Mark Messenger’s broad and varied career means that he can write in his biography the sort of things that would be particularly impressive if weren’t for the fact that everyone else did the same. However, one will not find here any competition accolades as he believes that the Olympic sport of trying to play better than another artist is inherently flawed and destructive to any musical endeavour.

photo: Kirill Bashkirov

His love of music and the human connection it offers has brought him into contact with some remarkable musicians – amongst others, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Ivry Gitlis, Maxim Vengerov, Bernard Greenhouse, Natalie Clein, Raphael Wallfisch, Thomas Carroll, Yonty Solomon, Howard Shelley, John Lill, Dame Thea King, Michael Collins, Chris Garrick and Sir John Dankworth – and some even more incredible students. He hopes that these connections, some of which are fleeting, and others last for decades, have in some way affected these people to the same extent as he has been transformed by them.

He has taken great pleasure from over three decades of string quartet playing, travelling across the world to teach, conducting and from his role as Head of Strings at the Royal College of Music. As long as his exploration of life and music continues to provide such human experiences he will continue. If this ever ceases he will dedicate even more of his time to fine wine and good eating and scuba diving.

Maria Tarasewicz has gained an international reputation as a chamber musician, duo partner and a pedagogue. She is committed to working with and developing younger artists, and invitations not only as a performer but also as a teacher and accompanist have taken her to Norway, Belgium, France, Italy, Jersey, San Marino, Poland, China and many UK festivals and masterclasses. Maria has performed in all of London’s major concert venues including Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall Purcell Room and many others. She also appears regularly on BBC Radio 3.

photo: Kirill Bashkirov

Maria was born in Ukraine, then moved with her family to Poland. She went on to study in Belgium and after meeting her husband she moved to London where she is now based. A travel like this made her very reluctant to answer the question “where do you come from”. If you ask her this, the answer will probably be: “from everywhere”.

On her path she had been inspired by many fantastic artists whose influence has shaped the direction of her music-making. The pantheon of these is large and includes Ivry Gitlis, Maxim Vengerov, Gavriel Lipkind, Vladimir Perlin, Leonid Gorokhov, Leonid Kerbel, Eugeni and Olga Moguilevski, Natalia Radecka, Iya Pavlova, Boyan Vodenitcharov, Michael Dussek.

Maria searches for artistic answers through being the co-founder of The Thinking Musician and outreach projects with organisations such as BlindAid. Inevitably the truth is that, by searching answers, she only finds more questions.