Musicians...

Since the quartet was founded in 1998 String Quartet UK has grown in popularity and success, gaining many repeat bookings and personal recommendations from our past clients. We have expanded our musician base to be able to provide more than one quartet on a day.

Many of our musicians are registered members of the Incorporated Society of Musicians & The Musicians Union, and all of our artists have been auditioned for their positions so our clients can rest assured of our high standards at all times. The majority of our players are Conservatoire trained or Music Degree graduates and have many years experience playing in local ensembles and professional orchestras. The musicians listed below work together co-operatively within the banner of ‘String Quartet UK’ and will often work in different combinations, so that we can always be assured of providing you with music, even if one our players is unavailable. Whichever combination of musicians we provide for your event, you can rest assured that we will provide a professional service of the highest quality.

The Musicians

Michelle was born in 1975 and began studying the violin when she was seven, her principal teachers being Joan Schmeising of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Richard White of Bath Baroque. During 1989 Michelle joined the Southampton Youth Orchestra and had the opportunity to tour extensively abroad, as well as perform in the major London concert halls. In 1994 she moved to Bath to study for a degree at Bath College of Higher Education. Since then she has performed regularly with a variety of ensembles in Bath, Bristol, Southampton and London, including Bath Baroque and Bath Philharmonia and in 1998 she founded String Quartet UK, a group which provides music for weddings and other events. Michelle has built a successful career as a professional violin teacher and performer, and often gives recitals as a member of her Recital Quartet. Michelle has studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is continuing violin lessons with Lucy Gould of the Gould Piano Trio and viola with Martin Humbey of the English Chamber Orchestra.

Sheila grew up in Reading, where she was the co-principal of the Reading & Berkshire Youth Orchestras. She studied violin and viola with members of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet at York University, where she also co-led the orchestras and studied further with Sydney Griller, Neville Mariner, the Medici and Amadeus String Quartets. She went on to teach violin and viola in York, where she led the York Symphony, North Wolds Chamber and Guildhall Orchestras and became a founder member of the Yorkshire Baroque soloists. Sheila particularly enjoys playing for opera and played for Opera Barga in Tuscany as well as for York Opera, Bath Opera and White Horse Opera. She taught in Cornwall for several years and led the Cornwall Symphony Orchestra, playing the solo part in “Scheherazade”. She settled in Bath in 1990 and has played for many local orchestras and choral societies, but now concentrates mainly on playing with String Quartet UK.

Claire started playing the violin at the age of nine and enjoyed playing with the North Somerset county orchestras and eventually the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Claire then moved to Cardiff to study performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Barry Haskey as her tutor. Whilst at Cardiff, Claire gained firsts in all of her performance modules and in her 2nd and 3rd year recitals. She was a member of the Rowe Quartet, playing at many corporate functions, weddings and recitals. Since graduating in 2002, Claire has been playing with the West of England Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh Sinfonia, Taunton Philharmonia, St Davids Festival Orchestra, Scirrocco Trio and String Quartet UK.Debbie, Claire, Sue, Michelle, Sheila, Simon, Carmen, Tim

Emma grew up in Somerset and achieved a great deal as a young violinist, playing solos with her youth orchestra, touring with them and reaching the final of the National Music Festival with her piano trio. Emma was thoroughly trained as a chamber and orchestral musician and in her younger years, she played regularly in Musicals, of which ‘Oklahoma’ was televised as a documentary. This stood her in good stead when she went to Trinity College of Music, in London from 2000 – 2004, to specialise in performance. Since then Emma has worked with an impressive list of orchestras including the New Orpheus Ensemble, New London Soloists Orchestra, National Musicians Orchestra, Jersey Symphony Orchestra, London Rehearsal Orchestra, and she currently plays with Bath Philharmonia and the Tempest Chamber Orchestra of London. She has in the past played the solo part to the Thomas Tallis Fantasia, with the New London Sinfonia and the Allegri String Quartet. She has also done workshops, playing string quartets with members of the London Philharmonia and has recorded for films and televised programmes such as Eurovision in 2004. Emma currently teaches in Hampshire, having many award pupils, and she continues to study for a Postgraduate Diploma and MA in Music Teaching in Professional Practice at Reading University. She is a regular member of String Quartet UK and is an asset to our team.

Patricia began her studies in Germany, being principal viola of the Junge Orchester Akademie between 1996 – 2002, before coming to the UK to complete her degree in Music and English at Southampton University. Patricia was awarded a scholarship to study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), at which time she was principal viola in the RWCMD Symphony Orchestra and the String Ensemble. At this time, she also successfully auditioned for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales placement scheme, which afforded her the privilege of training alongside some of the UK’s top professional orchestral players. She went on to study for a Masters in Performance and the Advanced Certificate/Orchestral Training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 2005 – 2006.
Patricia’s professional engagements have included work with the Orchestra de Baroque, the Dionysus Ensemble, Sinfonia Cymru, Sueddeutsche Kammersolisten and as a rank and file player in the Suedwestdeutchesorchester Pforzheim. She has also performed with McFly at the Royal Variety Performance and with Dido at the MTV European Music Awards. Patricia is continuing to develop her professional playing and teaching work. She teaches in Hampshire and in London and she is a regular viola player with String Quartet UK.

Cerys started playing the violin at the age of 7, obtaining grade 8 distinction by the time she was 16. As a keen musician, she has been involved with numerous musical ensembles since a young age, including Bedfordshire County Youth Orchestras, Bedfordshire County Youth Chamber Orchestra and Bedford Sinfonia. With these ensembles she has performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall as well as playing at venues in France, Italy and Edinburgh. As part of the Whatmore Quartet, Cerys won the National Chamber Music Competition for Schools in the years 1997 and 1998. This provided her with the opportunity to play at St. John’s Smith Square, London.
In 1999, Cerys began a music degree at Southampton University and during her time there she was an active member of the Southampton University Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta as well as playing in a string quartet for two years. She graduated with a 2:1 in the summer of 2002 and continued her studies at Southampton University on a secondary music PGCE course.
At present, Cerys works at a local Southampton secondary school as a music teacher and head of house. She leads the Southampton Concert Orchestra and is a member of the Southampton City Orchestra. During her summer holidays, Cerys works for the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain where she is a member of the social staff. A new venture has been her recent involvement with a string group which are in the process of recording an album with an up and coming new singer songwriter. This is proving to be an amazing and exciting experience for her and she hopes that one day her name will be on the back of a top selling album!

Judith was born in 1946 and began violin lessons, aged 7. At 10 she gained exhibition to the Junior Royal College of Music, and at 16 was sent out for lessons with Sascha Lasserson (pupil of Auer). She studied at the Royal College of Music (RCM) with Antonio Brosa, and was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Santiago di Compostela (Spain). Judith joined the BBC Training Orchestra in 1968, and received regular chamber music coaching from the Amadeus Quartet. She then returned to London as a freelance and in 1970 was invited to teach at RCM junior department, which she did for some 20 years, coaching chamber music. In 1985, she was invited to be Head of Strings on the Hampshire Specialist Music Course, which involved teaching chamber music, coaching and conducting. Judith has been an examiner for AL Music (practical) and she is in demand as an adjudicator and for master classes. She is a visiting Professor at the RWCMD (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama) and her former pupils can be found in most of the country's major orchestras, as well as in ensembles such as the Gould Trio and Belcea Quartet. Judith reduced her teaching in 2003 and is now enjoying time for more playing.

Kate has been playing the Cello since the age of 15 and also plays the Piano and French Horn. At present, she combines study for an Open University degree with her job as a cello teacher for the Southampton Music Service. Having achieved her LRSM, Kate is also hoping to take the FRSM (Fellowship of the Royal Schools of Music) exam in the near future, as an alternative to undergraduate music college study. Kate chose not to take up Music College places (in cello and horn) so as to gain a university degree, continue studying with her current teacher Michael Mace, and remain in Southampton with family and friends. At present Kate performs semi-professionally on a freelance basis. Through this, and the membership of groups such as Musical Score, Southampton Youth Orchestra and Southampton Pops Orchestra, Kate has travelled to many countries on tour, including China, Canada, America, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary and France. In addition, Kate has performed many solo concertos, including those by Haydn, Vivaldi, Elgar, Dvorak and Saint-Saens. After completing her degree, Kate intends to continue with musical study, with the ultimate aim of securing a position in a professional orchestra. Sheila, Tim, Karen - The Violas

Jon was born in 1980 in Hampshire and as a young violinist, led the Eastleigh Area Orchestra for four years and played as principal second violin in the Hampshire Youth Orchestra. In 1991, Jon formed a piano trio with pianist Alekszander Szram and 'cellist Alexander Holladay. The trio went on to have success in both local and national competitions, frequently winning in both Southampton and Portsmouth music festivals and as a result they performed in France in 1994 as part of the D-Day commemorations at the Caen Conservatoire of music. Having won the national chamber music for schools competition for a fourth consecutive year, they were awarded a performance in the Purcell room and Royal Festival Hall on the south bank in London (1995). They also performed on several occasions at St. John's Smith Square, and were invited to perform in the National Festival of Music for Youth Winners' concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
In 1998 after completing a specialist music course at Peter Symonds College in Winchester, Jon went on to study for a music degree and then a Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. During his time there Jon distinguished himself as a violinist, giving regular solo performances, being involved in masterclasses with international soloists and winning places in the Eleanor Warren and the Norman George “Kreisler” competitions.
Between 1999 and 2002, Jon was a member of the National Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra based in London, affording him the opportunity to perform at the top London Concert Halls as a professional musician. Since then, Jon has returned to Hampshire and now teaches at several colleges and coaches for the Southampton Youth Orchestra. He continues to build his performance career and works regularly with String Quartet UK.

Christopher has recently graduated with a degree in music from Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and holds an ABRSM Diploma in performance. He leads an extremely varied and fruitful musical life in Southampton as well as in Oxford. Further to playing the violin in his Oxford-based ensemble, whose recent concerts include performances of Ravel and Smetana, he recently attended the Southampton University Symphony Orchestra’s tour of Bulgaria. His career as a conductor began on accepting the post of Music Society President at Lady Margaret Hall and founding the orchestra in October 2005. Since then, he has led the orchestra to successful performances of major works including Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony and Fauré Requiem in conjunction with the college choir. In Southampton, in cooperation with Craig Lawton, Christopher has conducted the Southampton Charity Symphony Orchestra in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in a performance of Schubert’s 8th Symphony. Christopher plans to undertake further study into conducting and analysis of early-19th-century music at post-graduate level in 2008.

Sarah graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in July 2005, having performed extensively throughout Wales and England during this time. Upon leaving she was awarded the Peter Esswood Prize for Strings. Whilst studying she was a finalist in the prestigious Cavatina Chamber Music competition, which resulted in performing recitals as a quartet at the new Welsh Millennium Centre. Since leaving college she has performed with several freelance quartets, orchestras and bands for a wide variety of occasions, as well as playing for the backing band of McFly, Hayley Westernra and Katherine Jenkins for high-profile events such as the Royal Variety Show. She has also spent a year working as a resident musician on board international cruise ships. Sarah is currently working in Cardiff and studying part-time for a Post-Graduate Diploma in performance, under the tutorship of John Stein, leader of the WNO.

Sam enjoys a busy freelance career across the country and as well as orchestral playing, he is a distinguished recitalist and chamber musician. Sam graduated from the RWCMD in 2007 and has been a finalist in the Cavatina Chamber Music Prize (2005 & 2006 and won in 2007), Cardiff Violins Chamber Music Competition (2005 & 2006), the National Chamber Music Competition (2002) as well as winning the Brighton Festival Chamber Music Cup for two consecutive years. He has performed solo and chamber music recitals in the UK and across Europe, notably in the Brighton and Lewes Artwave Festivals and at the Tibor Varga Festival in Sion, Switzerland. Previous orchestral experience has seen Sam leading the McCoy Jazz Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and freelancing with various ensembles across London, the South East and South Wales including Swansea City Opera, Sinfonia Cymru and the Britten Pears Orchestra. He also plays regularly with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as part of their string placement scheme. Sam's contribution to orchestral playing was recognised in 2006 when he was awarded the Nick Whiting Orchestral Prize. Sam’s interests also extend to contemporary and popular music and entertainment. He is at home in the studio and has recently written and recorded string parts for many local bands as part of a string quartet, and plays regularly for functions and events in a wide variety of styles.Theresa, Kate, John, Anna, Beth  - The Cellos

Emma began playing the cello at 8 years old, having lessons through her local county music service. At 16 Emma studied with Sharon McKinley through the Welsh College of Music and Drama Junior department and then privately before being awarded a place at the College to study for her BA Hons. During her Degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Emma studied with Sharon McKinley, Kathryn Rhian Price and Douglas Cummins as well as participating in master classes with Steven Isserlis, Robert Cohen, Julian Lloyd Webber, Raphael Wallfisch and the Brodsky Quartet. Emma also received several lessons with Nathaniel Rosen at the Manhattan School of Music in New York USA during her degree. After Graduating with a BA Hons from the college, Emma spent a year in London at the Royal College of music studying with Lowri Blake and graduated with Post Graduate Diploma in solo and ensemble recital performance. Since finishing her post graduate studies, Emma has worked as a freelance cellist in all kinds of musical genres. Emma has performed as part of many professional orchestras including the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Wales (principal), National Symphony Orchestra (co Principal), New London Symphonia, British Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Swan. Emma has also worked as a session musician for recordings with studios such as Fflach studios, Pravda Studios, Might Atom Studios, BBC Radio Wales, and BMG Zomba for who she used her talents as an arranger to write the string quartet parts for a double album of library music. Emma can be heard on albums by various popular artists and future session work will include recordings with The Lostprophets. Emma has also been involved in TV work for companies such as Boomerang Productions, Apollo Productions and The Pop Factory and was recently featured on S4C as part of a program celebrating the National Youth Orchestra of Wales 60th Birthday. Emma’s freelancing with bands and artists has taken her all over Europe and the USA including appearances in Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Texas, and Manhattan as well as performing regularly in Wales.

Photo by kind permission of Chris Grant wedding & portrait photographer.

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