Milana Sarukhanyan - Founder/Performer
Born in Kerch, Crimea, Milana Sarukhanyan is a prize-winning lyric soprano based in London.
Milana began singing as a young child in the Ukraine and, after two years at the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatoire in St. Petersburg, Russia, relocated to London where she studied at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) with Philip Doghan, Ian Partridge, Richard Berkeley-Steele and Anna Tilbrook, graduating with first-class honours in 2018 and a Master of Arts Diploma in 2020.
Career highlights so far include roles as Najad from Strauss’ ‘Ariadne auf Naxos’ with the Berlin Opera Academy and Micaëla from Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ with the Barcelona Opera Studio as well as performances at the ‘Encuentro de Música Academia’ Festival in Santander, Spain, the ‘Sound and Vision Music Festival’ at the Royal Academy of Music conducted by Paul Morley and Philip Cashian, and her debut in 2017 at London’s Royal Festival Hall in Mahler’s 2nd Symphony under the baton of Semyon Bychkov. Awards include First Prize at the 2018 ‘Fiestalonia Milenio International Arts Contest’ in Spain and a Silver Medal at the 2019 ‘1st International Music Competition’ in Vienna, Austria.
Awarded a five-year Global Talent visa by the UK Home Office in 2020 on the basis of her exceptional artistic promise, Milana’s upcoming performances include a starring role in the film-musical ‘The Phantom of Notre Dame’ by Michael Storey, Despina in ‘Così fan tutte’ by Mozart for LoveOpera and as guest soloist in Mahler’s arrangement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Ryan Bair and the Audentia Ensemble.
Ben Finlay - Co-founder/Performer/Composer
Born in Bolton and raised in North Yorkshire, Ben is currently a final-year undergraduate student of cello at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2018, he was a finalist in the Pendle Young Musician Bursary Competition and was awarded a contribution towards his studies.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Ben has had the opportunity to perform at a range of high-profile venues such as the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds and the Purcell Room in London as well as chamber/solo appearances at Ryedale Festival in Yorkshire. In May 2017, he performed the rarely heard Concerto in C Minor Op. 66 by Nikolai Myaskovsky with the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra, and in the summer of 2019, alongside Xenophon Kelsey and the Vacation Chamber Orchestra, gave five performances of Dvorak’s Silent Woods and “performed this gentle piece with elegance and care” according to a review in the Harrogate Advertiser. When life returns to normal following the pandemic, he will also perform Ligeti’s Cello Concerto with Ryan Bair and the Audentia Ensemble.
As an orchestral musician, Ben has had the chance to play under the direction of world renowned conductors such as Marin Alsop, Robert Trevino, Edward Gardner, Jac van Steen, John Wilson, Carlos Miguel Prieto, and Thomas Ades. This has led him to perform at venues such as the Barbican, Leeds Town Hall, Bridgewater Hall Manchester, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, as well as at the BBC Proms and the Berlioz Festival, France in summer 2017. He has performed key orchestral works such as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
Ben firmly believes that it is important to not only keep to the conventional paths of classical music. He is a keen composer and has recently completed his piece 5 Haiku for Soprano and Cello as well as a Viola Concerto. More recently he has been exploring electronic music and is looking for ways to translate this sound world into an acoustic setting. As a member of the S.O.L. Collective, he recorded on the 2019 album Reveries and is currently working on an album of film music with guitarist Ollie Clark. He is also in the process of completing a new solo album by ex-Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender.
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