German born pianist Beate Toyka is a graduate of Cologne Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Hamish Milne. While there she won the Leslie England prize for interpretation. As well as playing mainstream repertoire she has explored less familiar music: Baltic composers, German contemporary music, and music with African and Jazz influences. She has pursued a successful career in both performance and teaching. Beate has lived in both Cambridge and Botswana (Southern Africa), and now lives in Derbyshire.
In continental Europe Beate has performed in Austria, Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic, as a soloist as well as in chamber groups. Recently for example she performed a programme of Anglo-Austrian music at the British Embassy in Vienna. From Botswana she toured Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa, often under the auspices of the Goethe Institute. In England she has performed the whole of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier on several occasions and has played all Beethoven piano concertos and several of the great Romantic piano concertos, with the Derby Concert and Chamber Orchestras, the Chesterfield Symphonia, Nottingham Symphony Orchestra, Helix Ensemble and the Cambridge Sinfonia. With her Mercian Piano Trio she performed many trio concerts, as well as Beethoven’s Triple Concerto (with the Derby Concert orchestra). In the Chopin bicentenary year (2010) Beate played a series of memorial concerts here and in Germany, featuring all of Chopin’s Etudes and his four Ballades.
Beate has a particular interest in multi-piano playing and formed the Derby Piano Quartet, four pianists – eight hands, who give concerts and run workshops to encourage youngsters to play with fellow pianists.
Neil is a freelance saxophone, clarinet and flute player who is active performing, teaching, directing and writing. Based in London, he has performed with ensembles across the UK, including the Northern Chamber Orchestra,BBC Concert Orchestra, Apollo Saxophone Orchestra, National Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra, Manchester Concert Orchestra and Sax Assault. He specialises in chamber music and has performed and recorded with various groups at concert halls and festivals around Europe.
As a woodwind ‘doubler’, much of Neil’s performing is in London’s West End and he has played on over 30 shows. He is currently playing saxes/flute/clarinet in the pit orchestra of multi award-winning Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre.
After initially studying clarinet, Neil became the first ever principal-study saxophonist to graduate from The University of Manchester. He then went on to study with Rob Buckland at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating in 2001. During this time he won awards from The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Hattori Foundation, Proctor-Gregg Prize, Trevor Wye prize for chamber music and was a semi-finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Musician competition.
Neil is passionate about music education. He is Head of Woodwind at one of the UK’s leading secondary schools for music – Dame Alice Owen’s School, Hertfordshire. He also directs courses for the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain and Benslow Music. He is a woodwind adjudicator for the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Festival, and has written for Music Teacher magazine. Neil has taught, examined or given classes at many institutions including: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, Junior Guildhall, The University of Manchester, Westminster School, Haileybury, Highgate School and Ampleforth College.
He runs the Freelance Woodwind Benefit Society – a not-for-profit charitable co-operative that provides financial help to freelance professional woodwind players if they are unable to work due to illness or accident.
Christopher Horner was born in London and studied violin at the ILEA Centre for Young Musicians, the Royal Academy of Music, Surrey University, and as a postgraduate in Barcelona. His principal teachers were Henry Rubin and Eva Graubin. Christopher was invited to teach at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 1999, becoming Deputy Head of Strings the following year until 2009 when he returned to a freelance career. He is active as a recitalist and chamber musician performing throughout the UK, Europe and Southern Africa. He has worked with ensembles include Soundwaves (South Africa) and the PM Ensemble in Cardiff, as well as having much experience as a violinist in both chamber and symphony orchestras. Christopher has also given the UK premières of the complete works for violin and piano by the Lithuanian composer Juozas Gruodis whose work he is due to record for CD with John Lenehan.
An inspiration for teachers and pupils alike, Pam Wedgwood’s music has been a staple diet for young musicians throughout the world for almost twenty years. Pam’s musical career began with the recorder and piano, and Tenor Horn and Euphonium through the brass band tradition at her school. She then took up the Cello and French Horn, entering Trinity College of Music in London to study Piano, Horn, Cello and composition at the age of sixteen.
After graduating she began a career as a professional French Horn player, working with the Royal Ballet Touring Orchestra, The Royal Opera, the BBC Concert Orchestra and many West End shows. Marriage and a young family led her to take up an appointment as a peripatetic instrumental music teacher in Surrey in the late 1970s, and she began composing pieces for her pupils. In the UK she has led many workshops for the European Piano Teachers’ Association and has inspired teachers in workshops as far afield as Singapore and Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
Pam now concentrates on composing and teaching, though she is also a keen sportswoman and international traveller!
Gerard McChrystal comes from Derry, N.Ireland. He studied in Manchester, London and Chicago. Gerard has performed in 30 countries including USA, South Africa, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Korea and Germany. He has recorded albums with BBC NOW, Ulster Orchestra, London Musici, guitarist Craig Ogden, The Smith Quartet, Yan Pascal Tortelier and record labels include Chandos, Signum Records and Silva Screen.
Gerard has developed a repertoire of accessible new works, often with a Celtic influence some of which have been published in his saxophone series by Camden Music, London. Orchestras Gerard has worked with include Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland, Stuttgart Staatsorchester and the Orchestra of San Francisco Ballet. Venues include San Francisco Opera House, Baku Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, National Concert Hall, Dublin and a long hut in Sarawak, Borneo.
He has worked with Philip Glass, The Smith Quartet, guitarist Craig Ogden, percussionists Ensemble Bash, pianist Joanna McGregor, Graham Fitkin, tenorist Tommy Smith and vocal groups Anuna and Codetta.
Gerard is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity College of Music, London and is endorsed by Rico.
(Click on Pictures for Websites)
The Distinguished Musicians who have adjudicated at AFYM…
Vanessa Latarche* | Richard McMahon | Graeme Humphrey | Simon Nicholls | James Lisney* | Frank Wibaut* | Tom Poster* | Gordon Back* | Juilet Edwards* | Christine Stevenson | Christopher Horner | Patricia Kier | Zoe Smith | Gary Branch | Pam Wedgwood
Paul Sanders | David Campbell* | Robert Codd | Neil Black* | Martin Gatt | Emma Williams* | Christopher Vale | Paul Harris* | Peter Fielding | Neil Crossley | Domonic Childs
Rebecca Jones | Erika Klemperer | Luciano Iorio | Diana Cummings* | Harry Cawood | Lucy Gould* | John Senter | Peter Esswood | Valerie Aldrich-Smith | Beate Toyka | Hannah Stone | Simon Jones
Gerard McCrystal | Kevin Price | Zoe Smith | Anthony Williams | Huw Tregelles Williams | Alun John | Peter Hewitt
*Denotes adjudicator who has given a Performance as part of AFYM.