Zara Benyounes – Violin
Zara studied with Maciej Rakowski and Malcolm Layfield at the RNCM gaining a 1st class hons degree. She enjoys a varied musical career alongside the quartet ranging from solo recitals and concertos to session work and freelance work with the Halle and Aurora Orchestras. Zara’s surname Benyounes is Arabic. She is half Algerian (and there is some Indian and German in there too), although born and bred in Manchester. She feels very lucky to play a 1682 Nicolo Amati violin generously made available to her by the Boucher Trust.
Emily Holland – Violin
Emily Holland studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, completing undergraduate and postgraduate studies with Benedict Holland and Maciej Rakowski. She also studied baroque violin with Pauline Nobes. She is originally from Lichfield in Staffordshire. Alongside the quartet she plays regularly with Northern Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia Viva. She also teaches and hopes to continue to complete her Dalcroze certificate. Emily plays on a c.1790 violin from Naples, Italy.
Sara Roberts – Viola
Tetsuumi was born in Canada and began his study of the violin when he was five. He made his debut as a soloist at the age of eleven, playing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with the Vancouver Island Symphony. In 2000, he began his studies at The Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK where he studied with Hu Kun and Maciej Rakowski. Tetsuumi obtained BMus and MMus Degrees at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, studying with David Takeno and Krzysztof Chorzelski, all on a full scholarship and is also a recipient of a Martin Musical Award. In the UK, Tetsuumi has performed with the North Finchley, Guildford Symphony and Polesden Lacey Orchestras. He has also given major concerts at the Wigmore, Barbican, Cadogan, Menuhin Halls and The Sage Gateshead. He has also participated in numerous festivals such as the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad, Switzerland, Freden Music Festival in Germany, City of London Festival, Soundwaves Festival in Brighton and the Paxos International Festival in Greece. An avid chamber musician, he has collaborated with Alexander Rudin, Adrian Adlam, Stephen Orton, David Campbell, the Belcea Quartet and Guildhall faculty members Louisa Hopkins, Arisa Fujita, Krzysztof Smietana, Pierre Doumenge, Charles Owen and Caroline Palmer.
Kim Vaughan – Cello
Currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Benyounes Quartet has forged a reputation for fresh, vivid performances and interpretations of refinement and integrity. Recipients of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Julius Isserlis Scholarship, the quartet’s international accolades include 2nd prize at both the 2014 Orlando International String Quartet Competition and the International Sandor Vegh String Quartet Competition in Budapest.
The Benyounes Quartet has established a presence at major venues including Vienna Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and at festivals such as Budapest Spring, Quatuors a Bordeaux, Verbier, Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh and West Cork Chamber Music. The quartet has had the pleasure to play chamber music with internationally renowned artists including Julian Bliss, Philip Higham, Jeremy Young, Navarra quartet, Gareth Hulse, Ben Johnson and Philippe Bernold. Since 2015 the Benyounes have taken over the Artistic Directorship of South Downs Summer Music, a highly successful international festival that is in its 13th year.
Outreach and education work have always been important to the quartet and they have become known for their unique workshops and communication skills with young people. The quartet is regularly engaged in various cross-art projects, most notably with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and with the award winning jazz group ‘Empirical’, with whom they collaborated in the London Jazz Festival and on the group’s 2013 album, ‘Tabula Rasa’. In 2012 the quartet founded Quercus Ensemble, a mixed chamber ensemble based in Northern Ireland. They are currently involved in the ground-breaking Inclusive Creativity project supported by the Gulbenkian and PRS Foundation which has resulted in a tour of a new work for string quartet and Acoustronic, a group of young disabled musicians using new music technology.
The quartet has an ongoing commitment to new music and to works by neglected women composers of the past.
Throughout their career they have championed contemporary works by both established and emerging composers and, in recent years, have premiered new works by Philip Cashian, Simon Bainbridge and Poul Ruders. In the 2018/19 season they are thrilled to be working closely with esteemed British composer John Woolrich on a new project ‘Four to One’.
Formed at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Benyounes Quartet subsequently studied with Professor Gabor Takacs–Nagy at the Haute École de Musique in Geneva. They have also worked closely with Peter Cropper, Quatuor Ebène, Eberhard Feltz, Andràs Keller and David Waterman, at centres such as Pro Quartet, Aldeburgh and IMS Prussia Cove. The quartet held the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (2011-13) and is currently resident at Bangor University.
Their debut recording of Mozart Piano Concertos with pianist Jeremy Young was released on Meridian Records to critical acclaim. They featured on Champs Hill Records complete works for string quartet by Mendelssohn (BBC Magazine’s critics choice 2014) and their forthcoming disc for Champs Hill will be released Spring 2019.