Susanna Ogata, Violin
Susanna Ogata enjoys an active performance schedule in greater New England and beyond. Her playing has been described as “warm, witty, responsive, making the tops of phrases gleam” (Gramophone Magazine), “warm and rich of tone” (Fanfare Magazine), and “electrifying energy, awesome technical command and rollicking dialogue” (Arts Fuse Magazine) where her concert appearance was distinguished as “Best Solo Performance of 2016”.
Dedicated to exploring music on historical instruments, Susanna has participated and soloed with the Handel and Haydn Society, where she serves as Assistant Concertmaster, as well as with Arcadia Players, Bach Ensemble, Sarasa, Boston Early Music Festival, and Kennebec Early Music Festival. She is an active chamber musician and founding member of the Boston Classical Trio. Recent solo appearances include performances of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Upcoming solo appearances include performances of Bach and Torelli concertos.
Susanna and keyboardist Ian Watson have recently completed “The Beethoven Project”, surveying and recording the complete Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin of Beethoven on period instruments, receiving praise in such publications as Fanfare Magazine, BBC Music Magazine, Strad Magazine, Gramophone, and Early Music Review. The New York Times praised them for “elegant readings that are attentive to quicksilver changes in dynamics and articulation. Their performance of the Sonata No. 4 in A minor is darkly playful, their ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata brilliant and stormy.” They have recently completed a two-year residency, called “On Beethoven’s Piano”, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, performing and working with students there.
Ms. Ogata’s teachers have included Charles Castleman and Laura Bossert—and Dana Maiben with whom she studied Baroque violin. She also worked extensively with Malcom Bilson and Paul O’Dette while completing her undergraduate and graduate studies at the Eastman School of Music.
Susanna Ogata's website is www.susannaogata.com.
Ian Watson, Fortepiano
Ian Watson is a multi-talented musician, acclaimed in numerous performances as an operatic and symphonic conductor, period-instrument specialist and virtuoso harpsichordist, organist and pianist. In September 2016, he was appointed Associate Conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston.
Ian Watson has appeared as soloist or conductor with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Scottish Chamber, English Chamber, Polish Chamber, Irish Chamber and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestras, Bremen Philharmonic, Rhein-Main Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Handel and Haydn Society, English Baroque Soloists, and The Sixteen amongst many others. He was invited to be the assistant conductor, organ and harpsichord soloist and continuo player for Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, performing all Bach’s Cantatas on the correct liturgical day in places where Bach lived and worked. He has also been featured on more than 200 recordings and film soundtracks including Amadeus, Polanski’s Death and the Maiden, Restoration, Cry the Beloved Country, Voices from a Locked Room, and BBC‘s David Copperfield.
Ian has had a career-long passion for opera, working first as a vocal coach and conductor at Glyndebourne, and subsequently conducting hundreds of performances of over fifty operas throughout England, notably at Sadler's Wells, Scottish Opera, the Royal Festival Hall and internationally at Bremen, Kassel, Giessen, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Komische Opera, Berlin, Germany, and many houses in France and Scandinavia. He was appointed Principal Conductor with the Darmstadt State Opera in Germany in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi and Handel to Richard Strauss's Elektra and Janacek’s Macropoulos Case. With the period-instrument orchestra Arcadia Players, he has conducted performances of Handel' s Serse, featured in the New York Times, and compared very favorably with the highly-respected New York City Opera production. He has been described by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as "a conductor of formidable ability" and by Opernwelt magazine as "the spiritus rector of this production" (Handel’s Guilio Cesare, Berlin)
In 2015, as part of the Handel and Haydn Society’s 200th anniversary celebrations, Ian conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Copley Square Boston to an estimated 6,000 people. In the same year, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Connecticut Early Music Festival. Highlights from the 2017/18 season feature all six Brandenburg Concertos, semi-staged performances of Purcell’s Fairy Queen and Handel’s Acis and Galatea as well as Bach concertos for one, two and three harpsichords plus numerous chamber music concerts. In June 2018, together with violinist Susanna Ogata, the fourth and final disc of the complete set of all ten Beethoven Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin was released. The series has received huge acclaim in major publications.
Born in England in the Buckinghamshire village of Wooburn Common, Ian won a scholarship at the age of 14 to the Junior School of the Royal Academy of Music in London,. He later won all the prizes for organ performance and others for piano accompaniment including the coveted Artists Diploma, the highest award for performance excellence. He completed his studies with Flor Peeters in Belgium. As a distinguished graduate, he was honored in 1993, with an Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of his services to music and he is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. Ian’s first major appointment was as Organist at St. Margaret's, Westminster Abbey, at the age of 19, a position he held for ten years, and has also held a number of notable positions in London including Organist of St. Marylebone Parish Church, and Music Director of the historic Christopher Wren Church, St. James's Piccadilly.