Speranza was founded by Kath Sugden in Moscow in 2007. It developed from the work of the Christian charity Crescendo and was designed as a flexible chamber group performing in a wide variety of venues. Since relocating to the UK Kath has been joined by her husband Charles and together with other friends, they have performed a wide range of concerts.
Kath Sugden studied music at Cardiff University. After teaching for a few years, she moved to Russia and set up Crescendo, an outreach to professional classical musicians and conservatoire students. Kath studied with Valentina Daktyrova at the Gnesin Academy. She has performed in venues across Europe and is particularly interested in music from the 20th Century.
Charles Sugden studied history at Cambridge though he was formerly a music scholar at Radley College. Having started as a flautist, he has since developed as a cellist, which he plays most often at Speranza concerts. As well as being a performing musician, Charles is also the chaplain of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Julian Williams started playing the piano at the age of 6 and the clarinet at the age of 10. He served in both the Somerset and the National Youth Orchestras as clarinettist. Julian studied music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he developed his gift of composition. Julian is an avid cyclist and Francophile and is gradually cycling his way round every departement in France.
Julie Browne graduatedf from the Royal Academy of Music,London, where she studied flute with Norman Knight and Gareth Morris. Julie taught Francis Holland Girls’ School, the Kent Music School and the Royal Ballet School. She has been teaching the flute extensively at most of Bristol's Independent Schools and playing in a number of local orchestras. Having retired from teaching Julie & Stephen have toured Europe in their camper van, entertaining grandchildren in between!
Stephen Browne graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. After teaching in London, he became director of music at The Red Maids’ School, Bristol. Stephen has performed widely as a pianist, and has adjudicated at local music competitions in addition to conducting the Yatton Choral Society, the Northavon Singers, the Bristol Music Club Orchestra (now the ‘Metropolitan Orchestra’) and the Stephen is organist at St Matthew’s Church, Kingsdown and also an examiner for the ABRSM. In addition to music, Stephen enjoys cooking, fishing and exploring the world in a camper van.
Natalya Brazhnikova is a piano accompanist and teacher of chamber music in Gnesin Academy of Music in Moscow.