Adjudicators, 2021

We are delighted to welcome the following adjudicators to the Woking Music Festival in 2021.

James gives recitals throughout the UK including Wigmore Hall, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh festivals and extensively in Europe. He studied at the Moscow Conservatoire and returns to perform concertos and recitals and lead chamber music courses in the former Soviet Union every year. He has given concerto performances with the English and Scottish Chamber Orchestras and Moscow Symphony Orchestra in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Symphony Hall, Birmingham and the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.

He is a member of the Barbican Piano Trio which has recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary and performs regularly at festivals and important concert series in the UK and throughout Europe and the USA. The trio has a repertoire consisting of over seventy works and an impressive discography.

James teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London and Eton College. He is an Honorary Professor of the Rachmaninov Institute in Tambov, Russia, and serves on the juries of many International competitions, most recently in Russia, Latvia, Romania and Slovenia.

He has been an ABRSM examiner since 1998 and has worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and many European countries and recorded the demonstration CD for the piano xxams syllabus for many years and he is an adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals.

Dennis Lee, BMus, MMusRCM, LRSM, ARCM (Piano)

Dennis Lee studied piano at the Royal College of Music (London), Vienna Academy and in Milan. He has a First Class Hons degree from London University and MMusRCM. He also holds an ARCM Hons diploma in violin (teaching).

Concerts and festival performances have included the Barbican, Royal Festival, Queen Elizabeth and Wigmore Halls, Kennedy Centre, Washington and Merkin Hall, New York; Festivals include Cheltenham, Brighton, Montreux, Spoleto and Adelaide.

He has appeared with most of the BBC orchestras, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hallé, Warsaw Philharmonic, Wiener Symphoniker, RAI Milano, RAI Napoli, Adelaide Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Shanghai Symphony and more.

Dennis Lee has performed the entire Beethoven sonata cycle in France to wide acclaim. He is a Steinway artist and his recordings include works by Szymanowski on Hyperion/Helios CDH 55081, and Debussy on ICSM 007 and ICSM 015.

Dennis was an examiner for the Associated Board for over 30 years, and is also an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals.

Belinda Mikhaïl, BMus(Hons), PgDipRCM, ARCM, EMT (Vocal and Choral)

Belinda Mikhaïl was awarded the Associated Board and the Queen Mother Scholarships to study piano and singing as a joint first study at the Royal College of Music where she won the Hopkinson Gold Medal for her final recital. Since graduating she has travelled extensively performing both as a soloist and as a chamber musician and has appeared as a concerto soloist at the major London Concert Halls.

She has made numerous recordings for Sony BMG and Universal and is a vocal soloist on EMI’s Vocalise album as used in trailers for ER, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. She appears as the featured soloist on many film soundtracks and her solo piano playing of the theme from Chariots of Fire was heard at every medal ceremony at the London Olympic Games.

Belinda is also in demand as a vocal coach for classical, pop and rock singers and runs an extensive private teaching practice. She has trained performers as diverse as Siouxsie Sioux, Jennifer Ellison, Jack Garrett, Cathy Tyson, the Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche, as well as the world-renowned dancer Akram Khan. Her students are enjoying major roles in theatre companies up and down the country as well as West End Shows such as Chicago, Dreamgirls, Haddestown, Dirty Dancing, Book of Mormon, High School Musical and the hit TV series Downton Abbey and Broadchurch.

Belinda’s work as an adjudicator has seen her travel extensively; she was invited to Trinidad and Tobago where she adjudicated their month long biennial Music Festival and future trips will see her travel to both Sri Lanka and Hong Kong. She thoroughly enjoys listening to a wide variety of music and meeting a wealth of musicians as she travels in her role as an adjudicator for the BIFF.

Jenny ThorntonAGSM, ALAM, CertEd, CDE, LISTD (Speech and Drama)

Jenny trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, gaining awards for Character Acting and Most Promising Teacher.

Jenny has led the Performing Arts Teams in a large comprehensive school, been an Assistant Principal for Edexcel, LAMDA examiner and now enjoys running her own Performance Centre with ages from 4 years to adults delivering drama, dance and musical theatre and also writing.

Her play called Gone gained a Commended when performed at The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond as did her most recent play Young Love. She was delighted when LAMDA chose two of her pieces for their new acting anthology.

Her most recent teaching experience is working in a state school as a peripatetic teacher as part of her “Outreach” programme extending the work of the Richmond Festival for which she is the secretary.

“Drama is a life skill that changed me from a stuttering introvert to a confident individual. We can give our children no better opportunity.”