Andrew Robert Nicholson was born in Hampshire, England in 1970. He studied with Robin Soldan, Janet Alexander, Peter Lloyd, Clare Southworth, Geoffrey Gilbert and Trevor Wye. In 1984 Andrew won the National Music for Youth Competition at the Festival Hall, and was a wind finalist in the Shell/LSO Competition. In 1985 he won a scholarship to study at Chetham’s School of Music where he regularly performed as a soloist, and was a wind finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition. Andrew was awarded the Orchestral Prize on finishing at Chetham’s. He continued his musical education at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he was a regular soloist with the RNCM Chamber Orchestra and made a concerto appearance with the London Mozart Players as winner of the Sir Malcolm Sargent Award. Whilst at College, Andrew regularly recorded and performed with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, under Sir Edward Downes, Rozhdestvensky, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
In 1992, he was appointed principal fautist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he performed regularly as a soloist. His performances included the Mozart in G Concerto, the Rodrigo Flute Concerto and Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.2, and made several recordings with Tan Dun and David Atherton.
Andrew returned to England in 1999 when he was appointed as principal flautist with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester, under Kent Negano and Sir Mark Elder. He performed several concertos with the Halle and recorded the Nielsen Flute Concerto with Sir Mark Elder. Andrew regularly performed and toured as guest principal flautist with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera North, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with Andrew Litton and Marin Alsop.
In 2002, Andrew moved to London to take up the position of principal fute with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniele Gatti and Charles Dutoit. Andrew recorded Mozart’s Concerto in G Major and Suite Antique with John Rutter. Andrew also worked and toured extensively as principal fute with Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra, the John Wilson Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under Murray Perahia and Sir Neville Marriner. Andrew also gave master classes at several London music colleges, including the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has been the outside examiner for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Andrew was appointed principal flautist of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2007 under Thierry Fischer, performing the Mozart Concerto in G and recording the Mathias flute concerto with them in 2009. Andrew continued to work and tour with the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Hebrides Ensemble, the John Wilson Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Andrew coached the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, the Athens Camerata and the LSO Side By Side Scheme at the Royal Academy of Music. He appeared on BBC television as a panelist for the finals of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and can be heard on various film and television recordings, including three of the Harry Potter movies, Doctor Who, and Sir David Attenborough’s The Blue Planet and The Life of Mammals.
Andrew joined the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in March 2010 as principal flute. He has since given master classes in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide, and has performed several Sunday Live solo recitals for the ABC. Andrew has also performed as a soloist with WASO, including Mozart’s Concerto in G with Verbitsky, Messiaen’s Concert a Quatre with Simone Young, Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 with Laurence Jackson, Telemann’s concerto for flute and violin, Elliot Carter’s Flute Concerto, the Bach Orchestral Suite No.2, Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto with harpist Marshall McGuire and Paul Daniel, Nielsen flute concerto and excerpts from the Bach Orchestral Suite No. 2, with principal
conductor Asher Fisch. Andrew has recently performed with the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and coached the woodwinds of the National Youth Orchestra of Australia at their Summer Camp in Adelaide 2015, Canberra 2016 and Adelaide 2018. Andrew gives master classes at the University of Western Australia, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the Australian National Academy of Music. Andrew has recently performed with the Sydney Symphony, Queensland Symphony and Australian Chamber Orchestras, and recorded a programme of solo flute and piano music with Leigh Harrold.
Andrew has recently become a Haynes Artist, and plays on a 14 Carat gold flute with 14 Carat gold keys.
Leigh Harrold enjoys a reputation as a “musician of rare talent and intelligence”, and is one of Australia’s busiest and most sought-after pianists since being named The Advertiser ‘2008 Musician of the Year’.
Born in Whyalla, South Australia, Leigh completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies at The University of Adelaide with concert pianist Gil Sullivan. During this time he had many successes, including being a National Finalist in the Young Performer Awards and a recipient of the prestigious Beta Sigma Phi Classical Music Award – the conservatorium’s highest honour. He moved to Melbourne in 2003 to take up a full scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) under the mentorship of Geoffrey Tozer and in 2004 was made the Academy Fellow – the first person in the institution’s history to be chosen as such after just one year of study.
Leigh has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Africa and Australia as both soloist and chamber musician, including concerts at Australia House in London, the Royal Academy of Music, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Harare International Festival of Arts, and concerto engagements with many Australian orchestras. In 2007 he undertook an extensive tour of the United States and Canada where he gave lectures on and performed the solo piano music of the American composer Robert Muczynski. In 2015 he gave a lecture-tour of England, promoting and performing Australian piano music at Trinity College and the University of London.
His international reputation as an associate artist has led to collaborations with such luminaries as Thomas Reibl, lecturer in viola at the Salzburg Mozarteum; Michael Cox, principal fautist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Gaede, ex-concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; London flautist Wissam Boustany; New York violinist Charles Castleman; Swedish soprano Camilla Tilling; and British pianist Mark Gasser, to name just a few. Other significant international collaborations have included performance and studies with Andrew Ball at the London Royal College of Music; Sophie Cherrier at the Paris Conservatoire; New York-based pianist Lisa Moore and English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. He has twice been awarded the Geoffrey Parsons Award for Associate Artists, and in 2014 was the recipient of the pianist’s prize in the Mietta Song Competition.
Leigh is a founding member of the Helpmann Award-nominated Syzygy Ensemble, a group dedicated to performing contemporary classical music. The ensemble has received many accolades and prizes, and released its independent debut CD ‘Making Signs’ in 2015. Additionally, Leigh has recorded and released CDs for Sony, ABC Classics, and Move Records.
An enthusiastic and committed teacher, speaker, and writer, Leigh is regularly engaged as a tutor, lecturer and adjudicator both in Australia and overseas. In April 2012 he was awarded a PhD for his research into the music of Robert Muczynski for which he received a Dean’s Commendation for Thesis Excellence, and in 2015 he was published internationally in the Liszt Society of London Journal. He holds two University medals – one for Music and one for Applied Science.
Currently Leigh holds positions on the Faculties of ANAM and the University of Melbourne, and is pianist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. When not seated in front of a piano, he finds time to go on long walks, read extensively, and drink lots of coffee and tea. He lives in Brunswick with Craig and Bart.