Philip Dukes, viola
Sophia Rahman, piano
these musicians superb playing is the most natural thing
in the world."
The Plane Dukes Rahman Trio was formed in 1992, a logical convergence of two highly successful and critically acclaimed duos, of which pianist Sophia Rahman was the unifying factor. They have since become an enormously popular ensemble, appearing in recital at the Wigmore Hall, on London's South Bank and for music clubs and festivals across the United Kingdom.
Their recital at the Cheltenham International Festival prompted the Daily Telegraph to write:
"The Plane Dukes Rahman Trio were on top form and there was a friendly rapport between performers and audience…The whole programme suggested that for these musicians superb playing is the most natural thing in the world."
The Trio was a prizewinner in the 1993 John Tunnell Trust and its members are all major prizewinners of the Royal Overseas League Music Competition.
The Trio has given many broadcasts for BBC Radio 3, including the first UK broadcast performance of the Francaix Trio live from Belfast, and of John Woolrich's 'A Farewell' from St.George's, Bristol. They gave the world première of two works by Paul Newland commissioned especially for them by the Spitalfields Festival and were invited to perform at the 1998 International Viola Congress in Glasgow and at the 2000 Lionel Tertis Viola Competition on the Isle of Man. They have given recitals in France, Argentina, Uruguay, the United Arab Emirates, Republic of ireland and the Channel islands.
The Trio has recorded a critically acclaimed disc of chamber music by Schumann and Kurtág for ASV in association with the Royal Overseas League. To commemorate their tenth anniversary they released a second disc on ASV of music by Max Bruch. A disc of Rebecca Clarke's complete viola works which features all the members of the Trio was released by Naxos in 2007.
Robert Plane won the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition in London in 1992 and has since enjoyed a career encompassing solo and chamber work, as well as holding the principal clarinet positions of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
He is a successful recording artist and is particularly highly regarded for his solo recordings for Naxos. His account of Finzi's Clarinet Concerto won Classic CD Magazine's 'Best Concerto Recording' Award and was selected as BBC Radio 3's recommended version in 'Building a Library', whilst his recording of Bax Sonatas was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award. His recording of Messiaen's 'Quartet for the End of Time' with the Gould Trio was praised by BBC Music Magazine as the 'best modern account' of this monumental work.
Robert has played concertos with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Dortmund Philharmonic, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, RTE National Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Ensemble in concert halls across Europe, from Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional and the Zurich Tonhalle to London’s Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall. He toured China as soloist with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, including a performance at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, broadcast live to a TV audience of 6 million. He made his BBC Proms debut in 2011 in Simon Holt’s double concerto ‘Centauromachy’ and in 2013 made his US concerto debut with the Virginia Symphony. He has given premiere performances of concertos by Piers Hellawell, Diana Burrell and Nicola LeFanu.
Robert’s chamber music collaborations have included quintets with a number of well-known string quartets (Maggini, Auer, Brodsky, Mandelring, Vellinger, Tippett, Carducci, Finzi, Cavaleri and Dante) as well as with the chamber ensemble of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Ibis Ensemble in Trinidad. He has collaborated with the pianist Sophia Rahman for over 20 years and highlights of their concerts together include tours to South America, New Zealand and China. Together with the Gould Piano Trio he directs the Corbridge Chamber Music Festival in Northumberland.
Robert teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has given masterclasses around the world, including at both the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music in London, the Central Conservatory in Beijing and at the San Francisco Conservatory.
Philip Dukes is widely recognised as a musician of immense versatility and flair, be it as a viola soloist, conductor/director or teacher.
Since making his recital debut at London’s Southbank Centre in 1991 (described by The Strad as ‘world class’) Philip has appeared as a concerto soloist with the BBC Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Hallé, The Philharmonia, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, London Mozart Players, Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of St John's Smith Square, BBC Scottish Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In 1995 Philip made his BBC Promenade Concerto debut returning again in 1999, 2005 and 2007. Philip has recorded a wide range of chamber and solo CDs, most notably the complete works for viola by Rebecca Clarke for Naxos and a debut recording for Deutsche Grammophon of the Triple Concerto by Sir Michael Tippett recorded live at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. The complete box set of Mozart Viola Quintets for Hyperion Records with the Nash Ensemble has also been released to critical acclaim.
Philip is also Professor of Viola at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Visiting Professor of Viola at McGill University in Montreal, Artistic Director of Marlborough College and in 2011 he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his London recital debut in 1991 with a gala concert at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, Classical Music/The Classical Source remarking that “everything Dukes produced, be it arabesques, dignified phrases, and a wide range of dynamics, and not forgetting silences, was of special quality”.
In 2006 Philip Dukes was unanimously elected a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in recognition of his success as an international viola soloist, and was awarded an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2007.
Philip is also in increasing demand as a Conductor/Director, with conducting engagements in Bolivia (La Paz), Armenia, and with the London Mozart Players, the City of London Sinfonia and Southbank Sinfonia in the UK.
Sophia Rahman's work encompasses a wide range of solo and chamber activities. She has recorded over twenty chamber-music discs for a variety of record companies including; Naxos, cpo, ASV, Dutton/Epoch, Guild and Meridian, and also recorded Shostakovich's first piano concerto for Linn records with the Scottish Ensemble and John Wallace.
She is a founder member of the acclaimed Plane-Dukes-Rahman Trio (clarinet, viola, piano) who held a highly-successful eight-year Artists-in-Residence position at Queen's University, Belfast. She has appeared with the chamber ensembles of the English Chamber Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, and with the Soloists of the Royal Opera House.
She has acted for several years as an official accompanist for IMS/Prussia Cove, the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and the Barbirolli International Oboe Competition and has adjudicated for the Royal Overseas League, YCAT, the Royal Academy of Music, the Parkhouse Award and the Pettman/ROSL Arts International Scholarship in New Zealand.
She has appeared as concerto soloist on tour with the Scottish Ensemble and with the Nargen Festival Orchestra on Naissar, Estonia. She has appeared at all the London recital halls and many across Europe, including the Concertgebouw, Koelner Philharmonie, Musikverein, Wien and the Philharmonie, St. Petersburg. She has toured South America, China, the Indian sub-continent, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Kenya and the Middle East and once gave a recital tour of Japan with the distinguished clarinettist Karl Leister.
She has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and 4, Classic FM, All-India Radio, and the national radio networks of Portugal, Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands. She also played and presented a Debussy Prelude as part of a BBC TV children's education series, and has appeared on television in Japan, Sweden, Kazakhstan and Turkey.
She has been a guest teacher at Lilla Akademien, Stockholm and has given masterclasses at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Modest Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia, the conservatoires of Guang Zhou and Xi An, China, and also founded the Norburton Hall Piano and String Masterclasses, which enable her to bring her great love of teaching not only to conservatoire students but also to those from all walks of life united by a passionate desire to study music.
Sophia Rahman studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School with Peter Norris and Louis Kentner. After taking a first class honours degree in English at King's College London, she completed her studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Alexander Kelly and Malcolm Martineau. She was elected an associate of the RAM in 1997. She was the winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition's Accompanist Award and the Liza Fuchsova Memorial Prize for a chamber music pianist in consecutive years.