The partner of a world-renowned pianist has been charged with her murder and the attempted murder of her teenage son.
Natalia Strelle, 38, died on Sunday after suffering serious head and neck injuriesat the family home in Newton Heath, Greater Manchester.
Her partner, John Martin, a double bassist, was arrested at the house. On Tuesday, he was charged with murder and the attempted murder of a boy under the age of 17, understood to be Strelle’s son. Both incidents took place on Sunday 30 August 2015.
Martin has been remanded in custody to appear before Manchester magistrates court on Wednesday.
Strelle, who used to be known by the surname Strelchenko, was a Norwegian pianist of Russian origin and had performed all over the world at prestigious venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Französischer Dom in Berlin.
She had been due to play several concerts later this year, including at venues in Norway, France and the UK. She also worked as an artistic director at the Menestrelles International Chamber Music Academy.
Martin, 48, has also played at high-profile venues globally. He was previously with the Stavanger and Trondheim Symphony Orchestras and later played with ensembles including the Moscow Chamber Music Academy and Berlin Camerata.
In a statement released through Greater Manchester police (GMP), Strelle’s family said: “Natalia was a talented, beautiful, much-loved mother, daughter, sister and friend. She will be greatly missed.”
In a 2007 review in the Observer, Anthony Holden wrote of Strelle: “Her passionate sensibility combined with formidable technique to produce passages of great poise and beauty, enhanced by her charming stage manner – a mixture of coquettish, conspiratorial eye-contact with the front few rows, unorthodox air-punching at the end of significant sections and head-rolls towards the ceiling in truly transcendental style.” He added: “I suspect we will be hearing much more of this engaging artist.”
Strelle was educated at the St Petersburg state conservatory and Norwegian academy of music, and was awarded a PhD in arts research from Norway’s leading music academy. She made her concert debut at the age of 12 with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.
A postmortem found that Strelle died from head and neck injuries.