The Full Works Concert – Thursday 23 May: Rising Stars

All this week on the Full Works Concert, Jane Jones is featuring some of the rising stars of classical music today.

Tonight's concert kicks off with Rachmaninov's technically dazzling Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. At the keyboard is 26 year old Yuja Wang, pictured above. She was born in Beijing and began studying piano aged six, going on the following year to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. At 11, she was accepted as the youngest piano student at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. Wang has developed a novel reputation of replacing pianists in concert when they fall sick, going on to deliver spectacular performances. In March 2007, she replaced Martha Argerich in concerts held in Boston.

28-year old Swedish guitarist Matthias Jacobsson, a self-confessed fan of Radiohead, gave his first major recital at the age of 17 at the Stockholm International Guitar Festival. His debut recording Invocación, released last year and a Classic FM CD of the Week, explores the music of Spanish composer Francisco Tarrega, his influences from Chopin, and his legacy through his students. One critic said, “The playing throughout is refined, intelligent and highly musical…an outstanding debut.” 

Half-Scottish, half Italian violinist Nicola Benedetti is no stranger to Classic FM listeners. The 25-year old is one of the world’s finest and most in-demand young musicians. In 2004, in addition to winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, she signed a £1m six album recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Group Classics and Jazz. She was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to music and charity. Tonight Jane introduces Benedetti's recording of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D.

Schubert's Piano Sonata in D major is played tonight by 24-year old Alice Sara Ott. This German-Japanese pianist decided on her vocation at the age of three after being taken to a concert. As she has said herself, she realised that "music was the language that goes much beyond any words" and that she wanted to communicate and express herself through it. In the past five years, Ott has gained critical acclaim for her performances at major concert halls worldwide and has established herself as one of the most exciting musical talents of today.

A vocal interlude tonight comes from tenor Noah Stewart. His debut CD peaked at number one in the Classic FM chart. A former student at New York's prestigious Juilliard School, Stewart has appeared this year as Don Jose in the Royal Albert Hall's production of Carmen.

Born in Toulon, France, in 1973, Xavier de Maistre studied both the harp and political science - finishing his studies at the London School of Economics. The harp won over and at the age of only 25, he became solo harpist of the Vienna Philharmonic. In 2010, he left the orchestra to concentrate fully on his solo career. His début CD, released in 2008, featured the works of Claude Debussy. Tonight we hear him play Debussy's Suite Bergamasque.

Sergei Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Piano: Yuja Wang
Claudio Abbado conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra 

Francisco Tarrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Guitar: Matthias Jacobsson 

Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in D major RV.208 
Violin: Nicola Bendetti
Christian Curnyn conducts the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Franz Schubert: Piano Sonata in D major
Piano: Alice Sara Ott 

Traditional: Nearer My God to Thee
Tenor: Noah Stewart
Nicholas Dodd conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra 

Claude Debussy: Suite Bergamasque (arranged for harp)
Harp: Xavier de Maistre