- BMus & AdvPGDip (violin)
Year graduated: 2005
It was a gut instinct to study BMus (Violin) at the Birmingham Conservatoire - at the Open Day, I immediately like the atmosphere and knew I wanted to study there. So much so, I even withdrew my applications elsewhere!
I had a great time at the Conservatoire. Still now, several concerts are fresh in my memory - it was fantastic experience to prepare and perform as a soloist with orchestra. It was at the Conservatoire that I formed my first long-term chamber music partnerships and that quickly became a focus. I also valued the opportunities available for periods of study abroad; I spent some of my third year of my BMus in Weimar and, before starting my AdvPgDip course, I spent a year in Budapest. It was all about continuing to broaden my horizons.
Looking back, I now realise how important the breadth of experience I amassed at the Conservatoire was. My career today is hugely varied and I am required to constantly adapt as a player, stylistically, gesturally even. At Birmingham Conservatoire I played in all kinds of positions, from back desk to leader, in new commissions for chamber ensemble to mainstream symphony orchestra repertoire. I still remember playing a Haydn symphony for the very first time in the first term of my first year - love at first downbeat. Obviously, the challenge of preparing for solo assessments and academic work was central to my development but at the time I didn't fully appreciate how formative my ensemble experience was.
After graduating I moved to Glasgow to join the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and later moved to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. I left Scotland in 2014 to be freelance, based in London. My diary is now a rather complex jigsaw of work with symphony, chamber and opera orchestras all around the UK, often as principal second violin. It is usually hectic and often pressured, but I love the variety and flexibility. I have recently been getting increasingly involved in traditional music, even taking up a new instrument - the nyckelharpa. As to future plans, who knows? That's often part and parcel of being a musician, my musical education continues each day!