Artist Led, Creatively Driven


Pupils of the Yehudi Menuhin School 

Maxim Rysanov, viola / conductor
Ashley Wass, piano
Como Tomita, violin
Yume Tomita, violin

Release Date: March 22nd



Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
1. Chanson de matin, Op.15 No.2
Maxim Rysanov, conductor
Arranged by William Henry Reed
Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908)

2. Navarra, Op.33
Coco Tomita & Yume Tomita, violin
Arranged by Quentin Thomas

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Dances for Harp and String Orchestra
3. I Danse sacrée
4. II Danse profane
Rebecca You, harp
Matthew Taylor, conductor

Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994)
Four Silesian Melodies
5. I Zalotny (Flirting)
6. II Gaik (The Grove)
7. III Gaslor (A Gander)
8. IV Rektor (The Schoolmaster)
Vadym Perig, violin
Jana Jakovljevic, violin
Mariam Obolashvili, violin
Robin Wilson, violin

Béla Bartók (1881-1945)
Romanian Folk Dances
9. I Jocul cu bâtă (Stick Dance)
10. II Brâul (Sash Dance)
11. III Pe loc (In One Spot)
12. IV Buciumeana (Dance from Bucsum)
13. V Poarga românească (Romanian Polka)
14. VI Mărunţel (Fast Dance)
15. VII Mărunţel (Fast Dance)
Maxim Rysanov, conductor & viola
Arranged by Arthur Willner & Maxim Rysanov

Dobrinka Tabakova (b.1980)
16. Pirin
Maxim Rysanov, conductor

Arno Babajanian (1921-1983)
17. Elegy in memory of Khachaturian
Maxim Rysanov, conductor
Arranged by Sasha Parker

Huang Haihuai (1935-1967)
18. Horse Race
Tom Yang, conductor
Arranged by Tom Yang

Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014)
Little Suite for String Orchestra
19. I Sea Chant
20. II Little Serenade
21. III Left Bank Waltz
Otis Enokido-Lineham, conductor

Fela Sowande (1905-1987)
22. “Akinla” from African Suite
Otis Enokido-Lineham, conductor

Andrés Martín (b.1981)
23. La feria de San Telmo
Levi Andreassen, double bass
Nathan Perry, double bass

Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
24. “Brasileira” from Scaramouche, Op.165
Alasdair Howell, Richard Zhang, Zeynep Ozden, Mischa Carr, piano

Leo Brouwer (b.1939)
25. Cuban Landscape with Rain
Kotone Ozaki, Jason Zheng, Simon Nivy, Henry Lin, guitar

Florence Price (1887-1953)
26. “Juba” from Piano Quintet in A minor
Clara Wernig, Lucrezia Lavino Mercuri, violin
Jemimah Quick, viola
Filippo Ramacciotti, cello
Jude Usborne, piano

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Three Preludes
27. I Allegro ben ritmato e deciso 1.37
28. II Andante con moto 3.45
29. III Agitato 1.23
Ignacy Stefanowicz, violin
Suyla Polat, guitar
Lukas Hall, double bass
Arranged by Richard Wright

30. Londonderry Air
Maxim Rysanov, conductor
Arranged by Mika Petrovic


Pupils of the Yehudi Menuhin School

Sometimes, even the best-laid plans take a while to come to fruition.

The prospect of The Yehudi Menuhin School recording an album for Orchid Classics was first mooted in early 2020. But fitting such an ambitious project into an exceptionally busy school schedule – one which is full to the brim with concerts, tours and all manner of musical activities – was never going to be easy, especially when factoring in the availability of the guest artists who feature on many of the tracks contained herein. And so it came to pass that it took over 3 full years for this particular acorn to become a tree, with sessions staggered across a lengthy period.

Given the busyness of The Menuhin School diary, and the need to carefully balance the workloads of its pupils, every major project that the school undertakes must be vetted for its educational value. The experience of recording a commercial album at such a young age (participating pupils range from 12-19) is something that will have life-long benefit to those who took part, and to be guided through the process by a range of exceptional artists and a world-class producer made for a truly wonderful series of sessions at The Menuhin Hall.

The Menuhin School is home to a small but extremely diverse community, with pupils – most often supported by bursaries or the Music and Dance Scheme – coming from all around the world. It was this cosmopolitan mix which served as the inspiration for the theme of this album; although it would be impossible to create a CD-length playlist which showcases every nationality represented at the school – to do so would take much more than 80 minutes! – our traversal of the globe, and the range of musical styles incorporated along the way, captures the essence of our society.

The school is blessed with an extraordinary array of young talent, and this album is intended to showcase their eclectic musical backgrounds. We have included arrangements by both staff and students, we cover multiple musical genres, and several pupils appear on more than one instrument. We are privileged to welcome Maxim Rysanov (the school’s first-ever Associate Artist), Otis Enokido-Lineham (our Head of Orchestral Training) and Matthew Taylor (the distinguished composer and educator) to lead the school orchestra, whilst staff members Robin Wilson (Professor of Violin) and Ashley Wass (Director of Music) also make brief cameos, as does one the school’s most celebrated recent alumna, Coco Tomita. Pulling the strings (no pun intended) behind the scenes at all sessions was the wonderful Andrew Keener, for whose sensitivity, wisdom, generosity and professionalism that he provided we are eternally grateful.

Choosing a running order for such a long and varied track listing prompted much debate, but the notion of beginning close to home (with ‘home’ being South-East England), and then following a relatively ordered and logical geographical traversal of the globe, eventually presented the most palatable musical journey. Moving across continents in this way provides a fascinating exploration and evolution of styles, proving once and for all that music really has no boundaries.

Our odyssey starts in leafy, sleepy England, with Elgar’s Chanson de Matin. A predictably popular piece at The Menuhin School in its original format for violin and piano, here it is heard in an arrangement for string orchestra by William Henry Reed. One can almost picture being on the school’s beautiful grounds when listening to this miniature tone poem, such is the serenity and grace of the pastoral scene evoked. Things become altogether more fiery as we cross to mainland Europe and are whisked into the world of Spanish dance via Sarasate’s Navarra. Here played by the Tomita sisters, both pupils of The Menuhin School, this take on the traditional jota showcases the most virtuosic of violin playing. Crossing into France, we then encounter Debussy’s Danses Sacrée et Profane, and are immediately plunged into a strange and mystical atmosphere. Debussy’s trademark harmonic movements suit the harp perfectly – here played by one of our pupils, Rebecca You; its shimmering sounds gently suspended by the orchestra. Waltzing pulses recall the elan and glamour of the “belle epoque.”

Heading further east, the rich and storied Silesian culture is exhibited in four playful miniature melodies from the pen of one the 20th century’s most original voices, Witold Lutosławski, whilst Bartók’s eternally popular Romanian Dances, here presented in an arrangement by Arthur Willner with further modifications by Maxim Rysanov, offer excitement and exoticism in equal measure through their dramatic reinterpretations of Transylvanian folk tunes.

Pulsing, motoric patterns form the core of Bulgarian-British composer Dobrinka Tabakova’s Pirin. Originally written as a piece for solo viola and transcribed by the composer specially for this album, the music draws inspiration from the Gadulka, a Bulgarian folk instrument, to evoke the dramatic Pirin mountain range. By contrast, our final stop in Eastern Europe – Armenia – transports us into a world of solemnity through Arno Babajanian’s deeply moving Elegy in memory of Khachaturian. Arranged for piano and strings by another Menuhin School pupil, Sasha Parker, this piece takes its theme from a traditional Armenian lullaby, as one musical giant from the region pays tribute to another.

Leaving Europe behind, we travel to the Asian Steppe, where we encounter horses galloping in a grand race across the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. Originally composed in the 1950s by Huang Haihuai, and arranged (and conducted) for this album by a Menuhin School pupil, Tom Yang, the piece serves as a showcase for virtuosic string playing and melodies inspired by regional five-note scales.

Travelling to Australia, we meet the music of Tasmanian-born composer, Peter Sculthorpe, whose work regularly blends elements of Western classical style with the Aboriginal music of his homeland. The three movements of the Little Suite evoke sincere affection, with typically heart-warming and uplifting results, for the Australian landscape and way of life.
Next stop: Africa. Fela Sowande was born in Nigeria, at the time under British rule. His diverse musical output reflected his circumstances; a young chorister in Lagos, jazz pianist and organist in London, and eventually an ethnomusicologist, who focused on the exploration of his Yoruba heritage. All these experiences find their way into “Akinla”, the cheerful final movement of his African Suite.

The next legs of our journey focus on the Americas. Beginning south of the equator, we arrive on the streets of Buenos Aires. Composer and double bass virtuoso, Andrés Martín, champions the nuevo tango style, pioneered by compatriot composer Astor Piazzolla. Here, two basses dance together in a charged showcase depicting a bustling Argentinian market. Crossing the border into Brazil, we are introduced to the samba-choro, courtesy of Darius Milhaud’s “Scaramouche”. Paying tribute to his time in South America, the highly evocative, light-footed final movement is performed here by four pianists and eight hands across two pianos.

Across the Caribbean Sea we find the island nation of Cuba – an extraordinary, complex culture – captured for this album through the fascinating and kaleidoscopic music of Leo Brouwer. An influential guitarist and composer, Brouwer’s innovative use of the four-guitar ensemble masterfully evokes the pitter-patter of rain across exotic landscapes.

Leaving Cuba behind, we land stateside, to be greeted by the exuberance of Florence Price’s Juba, a movement from her Piano Quintet which is regularly performed as a standalone piece. Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, Price regularly used her music to champion the African American hambone or juba dance, in which participants had to act as their own percussion, and stomping rhythms take centre stage in this example to foot-tapping effect. By contrast, George Gershwin’s Three Preludes are highly evocative of an alternative American genre – the uproarious creativity of Tin Pan Alley. Eclectically arranged here for violin, double bass and guitar by Richard Wright, Principal Guitar Teacher at The Menuhin School, these miniature masterpieces contrast outer movements full of rhythmic vitality with a languorous central piece recalling the summer blues.

Our globetrotting comes to its end as we whizz back across the Atlantic to County Derry. The Londonderry Air is a traditional folk tune, which is perhaps today most popularly known as ‘Danny Boy’. Once again, we turn to a Menuhin School student – Mika Petrovic – to arrange it for strings. This beautifully and imaginatively harmonised version, which gives each member of the ensemble an opportunity to shine, provides a fitting end to our journey.

The Menuhin School has a rich, storied history, and has made an extraordinary contribution to the world’s musical landscape since its opening in 1963. Being the School’s first ever fully commercial recording, this album marks a major milestone, and we would like to acknowledge the generosity and support of The Friends, without whom the project would not have been possible.


The Yehudi Menuhin School

The Yehudi Menuhin School has been helping talented young musicians realise their musical potential since 1963. Founded by the celebrated Yehudi Menuhin and based in Cobham, Surrey, the school provides a nurturing and stimulating environment, combining an intense musical provision with academic studies, for an international community of highly gifted children, all of whom are selected based on their talent and potential, regardless of their economic background.

Today, the school provides a holistic education for a diverse international community of around 90 exceptional pupils aged from 11 to 19. Specialist tuition is provided on strings, piano, classical guitar, harp, and composition by an extraordinary faculty of teachers, many of whom are internationally recognised performers and pedagogues. Pupils are given tailored schedules, curated to serve their individual needs. Chamber music is central to the pupils’ education, and every child is formally engaged in ensemble playing from the start of their studies.

Performance is a key element of the school’s provision, and pupils are given regular opportunities to play before the public. The Menuhin Hall, based within the grounds of the school and renowned for its exceptional ambience and acoustic, hosts a range of distinguished concerts, and pupils perform there both as soloists and in ensembles, often alongside faculty members and visiting celebrities. In addition, the school has a busy programme of external engagements, including major festivals in the UK and overseas, and a wide array of collaborative activities with partner institutions.

In keeping with Yehudi Menuhin’s belief in the importance of giving to the community, outreach is at the heart of the school’s activities, and both staff and pupils regularly support local state schools with their musical provision, and present concerts for care homes, churches, and community events.

In recent years the school has launched a number of new initiatives, including The Virtual Menuhin School, which offers participants the opportunity to receive a rounded specialist music education in a virtual environment, and The Junior Menuhins programme, which aspires to nurture a love of music in children from the youngest of ages.

Thanks to the generosity of Friends and supporters, the school remains a needs-blind institution, providing life-changing opportunities for children of all backgrounds, with the vast majority of pupils receiving support from the UK Government’s Music and Dance Scheme or the school’s own Bursary Fund.

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Maxim Rysanov

Grammy-nominated Ukrainian-British violist and conductor, Maxim Rysanov leads a thriving international career, often combining his two roles in the same concert as on this CD. A regular visiting artist, Maxim was appointed Associate Artist of The Yehudi Menuhin School in 2021.


Matthew Taylor

One of the UK’s busiest conductors in the music education scene, Matthew Taylor has been working with the pupils of The Menuhin School since 2018, while his contributions as a composer to the symphonic and chamber repertory are among the most significant achievements in contemporary British music.


Otis Enokido-Lineham

Working with The Menuhin School’s orchestras since 2021, Otis Enokido-Lineham is one of the most exciting young artists of the conducting world, with recent career highlights including working as Assistant Conductor with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.


Coco Tomita

Alumna Coco Tomita studied at The Yehudi Menuhin School from 2012 to 2022, launching into a bright career with her own debut album on Orchid Classics immediately after graduating. Coco currently studies at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin.


Yume Tomita

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Yume Tomita joined the Menuhin School in 2017 and has already established herself as an all-round musician. She led the school’s Junior Orchestra for two years and is much in demand as a chamber musician, in addition to her burgeoning solo career.


Ashley Wass

Described as an ‘endlessly fascinating artist’, Ashley Wass’s musical career is one of unusual creativity and variety. Alongside his work as soloist and chamber musician, he was Artistic Director of the Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival and is currently the Director of Music at The Yehudi Menuhin School.


Tom Yang

One of the most promising talents of his generation, Tom Yang’s work as composer and pianist stands out for his originality of approach, and his abilities as an all-round musician has gained him huge respect from his peers. Tom is looking forward to pursuing a career in music after he leaves the school.


Rebecca You

Studying at The Yehudi Menuhin School since she was 9 years old, Rebecca You is a rising star whose mastery of the harp is only matched by her equal commitment to the piano. Rebecca is much in demand as a chamber musician and accompanist, as well as for solo work.

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