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Press article from 'Big Spender' interview by Eugenie Absalom

CONCERT performers Neil Latchman and Amira Fouad are among the aristocracy of London’s artistic world. Classical musicians with style and elegance and blessed with dashing good looks, they were brought together as a stage item by “La Forza del Destino” – twice...

They met during their Freshman’s year at Queen’s University in Canada, performing in concert at the age of 17. Amira was doing her BA in Music while Neil was doing his in English Literature and Music. Then they went their separate ways only to be brought together, by sheer coincidence, eight years later in Kensington, west London.

Born in Trinidad, Neil was just six when he started to sing and enjoyed an outstanding career as a boy soprano, having had the advantage of a family steeped in the arts and classical music. His talent took him years later to London where he was chosen as the tenor for the Commemorative 20th Anniversary Maria Callas Concert.

Amira was born in Scotland to Egyptian parents and her career path includes a Who’s Who of the world of classical music including studies with the internationally renowned French pianist, Cecile Ousset. She was awarded a scholarship from the Royal College of Music in London where she received the Master of Music degree studying under the eminent pianist Kendall Taylor. Since her London Debut Recital at St Martin- in-the Fields, under the patronage of the Egyptian Embassy, Amira has been touring Europe, North America and the Middle East. She has performed on the concert stages of Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, Victoria Hall in Singapore, the National Concert Hall in Dublin and at Bosendorfer Hall in Vienna.


Meanwhile, Neil was studying singing and piano with tutors of the Juiliard School, New York and later with the renowned Czech mezzo-soprano Gita De- nise and French tenor Michel Vallat. His debut in London was with the Orchestral Soloists of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He has since performed at the Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre and the South Bank and sang in the presence of the Royal Family. Neil’s performance career has taken him to the major concert halls of North America and Europe and as far afi eld as China and the Far East.


But it was something other than their musical careers, which brought Neil and Amira back together. Now living on opposite sides of Hyde Park without realising it, Amira decided to sell her Kensington flat. Meanwhile, Neil was looking for a place to buy and, extraordinarily, estate agents led him to her property. There he spotted her photograph on a piano in her music room and recognised her. The two could hardly believe they had been living parallel lives as musicians in central London. The talented concert artists decided to embark on a joint stage career, based on their similar musical tastes, interpretations and stylish presentation. Together they are a dynamic team who understand their audiences whether they are performing on the concert platform, at a corporate event, giving a private recital or top-billing a glittering charity gala. Their programmes extend from classical and concert repertoire to jazz and contemporary cross-over compositions.

They are highly sought after both with the major concert venues and private chamber-style evenings, including Embassies and exclusive events in England and abroad. When they are not performing they enjoy time out with
their families in London. Here are some of their favourite pursuits:

Q:  How do you combine your careers with your busy family lives?

Amira: Rehearsals and concerts can be very demanding and I consider myself really fortunate to have a supportive husband and beautiful twin daughters. They all love having music in the house. I met my husband, a banker, while giving a concert in Cairo, and he enjoys my performances. La Forza del Destino

Q:  How do you spend your leisure time?

Amira: I enjoy our country club, Stoke Park, where I go to the gym, relax and walk in the  beautifully landscaped grounds. I adore the outdoors and find inspiration in the mountains and being near the water and I seize every opportunity to indulge
my passion for down-hill skiing. 

Q:  Where do you like to shop?
Amira: My tastes are understated. I like smaller boutiques for personal service. A concert gown must have an impeccable fit so attentive service is essential for me.   
Q:  What is your favourite cuisine and restaurant in London?
Amira: Nobu for Japanese and Noura for Lebanese mezze, however I enjoy trying London’s new and upcoming restaurants.

Q:  What is your favourite music? 

Amira: As a pianist I admire the music of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin and have a particular affinity with the romantics and much of the French repertoire which I studied during my years in Paris

Q:  What is your favourite London concert venue?
Amira and Neil: The Wigmore Hall.