The Argotti Ensemble
was formed in 2012 by
a group of musicians passionate about performing chamber music, with the intention of creating a flexible formation from duo to chamber orchestra. In its short existence it has given a number of
successful concerts performed by some of the most established European artists. The Argotti Ensemble joins talented Maltese musicians with those from around Europe, and is continually enhancing its
quality and expanding its repertoire.
"One could say right from the start that this was a concert which was delightful from beginning to end. All soloists were very well-prepared and The Ensemble well-moulded into a cohesive string orchestra ...There was no doubting the fine balance and complementary nature of the playing of the two violinists". (The Malta Independent, March 2012)
"Displaying perfect synchronisation and understanding, the performance flowed naturally and the musicians found no difficulty at all adapting and changing styles when this was requested of them. Such high-calibre performances are hard to come by but when they do come along they are simply wonderful." (Victoria International Arts Festival, July 2012)
"The music came across in all its colour and endless melodic invention and balanced dialogue between the instruments... and was very warmly received" (The Times, June 2013)
"They displayed masterful control of the demands the work makes, both musically and technically ...This was a performance that will be remembered for its sensitivity, musicality and polish" (Victoria International Arts Festival, 2013)
Nemanja Ljubinkovic was born in Belgrade and began his violin studies at the age of 6. He has won many prizes including the international Yamaha Scholarship Competition, Citta di Genova Violin Competition and the Jeunesse Musicale Competition. Nemanja studied in Munich at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater with Olga Voitova Bloch, as well as Zakhar Bron, Anna Chumachenko, Ida Handel and Ami Flamer. He has performed as a soloist with the Belgrade Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic and Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and gained orchestral experience with the Bayerische Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, Bayerische Staatstheater Orchestra, and Bayreuth Festspielhaus. He was a member of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2012, and after moving to London now plays with orchestras such as Munich Chamber Orchestra, L'Orchestre du Festival de Belle-Île, Oxford Soloists , Oxford Philomusica and London Symphony Orchestra, apart from various engagements as soloist.
Maria Conrad was born in Germany and began her piano and violin studies at the age of 7, studying with Monica Anastasi and Joachim Atanassov respectively. She graduated in Music and German from the University of Malta and furthered her violin studies at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, completing a post-graduate Diploma in 2000 under Prof. Krzysztof Smietana. Further tuition included masterclasses with Erika Klemperer and Saschko Gawriloff, and chamber music coaching with the Vellinger Quartet. She was a full-time member of the National Orchestra of Malta between 1997-2001, and after this worked largely in Spain with many of the leading orchestras there. In 2004 she was awarded a full-time post with the Orquesta de Extremadura, with whom she worked until 2008. Maria has performed in over 20 countries, and for the last few years has worked extensively as a freelance musician both in orchestral and in chamber formations.
Gisèle Grima is an acclaimed professional pianist and music educator from Malta who has rapidly established herself as a prominent performer and sought-after tutor and accompanist. Recognized as “one of the leading Maltese pianists of her generation” (The Sunday Times, Malta), Gisèle’s solo and chamber recitals have taken her to several concert halls around Malta, Sicily, Finland, Iceland, South-West France, Syria, Manchester, Edinburgh and London.
Gisèle has appeared as accompanist and soloist in various local and foreign festivals including the Malta Arts Festival 2007, International Spring Orchestra Festival 2010, 2013 & 2015, Victoria Arts Festival 2012, Three Palaces Festival 2013 & 2014, Music at Castelfranc 2008 (France), ECUME 2009 in Damascus and Chorlton Music Festival 2008 (Manchester). In May 2010 she made her début as a concerto artist with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra performing Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major under the baton of Michael Laus.
Gisèle began her music studies in Malta with Josianne Vella Bardon, Lydia Buttigieg and later with Maria Dolores Amodio Chircop. In 2003, Gisèle won the Ian Tomlin Malta/Napier Scholarship and pursued music studies at Napier University, Edinburgh studying piano and accompaniment with Nicholas Ashton. In 2005, Gisèle was selected to further her training briefly at Tampere Konservatorio, Finland where she trained with Lauri Väinmaa and Tiina Kärblane. Gisèle graduated from Napier University with a First Class Honours degree in 2006 and was awarded scholarships from the Malta Government (MGSS), the Janatha Stubbs Fund and Dr. Ian Tomlin which enabled her to further her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. At the RNCM Gisèle was coached by pianist Paul Roberts, a leading exponent of French piano music. In 2008, she became a graduate of the RNCM obtaining a Master of Music in performance with Distinction and a Postgraduate Diploma in performance in 2009. Upon graduating, Gisèle was subsequently awarded the William Humphreys Dayas Prize as a result of her success to place as a finalist in the highly competitive Piano Recital Prize at the RNCM. Gisèle has also been praised and encouraged by other renowned musicians including Franco Foderà, Cynthia Turner, Carole Presland, Dina Parakhina, Graham Scott, Dmitri Rachmanov, Iris Senturker, Phillipe Cassard, Harold Gray, John Lill, Julius Drake, David Jones, Benjamin Frith, Simon Rowland-Jones, Ian Brown and Pavel Fischer.
A keen and dedicated music educator, Gisèle combines her busy performing schedule with a love for teaching and believes in music as a pioneering source of inspiration for children and adults of all ages. In 2013, she was appointed as Trustee member for the Ian Tomlin Napier/Malta Scholarship Fund. Gisèle is one of few musicians in Malta to hold a Fellowship of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in piano performance (FRSM).