Artistic Director | Principal Conductor
‘Under William Kunhardt’s baton the orchestra caught the note of melancholy underlying the Ravel and set it off with 18 century ebullience…Moving in the extreme’ Michael Church, The Independent
‘Conducted by William Kunhardt, [Sibelius 7th Symphony] made you feel as if you were at the centre of an Arctic gale with frost on your chin!’ Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian
Since his professional debut, aged 22, William has been invited to conduct orchestras and festivals across Europe, Asia and America. He is also a tireless innovator, giving concerts that have seen the average age of his orchestra’s audience fall 10 years below national statistics.
He is Principal Conductor of the Arensky Chamber Orchestra and Resident Conductor of the Piraeus Festival in Athens. Winner of the 2014 James Conlon Conducting prize at Aspen Music Festival, William was the first conducting fellow ever to be immediately re-engaged as a guest artist by Festival Director Robert Spano.
Recent guest highlights included his American Public Radio debut with Sarah Chang, Tchaikovsky and the US premiere of Mike Mills Violin Concerto with Robert McDuffie and Aspen Festival Orchestra, Rossini and Strauss with Athens Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky with the Romanian Radio Orchestra, and Mendelssohn and Mozart with the Hallé in Manchester. He has also worked as assistant conductor to Sir Mark Elder for the Hallé’s recent recording of Mahler’s 6th Symphony.
With the Arensky Chamber Orchestra, William has made London debuts at the Southbank Centre, Kings Place and Cadogan Hall. He has recorded Symphonies by Beethoven and Mozart, Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin and concerti with Jennifer Pike, Benjamin Grosvenor, Andrew Haveron and Andriy Viytovych, all for Classic FM. Following two years of 100% sales records, concert innovations including unusual formats, venues, and programming ideas, praise from the critics of the Independent, Guardian and Telegraph, William and the ACO became UK Arts Council funded for 2017. They now turn their attention to a concert series where each performance is given in a space designed from the ground up specifically for that programme.
Director of Collaboration | Principal Percussion
Eddy Hackett is a freelance percussionist dividing his time between orchestral, chamber music, session work and music education projects. Eddy is currently on trial for Principal Percussion with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic in Poland.
Eddy has performed as Guest Principal Percussionist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Eddy has played Principal Timpani with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra of India.
He also works with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and Royal Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, Eddy has performed at the Royal Opera House, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tonhalle Zurich, Feldkirch Festival, Vaduzer Saal Liechtenstein, the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. He has worked with the Plural Ensemble Madrid and at the Proms with the Aurora Orchestra. He has premiered works by Julian Anderson, Kalevi Aho, Luke Styles, Sally Beamish and Max Wilson. He founded London Percussion, a collective of talented London percussionists, and Striking Strings, a harp and percussion duo, with harpist Stephanie Beck. In 2004 Eddy reached the percussion finals of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.
As a session musician, he has recorded with the London Telefilmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra (including ‘The Hobbit’), Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and for adverts and West-End shows. He has performed with Duke Special, Van Dyke Parks, Curtis Stigers, Swingle Singers, John Dankworth and Clio Lane. As a member of the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble, he was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award, and has performed many times at the Lincoln Jazz Centre in New York. Eddy is often asked to play hand drums for orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. Eddy is percussionist and one of the arrangers for Old Dirty Brasstards.
Eddy has given masterclasses for the Universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, Tokushima Bunri (Japan), City of Edinburgh Council, Katerina Gurska School of Music (Madrid) and Feldkirch Conservatoire. Eddy has been involved in music education projects with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera House, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and has lead projects with the TAK Theatre Liechtenstein. Eddy is percussion teacher at Francis Holland School NW1 and has taught at Junior Trinity and Junior Academy. In 2015 he was the head of percussion at the Qatar Music Academy.
Eddy received his BMus from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and his MMus from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, for which he received several scholarships and awards. As a student, he was a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, European Union Youth Orchestra and was the percussionist for the 2008 Southbank Sinfonia season.
He is married to the harpist Stephanie Beck – Hackett.
Director of Growth | Principal 2nd Violin
An Arensky Chamber Orchestra founder member, Scottish violinist Rowan Bell spends a great deal of time thinking about the best way to chargrill the perfect steak. He believes that there is a profound symmetry between cooking and music making, and that if he had spent more time practising and less time cooking during his time at the Royal College of Music, he would not have had the foresight to found an innovative chamber orchestra with two of his best friends.
When taking time off from the stove, Rowan has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader across Europe and in many of the most prestigious concert venues in the UK. He is first violin in the Santiago Quartet, a past member of the Vardanyan Quartet, was a Park Lane Group Young Artist and has performed as a chamber musician with international artists including Jennifer Pike, Martin Fröst, Kathryn Stott, Philip Higham, Levon Chilingirian, Simon Roland-Jones and Arisa Fugita. He is currently working on an album of Latin American music for string quartet and bandoneon due for release in late 2017.
Rowan grew up in the Scottish Borders, beginning violin lessons at the age of six. He subsequently became leader of the National Scottish Youth Orchestra and Camerata Scotland, before gaining BMus and MMus degrees as a Douglas Downie Scholar at the Royal College of Music studying under Professor Dona Lee Croft. He has also worked extensively with Professor Béla Katona, Levon Chilingirian and Gabor Takács-Nagy. Rowan has taught on Ciaccona International Music Course, as well as being a regular teacher at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. He is also a Trustee of the Dorothy Croft Trust for Young Musicians, which provides financial assistance to talented young instrumentalists.
Violinist Sulki Yu enjoys a busy career as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestral leader. A prizewinner of the 2006 Yehudi Menuhin and 2007 Szigeti-Hubay International Violin competitions, Sulki studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under David Takeno.
Sulki has appeared as a soloist with many prestigious orchestras, including the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Lille Nationale, Budapest Symphony, Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestras, and made recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre to critical acclaim.
A passionate chamber musician, she has been invited to many international chamber music festivals and she is the founding member of the awarding winning Fournier Trio.
Sulki is very excited about her new appointment as the leader of the Arensky Chamber Orchestra. She also currently serves as Principal First Violin (No. 3) at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and plays on a beautiful Niccolo Gagliano violin on loan to her.
Principal Cello | Resident Composer
STEFFAN REES read music as a scholar and music exhibitioner at Christ Church, Oxford, and studied cello at the Royal College of Music with Melissa Phelps, where he achieved distinction in his postgraduate diplomas in Performance and Advanced Performance. He now is much in demand as a cello soloist, chamber musician and orchestral freelancer, and has performed at most of the major UK venues as well as throughout Europe.
As a chamber musician, Steffan has worked with artists such as the Chilingirian Quartet, Raphael Wallfisch, Martin Frøst, Kathy Stott, Melvyn Tan and Colin Lawson and appeared in major festivals across Europe, including the Lake District Summer Music Festival, the Harmos Festival in Porto, the Greenwich String Quartet Festival and the Trondheim International Chamber Music Festival. He was a founding member of the Vardanyan String Quartet and has since played with the Barbirolli and Brodowski string Quartets.
As an orchestral player, Steffan works regularly with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and is currently on trial with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also plays with the Camerata Alma Viva, a string ensemble directed by violinist Charlotte Maclet.
Steffan has also completed a number of arrangements for the Arensky Chamber Orchestra and following the commission from them for “Sea Fever”, performed in March 2017, has now revived his composing career. He studied composition in the RCM and at in Oxford with Robert Saxton, winning a number of awards and having compositions performed by the Allegri String Quartet, the BBC Singers and the Oxford University Sinfonietta.
Tetsuumi Nagata was born in Canada and began studying the violin at the age of 5. When he was eleven, Tetsuumi made his debut as a soloist with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, performing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. In 2000, he was awarded a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK, where he studied with Hu Kun and Maciej Rakowski. He continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama under the guidance of Professors David Takeno and Krzysztof Chorzelski and obtained his BMus (Hons) and MMus Degrees.
In the UK, Tetsuumi has performed as a soloist with the North London Sinfonia, Guildford Symphony and Polesden Lacey Orchestras, and regularly at major venues such as the Barbican, Cadogan and Wigmore Halls, the Southbank Centre and The Sage Gateshead. He has also participated in numerous festivals such as the BBC Proms, 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.
He has attended masterclasses at IMS Prussia Cove, Britten Pears Aldeburgh and ProQuartet in France with András Schiff, András Keller, Thomas Adès, Sir Colin Davis and members of the Alban Berg, Artemis, Belcea, Chilingirian, Cleveland, Endellion, Hagen, Mosaïques, Takacs and Wihan Quartets.
As a former member of the Benyounes String Quartet, the quartet were 2nd prize winners at the Orlando Competition in Holland and performed at the Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus and at the Britten 100 Centenary weekend in Aldeburgh which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
He has been a proud member of the ACO team since 2010. Away from playing, Tetsuumi is a big sports fan with ice hockey, football and tennis being his favourites and he cannot be away from Japanese food for too long!
Toby currently works as a freelance trumpet player based in London after achieving a First
Class undergraduate degree from the Royal College of Music and a postgraduate degree from the
Royal Academy of Music.
Toby performs regularly as Principal trumpet with many leading UK orchestras including the
London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC
Philharmonic Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He also performs
regularly with many other UK orchestras.
In addition to his Orchestral work he is also a keen enthusiast of chamber music and is a founding
member of the Riverside Brass Quintet. He has also worked with London Brass, Superbrass and
Septura brass septet.
Toby’s commercial work includes large arena performances with “Bastille”, “The Hoosiers”,“Public
Service Broadcasting” as well as commercial session work for CD releases, film scores etc. at
many of London’s recording studios including Abbey Road. Toby also regularly performs as lead
trumpet with Oompah Brass.
Toby is also a keen and experienced arranger. In the last three years he has arranged Christmas
carols for the Philharmonia Brass quintet’s Christmas E-card and also completed a brass and vocal
arrangement for Michael Mcintyre’s Christmas Show.
Stephanie Beck was born and grew up in Liechtenstein. She now lives and works as a freelance harpist in London. She is principal harpist of the Arensky Chamber Orchestra and has played as guest principal harp with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra among others. She has also played with the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment as well as orchestras in Europe and Asia. She has played concertos and chamber music concerts in venues such as the Sala de Camera at the Auditorio Nacional de Madrid, the Mozart-Saal at the Konzerthaus Vienna, the Festival Theatre at the Palace of Arts in Budapest, Wilton’s Music Hall in London, St Martin-in-the Fields and Glasgow University. She studied at the Landeskonservatorium für Vorarlberg, Feldkirch (Austria) and at the Royal Academy of Music. She was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, the World Philharmonic Orchestra and the LPO Foyle Future Firsts. Amongst several 1st prizes at competitions in Austria and Italy she has also been awarded a European Award by the European Foundation for Cultre ‘Pro Europa’, a Junior Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music and has recently been elected ‘Associate of the Royal Academy of Music’.