Canadian violinist Katie Stillman and English pianist Simon Lane began their musical partnership whilst studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and celebrated their 10th Anniversary year as a duo in 2015.
In their first competition together in 2005 they won the RNCM Helen Porthouse Paganini Prize with a performance of the Brahms G Major Sonata, and in the spring of that year the duo were chosen for the Tillett Trust Young Artist Platform, leading to their Wigmore Hall debut where they “combined tenderness, wistful nostalgia and red-blooded passion in an interpretation of terrific distinction and compelling emotional force” according to the Daily Telegraph. This prize also provided many other concerts around the UK, both at music societies and concert halls such as St. George’s Bristol and Croydon’s Fairfield Hall. The duo are past winners of numerous other awards, including being selected for the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Maisie Lewis Award and the Park Lane Group Young Artists’ New Year Series at the Purcell Room. In 2011 and 2014 Katie and Simon were asked by the ABRSM to record part of the violin syllabus for the supporting exam material which is distributed worldwide, and were invited to return to record the 2018 syllabus.
Both Katie and Simon developed a keen interest in chamber music from an early age. Katie attended Pro Corda, a chamber music school situated in Leiston Abbey, Suffolk which provided chamber music training for talented young players during the school holidays, and Simon was a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral from the age of seven. Katie has an extensive career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral principal. She was a founding member of the Barbirolli Quartet which performed extensively throughout Europe including at festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Verbier and Aldeburgh. She regularly performs concertos with London Concertante and Manchester Camerata and is co-leader at Manchester Camerata. She has guest led the Academy of St Martin in the Fields (with whom she is a member), the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Camerata and has co-led the City of Birmingham Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Aurora and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his duo with Katie, Simon has worked with artists such as Danielle de Niese, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton, Guy Johnston, Lana Trotovsek and Jack Liebeck, and the Navarra and Badke String Quartets. His CD release with cellist Philip Higham was selected as Strad Magazine‘s ‘CD of the month’. Alongside frequent performances in London’s Wigmore Hall, he has appeared in venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie and Leipzig’s Alte Handelsbörse. Recent festival engagements include the Bachfest Leipzig, La Festival de Musique de Menton and the Dubrovnik and Ljubljana Summer Festivals. Among other early influences on his career, Simon is indebted to the late Mark Ray, to whom he owes a large share of his love of music.
Katie and Simon have always enjoyed working with young people. Together they have given masterclasses and workshops for children in schools, some supported by the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Katie is a faculty member at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and is the Upper String Tutor in Practical Pedagogy at the Royal Northern College of Music. Simon is Head of Keyboard at Whitgift School in Croydon. He is also a regular coach and artist at Aberystwyth Musicfest, an annual festival and summer school.