It is hard to listen to the "Zakhar" trio play and not be impressed. They certainly left an impression on me and the photographer and we only heard them practise.

I can't imagine how it would be like if we attended one of their concerts.

Passion and harmony

I caught up with the group (named after one of its members, pianist Irina Zakharova) at practise recently at the British School, Khubairat, before their first debut today.

Emma Stansfield plays the violin, Laura Chapple the cello and Irina Zakharova the piano.

Stansfield and Chapple are part of the school's instrumental team of seven staff members that teach students how to play an instrument while Zakharova teaches the piano elsewhere. They all have an indomitable passion for chamber music and for performing. And while they've only been playing together four months, their music flows in perfect harmony.

They've dedicated all their free time to practise, practise and practise some more.


"There is nothing better than playing music and playing it for other people," says Stansfield. "It's what all the hours of hard work are all about," adds Chapple.

"We would like to introduce this kind of music to people who haven't heard it before and give them the opportunity to hear it live," she says.

Enlightening me on the benefits of learning an instrument and subtly telling me that it is too late for me to start learning an instrument now, they tell me how playing an instrument teaches discipline, teamwork, commitment and organisation.

"Studies have shown that students who learn an instrument actually do better at school," says Chapple.


So, do I at the age of 24 have a chance of mastering an instrument like the violin, I wonder.

"Well, you will need a lot of practice. At the school we start them as early as the age of seven," Chapple smiles.

The trio agrees that they have a tough audience to crack. "They are definitely challenging," says Stansfield. "They aren't used to this kind of music and we need to do a lot of advertising."

"Hopefully they will enjoy it," she says.

The first public performance of the "Zakhar" group is on Tuesday, March 20, at 7pm at the theatre of the British School, Al Khubairat.

The concert is open to the public for free. The trio which plays the piano, the cello and the violin will perform for one hour.

They will play short pieces from Beethoven, Faure and Shuman.

Players' profile

Laura Chapple, UK, 36. Chapple started playing the cello at the age of four (obviously it was a very small cello).

"I choose the cello because my brother was playing the violin and I didn't want to play the same thing," said Chapple.

Emma Stansfield, UK, 25. Stansfield also started music at the age of four. "My mum saw some children at a play group playing the violin and she was so impressed that she wanted me to get into it. I used to get up before breakfast and practise before I went to school," Stansfield said.

Irina Zakharova, Kazakhstan, 42. Zakharova started at the age of six. "I used to put my fingers on the table and tap as if I was playing the piano," she said.

"My parents felt that I might have some talent for playing the piano and sent me to music school."