"Without committing any fault of taste, but not very imaginative, the Scottish Michale Foyle and the Estonian Maksim Štšura appear serious and applied in the execution of the Sonatas nos 1, 2, 4 and 5."Classica, 01-7-2021
Praised for 'playing of compelling conviction' (The Daily Telegraph) and 'astonishing mutual feeling, understanding and responsiveness' (Seen and Heard International), Foyle-Štšura Duo was formed in 2012 and won the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe Duo Competition and the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition in 2015.
Since then, the Duo has performed recitals in Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Buckingham Palace, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Usher Hall in Edinburgh, The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as for the St. Magnus International Festival, Grachtenfestival Amsterdam, New York Chamber Music Festival, Cervantino Festival in Mexico and Evgeny Mravinsky Festival in Tallinn and St. Petersburg. Their performances have been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, NPO Radio 4 and Estonian Klassikaraadio.
During the 2018-19 season, the Duo released two CDs, The Great War Centenary: Janáček, Debussy and Respighi Sonatas on Challenge Records and Lutosławski and Penderecki: Complete Violin and Piano Works on Delphian Records, both to critical acclaim (‘delivered by both artists in sweeping style'– BBC Music Magazine, ‘richly detailed and impassioned performances’ – The Daily Telegraph, ‘the duo delivers a dream debut, 10/10’ – Luister, ’an extraordinary release, played phenomenally’ – Stretto).
Formerly Park Lane Group, Kirckman Concert, Making Music and Live Music Now artists, receiving masterclasses from Stephen Kovacevich and Maxim Vengerov, they are now City Music Foundation Ambassadors. In 2020, the Duo has recorded Beethoven’s complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin to mark the composer’s 250th anniversary.
Michael Foyle (violin) won The Netherlands Violin Competition 2016, giving an acclaimed performance of Szymanowksi's Concerto No.1 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2018-19 he made concerto debuts with English Chamber Orchestra in Cadogan Hall (Prokofiev No.1) and Polish Baltic Philharmonic (Korngold), as well as returning to the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory with the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Brahms and Mendelssohn).
Alongside his performance work, Michael recently became Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, the youngest violinist appointed in the institution’s 200-year history. He has also performed as Guest-Concertmaster with BBC Symphony Orchestra and The Halle, working with conductors including Semyon Bychkov, Mark Elder, Oliver Knussen, Sakari Oramo and Vasily Petrenko. A passionate advocate of contemporary music, he has given premieres of solo and chamber works by over thirty living composers.
Michael was born in Scotland in 1991 and, as a teenager, won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Tabor Award and led the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Afterwards, he studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the University of Music and Arts in Vienna with Maureen Smith, Daniel Rowland and Pavel Vernikov, alongside regular masterclasses with Maxim Vengerov. During this time, Michael won the Royal Overseas League String Competition. He plays a Gennaro Gagliano violin (1750) on loan and is represented by Interartists Amsterdam.
Maksim Stsura (piano) won First Prizes at the Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition (2013), the Estonian Piano Competition (2008), the Steinway-Klavierspiel-Wettbewerb in Germany (2004) and the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Estonia (2000). He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Kammersymphonie and the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra. As a chamber musician he is in great demand, collaborating with Jakobstad Sinfonietta (Finland), Mediterranean Chamber Brass (Spain) and Florin Ensemble (UK) and instrumentalists including violinists Eunsley Park, cellists Ariana Kashefi and Jamal Aliyev.
Maksim studied at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre with Ivari Ilja and on exchange at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, before moving to London to complete his Masters and Artist Diploma degrees with Gordon Fergus-Thompson at the Royal College of Music. He has additionally received masterclasses from Dmitri Bashkirov, Stephan Hough, John Lill and Eliso Virsaladze. Alongside his performing career, Maksim has a DMus from the RCM, where his research was focused on the piano transcriptions of the twenty first-century orchestral scores. He is also a Trustee of the Mills Williams Foundation.
Without committing any fault of taste, but not very imaginative, the Scottish Michale Foyle and the Estonian Maksim Štšura appear serious and applied in the execution of the Sonatas nos 1, 2, 4 and 5.
If their approach turns out to be very neat and elegantly classic, it hardly adds lighting on these famous sonatas.
Recording Beethoven's complete violin sonatas in Mechelen, the home of Beethoven's forebears, during a period of near-global isolation revealed to this Scottish-Estonian duo 'new layers of emotional and psychological intensity', and you certainly hear this in the rapport between the two players. [...] the personality and the integrity of this duo are evident throughout and it will be fascinating to see what they make of the later sonata masterworks of Opp 47 and 96.