Florence Cooke enjoys a versatile career as chamber musician, soloist, and chamber orchestra member, and has performed extensively in Europe, the US, Canada, China, South America and Australia. She is the winner of many prizes and awards including the Myra Hess award, Nigel Brown Prize, Razumovsky Trust award, and awards from the Countess of Munster Trust and Musicians Benevolent Fund. She held the Leverhulme Fellowship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for two years, and her main teachers were Krzysztof Smietana and David Takeno. A review in the Observer described her playing as ‘taut, precise and atmospheric.. appeared flawless’.
This season Florence has performed at Southwell Festival leading and directing the Baroque ensemble and the Festival orchestra, Festival Chaise-Dieu in France, Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany, Wye Valley Festival and IMS Prussia Cove. She has a keen interest in historical performance, frequently leading the Oxford Bach Soloists and performing with Arcangelo and the Dunedin Consort. She has also played as principal with Aurora, Northern Sinfonia and European Camerata, and guest led Chroma Ensemble and Ensemble Cymru. As a soloist she has performed with the Presteigne Festival Orchestra, Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, Oxford Sinfonia, Royal Orchestral Society of London, and the London Handel Orchestra.
Florence is a member of the Ferdinand Piano Trio, and over lockdown she formed the Pasqualati Quartet, with whom she has performed many of the Beethoven quartets. She directs and coaches the Maiastra Chamber music courses, and is a guest teacher at the Yehudi Menuhin School and at Junior Guildhall in London. Her most recent project is to curate the newly formed Olivier International Recitals Oxford, where she lives.
Ivana Gavrić’s playing has been described as “altogether of an extraordinary calibre” (BBC Music Magazine) and “notable for its beautiful sound, musical integrity and introspection” (The Independent). She has attracted considerable praise for her interpretations of a broad range of repertoire, with The Washington Post describing her playing as “impressive, insightful…ravishing”. Ivana is particularly drawn to composers like Janáček, Grieg and Chopin, who each take features of their respective homelands to create a distinctive musical voice, whether from the landscape and nature or from elements of folk music and dance. A long-standing collaboration with the award-winning composer, Cheryl Frances-Hoad has led to solo works and more recently a concerto entitled Between the Skies, the River and the Hills written for Ivana. Ivana is also committed to performing works by female composers of the past, particularly Cécile Chaminade and Dora Pejačević.
Her recent concerto performances include Grieg and Rachmaninov with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, and Beethoven’s Emperor with the RPO at the Royal Albert Hall. She has also performed with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, South Denmark Philharmonic and Southbank Sinfonia, and has collaborated with conductors including Rafael Payare, Nicholas Collon, Christian Kluxen, Karin Hendrickson and Ben Gernon. She especially enjoys working with chamber orchestras, and highlights to date have included performing with the Trondheim Soloists, Aurora Orchestra and recently Camerata Zürich and City of London Sinfonia. Ivana has been heard on the concert platform at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, the Berlin Konzerthaus, Tonhalle Zürich, KKL Lucerne and the Gilmore Piano Festival, as well as across China, in Canada and this season in Peru. She created a sensation with her debut album In the Mists, winning BBC Music Magazine Newcomer of the Year. Her recording of Grieg: Piano Works was selected as Gramophone Editor’s Choice and in 2024 she will be releasing a new album on Signum.
A dedicated chamber musician, Ivana has partnered colleagues including Maxim Vengerov, Matthew Barley and Thomas Gould at festivals in the UK and across Europe. She has given the Advanced Piano Masterclass at the Dartington Summer festival for the last three years, and has taken part in the IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music Sessions, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme as well as the outreach scheme Live Music Now. Outside the concert hall she is featured playing Chopin and Beethoven in BBC2’s adaptation of The Line of Beauty, and Bach in Anthony Minghella’s film Breaking and Entering.
Born into a musical family in Sarajevo and raised in the UK, Ivana studied at the University of Cambridge and at the Royal College of Music. Her teachers include Niel Immelman, Peter Bithell and James Gibb. Ivana is proud to be an ambassador for the charity ‘Music Action International’.
Florence last performed at Wellhayes in 2021, when she captivated the audience with her performance of the Poulence Sonata and Stravinsky Suite Italienne. For this concert, Florence and Ivana Gavrić will perform:
Mozart – Sonata in E minor K.304
Schubert – Sonata in A major K.574 “Grand Duo”
Brahms Hungarian Dances nos 1, 2 and 5
Ravel – Sonata No. 2 in G major