Laura MacDonald
Laura MacDonald - cello
Kirsty Chaplin - piano
Friday 26 January 2018 • 7:30pm • Retiring collection
Followed by AGM at 8:30 pm
Beethoven Sonata no.1 for cello and piano
Schumann Adagio and Allegro
Free - Retiring collection

The Music Society`s AGM on Friday 26th January was preceded by a short recital given by two very talented young ladies. Laura MacDonald, cello, and Kirsty Chaplin, piano, played Robert Schumann`s "Adagio and Allegro" op.70 and the "Arpeggione Sonata" D.821 by Franz Schubert.

Starting with the Schumann, this piece written in 1849, almost at the same time as the well known and loved Fantasy Pieces with which it bears a great similarity, was given an excellent performance. A very passionate Adagio with great tone, and soaring expressivity from the cello and with similar feeling from the piano, was followed by an intensely exciting Allegro full of the composers typical triplet rhythms and opposing three against four time.

The A minor "Arpeggione Sonata" originally written in 1824 for a type of bowed guitar of that name but now usually played on a cello or sometimes a viola, is a composition with three movements, the two outer sections being a moderate Allegro and an Allegretto, with an Adagio in between in the key of F. Again this was most enjoyable with great rapport between the players who obviously enjoy giving a spirited performance and great sensitivity especially in the Adagio and throughout the somewhat lengthy last movement.

Altogether this was a fine, but necessarily short recital, by these very accomplished players who we would certainly hope to hear again at a future date and with a more lengthy programme. Unfortunately the AGM followed as something of an anti- climax !!


Laura MacDonald

Laura MacDonald started learning the cello aged six, with Annelies Terry. She then studied for six years with Michal Kaznowski at the Royal College of Music Junior Department (RCM JD).

Laura is a former member of the National Youth Orchestra (NYO), the National Children’s Orchestras, where she was a Leverhulme scholar, and Surrey County Youth Orchestra. She has played at many of the UK’s major concert halls and her orchestral highlights include the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with NYO, and performing for Her Majesty the Queen with an RCM JD orchestra at the 2015 Commonwealth Commemoration Service at Westminster Abbey.

More recently she performed as part of the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble at the Last Night of the Proms 2016. She is also a passionate chamber musician having attended Pro Corda chamber music school from a young age which included performing at the Wigmore Hall with a piano trio. She also formed a string trio with friends, Vavello, which has given several recitals and played at various private events. She has played in cello masterclasses with, amongst others, Raphael Wallfisch, Alexander Baillie and Colin Carr, and has also received chamber music coaching from members of Chillingirian Quartet, Skampa Quartet and Heath Quartet. More recently she has formed a piano trio with fellow Academy students, including Kirsty Chaplin, giving concerts in the Academy and receiving coaching from Ian Brown.

Laura played her first concerto with Godalming Youth Orchestra aged 11, performing Fauré’s Élégie. Her recent performances have included solo recitals in the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall and at the Riverhouse, Walton-on-Thames. In March of 2015 she performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Woking Symphony Orchestra and went on to perform it again in 2016 with the Abbots Langley Orchestra. She first performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto in a special fundraising concert for Guildford Cathedral in July 2015, and also in April of the same year at the Dorking Halls. She also returned to the Royal Albert Hall in June to play a second recital at the Elgar Room, this time with an octet from RCMJD.

Laura performed in many competitions at RCM JD and was a finalist in all the major competitions. She has also won many prizes at both the Woking and Godalming music festivals, including being Godalming Young Musician of the Year 2012 and the runner-up in Woking Young Musician of the Year 2013. Laura is currently a 1st year undergraduate scholar at the Royal Academy of Music studying with Felix Schmidt, and was recently commended in the May Mukle Cello Prize playing with Kirsty Chaplin.

Kirsty Chaplin

Kirsty Chaplin is in her second year of undergraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music, learning with Professor Emeritus Christopher Elton. Before that she spent 7 years at Wells Cathedral School as a joint specialist pianist and harpist with Hilary Coates and Ruth Faber. As a soloist Kirsty has given numerous recitals in the South West, several in London venues such as Steinway Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields and in Hong Kong. She has successfully competed at an international level, most recently at the Cooper International Piano Competition in Ohio. Kirsty also loves taking part in chamber music, playing piano/cello duos with Laura as well as piano trios. She has benefitted greatly from the opportunities received at the Academy to play to professors such as Pascal Roge, Pascal Devoyon, Orit Wolf, Boris Berman and Adrian Brendel, and she looks forward to the next exciting and challenging years.