Formed in 2013, the Meraki Duo enjoys exploring the diversity of repertoire available to the flute-guitar pairing while contributing arrangements of their own. Meera Maharaj and James Girling both studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, sharing a passion for chamber music. They love performing in a wide variety of contexts and venues; most recently, these have included St James’s Church, Piccadilly, a range of venues across the North and even a barn in Cumbria. They also performed at the Bridgewater Hall as part of Craig Ogden’s Guitar Weekend. They regularly perform for recital series in Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria, recently giving recitals as part of Lake District Summer Music and Lymm Festival. Last year, they very much enjoyed performing in London in the semi-final of the Royal Overseas League Competition.
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 in Amsterdam, 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 also organised several successful concerts in aid of Warrington Foodbank and Médecins sans Frontières.
Twenty-two-year-old guitarist James is studying for a Masters degree 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 was recently awarded 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 with Afrobeat/Ethiojazz 11-piece Agbeko, who recently launched their debut EP and played in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, and with Swing-era septet Dani Sicari & The Easy Rollers. As a session musician, he has played at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix and Château de Cassis, and on TV series Cold Feet. Meanwhile, James’ classical chamber music performances include St Paul’s Covent Garden, St James’ Piccadilly, 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 has been commissioned by Andy Scott to arrange several of his works for guitar and flute. In the RNCM Big Band, James performs alongside soloists including Tim Garland, Julian Joseph 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, Artephis have been featured across the North’s jazz festivals.