The Hallé Featuring RNCM Students


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major K 364 ^
George Walker Lyric for Strings
Johannes Brahms Double Concerto in A minor Op 102 *

Jamie Phillips conductor
Ning Feng violin, István Várdai cello *
Callum Smart violinLise Berthaud viola ^ 


Hallé Orchestra with RNCM String Students

First Violins
Sarah Ewin, Dylan Edge*, Tiberiu Buta, Samy Okuma-Chin*, Peter Liang, Magdalena Riedl*, Helen Bridges, James Warburton*, Nicola Clark, Kourosh Ahmadi*, Victor Hayes, Susanna Alsey*, John Gralak, Ammal Bhatia*

Second Violins
Paulette Bayley, Grainne White*, Hannah Smith, Jocelyn Lau*, John Purton, Alexandra Webber*, Eva Petrarca, Andrew Taheny*, Diego Gabete, Georgina Finlayson*, Yu-Mien Sun, Becky Cheung*

Timothy Pooley, India Blackshaw-Britton*, Martin Schaefer, Susanna Ward*, Robert Criswell, Nadia Eskandari*, Gemma Dunne, Adonis Lau*, Cameron Campbell, Rhiannon Collins*

Simon Turner, Josh Mountford*, Dale Culliford, Neil Sild*, Jane Hallett, Hoda Jahanpour*, Jonathan Pether, Natalie Bechmann*

Yi Xin Salvage, Maria Fernandes*, Beatrice Schirmer, Harvey Falla*, Rachel Meerloo, Sara Banks*

*RNCM student


Amy Yule, Sarah Bennett

Joanne Boddington

Tom Davey, Dave Benfield

Cor Anglais
Matt Jones

Sergio Castello Lopez, Rosa Campos-Fernandez

Bass Clarinet
James Muirhead

Angharad Thomas, Elena Comelli

Simon Davies

Laurence Rogers, Matthew Head, Julian Plummer, Richard Bourn, Andrew Maher

Gareth Small, Tom Osborne

Tenor Trombones
Katy Jones, Roz Davies

Bass Trombone
Kyle MacCorquodale

Ewan Easton

Erika Öhman

David Hext, Ric Parmigiani

Marie Leenhardt



Jamie Phillips - conductor

Jamie Phillips’s penetrating insight and innate musicality convey an infectious joy in his music-making. Praised for his “ability to pick up a familiar piece by the scruff of its neck and shake invigorating new life into it” (Bachtrack), Phillips is a natural story- teller whose clear and expressive hands deliver his ardent vision.

Jamie Phillips has developed a strong guest conducting profile across Europe, recently conducting the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Het Gelders Orkest, Oslo Philharmonic, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Opera de Lyon, Camerata Salzburg, Odense Symphony and Orchestre National d’Ile de France.

Jamie Phillips enjoys a close association with the Hallé Orchestra. Following his successful appointment as Assistant Conductor (aged 20) the orchestra created the title of Associate Conductor for him and he returns to conduct subscription concerts in May 2022. Elsewhere in 21/22 he conducts the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the orchestra of Glyndebourne Opera and the Wuerttemburgische Philharmonie, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie where he is a regular guest.

His repertoire ranges from baroque to the present day, and it is contemporary works he has so far committed to disc. With the Hallé his recordings of works by Tarik O’Regan and Helen Grime for the NMC label were “spot-on” (Classical Music magazine). His October 2020 release of 11 commissioned works inspired by JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations with the NDR Radio Philharmonie and violinist Niklas Liepe for Sony won an Opus Klassik Award, and further recordings are planned.

During his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music Jamie Phillips was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Besançon Competition and came second in the 2012 Nestlé Salzburg Young Conductors Award. In 2016 was awarded a Dudamel Fellowship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Ning Feng - violin

Ning Feng is recognised internationally as an artist of great lyricism, innate musicality and stunning virtuosity. He performs across the globe with major orchestras and conductors, and in recital and chamber concerts in some of the most important international series and festivals. In 2019 the Washington Post described him as “a wonderful player with a creamy, easy tone and an emotional honesty” and BBC Music Magazine said of a recent recording: “His silvery tonal purity, immaculate intonation and gently beguiling musicality have a way of making most other players sound decidedly effortful by comparison.”

Ning Feng has toured Europe, Asia and Australia with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and van Zweden, he has toured China with the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer, with whom he has also performed several times in Budapest, with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchester and Lawrence Foster, and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he has also worked many times. Other career highlights to date include performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, LA Philharmonic, National Symphony (Washington), Helsinki Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Russian National Symphony orchestras amongst others. He has worked with many eminent conductors including Gianandrea Noseda, Marin Alsop, Yu Long, Tugan Sokhiev, Vladimir Spivakov and Vassily Petrenko

Ning Feng records for Channel Classics and his most recent disc ‘Paganini Caprices 24+1’ was released in Jan 2021, which Gramophone reviews as “his ability to make the music palatable for listeners… The more you listen the more you want to listen”, and it’s been Recommended by the Strad magazine. His earlier recording of Bach’s complete solo works for violin was hailed by Gramophone as “unlike anyone else’s… it’s the illusion of a freewheeling conversation projected from within that held me captive.” His discography also includes concerti by Elgar, Finzi, Tchaikovsky, Paganini, Vieuxtemps, Bruch (Scottish Fantasy), works for violin and orchestra by Sarasate, Lalo, Ravel and Bizet/Waxman, and with the Dragon Quartet works by Schubert, Dvořák, Borodin, Shostakovich and Weinberg.

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music with Prof. Weimin Hu, the Hanns Eisler School of Music (Berlin) with Prof. Antje Weithaas and the Royal Academy of Music (London) with Prof. Hu Kun, where he was the first student ever to be awarded 100% for his final recital. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition (New Zealand), and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition.

Ning Feng plays the 1710 Stradivari violin known as the ‘Vieuxtemps Hauser’, by kind arrangement with Premiere Performances of Hong Kong, and plays on strings by Thomastik-Infeld, Vienna.

István Várdai - cello

István Várdai is highly regarded for his joyous energy, rhythmic vigour and elegant grace in his soulful renditions of solo, chamber music and orchestral repertoires for cello. As Artistic Director of Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra since 2020, István presents inspiring and creative programmes. Alongside this, István welcomes world-renowned musicians at the Kapostfest Chamber Music Festival in Hungary, which he co-curates with violinist Kristóf Baráti, and continues his soloist career with leading orchestras performing repertoire from Bach to Saariaho.

2021/22 season orchestral highlights include Orchestre national d’Île-de-France with Case Scaglione, Gulbenkian Orchestra and Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille with Larry Foster, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Mark Wigglesworth, the Hallé with Jamie Phillips and State Symphony Orchestra of Russia with Yuri Bashmet.

Past seasons’ highlights include engagements with Helsinki Philharmonic with Susanna Mälkki, Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra with Hannu Lintu, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra with Douglas Boyd, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra with Jun Maerkl, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse with Klaus Mäkelä and many others. In chamber recitals, he has performed with András Schiff, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Mischa Maisky and Víkingur Olafsson in some of the world’s leading venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall, and Vienna’s Musikverein.

Over the years, István Várdai’s has recorded Janáček, Prokofiev and Elgar’s cello concertos on Ysaÿe Records, pieces by Mendelssohn, Martinů, Paganini, Beethoven and Popper on Hännsler label, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations in both versions and Bach’s solo cello suites on Brilliant Classics, Singing Cello and Dancing Cello on Hungaroton label that features famous encores and a compilation of popular cello pieces of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Following success on the competitions circuit, including first prizes at the 2014 ARD International Music Competition and at the 2008 Geneva International Music Competition, István Várdai served on the jury of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2019. He has been teaching at Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts where he succeeded the late Heinrich Schiff in the role, and where he himself studied in 2005. István Várdai plays on ‘Ex du Pré-Harrell’ Stradivari made in 1673, previously played by Jacqueline du Pré.

Callum Smart - violin

Callum Smart is quickly developing an international reputation as one of Britain’s finest young violinists and an innovative pedagogue, combining his professorship at the RNCM with his following of 40k+ on Instagram. He is celebrated for the sincerity of his singing line, combining ‘brilliant technique with the confidence to take risks’ (Bachtrack) and his ‘utterly convincing’ interpretations (BBC Music Magazine).

Recognised as a rising star since winning the BBC Young Musician strings category and being the top European prize-winner at the Menuhin Competition in 2010, Smart now enjoys concert appearances with the UK’s leading orchestras, including re-invitations to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

This season Callum Smart performs the Elgar Concerto, both in the UK and US, as well as concerto performances of Korngold, Bruch, Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, and a Mozart Sinfonie Concertante with the Hallé Orchestra. It also sees the return of a full recital schedule with pianist Richard Uttley and a series of trio concerts with horn player Ben Goldscheider.

Previous season highlights include his debut with the BBC Philharmonic performing Berg Concerto, and his North American debut with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as performances with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, European Union Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus Sinfonia and Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, covering a range of concerto repertoire from Bach and Beethoven to Sibelius, Brahms, Britten, Prokofiev, Elgar and Weill. As a recitalist, Smart performs at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and at a number of European festivals including the Cheltenham Festival, Dvorak Festival in Prague, Menuhin Festival, Mecklenburg Vorpommern and the Malmo International String Festival. Continuing his advocacy for new music, Callum worked with composer George Benjamin to perform his Three Pieces for solo violin at both the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Northern College of Music. He also performed Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne for solo violin at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

Now with 3 recital discs to his name, 2020 saw the release of ‘Transatlantic’, which was a top 30 album on the UK classical charts and earned Smart features as Classic FM and Scala Artist of the Week.

Callum Smart earned an Artist Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, studying with Mauricio Fuks. He then took up a place on the International Artist Diploma postgraduate course at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) studying with Ana Chumachenco and Noah Bendix-Bagley.

Callum Smart plays on a c.1730-35 violin by Carlo Bergonzi.

Lise Berthaud- viola

Lise Berthaud is unanimously praised as an outstanding figure on the international music scene. She has performed in various prestigious concert venues throughout the world (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Het Concertgebouw, Baden Baden Festspielhaus, Elbphilharmonie, Musikverein, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, The Sage Gateshead, Philharmonie de Paris, Moritzburg Festival, Schwartzenberg’s Schubertiade Hohenems, Rencontres Musicales d’Evian) with such artists as Renaud Capuçon, Baiba Skride, Lauma Skride, Harriet Krijgh, Julian Steckel, Daishin Kashimoto, Eric Le Sage, Augustin Dumay, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Emmanuel Pahud, Gordan Nikollich, Martin Helmchen, Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, Alina Ibragimova, Veronika Eberle, Christian Poltera, Quatuor Ebène, the Modigliani Quartet.

As a soloist, Lise Berthaud has played with all BBC orchestras, including for her BBC Proms Debut in 2014 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton. Other solo engagements include the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Orchestre National de Lyon, les Musiciens du Louvre, Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Sao Paulo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Orchestre de Chambre de Wallonie, Hong-Kong Sinfonietta, and various orchestras in France, with conductors like Sakari Oramo, Fabien Gabel, Emmanuel Krivine, Andrew Litton, François Leleux, Paul Mc Creesh, Marc Minkowski., Leonard Slatkin who invited Lise to perform and record (for Naxos) Harold in Italy with the Orchestre National de Lyon as part of the orchestra’s Berlioz complete works recording for Naxos.

During the 2013-2015 period Lise Berthaud was part of the prestigious BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme which allowed her to perform with all BBC orchestras and record a great amount of repertoire both live and in studio.

After taking part in Eric Le Sage’s successful Schumann and Fauré recording, she released her first solo album in 2013 with pianist Adam Laloum under the French Aparté label. The disc featuring works by Brahms, Schumanna and Schubert was unanimously praised and won several awards in France. Her passion for contemporary music has also lead her to collaborate with various composers, including Philippe Hersant, Thierry Escaich, Henri Dutilleux, Gyorgy Kurtag, Guillaume Connesson or Florentine Mulsant.

Lise Berthaud was born in 1982 and started studying the violin at the age of 5. She studied with Pierre-Henry Xuereb and Gérard Caussé at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris and was a prize winner of the European Young Instrumentalists Competition in 2000. In 2005, she won the Hindemith Prize at the Geneva International Competition. She was short listed by the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2009 as “Révélation de l’Année” (Newcomer of the Year).

Lise Berthaud plays a 1660 Antonio Casini viola, courtesy of Bernard Magrez.