Giovanni Bottesini: String Quintets

This recording presented by Leon Bosch and I Musicanti features three of Giovanni Bottesini’s String Quintets – two are world premiere recordings: Bottesini, as well as being arguably the most significant figure in the history of the double bass, was also an opera conductor and the composer of over a dozen operas, six string quartets and four string quintets.

Available to purchase from I Musicanti Publishing

Kings Place Bottesini Bicentenary Concert, Kings Place

Sunday 19th September 2021 @ 6:30pm

The distinguished musicians of I Musicanti – Tamás András and Benedict Holland (violins), Robert Smissen (viola), Richard Harwood (cello), Leon Bosch (double bass) – perform two masterworks for strings: Beethoven’s G major Quartet (1800) from the Op. 18 set, and Dvořák’s ever-popular Second Quintet (1875). 

In between, they celebrate the bicentenary of famous double bass  virtuoso Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889) with his remarkable Gran Quintetto and a beautiful miniature by an earlier master, Ditters  von Dittersdorf. 

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Leon Bosch double bass; Rebeca Omordia piano; I Musicanti at Wigmore Hall

Thursday 30th April @ 7:30pm

Leon Bosch’s programme showcases the double bass in all its glory, from a virtuoso solo instrument to a thrilling ensemble player. The performance is bookended by Bosch’s own acclaimed ensemble ‘I Musicanti’, opening the concert with the London première of Bottesini’s Grand Quintet in C minor and closing the evening with Dvorák’s Op. 77. In between, he is joined by the award-winning pianist Rebecca Omordia, and will play a stirring commission by Roxanna Panufnik, which incorporates traditional miner’s songs from South Africa where Bosch was born, Leon’s own transcription of Beethoven’s Horn Sonata Op. 17 and the unashamedly virtuosic fantasy on theme’s from Bellini’s ‘La Sonambula’ by Bottesini.


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Conway Hall Sunday Concerts presents: I Musicanti

Sunday 16th September @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm


A welcome return to Conway Hall for Leon Bosch’s renowned ensemble, I Musicanti, featuring the first outing of York-born composer Robin Walker’s The Song of Bone on Stone, especially written for Leon Bosch. Framing this exciting world premiere are two classics of the chamber music repertoire, including an intimate arrangement of Beethoven’s grand ‘Emperor’ concerto by 19th century composer Vinzenz Lachner.

Tamás András (violin)
Fenella Humphreys (violin)
Robert Smissen (viola)
Richard Harwood (cello)
Leon Bosch (double bass)
Leslie Howard (piano)

Beethoven Cavatina from Quartet No.13 in B♭ Op.130
Robin Walker The Song of Bone on Stone world premiere
Beethoven arr. Lachner Piano Concerto No.5 in E♭ Op.73 ‘Emperor’

“I Musicanti embodies the universally cherished ideal of total artistic freedom and unrestrained self-expression, and it aims to provide a home to creative and imaginative artists who share the ambition of realising this dream.” (Leon Bosch)

A mixed instrument chamber ensemble, I Musicanti comprises some of the most experienced and respected musicians to be found in the UK, hand picked by the group’s artistic director, international double bass virtuoso Leon Bosch.

Under Bosch’s direction, I Musicanti comes together to present distinctive programmes with a particular emphasis on music that has been lost and found or simply overlooked: great works by unknown composers and unknown works by great composers.

Many of the ensemble’s projects are the result of Leon Bosch’s vivid curiosity and commitment, something for which he is well known as a double bassist. But the ensemble also provides a vehicle for its members to pursue their own artistic projects. And although the musicians of I Musicanti are all soloists in their own right, the group also collaborates with international performers of the highest calibre.

While I Musicanti works with prestigious venues to promote its concerts, its eye-catching programmes and the quality of performers add something unique to festivals and concert series.


Planet Hugill: Playing of great presence, yet on an intimate scale: chamber versions of Beethoven’s symphonic music from I Musicanti at Conway Hall

(Photo: © Clemmie Curd)

I Musicanti Sunday 3rd June 2018 ‘Alexandra and the Russians’

Unusual instrumental combinations distinguish the final programme of this series: Prokofiev’s ballet-inspired quintet (without cello) and Glinka’s septet (without viola) both also feature the oboe among their wind instrument members. Alongside a duo for violin and double bass, the programme includes a new work by award-winning film composer Alexandra Harwood.

Prokofiev (1891 – 1953) – Quintet in G minor Op. 39
Dmitri Smirnov (b.1948) – Dialogues in the Dark
Alexandra Harwood (b. – Ever After (world premiere)
Glinka (1804 – 1857) – Septet

Tomo Keller – VIOLIN
Fenella Humphreys – VIOLIN
Robert Smissen – VIOLA
Richard Harwood – CELLO
Leon Bosch – DOUBLE BASS
Phillip Nodel – OBOE
Leon Bosch – CLARINET
Julie Price – BASSOON
Sibylle Mahni – FRENCH HORN

Tickets for the concert can be purchased by visiting

Click here to download the press release


I Musicanti at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18: Alexandra and the Russians


ALEX-HARWOOD-Photo1  Leon Bosch Sts2

I Musicanti and their artistic director Leon Bosch return to St John’s Smith Square for ‘Alexandra and the Russians’, a second season of work from the chamber music repertoire partnered with new commissions.

While the emphasis is on grand music from the time of imperial Russia in the shape of Tchaikovsky, Glinka and Arensky (including some relatively unfamiliar works and uncommon instrumental formations), the series adds mordant contributions from later in the 20th century too. Each programme in the four-concert series also presents a new piece by featured artist Alexandra Harwood, a British composer known particularly for her music for screen and stage.

Sunday 3 September, 3pm
with Martin Roscoe, piano
Arensky: Piano Quintet op 51
Alexandra Harwood: new work
Schnittke: Hymnus II
Glinka: Sextet

Two classics of Russian chamber music for piano and strings, with their triumphal introductory piano chords, contrast with a mysterious exploration of the lowest (and the not so low) string sounds. The programme also features the first of four works written for this series by award-winning film composer Alexandra Harwood.

Saturday 4 November, 7.30pm
with Leon Bosch, conductor
Arensky: Tchaikovsky Variations
Tchaikovsky, arr Stephenson: Rococo Variations
Alexandra Harwood: Sinfonia Concertante
Shostakovich, arr Stasevich: Sinfonietta after the String Quartet no 8

I Musicanti becomes string orchestra to perform re-workings of three Russian originals: Arensky’s own version of a Tchaikovsky miniature, a re-orchestration of a Tchaikovsky classic and Shostakovich’s eighth quartet in a version for strings and timpani. The programme also features a second work written for this series by Alexandra Harwood.

Sunday 21 January, 3pm
Arensky: String Quartet no 2, op 35
Alexandra Harwood: new work
Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence

Arensky wrote his quartet, with its solitary violin and pair of cellos, in memory of Tchaikovsky, quoting one of his themes as well as Russian folksong and funeral music. A memento of a different kind, partly written in Tuscany, ends a concert which also features new work by Alexandra Harwood.

Sunday 3 June, 3pm
Prokofiev: Quintet op 39
Smirnov: Dialogues in the Dark
Alexandra Harwood: Ever After
Glinka: Septet

Unusual instrumental combinations distinguish the final programme of this series: Prokofiev’s ballet-inspired quintet (without cello) and Glinka’s septet (without viola) both also feature the oboe among their wind instrument members. Alongside a duo for violin and double bass, the programme includes a new work by award-winning film composer Alexandra Harwood.




Meet the Artist – Alexandra Harwood, composer


Planet Hugili – Holy chants and apocalyptic mayhem (and more besides)

I Musicanti Perform at St John’s Smith Square

I Musicanti are delighted to announce they will be performing a short series of concerts in the new 2016/17 season at St John’s Smith Square, London. These concerts will take place on Sunday 8th January, 3pmSunday 5th March, 3pm, and Sunday 28th May, 3pm.

The ensemble will perform the following programmes:

Sunday 8th January

Mozart  Piano Quartet in Eb K493
Peter Klatzow  Piano Quintet (world premiere)
Schubert  Quintet in A D667 ‘Trout’

Sunday 5th March

Mozart  Flute Quartet in D K285
Paganini  Terzetto for Violin, Cello and Guitar
Werner Bosch  New Work (world premiere)
Schubert  Quartet in G D96 for guitar, flute, viola and cello

Sunday 28th May

Mozart  Clarinet Quintet in A K581
David Earl  Duo for viola and double bass (world premiere)
Schubert  Octet in F D803


Tamas Andras (Violin), Fenella Humphreys (Violin) Robert Smissen (Viola), Richard Harwood (Cello), Leon Bosch (Double Bass), Karen Jones (Flute), Leon Bosch (Clarinet), Julie Price (Bassoon), Hannah Sieber (Horn), Craig Ogden (Guitar), Martin Roscoe (Piano)

IMusicanti perform at Kings Place


I Musicanti are pleased to announce their first concert in the LCMS series which will take place on Sunday 1st May, 6.30pm at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.

The ensemble will perform the following programme:

String Quintet in G, Op. 77
Smirnov Piano Quintet, Op. 72
Beethoven, arr. Lachner Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58 (with Martin Roscoe, piano solo)

Martin Roscoe (Piano), Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay (Violin), Fenella Humphreys (Violin) Robert Smissen (Viola), Richard Harwood (Cello), Leon Bosch (Double Bass)


Leon Bosch retires as principal double bass from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields


One of a small number of double bassists with an international reputation as a solo performer, the South African virtuoso double bassist Leon Bosch has announced that he will be leaving his position as principal double bass with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

Increasingly in demand as soloist and chamber musician, Mr Bosch is retiring from regular orchestral playing to pursue his own varied artistic projects and add to his substantial body of recordings of original music for double bass.

The announcement brings down the curtain on a 30-year orchestral career which has also included appointments as principal double bass with Manchester Camerata, the East of England Orchestra (now Sinfonia ViVA) and the London Mozart Players.

Foremost in his plans is I Musicanti, a new mixed chamber ensemble of handpicked players. The group will assemble for specific musical projects focusing on great works by unfamiliar composers and unfamiliar works by great composers.

Mr Bosch said: “It has long been my ambition to direct my own ensemble, dedicated to the pursuit of the universally cherished ideal of total artistic freedom and unrestrained self-expression. I Musicanti will promote this ideal by resolutely embracing excellence, curiosity, adventure and determination as its guiding principles.”

His solo work in the near future will see him reunite with the ASMF to perform the world premieres of two commissions: a new concerto by Paul Patterson and a double concerto with viola and orchestra by John Woolrich.

A number of composers are writing music for Mr Bosch as part of his substantial programme of commissions, including Malcolm Lipkin, Roxanna Panufnik, Philip Wood, Ivor Hodgson and Chris Gunning as well as the South African composers Paul Hanmer and Allan Stephenson.

Among his forthcoming concerts, there are recitals in the Netherlands, Germany and USA, and concerto performances in South Africa and the UK.

His immediate recording plans include:

  • the imminent release of a world premiere recording of solo music by the forgotten Catalan virtuoso Josep Cervera (1883-1969) following an earlier disc of music by his compatriot and teacher Pedro Valls. A second disc will follow
  • a second volume of British music for double bass, including works by Malcolm Lipkin, Nicholas Maw, David Ellis, Philip Wood and Roxanna Panufnik.
  • a recording of the concerto by Johann Baptist Vanhal, accompanied by the ASMF
  • music by Domenico Dragonetti, with regular pianist Sung-Suk Kang and I Musicanti

He is also helping promote Cervera’s music through a series of performing editions, the first since his extensive research led him to uncover Cervera’s forgotten manuscripts in 2012.

Mr Bosch’s retirement from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields will also allow him to devote more time to teaching and education work. He teaches at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and in summer schools and seminars internationally, and is double bass coach for the I CultureOrchestra (Poland) and MIAGI Youth Orchestra and South African National Youth Orchestra. He is writing a scale book, and tutor and recording a series of teaching videos.

Mr Bosch said: “While I regret having to relinquish my position, it became increasingly clear to me that if I was to do full justice to my plans, this would not be possible while remaining the Academy’s principal double bass. I will always look back on my years with the orchestra with gratitude, and would like to express my appreciation to my colleagues and to Sir Neville Marriner, Joshua Bell, Murray Perahia and all our other musical partners for what really has been the most inspiring and fulfilling musical journey.”

Mr Bosch’s last performance as principal double bass with the ASMF will be at the BBC Proms on 10 August in a concert conducted by Sir Neville Marriner, the orchestra’s founder and life president, and featuring its current music director Joshua Bell.