Andrés Villalobos Lépiz, baroque oboe
Born in Costa Rica, Andrés studied his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Royal College of Music, London with Gail Hennessy. There, he was granted two full scholarships for both study programmes, generously supported by the Douglas and Kyra Downie Award, which enabled him to graduate with honours in 2021.
He has been invited to perform in period instrument orchestras such as The London Handel Players, St. James Baroque, Ex Cathedra, among others. He has played for renowned conductors such as Alfredo Bernardini, Trevor Pinnock CBE, Philippe Herreweghe, Maasaki Suzuki and John Butt OBE. Andrés made his UK solo debut at at the Cadogan Hall include performance of Bach’s G minor concerto for oboe and Bach’s double concerto for oboe & violin.
Andrés has won several national competitions, including the Honour Performance Competition. 2014 also saw Andrés being awarded the prize for Academic Excellence, which was granted by the University of Costa Rica, and made his solo concerto debut after winning University Soloists competition in 2015.
Forthcoming engagements include performing with groups such as Florilegium, The Hanover Band and Solomon’s Knot, with which Andrés will make his Wigmore Hall debut.
Asako Ogawa, harpsichord
“…her playing radiated excitement, and vivid sense of the character of each individual piece…” BBC Music Magazine
“I found her lyrical playing engaging from the start..This is a capable and sensitive player who is intelligently inside the music, and quite capable of drawing us into it…” Early Music Review
Asako Ogawa is Japanese born harpsichordist and a fortepianist based in London. She performs as a soloist and continuo player and is a baroque repertoire coach at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She recently issued J.S Bach’s Six Partitas with the First Hand Records,bawarded four starts reviews in BBC Music Magazine and The Independent (UK). The album was also played in the Radio France, praised as “Very beautiful, very successful album”. Her debut CD Bach’s “Goldberg Variation” was also praised by the critic Robert Hugill : ‘There is a clarity to her approach ; every detail of Bach’s part writing is clear’. Her main appearances include BBC2, London Bach Festival. Brighton Early Music Festival, BBC Radio 3, and the Georgian Concert Society, Edinburgh.
Asako is also a regular performer at the London Handel Festival since 2008. She gave lunchtime recitals with the winners of the International Handel Singing Competition and as a soloist in the Halle Händel Festival, Germany, which were received warmly. In February and March 2022, she will be playing for Handel’s Alcina, the production of Opera North as a second harpsichordist.
Marie Lemaire, Soprano
Originally from Belgium, Marie trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Music of Liège with Greta de Reyghere. In 2007, she moved to England to further my musical training and settled in Cambridge in 2009 where
she was a member of the Choir of Christ’s College, as well as the University of Cambridge Chamber Choir.
In September 2015, she relocated to Leeds to work with the education department at Opera North and made her debut with Leeds Baroque Choir. She also joined
Manchester Chamber Choir and Kantos. As soloist, Marie has given recitals in England, Ireland and Belgium. She has a particular interest in chamber and early music and has been performing with Musicke in the
Ayre, the Cambridge University Baroque Ensemble, Arioso, Ad Hoc Baroque and Otley Baroque. Solo engagements have included the role of Belinda in Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ featuring Andrew Kennedy and Rebecca Lodge, as well as the soprano part in Handel’s ‘Messiah’ directed by Graham
Asuka Sumi, Baroque Violin & direction
Praised by the jury of the International Biber competition for her virtuosity and program creativity, Asuka Sumi, a Japanese violinist, is invigorating the early music scene in Northern England. She is the orchestra leader of Leeds Baroque and the founder of Otley Baroque. Under the guidance of her father, the violin pedagogue Yasuro Sumi, she began her study of period instruments at age 17, subsequently obtaining degrees from the Tokyo National University of Arts. From 2009, she deepened her study of early music at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Lucy van Dael, obtaining her Masters degree in 2014. Winning the “Romanus Weichlein Prize” at the Biber competition in Austria led to her debut concert at the Konzerthaus in Vienna in 2013. Asuka plays a significant role in young chamber music groups based in Europe, among them Seconda Prat!ca (CD ‘Nova Europa’). She has been invited to perform in prestigious venues and festivals such as Göttingen Handel Festival, and the Sablé and Ambronay festivals in France, and appeared as a soloist at the Utrecht Early Music Festival and MA festival in Brugge.
Since moving to UK in 2015, she collaborates with such groups as Gabrieli Consort & Players in London, the Parley of Instruments in Cambridge, and Baroque in the North in Manchester.