Sands Films

Music Room

Opening Night

Southwark International Music Festival, Friday 19 November 2021


Mellos Ensemble Members
Alda Dizdari – violin
Maria Gîlicel – violin
Juhee Yang – violin
Homan Woo – violin
Matthew Johnstone – viola
Anna Barsegjana – viola
Idlir Shyti – cello
Melody Lin – cello
Additional members
Ezgi Sarikcioglu violin


J. S. Bach Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins BWV 1043

E. Elgar Serenade for Strings in E Minor Op.20

G. Enescu String Octet in C Major Op.7

We are very happy to open our first edition of the festival in the quirky and hypnotic place that is Sands Films Music Room, for a very good reason. We are not only performing in the heart of Southwark, in one of the oldest areas by the river in Rotherhithe, the venue is also fully equipped to facilitate Live Streaming of the highest quality.

The opening night will bring a star cast of musicians of the Mellos Ensemble, led by the concert violinist and artistic director, Alda Dizdari in a programme carefully curated by her that explores the mind and creations of geniuses. Bach’s Two Violin Concerto provides the starting point for this exploration, as a masterpiece that has given endless inspiration to composers. Enescu pays tribute to this work, especially in the second movement of his string octet , in itself a direct descendent of Bach’s beautiful second movement in his concerto. Another element that connects the pieces selected for this evening is the time in which composers wrote them. Both Elgar and Enescu were at the beginning of their careers, Enescu still e teenager of only 19 years old. 

Mellos Ensemble was founded out of love for exploring chamber music of all forms, from small to larger scale works and a wide range of genres and periods from baroque to contemporary. The ensemble has a core of members but the format is fluid and variable to allow adaptation according to instrumentation. All musicians bring something unique to the ensemble and above all a passion for exploration, curiosity and dedication to deliver performances of the highest standards.

“Such vivid, imaginative, brilliant playing is rare indeed. The expressiveness of her bowing was a thing of wonder.” – Tim Homfray, Strad Magazine

“ Alda Dizdari is a phenomenon […] She is, as the greatest musicians are, a perfect servant of the music: she interposes no mannerisms or intellectualisms, allowing the musical work to speak for itself in every phrase.” –  Sir Noel Malcolm (author of “George Enescu: His Life and Music”)

“[…]It’s a moving story, told with refreshing openness and honesty, that captures and conveys the transformative power of music under even the most trying of circumstances.” – Julian Haylock, The Strad Magazine

Alda Dizdari is a versatile musician, educator and author. The Albanian born London based concert violinist combines a successful solo career with other creative and charitable activities. Since her debut at the Wigmore Hall in 2010 she has been selected as a “One to Watch” musician by the Gramophone magazine in 2011, has performed as a soloist in the most prestigious venues around the country and abroad, produced four recordings on her label, Mellos Records, has been reviewed by The Strad Magazine, featured by the Sunday Times/ Culture Magazine, and appeared live on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 programmes. In 2020 she launched an audiobook of her unique memoir: ‘Kiss Me Again; A Memoir of Elgar in Unusual Places’ and released a special edition including the book and recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto brilliantly produced in Moscow in 2019 with conductor Alexander Walker and Musica Viva Orchestra.

Alongside her performing career Alda maintains a busy schedule as an inspirational educator. She is the founder of DEA Music Academy, a not for profit organisation offering   ‘conservatoire standards with community feeling’ in the borough of Southwark in London. More recently she is the founder and creative director of Southwark Music, an umbrella project that includes Southwark International Music Festival, Outreach Activities and a New Composition Award for composers.

She teaches part time at the Purcell School of Music and The Junior Guildhall School of Music ad Drama.

Alda plays a GB Ceruti Violin, Cremona 1791, bought specially for her by a private sponsor and a Dominique Peccatte Bow, on loan from the Stradivari Trust, UK. 

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Romanian violinist Maria Gîlicel is an emerging performer recognized for her versatility and passion on stage. Maria has just obtained her Artist Diploma degree at the Royal College of Music London with Professor Maciej Rakowski as a Dasha Shenkman Scholar, where she previously graduated from Bachelors of Music with Honours and Masters in Performance with Distinction. She has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra member in various venues including Het Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Buckingham Palace, St. John’s Smith Square, the Romanian Cultural Institute of London and the National Auditorium of Madrid; and has worked with many acclaimed musicians including Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Maxim Vengerov and Gordan Nikolic. She is part of the Tillett Trust Young Artists Platform and was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Emily Anderson Prize for soloists. Future engagements include recitals with the Chloé Piano Trio and performances as part of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Maria plays on a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin (Paris, 1850).