemble player, Kolesnikov regularly performs in piano duo with Samson Tsoy and collaborates with other musicians such as cellist Narek Akhnazarian, Hermes String Quartet and Calidore String Quartet. In 2019 he performed the complete cycle of Brahms violin and viola sonatas with Lawrence Power. He formed Trio Aventure
with Elina Buksha and Aurelien Pascal.
Kolesnikov records for Hyperion, with repertoire ranging from rarely heard harpsichord pieces by Louis Couperin to Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons. His Chopin Mazurkas album won Diapason d’Or de l’annee, one of world’s most prestigious awards in the area of recording. His 6th album, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, was released in Autumn 2020. He collaborated with legendary Belgian dancer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker on a new choreographic work based on the Goldberg Variations which was premiered in August 2020 at the Wiener Festwochen and is currently touring the world.
In 2019, together with Samson Tsoy, Kolesnikov started Ragged Music Festival at the Ragged School Museum, former “ragged school” of Dr Barnardo in London’s East End. In the same year Kolesnikov was honoured with the Critics’ Circle Young Talent Award 2019 for piano, praised for his “intensely personal interpretations, often daring in their originality” and his “crusading vision”.
Listed by International Piano Magazine among “their personal pick of the most exciting and accomplished pianists under the age of 30”, Dinara Klinton is an active concert performer, prize-winner of numerous competitions, including 3rd prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition in USA, BNDES International Piano Competition in Brazil, 2nd Prize at the International Paderewski Competition in Poland, 2nd Prize at the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy.
Dinara has appeared at many festivals including the “Progetto Martha Argerich” Festival in Lugano, Cheltenham Music Festival, Aldeburgh Proms, “La Roque d’Antheron”, and performed at the top halls around the world, such as Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, Berlin Philharmonic and Konzerthaus, Elbphilharmonie, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, New York 92Y, Cleveland Severance Hall, Tokyo Sumida Triphony Hall, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory and Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. Klinton worked with such orchestras as The Philharmonia Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Svetlanov State Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Dinara combines her artistic career with piano professor positions in Royal College of Music and Yehudi Menuhin School.
As a recording artist, Dinara has received widespread critical acclaim for her interpretations. Among many dazzling reviews, her album Liszt: Études d’exécution transcendante, S. 139, released by the German label GENUIN classics, was selected by BBC Music Magazine as Recording of the Month. Dinara’s debut album Music of Chopin and Liszt was made at the age of 16 with an American label DELOS, and the most recent CD is a part of renowned recording series Chopin. Complete Works on contemporary instruments, released by The Fryderyk Chopin Institute.
In 2021 she released a recording of all nine Prokofiev Sonatas on Piano Classics label which was received with much acclaim.
Dinara’s music education started in the age of five in her native Kharkiv, Ukraine. She graduated with highest honours from Moscow Central Music School, where she studied with Valery Piassetski, and the Moscow State P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where she worked with Eliso Virsaladze. Dinara completed her Master’s degree and Artist Diploma at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Dina Parakhina.