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.
Peter Esswood’s musical career has been varied and distinguished: singer, conductor, cellist, a member of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and frequent guest of the Philharmonia. As a member of the Ariosi String Quartet he appeared on BBC Television in Top of the Pops, Everyman and Horizon. In a solo capacity he has recorded incidental music for BBC Television and Radio programmes including Timewatch, The Artist’s Eye, Doctors To Be and The Sea.
His work with orchestras has received wide acclaim and includes: Conductor in Residence for the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Symphony Orchestra, Singapore in 2006, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Junior Department Symphony Orchestra 2007-08, where he continues to teach Chamber Music. Peter was a Professor of Orchestral Training at the Royal College of Music Junior Department until 1997 and Head of Strings at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama from 1972-2012.
Peter has adjudicated at many prestigious festivals including the Audi Junior Musician, BBC Young Musician, Music for Youth, Pro Corda National Chamber Music Festival for Schools and the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, the world’s largest competitive music and drama festival. He is also a diploma examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and was Joint Artistic Director of the Lower Machen Festival, a post held for 7 years until 2017.
His work as a performer and teacher has been recognized internationally giving masterclasses and coaching in the UK and abroad including Shanghai, Helsinki, Tampere, Weimar, Switzerland and Singapore.
Peter has been chair of the European String Teachers Association (ESTA) UK Branch and member of the International Board of Directors. He continues to pursue an active career giving concerts as Conductor of the Welsh Chamber Players formed in 2012.
John is a Clarinettist, Conductor, Composer, and Pianist, who also plays the Saxophone and Organ. He gained a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music where he won many prizes for Clarinet, Theory of Music, and Chamber Music, and whilst there performed the Concertos of Spohr, Nielsen, Finzi, and Mozart. Whilst still at College he was a first prize winner at the Royal Overseas Competition at the Wigmore Hall, played for the BBC Young Artists on Radio 3, and also performed for the Park Lane Group at the Purcell Room before embarking on a very active freelance playing career. This included performing with many BBC orchestras as well as being Principal Clarinet in Kent Opera under Sir Roger Norrington.
He enjoyed teaching and worked at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before moving up to Manchester to tutor at the RNCM, later becoming Director of Woodwind, and Chethams School of Music. John’s most recent post was Head of Woodwind at RWCMD in Cardiff. As a music examiner for over 36 years John has travelled to over 30 countries, giving many Masterclasses abroad. As a Trinity Examiner this year takes him to Egypt, Qatar, a return visit to India, and New Zealand. In 2014 he recorded 88 clarinet pieces for the ABRSM syllabus accompanying CD’S, and recently recorded for Morten Laurisden in his Quattro Canciones. He has conducted numerous Wind Orchestras, and has items in print: Two Books of Clarinet Studies have been set for ABRSM and LCM syllabi. He lives in the Vale of Glamorgan, and plays the organ in his local church. As an adjudicator he has worked, amongst others for the BBC Young Musician Competition, the British Federation of Music Festivals, and other College and School Eisteddfods.
As an accompanist, Zoë Smith has worked extensively in the UK and internationally with both singers and instrumentalists. A graduate of Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Music, she has developed strong links with Mexico, where she frequently performs and teaches. She has received prizes in song accompaniment and has also specialised in flute repertoire, working in masterclasses and recitals with many leading flautists and recording three CDs. Zoë is a member of Altitude, a viola and piano duo, with Philip Heyman, Principal Viola of WNO, and together they are actively commissioning new works by Welsh composers.
Zoë is Head of Interdisciplinary Practice (Music) at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.
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.