Manchester Camerata + RNCM: Beethoven, Elgar & Smickersgill


Carmel Smickersgill New work *
Edward Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor Op 85


Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No 6 in F major Op 68 ‘Pastorale’

Gábor Takács-Nagy, Agata Zając conductors
Hannah Roberts cello

Hannah Roberts will play (the Concerto) on a fine Rugeri cello generously loaned to her by J & A Beare

The RNCM is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far but know we need to do more as we work to create a more sustainable world. One way we can make a huge difference is to minimise the number of printed programmes and free sheets we produce each season.

This is why we’ve decided to move away from mass produced, single use print for most of our events, offering an online programme of up-to-date information instead. Additionally, many of our concerts now include a personal introduction by members of staff and students, which gives insight into the repertoire performed as well as an opportunity to get to know our community a little more.   

Where printed programmes are still required, such as RNCM Opera performances and end of term showcases, content is thoughtfully produced using limited resources. An online option is also available for those wishing to support our mission.

We always welcome feedback from our audience members and would like to thank everyone who has supported our mission so far.


Gábor Takács-Nagy

Born in Budapest, Gábor Takács-Nagy began studying the violin at the age of eight. As a student of the Franz Liszt Academy, he won First Prize in 1979 in the Jeno Hubay Violin Competition and later pursued studies with Nathan Milstein. From 1975 to 1992, he was founding member and leader of the acclaimed Takács Quartet performing with legendary artists, Lord Menuhin, Sir Georg Solti, Isaac Stern and Mstislav Rostropovitch. In 1996 he founded the Takács Piano Trio and made world-premiere recordings of works of Hungarian composers Franz Liszt, Lászlo Lajtha and Sandor Veress. Gábor Takács-Nagy is considered one of today’s most authentic exponents of Hungarian music, and in particular, that of Béla Bartok.

In March 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Béla Bartok-Ditta Pasztory Prize. In 1998 he established the Mikrokosmos string quartet with compatriots Zoltan Tuska, Sandor Papp and Miklos Perényi. In 2002, following in a long-line of Hungarian musical tradition, Gábor Takács-Nagy turned to conducting . In 2006 he became the Music Director of the Weinberger Kammerorchestra and in August 2007, the Music Director of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.   From 2010 until 2012 he was Music Director of the MAV Symphony Orchestra Budapest and  since September 2011 , Music Director of Manchester Camerata. In September 2012 he was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra . From 2013 to 2018 he was Principal Artistic Partner of the Irish Chamber Orchestra. He is regularly invited to conduct the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestra Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, the Orchestra Filarmonica de Bologna, l’Orchestre de l’Opéra de Toulon, the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Calgary Philharmonic, the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra , the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Dijon-Bourgogne, the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne , the Orchestre de Chambre de Genève and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra amongst others.

Gábor Takács-Nagy is also a dedicated and highly sought-after chamber-music teacher. He is Professor of String Quartet at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva. In June 2012 he was awarded honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London and in February 2021 received the prestigious Artist of Merit award from the Hungarian Governement.

Hannah Roberts

Hannah Roberts is one of the outstanding ‘cellists of her generation and was privileged to have studied with Susanna Roberts, Jennifer Ward Clarke, Raphael Wallfisch, William Pleeth and Ralph Kirshbaum.

Having won prizes in numerous prestigious competitions and awards such as Shell LSO, BBC Young Musician, Jacqueline Du Pre Memorial and Pierre Fournier awards Hannah has gone on to give many concerto performances with leading orchestras, including the London Mozart Players, LSO, BBC Concert Orchestra, Halle and Manchester Camerata (where she is principal cellist), also making frequent broadcasts for BBC radio and recoding for ASV.

Festival appearances have included Chichester, Malvern, Beverley, ‘Beethovenfest’ and regular participation in the prestigious ‘Manchester International Cello Festival where she was invited to lead a world premiere of a cello sextet work by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and performed on numerous occasions.

Internationally she has taken part in the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles, ‘Cellissimo’ festival, and numerous other festivals in Europe, and has an active schedule of solo and chamber music performances and broadcasts.

Equally important to her activities as soloist, chamber musician, and principal cellist, Hannah is a committed and internationally sought-after teacher and is professor of cello at both the RAM in London and the RNCM in Manchester, and a visiting tutor for the University of Oxford.

Hannah’s former students include the internationally acclaimed British ‘cellist Sheku Kanneh Mason and some of the world’s leading soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral principals, including those from the Founier trio, Verona, Heath, Voce, Albion and Barbican string quartets and principals at the Halle, LPO, Mozarteum , Frankfurt Opera and Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

She is honoured to have been awarded both an HonRAM and an FRNCM for her work helping to nurture upcoming ‘cellists and enjoys working with some of the world’s most gifted young musicians at prestigious international masterclasses each summer.

Agata Zajac

Agata Zając is a Polish symphonic and opera conductor. She started her musical path as a violinist, and then completed her conducting studies at the Poznań Academy of Music. Currently, she is a D.A. student at the Academy of Music in Kraków under the guidance of Łukasz Borowicz.

Agata Zając is a former Resident Conductor of the Toruń Symphony Orchestra (2020/21) and the Sudeten Philharmonic Orchestra (2021/22). She already made her debuts abroad – recently in Musikverein Graz in Austria and Orchestre national de Metz in France. Moreover she had an opportunity to conduct many Polish orchestras incl. Poznań Philharmonic, Opole Philharmonic, Zielona Góra Philharmonic, Schumann Youth Orchestra and Archetti Chamber Orchestra. Since 2018, as an assistant conductor she has been collaborating with Warsaw Chamber Opera in premieres of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serai, Idomeneo and Halka of Stanislaw Moniuszko. In 2019 she was assisting to Greek conductor Michalis Economou in his international projects with Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Greek National Radio Orchestra and Athens Philharmonia Orchestra.

She participated in many international conducting masterclasses – with Jaap van Zweden, Johannes Schlaefli, Peter Eötvös, Mark Heron, Marin Alsop, David Reiland as teachers. She was a student of the Gstaad Conducitng Academy in 2021. She was invited to many international competitions and auditions – at most of them she reached the finals (Göteborg Opera, Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, Warsaw Philharmonic, NOSPR). At the Malta International Conducting Masterclass & Competition (2018) and International Conducting Competition Città di Brescia (2021) she received special distinctions. She was the participant of the last Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition where she had an opportunity to rehearse with the London Symphony Orchestra.

In 2018 she was awarded with a scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in Poland.

In the 2022/23 season Agata Zając is the Mills Williams Junior Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.