Formed in 2013, Meraki Duo enjoys exploring the diversity of repertoire available to the flute-guitar pairing while contributing new arrangements. Meera Maharaj (flute) and James Girling (guitar) both studied at the RNCM, sharing a passion for chamber music that extends to jazz, works by contemporary composers, and Brazilian folk. They love performing in a wide variety of settings; most recently, these have included Swaledale Festival, St James’s Church Piccadilly, Manchester Cathedral, and the Bridgewater Hall at Craig Ogden’s Guitar Weekend. They regularly perform for recital series across the UK, and last year they advanced to the semifinal of the Royal Overseas League Competition in London.
Alongside their concert schedule, they endeavor to bring performances into the wider community. They are newly accepted Live Music Now artists and often give workshops in schools across the North West. They look forward to outreach concerts at the Wigmore Hall in the coming season.
Meera was born in 1995 and grew up in Warrington. She is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Cox, having received an entrance scholarship generously supported by Sir Elton John, a Countess of Munster Musical Trust award and a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award. Meera graduated from the RNCM with a first class degree, studying with Laura Jellicoe, Juliette Bausor and Wissam Boustany. In 2017, she won the Royal Academy flute prize, 3rd prize in the British Flute Society “Young Artist” Competition and was a finalist in the RNCM Concerto Competition. In 2016, she won the Dutch International Flute Competition and in 2015, gained 2nd prize in the RNCM Solo Woodwind Competition, following on from earlier competition successes during her school years. She has given solo performances at the Concertgebouw, the Bridgewater Hall and other venues across the North of England. A former member of several national youth ensembles, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth and CBSO Youth Orchestras, Meera has performed with a variety of RNCM and RAM ensembles. She won a place on the BBC Philharmonic’s Professional Experience Scheme. Meera has organised several successful concerts in aid of Warrington Foodbank and Medecins sans Frontieres, in which she has performed with the Meraki Duo and as a flute/piano duo.
Twenty-two-year-old guitarist James is studying for a Masters at the Royal Northern College of Music, having achieved the BMus(Hons) on RNCM’s Accelerated Pathway. Tutored by classical guitarist Craig Ogden, James also studies jazz with pianist Dan Whieldon. In 2016, he won the RNCM Gold Medal, and made his Wigmore Hall and professional concerto debuts in 2017. James received the Biddy Baxter & John Hosier Music Trust’s Special Award, Principal’s Prize for Jazz Improvisation and Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Awards. James leads a busy lifestyle performing in a range of ensembles. He appears across the UK and Europe with Afrobeat/Ethiojazz-inspired 11-piece Agbeko and with authentic Swing-era septet The Easy Rollers. As a session musician, he has played at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix and Chateau de Cassis, and on TV series Cold Feet. Meanwhile, James’ classical chamber music performances include St. Paul’s Covent Garden, Leeds International Concert Season and the Lake District Summer Music International Festival. Additionally, James has written arrangements recorded by Jacqui Dankworth and Craig Ogden, and was commissioned by Andy Scott to arrange several of his works for guitar and flute. In the RNCM Big Band, James has performed alongside soloists including Tim Garland, Julian Joseph, Markus Stockhausen and Tina May, and played duets with Martin Taylor and Chris Garrick. His jazz quintet Artephis toured their debut original album in 2017. Aired on BBC Radio 2 by Jamie Cullum and on Radio 3’s ‘Jazz Now’, Artephis have been featured across the North’s jazz festivals
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