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Man due in court accused of concert pianist's murder

The partner of a world-renowned concert pianist will appear in court today accused of her murder.

Natalia Strelchenko, 38, was found with head and neck injuries at her home in Newton Heath, Manchester, in the early hours of August 30 last year and died a short time later in hospital.

Russian-born Ms Strelchenko, also known as Natalia Strell, was a renowned solo pianist of international calibre who made her debut at the age of 12 with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.

John Martin, 48, of Culcheth Lane, Newton Heath, was charged with her murder and also the attempted murder on the same date of a male youth, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

He will attend Manchester Crown Court from custody for a plea and case management hearing ahead of a scheduled trial next month.

Ms Strelchenko 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.

In a statement issued at the time of her death, her family said: "Natalia was a talented, beautiful, much-loved mother, daughter, sister and friend. She will be greatly missed."

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