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The Sollazzo Ensemble wins the 2015 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition

13 July 2015

Sollazzo Ensemble from Switzerland has won the highly respected biennial York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, organised by the National Centre for Early Music, which culminated on Saturday 11 July as part of the 2015 York Early Music Festival. The Ensemble was also awarded the Friends of York Early Music Festival Prize and the new Cambridge Early Music Festival Award.

Sollazzo Ensemble won over stiff competition from a strong line up of 10 finalists, which brought together young musicians from 22 different countries: Amsterdam Corelli Collective (The Netherlands); Consone Quartet (UK); Diapason (USA); Ensemble Ancor (Austria); Il Giorno Felice (Poland); Les Touches (USA); nexus baroque (Germany); Royal Baroque (UK); Sollazzo Ensemble (Switzerland) and The Scroll Ensemble (Netherlands).

Each group presented their final recital to a distinguished panel of judges comprising: Daniel Bizeray, Director of the Centre Culturel de Rencontre et Festival d'Ambronay; Kati Debretzeni, violinist and Artistic Adviser to the York Early Music Festival; Sally Dunkley, singer and practical scholar,The Sixteen; Philip Hobbs, chief classical producer/engineer at Linn Records and Peter Pontvik, Founder and Artistic Director of Stockholm Early Music Festival. 

Sollazzo Ensemble's Perrine Devillers, Yukie Sato sopranos, Vivien Simon tenor Anna Danilevskaia, Sophia Danilevskaia medieval fiddles, Vincent Kibildis harp impressed the judges with their programme 'Fiddle-Players at the Court of Burgundy' which featured 15th-century music for voices and instruments by Dufay, Agricola and Compère. 

The winners received a cheque for £1,000; opportunities to work with BBC Radio 3; a concert as part of the 2016 York Early Music Festival, and a CD recording produced by Linn Records. 

Consone Quartet from the UK and nexus baroque from Germany were both awarded places on the 'eeemerging' (Emerging European Ensembles) programme: a large-scale European project promoting the emergence of new talent in early music.

The EUBO Development Trust Prize, presented by Paul James, Director General of the EUBO, for the most promising young artists was won by the Consone Quartet 

At the end of the competition Philip Hobbs, Chairman of the Judges, said: "It has been an absolutely extraordinary day of music making. We have now arrived at a point where the technical mastery of these young musicians is a given and we can go beyond that to revel in their highly developed levels of contact, communication with each other and their audiences and the wonderful invention in their playing." 

Delma Tomlin MBE, Director of the National Centre for Early Music, who presented the eeemerging Award noted: "It has been a tremendous experience to listen to these young musicians. We are particularly delighted to offer Consone Quartet and nexus baroque the vast array of opportunities which the eeemerging European Ensembles programme provides by supporting and organising their projects, and helping them to confront the realities of the early music market in Europe." 

Catherine Bott, soprano and broadcaster who presented the competition and introduced the preceding informal recitals commented:  "The standard has been higher than ever this year. I've been struck by the musicians' open-mindedness and willingness to trust in even the smallest suggestions - such as balance or re-configuring their seating positions - which resulted noticeably in each and every ensemble raising their game in the final and improving their team work.  The Competition itself is a remarkable model of how all competitions should be run. It is a fantastic showcase of talent from around the world."

Highlights of the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition and music from the winner's recital will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show on 26 July at 2pm.

For information about this year's competition, and to view the final on-line, visit:

The next York Early Music International Young Artists Competition will take place in 2017 as part of the York Early Music Festival. Information will be available in due course on the National Centre for Early Music website at:

The Competition is supported by the National Centre for Early Music, BBC Radio 3 and Arts Council England, Yorkshire.


Press Contact:  Shona Galletly 
T: 07813 796 733

Notes to Editors:

1. Sollazzo Ensemble - Winners of the 2015 York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, The Friends of York Early Music Festival Prize and The Cambridge Early Music Festival Prize

Perrine Devillers soprano
Yukie Sato soprano, clavisimbalum
Vivien Simon tenor
Anna Danilevskaia, Sophia Danilevskaia medieval fiddles
Vincent Kibildis harp

Sollazzo Ensemble was founded in 2014 in Basel, where the members were all studying at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. The ensemble benefits from the diverse musical backgrounds of its members: while some of its players were already exploring early music, others found their calling via modern classical music, theatre or even musicals. The group has appeared in many concerts and also won a chamber music competition at the Schola Cantorum in 2014. Further afield, it has collaborated with the Fondazione Ezio Franceschini in Florence (exploring medieval Italian philology) and was invited to a congress on Matteo da Perugia by the prestigious Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. In 2015 the Sollazzo Ensemble is supported by the 'eeemerging' programme, which gives it the opportunity twice this year to concentrate on musical matters during residencies; first in the Collegio Ghislieri in Pavia, Italy, and later in the Centre culturel de rencontre d'Ambronay, France. 

2. Consone Quartet - Winners of the EUBO Development Trust Prize

Agata Daraskaite, Magdalena Loth-Hill violins
Louisa Tatlow viola
George Ross cello

Consone Quartet was founded in 2012 by students at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London. The quartet strives to recreate the classical sound-worlds of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert through period instrument performance. The Quartet performed for the BBC Radio 3 programme Between the Ears, and has participated in masterclasses with Lucy Russell, Catherine Martin, Jean Paterson and members of Florilegium. In 2013 the Consone Quartet was awarded the Century Fund Prize in the RCM Historical Performance Competition, and recorded works by Giovanni Antonio Giaj and Daniele Castrovillari with the Ballo Baroque Ensemble. In 2014 the quartet travelled to Bolivia to perform with the Arakaendar Choir, directed by Ashley Solomon. 

3. Consone Quartet & nexus baroque- Winners of the eeemerging Prize

(Consone Quartet details as s above)

nexus baroque
Julia Andres, Yeuntae Jung recorders
Hyngun Cho cello
Alexander Gergelyfi harpsichord

nexus baroque was formed in 2012, with the aim of exploring new ways of performing Baroque music. The musicians have all studied historical performance practice, and their challenge is to use their knowledge creatively, without being limited by strict conventions, so that they can approach the music with new insights. The ensemble was prizewinner of the first International Berlin Bach Competition in 2013 and was awarded second prize at the Alice Samter-Stiftung Competition 2014. As well as performing in Berlin and Vienna, the group was ensemble in residence at Schloss Rheinsberg in 2014.

4.The York Early Music International Young Artists Competition was created in 1985. Previously known as the Early Music Network IYAC, the Competition attracts young artists from all over the world. Previous winners are:  1985 Paul Goodwin (oboe) and Nicholas Parle (harpsichord); 1987 The Locke Consort; 1989 Joint winners: I Fagiolini and Musikfreunde; 1991 The Palladian Ensemble; 1993 Mhairi Lawson (soprano) and Olga Tverskaya (fortepiano); 1995 The Amarillis Consort; 1997 Voce Poetica; 1999 The Private Music; 2001 Apollo and Pan; 2003 Savadi; 2005 ensemble Fidicinium (York Early Music Festival Friends' Prize: Stile Antico); 2007 Le Jardin Secret; 2009 Ensemble Meridiana (York Early Music Festival Friends' Prize: Grand Désir); 2011 Profeti della Quinta (York Early Music Festival Friends' Prize: Encantar); 2013 Thalia Ensemble (York Early Music Festival Friends Prize: Duo Domenico)

5. York Early Music Festival is supported by the Arts Council England, Yorkshire; the Cultural Programme of the European Union; the City of York Council; media partner BBC Radio 3; the National Centre for Early Music and tourism partners Welcome to Yorkshire and members of the York Hoteliers Association.