Lies Askonas Fellowship Programme


Cello & Lies Askonas Fellow

Ifetayo Ali-Landing

American cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing is quickly establishing herself as one of today’s leading young artists, earning praise for her “charismatic” playing (Chicago Tribune) and being described as a “powerhouse” by Classical MPR.

In 2017, Ali-Landing won the First Place Laureate of the Sphinx Competition’s Junior Division and has since gone on to perform with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia (under Marin Alsop), Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, New World Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Wilmington (NC), South Bend, Southwest Michigan and Elgin Symphonies, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Vermont Symphony Orchestra on a state-wide tour; recitals include the Kansas City Harriman-Jewell Series and The National Arts Club, among many others.

Ali-Landing features frequently in the media, with notable appearances on NPR’s From The Top (where she performed Vivaldi with Kevin Olusola beatboxing), a residency as Young Artist with APM’s Performance Today, and a TED talk at [email protected]

Her musical studies began on the violin before switching to cello at the age of four. Previous teachers and coaches include Lucinda Ali-Landing, Megan Lauterbach, and Martine Benmann at the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute in Chicago, as well as Tahirah Whittington, Oleksa Mycyk, and Hans Jørgen Jensen. She currently studies at the Colburn School in Los Angeles with Clive Greensmith.

Conductor & Lies Askonas Fellow

Bertie Baigent

Bertie Baigent is Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Symphony and Music Director of Waterperry Opera Festival. Recent and forthcoming highlights include a series of all-Beethoven concerts in Colorado, projects with the Denver Young Artists Orchestra as their Principal Guest Conductor, the League of American Orchestras Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview and productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni for Waterperry and Handel’s Partenope for Hampstead Garden Opera.

Bertie has assisted Sir Mark Elder, Edward Gardner, Jac van Steen and Masaaki Suzuki and collaborated with the Dallas Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, London Sinfonietta and Britten Sinfonia. He has also participated in masterclasses with Martyn Brabbins and Pierre-André Valade, and as part of the Dirigentenforum in Germany.

Winner of the Royal Academy of Music’s Sir Henry Wood Scholarship and Ernest Read Prize in 2017, Bertie was the youngest semi-finalist in the London Symphony Orchestra Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in 2018. Between 2016-18 he was Chief Conductor the London Young Sinfonia.

Born in Oxford in 1995, Bertie read music at the University of Cambridge, going on to study conducting at the RAM with Sian Edwards and graduating with distinction. He is also a composer, his music having been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and performed by the Aurora Orchestra, Fretwork and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. He is currently based in London and Denver.

Percussion & Lies Askonas Fellow

Marianna Bednarska

Scoring the highest marks from juries for her musicality, personality and technique, Marianna won many international prizes, among others 2nd Prize and Yamaha Special Young Artists Prize at the 74th Concours de Genève 2019, ‘Prix Credit Suisse Jeunes Solistes 2019’, ‚Grand Prix’ at the International Music Competition ENKOR 2018, 2nd Prize and the Special Prize ‚Best Performance of a Belgian Composition’ at the Universal Marimba Competition of the Belgian Queen (Belgium 2017), 1st Prize and the Special Prize at the International Percussion Competition at Northwestern (Chicago, USA 2016), 1st Prize and the Special Prize of the Bayerischer Rundfunk at the International Marimba Competition in Bamberg (Germany 2016), 1st Prize at the International Marimba Competition in Paris (France 2009), 1st Prize at the International Marimba Competition in Fermo (Italy 2008) and 1st Prize and the Special Prize at the International Percussion Competition in Plovdiv (Bulgaria 2007). She was also a finalist in the National Eurovision Competition ‘Young Musician of the Year 2009’.

As a soloist, Marianna Bednarska preformed in many prestigious concert halls in Poland and abroad (USA, Germany, Austria, Holland, Danemark, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Bularia, Ukraine), also with orchestras such as Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Sinfonia Varsovia, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Polish Radio Orchestra in Warsaw, Sinfonia Iuventus, International Chamber Orchestra of Washington, Lviv Philharmony Orchestra and Lviv Virtuosos.

She received scholarships from the Polish Government, Swiss Government, Sinfonia Varsovia Foundation of Franciszek Wybranczyk, Crescendum Est Polonia and Kunststiftung Baden- Württemberg. In 2013 Marianna Bednarska was awarded with the ‘Polish-Danish Friendship Prize’ for her close connection with Danish musical life, culminating in the CD recording of Anders Koppel’s four Marimba Concertos (DACAPO Records, 2014) which got extremely positive reviews (The New York Times, Gramophone, Deutschlandfunk, Fanfare Magazine etc.). She also created recordings for the Bayerischer Rundfunk as well as for Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne in it’s project ‘100 for 100. Musical Decades of Independence’.

Conductor & Lies Askonas Fellow

Holly Choe

Holly Choe is the Music Director of the Orchesterverein Wiedikon and the University of St. Gallen Alumni Symphony Orchestra. She is also a conducting fellow in the German Music Council’s Dirigentenforum (2018), one of the Award Recipients of the Marin Alsop Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship (2019), and a fellow for the Peter Eötvös Foundation Mentoring Program (2020). ​

Highlights of her 2018/19 season included guest conducting concerts with the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester in Denmark and Germany and a children’s concert engagement with the Collegium Musicum Basel. With a mission to promote female composers, she featured the award-winning composer, Jennifer Higdon, and Grazyna Bacewicz with the Orchesterverein Wiedikon. She has also premiered three new works by Swiss composers — Cedric Ziegler’s “Neon Diaries”, Marylène Müller’s “Pages d’écriture” and Jacqueline Gemperli’s “Artikel einunddressig.” In the upcoming 2019/20 season, she will work with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, Janacek Philharmonie Ostrava, Hradec Kralove Filharmonie, Pilsen Opera House, Izmir State Symphony Orchestra, and Ensemble Reflektor.

Holly has participated in masterclasses with conductors including Bernard Haitink, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Kristjan Järvi at the Pärnu Festival, Jaap van Zweden at Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Sylvia Caduff, Simone Young, and Teodor Currentzis being featured on the SWR Currentzis LAB. While studying at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), she conducted several professional orchestras such as the Trondheim Symphony, Heidelberg Symphony, Gstaad Festival Orchestra, Brandenburg Symphony, Picardie Orchestra, and the Hofer Symphony.

Going beyond the standard canon of classical music, she was involved in projects such as performing with a 3D printer as a part of the live performance in a piece written by Stefan Bachmann – “Black Wire Concertina #1-5.” In hopes to bond different cultures, she directed for three years a 250+ member Samulnori ensemble presenting Korean traditional percussion music in the form of an American parade band performing in several major USA national parades. An avid supporter of new music, she has given world-premieres of living composers from Greece, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, China, France, South Korea, and the USA.

Holly was born in Seoul, South Korea and grew up in California, USA. She began her musical journey as a self-taught clarinettist aged thirteen and received her first private music lesson at age nineteen. She received a full-tuition scholarship toward her Bachelor’s Degree in clarinet performance and music education at the Bob Cole Conservatory in Long Beach, CA. Her first conducting Master’s Degree was completed at the New England Conservatory with Charles Peltz. Recently, she finished her orchestral conducting Master’s Degree at the Zurich University of the Arts with Johannes Schlaefli.

Tenor & Lies Askonas Fellow

Laurence Kilsby

Laurence is currently an ABRSM Vocal Scholar at the Royal College of Music in London, under the tutelage of tenor Timothy Evans-Jones and pianist Simon Lepper. He is the winner of the 2018 Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers.

Laurence began his formal training as a chorister with the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, and won the title of BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year in 2009, subsequently making his solo debut at the Royal Albert Hall. He appears as treble soloist on a number of recordings, including the Grammy nominated album, Handel’s L’Allegro, Penseroso ed il Moderato with the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh.

Among his recent engagements is Apollo/Pastore/Spirito in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in his debut for the Nederlandse Reisopera; Peter Sellars’ staging of Bach’s St. John Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Sir Simon Rattle and his Mass in B Minor at St. John Smith’s Square with the London Handel Players; Handel’s Esther at Wigmore Hall as part of the London Handel Festival and Messiah at Nevill Holt Opera; Mozart’s Requiem at St. Martin-in-the Fields as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Masaaki Susuki.

He has appeared in masterclasses with Dame Sarah Connolly, Roderick Williams, Kathryn Harries and James Gilchrist and has given recitals at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin and Cheltenham Festival.

Tenor & Lies Askonas Fellow

Maciej Kwaśnikowski

Maciej is a member the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Lindemann Program, and will give his debut on stage as Benvolio in Romeo and Juliette and Older Brother in Dead Man Walking, both conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He will also give his stage debut at the Palais Garnier as Gastone in La Traviata.

Having already gained experience at the l’Académie de l’Opéra national de Paris for two years, he was also part of the  Young Singers Project of the Salzburger Festspiele and the Académie du Festival Aix-en-Provence.

He has already worked with conductors such as Riccardo Muti, Leopold Hager, Adrian Kelly and Enrique Mazzola, and had Masterclasses with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Alberto Zedda, Philippe Jordan, Neil Shicoff, Brenda Hurley and Malcolm Martineau amongst others.

For a full biography please download the publicity pack.

Soprano & Lies Askonas Fellow

Madison Nonoa

New Zealand soprano Madison Nonoa is a recent graduate of the prestigious opera course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Madison is a former Young Artist with New Zealand Opera and the recipient of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Most Promising Singer award in the Lexus Song Quest. Madison is a 2020/21 Jerwood Young Artist for Glyndebourne Festival Opera; she was also selected as a 2020 Samling Young Artist and a Britten-Pears Young Artist for the Aldeburgh Festival where she performed alongside Malcolm Martineau and Sir Simon Keenlyside.

Mezzo-Soprano & Lies Askonas Fellow

Niamh O’Sullivan

26-year-old Irish mezzo-soprano Niamh O’Sullivan, praised for her “bewitchingly beautiful, dark vibrant voice” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin under Veronica Dunne. She followed her studies by joining the Opera Studio at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich from 2016 to 2018.

Her numerous operatic engagements in Munich include Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly, the Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul, Flora La Traviata and Barena Jenůfa. She also travelled with the company of the Bayerische Staatsoper for a concert performance of Der Rosenkavalier at Carnegie Hall, New York, conducted by Kirill Petrenko. Other appearances include her 2018 Irish National Opera debut as Tisbe La Cenerentola, Mercédès Carmen (also with INO), and in Cousser’s The Applause of Mount Parnassus at the Wigmore Hall with Ensemble Marsyas under the musical direction of Peter Whelan.

In concert, Niamh has performed Elgar’s Sea Pictures at the Prinzregententheater as part of the Munich Festspiele in July 2019 and has sang both Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with the Müncher Hofkantorei. She also performed the main role of ‘Cain’ in Scarlatti’s Oratorio Il Primo Omicidio with The Jakobsplatz Orchester conducted by Daniel Grossmann.

In the 2020-21 season, Niamh will sing Maddalena in a new production of Rigoletto at Theater Chemnitz (where she previously sang the role of Tisbe La Cenerentola). She will also make a role debut as Asteria in Vivaldi’s Bajazet at both the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, and on tour across Ireland, before returning to the Bayerische Staatsoper to perform in Suor Angelica.