The Willshire Duo is comprised of husband and wife team Philippa Harrison and James Willshire. The internationally acclaimed Duo performs a wide variety of repertoire on one or two pianos, from Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals and Britten’s works for two pianos to new commissions such as Duelogue by Rory Boyle.
In addition to their performance work Philippa and James are keen educationalists, giving masterclasses and promoting music in schools.
In 2015 the Duo were invited to attend a winter residency at the Banff Centre where they premiered their new commission Duelogue by Rory Boyle.
Past concerts include return visits to the Fairfield Halls, recitals at the Bridgewater Hall, the 2016 Hebden Bridge Piano Festival and at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, and educational concerts with the Lilliput and Concertini concert series. The Duo were Making Music Selected Artists for the 2018-2019 season.
Praised for her ‘sympathetic and pristine playing’, Philippa Harrison has an extensive and varied career performing as soloist and chamber musician throughout the UK and abroad. She has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms Extra, BBC Radio Ulster, and Bulgarian national radio, and has performed at the Bridgewater Hall, St John’s Smith Square, the Tromsø Festival, Banff Centre, and King’s Place.
Philippa is a champion of contemporary and neglected music, having commissioned and premiered a large number of works with the Albany Trio and Willshire Duo, and has recently released her first recording of a critically acclaimed collaborative disc of solo piano music with the Prima Facie label. Philippa particularly performs and commissions music by women, collaborating with contemporary composers such as Judith Bingham, Charlotte Bray, Helen Grime, Sadie Harrison and Judith Weir in tandem with historic women in music including Rebecca Clarke, Pamela Harrison and Clara Schumann.
Philippa’s versatility in music is shown by the variety of work she does, from her children’s workshop leadership initially through Live Music Now and more recently through invitation, to her role as piano teacher at Junior Guildhall, and frequent commissioning of new music. Philippa is also a founder member of the Christian Musicians’ Collective, organising concerts in churches around the UK for herself, and many other musicians in the Collective. With the Albany Trio Philippa will soon present the inaugural Cotswold Chamber Festival featuring three days of music by women both past and present combined with artwork, talks and artisan food and drink.
Philippa studied at Chetham’s School of Music before pursuing her training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After finishing her Masters degree she was awarded the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship at the Royal College of Music with the Albany Trio. She is a Park Lane Group and Concordia Artist. Philippa’s teachers have included Murray McLachlan, Norma Fisher and Joan Havill.
Heralded for performances of "spectacular musicianship and technical brilliance" (The Scotsman), "evangelizing urgency" (International Record Review) and "freshness and lucidity" (The Herald), James performs internationally as soloist and chamber musician.
He appears regularly at the major UK concert halls, including the Bridgewater Hall, Barbican, Glasgow City Halls, and Royal Festival Hall, and has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. James's recordings of contemporary British piano music have been reviewed extensively, receiving universal acclaim.
Festival appearances include performances given by James at the 2015 The Piano Festival at Glasgow Royal Concert Halls, the Lichfield, Cheltenham and Winchester Festivals, the Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Cantilena Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Roman River Festival, 'Il Festival di Londra', the Victoria International Arts Festival and the Paxos International Festival.
A regular performer of contemporary music, James has given world premiere performances of works by Ronald Stevenson, John McLeod, Rory Boyle, Jay Capperauld, Euan Ferguson and Richard Greer. James’s debut recording on Delphian Records featured the complete piano music by Boyle; it was released in 2011 to critical acclaim, including a five-star review from The Scotsman. In October 2013 his recording of piano music by Ronald Stevenson was released. The CD was reviewed by BBC Music Magazine, Gramophone, received a five-star review in Classical Music magazine, and was awarded an IRR Outstanding by International Record Review. Other press interest for the recording included articles in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Sinfini Music, The Arts Desk and MusicWeb International. His recording of piano music by David Jennings was chosen as one of MusicWeb International’s Recordings of the Year 2013.
Future concerts include the Debussy 2018 project, where James will be performing the complete solo piano music by Debussy throughout the year. These concerts include complete cycles in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and individual concerts in the Leeds International Concert Season, at Chetham’s School of Music and at St Andrew’s University.
James maintains a strong interest in music education and teaches the piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and St Mary’s Music School.
|Sunderland Pianoforte Society
| Schubert: March Militaires D.733
Ravel: Ma mère l’Oye (Mother Goose suite)
Ravel: La Valse
Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps (Rite of Spring)
| Chipping Campden Music Society,
|Schubert: Marches Militaires
Ravel: Ma mere l'oye
Ravel: La valse
Stravinsky: La sacre du printemps
|09/09/2022||Grange-over-Sands Concert Club
The Willshire Duo make regular visits to both mainstream and SEN schools to coach young pianists, hold Q&A sessions, and perform interactive concerts. Each tailor-made visit includes a warm-up, interactive games, and a chance for students to perform if they wish.
Much of the duo repertoire that Philippa and James bring has a narrative that accompanies the music, or a highly programmatic content that is used as a way to bring the music to life.
Philippa and James hold Piano Days in schools where piano students have the opportunity to work on duets with their peers, with coaching from the Duo. These days conclude with a concert and workshop from the Duo and a chance for students to perform.
+44 (0)7803 775159
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