Described as 'an amazingly talented pianist' by Musica, Emma Abbate enjoys a demanding career as a piano accompanist and chamber musician. She works with some of the finest singers and instrumentalists of her generation and has performed in duo recitals for international festivals and concert societies in Austria, Portugal, Italy, Poland and the USA. In addition to broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, appearances in the UK include the Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, St John’s Smith Square, St George’s, Bristol and the Aldeburgh Festival.
Emma's latest release is Tournament for Twenty Fingers featuring piano duets by 20th-century British composers together with Julian Perkins for BIS Records. Her varied discography also includes a series of acclaimed recordings devoted to Italian vocal chamber music, the latest of which is Sera d'inverno: Songs by Ildebrando Pizzetti with mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Shakespeare Sonnets with bass-baritone Ashley Riches, both on Resonus Classics.
A keen advocate of contemporary music, Emma has released two discs devoted to works by Stephen Dodgson that include his piano quintets with the Tippett Quartet. Other world-première recordings include works for cello and piano by Algernon Ashton and Krzysztof Meyer with Evva Mizerska. Emma also cultivates an active interest in historical keyboards, and has performed and recorded on a range of original instruments for the Finchcocks Charity, at Hatchlands Park and the Russell Collection. She has released Weber's complete keyboard duets with Julian Perkins, with whom she has also recorded Mozart's complete keyboard duet sonatas on period instruments.
Based in London, Emma is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, a staff coach at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and has taught at the Verbier Festival Academy. Following her graduation from the S. Pietro a Majella Conservatoire in Naples and an Advanced Diploma from the S. Cecilia Conservatoire in Rome, Emma studied in London with Yonty Solomon. She completed her studies with Geoffrey Pratley as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, from where she graduated with distinction. She was also awarded an Italian Literature and Culture degree cum laude from the Federico II University in Naples, and has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of her ‘significant contribution’ thus far to the music profession.
enjoys a busy and varied career as both conductor and keyboard player. Described as 'exuberantly stylish' by the Sunday Times, he loves bringing his experience as a leading performer on period instruments to his work with both period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras and to singers of varied performing backgrounds. He is Artistic Director of Cambridge Handel Opera and the Founder Director of Sounds Baroque.
Shortlisted for the 2021 Gramophone Award for his recording of Eccles’s Semele with the Academy of Ancient Music and Cambridge Handel Opera, Julian Perkins has been praised as both conductor and keyboard soloist for his 'demonic intensity' (BBC Music Magazine Recording of the Month), 'fluid and natural pacing' (Gramophone Editor's Choice) and 'verve and suavity' (Classical Music), conducting 'as if every bar means the world to him' (Opera Disc of the Month), and giving 'performances that reach to the heart of the music' (International Record Review).
With Sounds Baroque, Julian Perkins has directed many acclaimed performances, working alongside singers such as Rebecca Evans, Dame Emma Kirkby, Mark Padmore, Christopher Purves, Ashley Riches and Carolyn Sampson. The numerous instrumental groups he has directed range from the Academy of Ancient Music to the Northern Chamber Orchestra, while he has led over twenty Baroque projects with the Southbank Sinfonia and opera productions for the Buxton International Festival, Cambridge Handel Opera, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Kings Place, Netherlands Opera Academy, New Chamber Opera, New Kent Opera and Snape Maltings. A unique feature of his work with Sounds Baroque is his co-creation with librettist and critic Stephen Pettitt of carefully crafted pasticcio operas, evolving what was a common eighteenth-century practice for the modern age. So far they have created Casanova (2016) and Dinner with Handel (2021), both received with much acclaim.
As a keyboard player, Julian Perkins performs regularly at the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and BBC Proms, and has given concerto performances with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium and the Orchestra of The Sixteen. Passionate about singers and singing, he has appeared as solo harpsichordist for the Royal Opera, Welsh National Opera and Northern Ireland Opera. He features regularly on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show and In Tune and has performed as a soloist at many prestigious venues, including London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center and Sydney Opera House. An avid recitalist, Julian has broken new ground at over a dozen international festivals by giving solo clavichord concerts, including programmes featuring complete performances of J. S. Bach’s two books of Das wohltemperierte Klavier. Duo recitals include appearances for the Mozart Society of America, the Oxford Lieder Festival and the Royal Opera with singers including Dame Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, Helen Charlston, Anna Dennis and Anna Stéphany, violinists Bojan Čičić and Peter Sheppard Skærved, keyboardists Emma Abbate and Terence Charlston, flautist Rachel Brown and gambist Reiko Ichise.
Julian read music at Cambridge University, before pursuing advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum, Basle, the Royal Academy of Music, London, and privately with conductor David Parry and harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock. Research is an essential element in his performing career, and his written articles have been published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Rhinegold Publishing. Historically informed musicianship also inspires his work as a visiting coach at the Royal Opera as well as the masterclasses he gives for the National Opera Studio, music colleges and universities in the UK and abroad.