Natalia Strelchenko: Musician denies pianist murder charge

Natalia Strelchenko at piano
Image caption Ms Strelchenko, also known as Natalia Strell, was a renowned solo pianist

A Norwegian classical musician has denied murdering his Russian partner, a world-renowned concert pianist.

Natalia Strelchenko, 38, was found with head injuries at her home in Newton Heath, Manchester, on 30 August and died a short time later in hospital.

John Martin, 48, entered a not guilty plea to the charge of her murder at Manchester Crown Court.

Double bass player Mr Martin, also known as Jon Skogsbakken, had been living with Ms Strelchenko.

During the brief hearing he also entered a not guilty plea to the attempted murder of a male youth, who cannot be named, on the same date.

Mr Martin was remanded into custody to face trial at the same court on 23 February.

Ms Strelchenko, also known as Natalia Strell, made her debut at the age of 12 with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.

She performed at New York's Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall, winning praise from the classical music press.

She had been artist in residence at Leeds College of Art and a research fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.

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