Hailed by the Observer as “a hugely talented foursome”, the Sirocco Saxophone Quartet is a dynamic ensemble, seeking to engage audiences with their rich and diverse chamber music repertoire. They perform original works, transcriptions and new commissions and have enjoyed collaborating with composers including Tansy Davies, Charlotte Bray, Laura Bowler, Betin Günes and Thilo Schaller. They give regular recitals in the UK, Germany and across Europe and are glad to have had the opportunity to perform in some exceptional venues including the Purcell Room, Cadogan Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Wigmore Hall in London and the Teo Otter Theatre in Germany for the Meisterkonzert chamber music series.
Sirocco was formed at the Royal College of Music in 2006 where its members studied with Kyle Horch and Martin Robertson. On graduating from the RCM they continued their postgraduate studies with world-renowned professors in Paris, Cologne and The Hague. They were Park Lane Group Young Artists in 2009 and received a Musicians Benevolent Fund Ensembles Award in 2011.
This is a project quartet with members now living in different countries across Europe. During the past eight years, determination and commitment have forged the habit of meeting up at regular intervals for intensive practice for each performance, despite the long distances involved. Currently, Michaela and Huw have settled back in the UK and Greta and Gregor live in Germany. A recent review (in the Westfalische Nachrichten, Havixbeck, Germany) made the astute observation that “they met at the Royal College of Music, London and their music grows from a friendship you could hear in every single bar”. This is the glue that holds Sirocco together: long lasting friendship and a mutual love for the music they seek to share.
The quartet recorded their debut album entitled ‘La Danza’ in May 2014 and are recording a contemporary music CD including commissions from Charlotte Bray and Thilo Schaller in Canada in 2014.
“…played with poise and affection by this hugely talented foursome.”
“… their music grows from a friendship you hear in every single bar.”
“… played with huge panache by the Sirocco Quartet”
Michaela completed her Bachelor of Music at the Royal College of Music with Kyle Horch and Martin Robertson in 2008, graduating with first class honours. While at the RCM she took part in the London Philharmonic Orchestra Future Firsts scheme, also performing at the Montepulciano Festival, Italy, with the Young Janacek Philharmonic Ochestra. In 2007 Michaela won the Jane Melber Saxophone Commpetition at the RCM.
Michaela undertook her postgraduate studies with Christian Wirth (classical) and Jean-Charles Richard (jazz) at the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel Paris, 2008-2010. She extended her time in Paris to a total of four years, touring with the theatrical project “Le Souffle des Marquises” from 2009 to 2012 with French writer/storyteller Muriel Bloch and four saxophones. The tour included shows all over France and Algeria, including ‘La Strada’, Marciac, Musée d’Orsay and Jazz à la Villette (Cité de la Musique) in Paris as well as the French Cultural Centers in Algiers and Oran.
Currently based in London, Michaela enjoys a varied freelance career both teaching and performing across the UK and abroad. More recent orchestral appearances have included the saxophone solo in Ravel’s Bolero with the Symphony Orchestra of India in Mumbai (2009) and a performance of music by Mark Anthony Turnage with The London Sinfonietta Academy at King’s Place (2010). With a particular passion for chamber music, Michaela was a founding member of Sirocco Saxophone Quartet in 2006 and with this ensemble she has performed in many of London’s main concert venues, including the Cadogan Hall, Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall. In 2013 she recorded David Maslanka’s brand new work Songs for the Coming Day with Syzygy Quartet (tenor saxophone) and also performs across the UK with her duo Cocora alongside marimba player Eri Kaishima.
Greta Schaller was born in Hofheim am Taunus in Germany. After receiving her A-levels/Abitur in Münster, she studied in Utrecht (Netherlands) in the class of Johan van der Linden at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. In 2005 she moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music, taking lessons with Kyle Horch and Martin Robertson. Alongside her saxophone lessons she also studied flute with Graham Maygar. She received her Bachelor and her postgraduate diploma with distinction.
In 2008 she went to Cologne (Germany) to learn with Daniel Gauthier at the “Musikhochschule für Musik” and graduated in 2011 with a Masters.
Greta enjoys a varied career in Germany and the UK. She has played with many orchestras in Germany, such as the Gürzenich-Orchester, Bergische Symphoniker, Essener Philharmoniker, WDR Sinfonieorchester, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, Kammeroper Köln etc. In December 2014/January 2015 she will perform the Glazunow concerto six times as a soloist with the Bergischen Symphonikern.
Every year she performs in the show “Divertissimentchen” at the opera house cologne with the Bergischen Symphonikern and the Choir “Cäcilia Wolkenburg”. She is also a member of “Die Madämchen”, a ladies salon orchestra in Cologne, with whom she performs regularly in different parts of Germany. In 2008 she worked with singer Carl Douglas (best known for writing the song “Kung Fu Fighting”) and features on his album “Return of the Fighter”.
Beside her orchestral work she is passionate about chamber music and plays with the Sirocco Saxophone Quartet and in a duo with marimba. Greta and her duo partner Simon Roloff perform at different events and venues in Germany, such as the “Draht Saiten Akt” in Iserlohn.
Greta Schaller is currently teaching at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne and the Musikschule der Stadt Mülheim an der Ruhr.
Commonwealth Musician of the Year, First Prize and Gold Medal winner of the 2014 Royal Overseas League Annual Music Competition, Huw Wiggin is one of the most popular saxophonists of his generation.
Huw studied at Chethams School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music with Andrew Wilson and Rob Buckland. On graduating in 2008 with a 1st Class honours degree he won a scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) to continue his studies with Daniel Gauthier at the Hochschule für Musik, Köln. In 2012 he graduated from the Royal College of Music with Kyle Horch gaining a Masters with Distinction.
Other prizes and awards include: a ‘Star Award’ from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, a Music Education Award from the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Philip & Dorothy Green Award, a Martin Musical Scholarship Award and he was a finalist in the Young Concert Artist Trust Auditions. Whilst at the RCM he won the RCM Concerto Prize, which led to a performance of Paule Maurice’s Tableaux de Provence.
In 2012 Huw was selected as a Park Lane Group Artist. He was praised for his ‘Liquid gold tones and enviable breath control’ from The Times and premiered a new work entitled Three Letter Word by Andy Scott. He has appeared at festivals and music societies throughout the UK and in major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall and a performance of Milhaud’s Scaramouche at Henley Festival. In July 2012 Huw was invited to perform recitals and a concerto performance of Eric Coates’s Saxo Rhapsody at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing.
Plans for 2014 include a return visit to the Wigmore Hall in October, performances at the Edinburgh and Beaminster Festivals and the release of a new solo CD with James Sherlock.
Huw also performs regular concerts throughout the UK and abroad with the Sirocco Saxophone Quartet and the Ferio Saxophone Quartet.
Bio coming soon.