I grew up in a musical family, learning to play the piano and recorders from my mother and singing a lot (which I still do). I started violin lessons at age 6 and then gained a place at Southwell Minster School. Choirs and orchestras were a part of every lunchtime and Saturdays were spent at music school. Later I joined Nottingham Youth Orchestra and then Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra where I had the opportunity to play lots of great music. I remember especially enjoying playing Shostokovich 5th Symphony. These years were a time of excitement in discovering new music and I now really enjoy being a part of that journey with others.
In 1998, I moved to London to study with Gillian Findlay at Trinity College of Music and have found such a rich variety of life here that I cannot leave! I am currently singing in two choirs: one specialising in Bulgarian folk songs and the other in Rennaissance polyphony. They’re very different but both lots of fun.
As a performer, I work with orchestras, often performing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and I am solo violinist for the Moth shows in the Union Chapel and the Bridge Theatre.
I spend most Saturdays teaching the violin and viola to talented, hard working children at CYM, Centre for Young Musicians at Morley College. I also teach students at my home in Mile End, E3. My students range from complete beginners to post grade 8. I currently teach two post grade 8 adults, one on violin and the other on viola as well as three children at grade 8 level. I have also taught adult beginners and in the summer I am an orchestral coach on NLMS music summer school working with adult amateurs. I enjoy using the Colourstrings method with children when they begin with me as I find it to have a sound methodology and the children find it very enjoyable. My six year old students at CYM say Saturdays are their favourite day of the week because of their music lessons.
In 2015, I completed an MA degree in Kodály pedagogy at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music which was…hard work! The course was just 9 months into which was crammed a thesis (mine was on violin teaching from a Kodaly perspective ie with aural awareness being first and foremost), individual piano and singing lessons, choral conducting, score reading, solfege (fiendish), methodology (how we can teach primary and secondary school music in a holistic way), not to mention trying to learn enough Hungarian to be able to buy food at the local market! Since gaining the MA, I have led three INSET training days for music teachers and have taught musicianship at Junior Guildhall.
In 2014, I spent a wonderful six months performing as violinist and singer in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Titus Andronicus at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
I have been a part of several UK and European tours including Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, pop artist James with Orchestra of the Swan, Karl Jenkins Orchestra and the most fun of all ABBA the Show. I have performed in some of London’s top venues including The Shard, The O2 Arena, Wembley Arena and The Royal Albert Hall. As a chamber musician, I have worked with a string quartet onboard Saga Ruby and given solo recitals in venues including St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Foundling Museum, Southwark Cathedral and two concert halls in Japan.
I enjoy improvising and here’s what happened at The Vortex one evening when I was paired up with a pianist. We didn’t discuss what we were going to play and neither of us knew how it would turn out!
Pianist: Richard Lewis
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