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Cherubim's first awardee performs at The BBC Proms

Congratulations to Vashti Hunter. The cellist for whom we acquired our first cello in 2004 – the magnificent 19thC Collin-Mézin bought with funds from the Rothermere Foundation – has just been announced as one of the BBC Proms 2022 artists. On 5th September Vashti Hunter’s Trio Gaspard will perform piano trios by Haydn & Ethel Smyth in Glasgow as part of the broadcast chamber music programme.

This is very exciting news for Cherubim Music Trust. Just after the Trust’s foundation in 2001 Vashti was a pupil at London’s Centre for Young Musicians and in need of a better cello than her family had been able to afford. The Trust was fortunate to have funds available, and as a result Cherubim founder-director Clancy Steer bought theCollin-Mézin cello at auction for £8000 on the advice of string guru Peter Biddulph. The price reflected its poor condition, but allowed £1300 to be spent on remedial work to bring it to full professional condition. The instrument is now valued at £20,000.

Vashti Hunter continued to use the Cherubim cello during her time at the Royal Academy of Music, before finding funding for one that suited her. Since graduating she has been based in Berlin and Budapest and enjoys a versatile career as a soloist with orchestras such as the Kodaly Philharmonic Debrecen, Göttingen Symphony Orchestra, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Southbank Sinfonia & Pilsen Philharmonic under the batons of Gabor Tákács-Nagy, Alexander Lonquich and Antonello Manacorda. She is the first British cellist ever to be awarded a prize at the International ‘Prague Spring’ Cello Competition in its 65 year history.

Much in demand as both soloist and chamber musician, Vashti has been invited to important festivals all over the world. In 2010 she co-founded Trio Gaspard with Greek-Albanian violinist Jonian Ilias Kadesha and German-British pianist Nicholas Rimmer. The piano trio has won first prizes in the ‘Haydn’ and ‘Joachim’ international competitions and will be recording all 46 Haydn trios over the next 5 years for the British label CHANDOS. Future plans include a residency at the Wigmore Hall in 2023/24, repeat performances at Berlin’s Boulez Saal and recitals in Glasgow, Helsinki and the Sage Gateshead.

Cherubim Music Trust now has five first-class cellos which are on loan to music students in the UK. The Collin-Mézin ‘Rothermere’ cello is now on loan to its fifth awardee, RCM postgrad cellist Dominic Blanchard. During the succeeding years the Trust has aquired a further 40 instruments, including three concert harps and ‘rare species’ instruments like a ContraBassoon and five octave marimba which are in use by young musicians aged 15-28.


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