Visiting Artist SeriesSezi Seskir, fortepiano & Lucy Russell, violin
Classical music fans are offered a unique chance to hear a fortepiano and period violin, playing repertoire of the period.
Sezi Seskir plays a 5-octave fortepiano. The instrument is a Walter copy that is based on an instrument from 1799. Lucy Russell plays a violin and bow from the 18th century to match the fortepiano. Featuring works from the latter half of the eighteenth century, the duo explores different writing styles from the classical period.
Sezi Seskir received her first degree in piano in her native Ankara, Turkey, with Prof. Kamuran Gündemir. She went on with her studies at the Lübeck Musikhochschule, in Germany, with Prof. Konstanze Eickhorst, where in 2005 she completed degrees in both artistic and pedagogical piano. Along with many solo recitals in Europe, the USA and Turkey, she also performed with various orchestras as a soloist, playing Schumann’s A-minor piano concerto Op. 54, Ravel’s Concerto in G-major and Mozart’s A-major, K. 414 piano concerto.
Seskir’s musical direction took a new turn after completing her D.M.A. degree in performance practice with Malcolm Bilson at Cornell University. Her experience performing on a variety of historical keyboards, including 5-octave instruments from the second half of the 18th century, as well as 6 and 6.5-octave instruments from the first half of the 19th century, enriched and deepened her understanding of the genres and repertoire of these periods. Her research focuses on the use of tempo rubato in Robert Schumann’s keyboard music, as well as performance practices of the 18th and the 19th centuries. She has given guest lecture-recitals and workshops at schools such as Stanford University, Penn State University, Princeton University,Trinity College of London, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and UC Berkeley. She presented her work on Schumann at King’s College London, the American Musicological Society’s (AMS) 2012 meeting, the Schumann-Haus in Zwickau, Germany, and the Basel Musikhochschule in Switzerland at a Schumann conference. These last two presentations resulted in two articles, both of which appeared by Studio Punkt Verlag, in Germany and in Basel, Switzerland, respectively. Her edition of Robert Schumann’s piano works Arabeske Op. 18 and Blumenstück Op.19 for the Schumann Complete Edition published by Schott, appeared in summer of 2016.
Sezi Seskir taught at Bucknell University between 2011-2014 as a visiting assistant professor of piano. Her duties included teaching applied piano, music history and performance practice courses. Seskir returned to her teaching position at Bucknell University in 2015 as a visiting assistant professor of piano where she currently continues teaching. She is in a duo with the British violinist Lucy Russell, with whom she concertizes on period instruments.
The English violinist, Lucy Russell, was born in Germany of Scottish/Norwegian origin, but has lived mainly in London. She was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music, going on to take music degrees at the University of York (BA hons, MA, Music: 1984-1988), where she gave the first British performance of the Norwegian composer Alfred Janson’s violin concerto Forspil, based on Hardanger violin traditions (an instrument she actually plays – notably in Uwe Steinmetz’s Genesis). While still a student she was invited to play with London Baroque and the English Baroque Soloists, and by the City of London Festival as a solo violinist in their production/recording of Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea.
Lucy Russell has been a member of the Fitzwilliam since 1988, becoming leader in 1995; with them she has played all over Europe, North America, and South Africa, as well as making recordings for Linn Records, Divine Art Records, the BBC, and various foreign radio stations. She has recorded for Channel Classics, Hyperion, DG, Hännsler, and Decca with other ensembles, having been leader of Florilegium, Concerto Caledonia, Classical Opera Company, Retrospect Ensemble, Finchcocks Quartet, The King’s Consort (2000-2012), and the New Chamber Opera Band of Players, as well as a director of the Scottish Early Music Consort and a solo violinist in the New London Consort. When time allows she still leads Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, Armonico Consort, and Dunedin Consort, and has been invited to guest lead for the City of London Sinfonia. She has been Associate Leader of Southern Sinfonia, and has also directed the Danish group Ensemble Zimmerman. She has recently completed sessions for a Linn CD set of the J.S. Bach’s Sonatas, with eminent harpsichordist John Butt.
Lucy Russell has taught and given master-classes all over the world – including the Czech Republic, the United States, South Africa, and Russia. Closer to home, she has worked at the Royal Academy of Music with the Modern Instrument Baroque Orchestra (since 2007), and at Trinity College of Music, Royal Holloway College London, Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, Birmingham Conservatoire, York University, the Royal Northern College of Music, St Mary’s Music School Edinburgh, Dartington Summer School, and Pro Corda. She is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music and Visiting Professor of Violin at the University of St Andrews.
Lucy Russell likes to divide her time between performing on period instruments and their “modern” counterparts, exploring music from Monteverdi and Purcell to the present day. At York she studied with three former Fitzwilliam leaders: Christopher Rowland, Daniel Zisman, and Jonathan Sparey; then with Roger Raphael and Dona Lee Croft. She plays on a violin by Nicolò Gagliano, made in Naples, Italy, in c1780. Her baroque violin is by Charles Harris of Adderbury.