Musicians for the Southampton String Quartet are drawn from professional players and up and coming new musicians from the Hampshire area. All of our musicians are superb players and have been specially selected by process of an audition, so our clients can rest assured of our high standards at all times. The musicians listed below work together co-operatively within the banner of ‘Southampton String Quartet’ 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. As we have a large group of musicians, we can often provide more than one quartet in a day.
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 and Bristol, including Bath Baroque and Bath Philharmonia and in 1998 she founded the Bath Spa String Quartet, 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 the Bath Spa 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. She is director of the music management company ABK Music Solutions, which focuses on promoting musicians and providing professional string quartets throughout the South and South-West of England. The Southampton String Quartet was set up by Michelle in 2004.
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 the Southampton String Quartet and is an asset to our team.
Gay plays violin and is originally from Australia. In the past, she has performed in the Sydney Opera House and she has played for the Philharmonia orchestra in London. Gaye taught at the Wells Cathedral School, a highly regarded musical establishment in Somerset and now currently teaches in Salisbury and Hampshire.
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 at Highbury Grove School in London and she plays viola with the Southampton String Quartet.
Kelly-Jo has lived in Southampton most of her life and studied specialist performance on the cello at the Royal Holloway, University of London. Kelly was Assistant Director of Music at the Bristol Cathedral School and during that time she played with the Bath Spa String Quartet, performing at numerous weddings and corporate functions. Kelly now teaches cello, piano and clarinet in Southampton and is the quartet’s local co-ordinator.
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. She is also a volunteer carer at a wildlife rescue centre, and has recently taken up wake - boarding!
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.
Neil plays viola and is originally from the Southampton area. He has played in numerous orchestras and ensembles and like many of the musicians in the area, did his orchestral training under the baton of Keith Smith and the Southampton Youth Orchestra. Neil went on to study music at York University and has recently completed a performance diploma at Trinity College of Music.
Elizabeth plays violin in the Southampton String Quartet. She studied at Southampton University for a degree in Music and specialised in performance on the violin. Liz also teaches piano and voice and she is currently auditioning to do a performance diploma as a soprano voice.
Chris was brought up in Buckinghamshire and studied piano and violin from an early age. He studied violin under the tutelage of Peter Collyer and Peter Hanson (of the Eroica Quartet). Chris moved to Southampton to study for a degree in civil engineering but continued to play violin, leading the Southampton University Sinfonietta and playing folk fiddle in local ceilidh bands. Chris currently plays in the Southampton Concert Orchestra and leads the pit band for Southampton Light Operatic Society as well as being a regular member of Southampton String Quartet.
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 the Southampton String Quartet.
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 the Oxford-based ensemble ‘The Shelley Trio’, 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.
Sue plays cello with the Southampton String Quartet as well as being a long standing member of the City of Southampton Orchestra.
Helen plays viola in the Southampton String Quartet, combining this with her teaching work for the Hampshire Music Service and family life with her newborn baby girl.
Paul teaches classroom music in Southampton. He is a trained violinist and plays in various orchestral groups in Hampshire as well as for the Southampton String Quartet.
Debbie was brought up in the Southampton area. She studied the cello from the age of six, under the tutelage of Vikki Harding and throughout the last 14 years, Debbie has been principle cellist of numerous orchestras, including the Southampton Youth Orchestra. Like many musicians in the Hampshire area, Debbie did her orchestral training under the baton of Keith Smith. Through membership of the Southampton Youth Orchestra, Debbie has toured several countries including China, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary and France. Debbie has had master classes with Julian Lloyd Webber and the Allegri String Quartet and has won many awards for her musical abilities and commitment throughout her musical studies. Debbie is currently principle cellist of Pops Incorporated UK and often plays semi professionally whilst combining her day job, working as a part-time paralegal.
Shelley plays cello with the Southampton String Quartet and is gaining great respect for her arranging and recording work with singer songwriter Olly Hite. Olly describes Shelley as an “amazing talent”, so we expect her to be very famous anytime soon!
Mark was born in Erith, Kent in 1958. He joined the Army as a musician in 1974 to further his musical development. After 3 years of study he joined the Royal Artillery (RA) Band at Woolwich as a clarinettist and violist. In 1991 Mark transferred to the RA Allanbrooke band based in Germany as the principal violist in the salon orchestra. In late 1993 this band was disbanded, but a nucleus from this band formed the Band of the Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop, Hampshire. He continued as the principal violist and later became the principal/solo clarinet of the band as well. Mark left the Army in 2003 to take up full time as a peripatetic teacher and continues to play in many local ensembles playing a variety of styles of music such as, folk, jazz, classical and operatic shows. He of course plays with the Southampton and Bath Spa string quartets for various occasions.
Anna graduated with a degree from the Roya l College of Music, London in 2003. Since then she has been freelancing with several professional orchestras including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. Anna is Hampshire-based and has a private teaching practice which she combines with freelance work including the Southampton String Quartet.
Joanna studied in Manchester, completing the rigorous joint course in 1978. This involved taking a university music degree concurrently with a diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music where her cello professor was Moray Welsh. The following year, she joined the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and remained very happily with them until 2001 when she went freelance in order to devote time to bringing up her 2 young adopted sons. She has many years experience of teaching cello and piano to all ages, and has also enjoyed performing chamber music in Dorset, Scotland, Finland, Nepal, Italy, Canada and USA. She sings in the Bournemouth Bach Choir, enjoys swimming and cycling with her family to keep fit and is a member of Mensa.
Suzanne started playing the cello at the age of 9 and gained all her early musical experience in Croydon, Surrey with the Croydon Schools Music Centre Orchestras and Croydon Youth Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Arthur Davison. She went on to read Music at Exeter University and led both the university and chamber orchestras. It was at university that she became interested in playing chamber music and she and another violinist decided to form the Exeter University String Quartet, performing the Debussy String Quartet among other works. Now married with two teenage daughters, Suzanne still leads an active musical life. She teaches both piano and cello and plays regularly with the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra, Anton Sinfonia and other ad hoc orchestras, although her greatest love is still playing chamber music, especially as a string quartet. Suzanne's other interests are good food, wine, films and helping young people with autism!
Fiona was an Associated Board Scholar at the Royal College of Music where she studied with Eileen Croxford. Her other teachers have been Jaqueline Du Pre and Christopher Bunting. While at college, she was awarded the Gordon Turner Memorial Prize and the Peter Morrison Concerto Prize. Since then Fiona has been a member of the Terroni Trio and has given many international concerts and world premiers that include the Triple Concerto by Vladimir Runchak and Trio by Robert Simpson.
From 1991-96 the trio were Ensemble in Residence at the London College of Music where they presented master-classes and workshops along with their concert series.
Fiona has performed many of the major cello concertos and premiered that of the British composer Stephen Scotchmer. She has recorded the Three Lyric Pieces for Cello op. 119 by Arthur Butterworth as well as his Piano Trios op.73 and op. 121.
Fiona is a very committed teacher and an experienced chamber music coach. She has worked at Little Benslow (string and piano ensemble courses) and has also coached the cello section of the Hampshire Youth Orchestra
Jennifer After studying in London at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Jennifer joined the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and moved to Holland. As well as the concert life, with a regular series in Amsterdam’s famous Concertgebouw, she also pursued advanced violin study with the renowned Dutch teacher, Davina van Wely. She returned to England and played for five years in a principal position with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. After moving to London to freelance, she played chiefly with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She is a founder member of the Eberle String Quartet and plays regularly with the Sarum Orchestra. She has a busy teaching practice of young and old alike in the New Forest.
Diana was a pupil at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music. She went on to study music at Southampton University and followed this with a PGCE. She now teaches violin locally and plays with various ensembles. Diana very much enjoys playing at weddings as she feels it is a privilege to be part of such a special day.