A duo comprising of two award winning soloists, Duo 53 came together with a joint vision to deliver high quality performances of music they love. Blending their unique musical styles and experiences, Sam and Sophie thrive on their love of music and their desire to present diverse programmes to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. A rarely found collaboration, the duo will be performing original works and their own arrangements - promising the audience something completely new!
Sophie Rocks Since graduating with a first class honours from the Royal Northern College in 2016, Sophie has enjoyed a vibrant and diverse freelance career. As a soloist, Sophie has had the pleasure to perform all over the country at venues as north as Mareel Arts Centre in Shetland and as far south as London’s Kraxton Studios. She was the recipient of the 2018 United Kingdom Harp Association Award. Sophie was also honoured to be a finalist in the Royal Northern College of Music’s Gold Medal competition, the highest accolade the college awards for solo performance. Most recently, Sophie has been accepted onto Yehudi Menuhin’s ground-breaking scheme ‘Live Music Now!’, which sends musicians to perform in schools, care homes, hospitals and day centres. After a critically acclaimed run as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase for the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival 2019, Sophie is now touring her exciting new venture, ‘Notes from Shetland to Shanghai,’ a project inspired by music and poetry from across the globe alongside the emotional impact of migration, across the UK.
Sam Rodwell Sam Rodwell completed his undergraduate at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with a first class honours degree under the tutelage of Craig Ogden. Sam went on to complete his Masters in performance, also at the RNCM, with a distinction. The college subsequently appointed him as an 'Associate Guitar Teacher' after excelling over a six year period .
In his very first term as an undergraduate he won the String Department 'Salon Prize' making him the first guitarist to win this competition for nearly 30 years. Also during his first year at music college Sam was offered the opportunity to perform on guitar, banjo and ukulele in Shostakovich's rarely performed ‘Paradise Moscow’. In his fourth year he went on to attain a place as a finalist in the highly prestigious ‘Gold Medal’ competition. He has similarly appeared as a finalist in the Ivor Mairants Guitar Competition and The Royal Overseas League strings sectional. In 2016 he made his television debut on Sky Arts whilst taking part in ‘Guitar Star’ making it to the final 8 and being featured in 6 out of 9 episodes. Sam has also been an ambassador for Yamaha (U.K.) in promoting their classical guitar range. He has performed in masterclasses for artists including David Russell, Mark Ashford, Chris Stell, Milos Karadaglic, Gary Ryan, Michael Lewin, Gordon Crosskey and Julian Byzantin.
Ruth Lee is an award-winning composer, harpist and vocalist who studied with Eleanor Turner. A graduate of the University of York, she was awarded both The Wilfrid Mellers Prize for Music and a Concerto Award, performing DHC’s Soñando en Español. Ruth enjoys writing multi-genre acoustic and electro-acoustic harp music, often inspired by historical and mythological narratives, leading to awards including First Prize at The Future Blend Project 2018/19, and First Prize at the Wales Harp Composition Competition 2015. Ruth recently performed in the Online Edinburgh International Harp Festival as the recipient of the Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award 2019 and currently enjoys collaborations with her trio ‘Phantasia’, and The Arc Project. She is delighted to have been selected as a UKHA Emerging Artist for 2020 and is also looking forward to performing a programme at the World Harp Congress 2021 featuring her own compositions.
Lise Vandersmissen was born in 1996 in Belgium. She studied with Lieve Robbroeckx for her Bachelor’s Degree in the LUCA School of Arts, Belgium, and completed her Master’s Degree at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Imogen Barford, London. She is currently part of the Fellowship Programme at the Guildhall. Lise participated successfully in national and international competitions. Amongst others, she won First Prizes at The 5th International Harp Competition in Slovenia, The Vlamo Concours and The Belfius Competition in Belgium and The North International Music Competition 2018. She won the Second Prize in the Fifth International Harp Competition in Hungary, and was awarded the Third Prize at the North London Harp Competition 2019. She won the Guildhall Harp Prize 2019. She was a Prizewinner at The 9th Micha? Spisak International Music Competition in Poland, and was selected to perform at the Focus On Youth Platform on the World Harp Congress in Hong Kong in 2017. She won the Special Prize of the Hungarian Harp Duo at the 4th International Harp Competition in Hungary and the Second Prize at the Prinses Christina Concours in the Netherlands. She won a place at the London Sinfonietta Academy and the Académie Camac in France with Isabelle Perrin. She was selected to be a Concordia Foundation Artist. In June 2019, Lise gave the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new piece for solo harp: Four Meditations. Lise will be performing her transcription for solo harp of Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin at the World Harp Congress in Wales this summer. Lise has performed as a soloist with The Symphony of Zabrze Philharmonic directed by S?awomir Chrzanowski in Poland, Youth Orchestra Amikejo under Mark Prils in The Netherlands and the Symphony Orchestra of Luca School of Arts directed by Ivan Meylemans in Belgium. She has played in the final of the Croydon Concerto Competition with the Croydon Symphony Orchestra in London. Her eagerness to learn from a wide variety of international influences is evidenced in her participation in many masterclasses, including those given by Isabelle Perrin, Isabelle Moretti, Catrin Finch, Sylvain Blassel, Catherine Michel, Catherine White, Annie Lavoisier, Hanna Grociak, Agnès Clément, Hugh Webb, Gwyneth Wentink and many more.