Amy Littlewood

BMus & PgDip (Violin)
Year graduated: 2013

I chose to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire because of the professor I would be learning with and because of the 'feeling' I got when visiting. I was already having lessons with the principle violin professor (Nathaniel Vallois) in my gap year. He is a fantastic teacher and I didn't want to lose him. I knew he could take me far and knew I wouldn’t easily find anyone else who could offer me what he could in the way he did. I looked round many of the colleges, though they were all good, the Conservatoire gave me a feeling that I knew would be the right environment for me to grow as a musician. It was focused and driven, but with an allowance of space and kindly nurturing – this combination left me with no doubt that it was the place to go.

I really enjoyed my one-to-one lessons but aside from this the general performing opportunities that were available were brilliant. I had some excellent masterclasses with eminent soloists and fantastic chamber groups – these were invaluable. The frequent opportunity to perform whether masterclasses, performance classes, concerts etc were great and always gave something to work towards and hone performing skills.

Studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire allowed me to grow and flourish into the player I am today. It provided such a nurturing environment combined with top quality teaching and guidance, and this combination is what I feel really allowed me to find who I was as a player and develop in the right way. There were fantastic opportunities and each person was allowed to have their own personality – rather than being moulded in to yet another violinist! For this reason I really learned to be individual and be the player I am today.

I am the violinist in the Hepplewhite Piano Trio, hold seat no.5 in the first violins with Orchestra of the Swan, I do very regular extra work with the CBSO, plus general freelancing across the country - for example with London Mozart Players, RPO.

I love both orchestral playing and chamber music so will definitely be continuing with these areas and building these areas in my career. I love the variety that I have at the moment, with a mix of professional work in different areas - each area provides me with important skills and they all come together giving me a very fulfilling career. I will throw myself into whatever I do and enjoy making music to a high level with other great musicians surrounding me. I'm also very interested in the psychology of performing so will be exploring this area in my career too.