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 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.
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 was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. She studied at the RNCM with Kim Dinitzen, Emma Ferrand and Gregor Horsch. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Bank of Ireland Millennium Scholars Trust, and the Arts Council of Northern Irelands Young Artist Platform which led to a concerto performance with the Ulster Orchestra broadcast on BBC NI. She is artistic director of Quercus Ensemble and proud to be involved in the cultural celebrations leading up to Derry’s year as UK city of culture 2013. Kim plays an English cello by Thomas Smith c.1760.
Winners of the 2012 1st International Sandor Vegh String Quartet Competition in Budapest and 2nd prize winners at the 2014 Orlando International String Quartet Competition; the Benyounes Quartet is gaining a reputation as one of the most engaging, dynamic and successful young quartets to have emerged from the UK in recent years.
Formed in 2007 at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Benyounes Quartet went on to win the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Julius Isserlis Scholarship, funding their studies with Professor Gabor Takacs–Nagy at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Geneve. Here they won the conservatoire’s most esteemed Prix d’Exellence.
The quartet held the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for two years and is currently resident at Bangor University. As Park Lane Group Young Artists, the quartet gave debut recitals at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall.
Recent notable performances include concerts at Vienna Konzerthaus, Wigmore Hall Coffee Concert Series, Aldeburgh Music Britten Centenary Weekend (broadcast live on BBC Radio 3), Queen Elizabeth Hall; Festival Quatuors a Bordeaux, Dartington, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Bellerive Festival, North Norfolk Festival, Mondsee Festival and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. In 2010, they performed a new collaborative work by young British composer Charlotte Bray in Verbier Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Aldeburgh Festival. In 2013 the quartet held a residency at St John’s Smith Square in which they collaborated with Scottish cellist Philip Higham and pianist Jeremy Young to perform the complete Britten quartets alongside other significant chamber works. This year the quartet has taken over the artistic directorship of Alfriston Summer Music- a highly successful festival that has been running for 10 years.
The quartet has studied with Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Eberhard Feltz, Andras Keller and Quatuor Ebene, and attended IMS Prussia Cove and the Britten-Pears International Academy of String Quartets.
The quartet continues to broaden its repertoire by initiating collaborative chamber music and cross-arts projects; in 2012 the quartet founded Quercus Ensemble, a mixed chamber music group based in Northern Ireland. The quartet works regularly with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and has collaborated with award winning jazz group ‘Empirical’, performing in the London Jazz Festival at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and appearing on their album, ‘Tabula Rasa’. This season the quartet will curate a series of concerts in collaboration with ‘Women of the World’ Festival which explore neglected female composers.
They recently released their debut recording – Mozart Piano Concertos with pianist Jeremy Young on Meridian Records and are part of a collaborative recording of the complete works for string quartet by Mendelssohn, released by Champs Hill.