My musical training began aged two when my mother took me to a Kindermusik class called ‘Tiddley Pom’. The teacher used elements of the Kodály method where we played lots of musical games and I learnt how fun and sociable music is. When I was six, I was offered the chance to begin learning violin with the same teacher, an opportunity which I leapt at. For many years after that, I went to my local Saturday music centre in Berkshire, playing in string and symphony orchestras and in chamber groups.
Up until the age of 16 music had been my main hobby, but I decided I wanted to pursue it more seriously. I was offered a place at Wells Cathedral School as a specialist musician, where music is incorporated into the school timetable, so there was time and the facilities to rehearse within the school day. I spent two very happy sixth form years there before heading to the University of York to study music.
Although the degree at York was academic, I spent most of my time in rehearsals. I was a member of the Chimera Ensemble, which specialised in contemporary music; I led the Symphony Orchestra and performed Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Chamber Orchestra. It was at York that I also discovered ‘historically informed performance’, an area that particularly interests me. Since then I have taken part in period instrument schemes with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Theresia Youth Orchestra.
During my time at York, it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career as a violinist, so I decided to go to the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester to study violin with Julia Hanson. I loved studying there as it was a really friendly and supportive environment, with opportunities to work alongside top professionals.
Since leaving the RNCM, I have been freelancing on both modern and baroque violin, balancing performing and teaching. Performing with Street Orchestra Live in hard-to-reach communities has had a particular effect on me. We have played in shopping centres, community centres, churches, schools and prisons, as well as flash mobs in Ikea and B&Q! Seeing the effect we have on people hearing an orchestra for the first time is really exciting and rewarding and I will never tire of it.
In my free time I like to sing, travel, play netball, learn languages and eat good food.
Royal Northern College of Music
University of York
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
If I weren’t a musician I probably would have studied Maths or Languages at University, but I also love teaching, so I’d quite possibly be a Maths or French teacher. But I’ve never truly wanted to do anything apart from music!
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I have a phobia of fish and I don’t like cartoons, but somehow I love the film Finding Nemo!