THE partner of a world-renowned concert pianist formerly from Leeds has made his first appearance in court accused of her murder.
Natalia Strelchenko, 38, was found with head and neck injuries at her home in Newton Heath, Manchester, on Sunday and died a short time later in hospital.
Russian-born Miss Strelchenko, also known as Natalia Strell, was a renowned solo pianist of international calibre who made her debut at the age of 12 with St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.
She had been artist in residence at Leeds College of Art and a research fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.
John Martin, 48, made a brief appearance at Manchester Magistrates’ Court where he was further remanded in custody.
Martin was led into the dock wearing matching grey jogging bottoms and sweater. He spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
The court heard that he was accused of the murder of Natalia Strell and the attempted murder on the same date of a youth who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Martin, of Culcheth Lane, Newton Heath, stood with his head bowed for much of the hearing.
He will appear at Manchester Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on Friday.
Miss Strelchenko has performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall, winning praise from the classical music press.
Neighbours say she had been living in Manchester for around two years after moving from Norway but the family were often away from home on tour playing concerts, according to local reports.
Her family said in a statement: “Natalia was a talented, beautiful, much-loved mother, daughter, sister and friend. She will be greatly missed.”