Masumi Yamamoto and Boris Bizjak

Widely travelled musician to visit Totnes for Totnes Early Music Society Class of 1685 concert

Class of 1685
Friday January 19 at 7.30pm at the United Free Church, Totnes

That professional musicians travel widely to support their careers is not new: Scarlatti and Handel whose music features in an upcoming concert organised by the Totnes Early Music Society (TEMS) both worked outside their native country. But on this occasion, the two performers who are performing in Class of 1685 on Friday 19th January have travelled particularly widely across the globe to pursue their vocation

Prize-winning harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto was born in Japan, and grew up in Australia before moving to London in 2001 to pursue her musical studies at the Royal Academy of Music. Masumi has performed widely across Europe, and as far afield as Malaysia, Japan and Australia. In September she was invited to give a solo recital in Lisbon, Portugal, on one of only two surviving original Portuguese harpsichords.

Closer to home, Masumi has appeared at the Purcell Room, the Royal Albert Hall, St. John’s Smith Square and Cadogan Hall as a soloist and continuo player. She has given lessons and Masterclasses in Singapore and Australia, and last year completed her PhD at the University of York. She is the artistic director of a concert series ‘Sydenham Concerts’. launched in February 2016.

Now, Totnes Early Music Society is delighted that Masumi will be travelling to Totnes to appear at the United Free Church with her regular collaborator, Slovak flautist Boris Bizjak. Boris, too, is widely travelled, having trained in Slovakia and Paris, and is now London based. He has performed across Europe and in the US and China. Together, Masumi and Boris played at the Ursus Festival in Slovenia in the summer, and in Japan in October.

Their Totnes programme Class of 1685 features music for flute and harpsichord written by some of the greatest baroque music composers who ever lived, who were all born in 1685 – and who developed a wide range of compositional styles.

German-born Handel studied in Italy and eventually became British; Scarlatti was Italian and worked in Portugal and Spain; Dornel, whose music is little known today, was French and worked in Paris; and Bach spent his entire life in Germany.

Through the concert, the role of the harpsichord also changes – from a continuo instrument in music by Handel and Dornel to that of an equal partner to the flute in the Bach’s Obbligato Flute Sonata and a solo instrument in the virtuosity of Scarlatti’s Sonatas.

Class of 1685 takes place on Friday 19th January at 7.30pm at the United Free Church in Totnes, and is the latest in a series of six concerts from TEMS in association with the Arts at Dartington.

More information can be found on the TEMS website, All TEMS concerts are open to everyone. Tickets are available in advance from the Dartington website, and Box Office (01803 847070) or on the door, price £12 (under 18s £5).

Philip R Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip R Buttall was the Classical Music Writer at Plymouth Herald from 1997-2017. He is a sought-after piano teacher, composer and arranger, and online concert and CD reviewer. Further information and contact details are available at
Philip Buttall