Robert Irvine | Cello
Robert Irvine was born in Glasgow and at the age of 16 was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music (RCM) where he studied with Christopher Bunting and Amaryllis Fleming. While there he won most of the major prizes in chamber music and solo playing. After leaving the RCM, he studied with William Pleeth and Pierre Fournier, before joining the Philharmonia Orchestra as sub principal cello. He also worked extensively at Aldeburgh, forming the Brindisi String Quartet and working closely with Sir Peter Pears as continuo cellist and as principal cellist of the Britten Pears Orchestra. At this time he toured much of Europe with the Brindisi Quartet, making numerous festival appearances and broadcasts. He left the Philharmonia in 1988 to take up the position of principal cello with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, touring extensively. In 1990 he returned to Scotland to take up the post of principal cellist with Scottish Opera Orchestra, and founded the Chamber Group of Scotland with Sally Beamish and James MacMillan, performing and broadcasting a wide range of both chamber and solo music.
He is artistic director of the Red Note Ensemble which specialises in contemporary repertoire, and has a busy schedule of projects throughout the UK and Europe. He has broadcast frequently as soloist and chamber musician on BBC television and Radio 3, including several live performances on “In Tune.” He is a founder member of the Da Vinci Piano Trio, who play and broadcast widely in the UK, and also performs regularly with Allan Neave, guitar. He has performed concerts and recitals throughout the UK, including the Cheltenham Festival, St Magnus Festival, Aldeburgh, Gloucester, Norwich, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, as well as several European festivals and at International Musicians Seminar (IMS) Prussia Cove. He has recorded several critically acclaimed CDs, including the cello works of Sally Beamish for the BIS label, Dallapiccola solo works, the cello music of Giles Swayne, and the Rachmaninov and Shostakovich sonatas for the Delphian label.
He is a senior professor of Cello and Chamber Music, and Head of Cello Studies at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire (formerly RSAMD) in Glasgow.
The Maxwell Quartet
Colin Scobie | George Smith | Elliott Perks | Duncan Strachan
Hailed as “one of the front-runners” in young UK ensembles (Classical Music Magazine, 2013) the Maxwell Quartet are rapidly emerging as a dynamic and exciting force in the chamber music world, with an unparalleled drive and commitment to expanding the string quartet repertoire. The quartet was formed in 2010 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where its founding members met as postgraduate students. Upon winning the major chamber music prizes, in 2011 they were selected as the Royal Conservatoire's first ever Young Artists in Residence/Junior Fellows in Chamber Music. During their studies, the Maxwell Quartet were mentored by members of the Brodsky Quartet, Endellion Quartet, Dante Quartet, and Quatuor Mosaiques, in addition to working closely with mentors including Robert Irvine, William Conway, and Steven Osborne.
The quartet was also named as Residency Artists for Enterprise Music Scotland 2011-2013, which saw them giving several acclaimed concert tours over their two-year tenure. Since then they have established themselves as the most widely-performing chamber outfit in Scotland, and have gone on to delight audiences with their "unnaffected enthusiasm" (North Highland Times) and their "panache and conviction" (Strathearn Herald), gaining particular repute for their balance of new and old in their programming. As well as being regular guests at Perth Concert Hall, they have appeared at many festivals including the Plug Contemporary Music Festival, the Cottier Chamber Project, Lammermuir Festival, Loch Shiel Spring Festival, Celtic Connections, SOUND Festival, BBC Chamber Music Proms and more. The quartet has collaborated with the likes of pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, cellist David Watkin, cellist Philip Higham, and accordionist Paul Chamberlain.
In 2014 they were selected as Park Lane Group Young Artists, and Tunnell Trust Music Coll 2014 artists. In 2014-2015 they give a concert series of late Schubert Quartets at Perth Concert Hall in Scotland, and feature as artists in residence at the Loch Shiel Spring Festival in May 2015.
ENSEMBLE IN RESIDENCE 2017
Philip Haworth Oboe
Alena Lugovkina Flute
Anna Hashimoto Clarinet
Chris Beagles French Horn
Ashley Myall Bassoon
The Atéa Quintet is the foremost British Wind Quintet of their generation. Internationally acclaimed, they recently became double prize winners at the 2015 Karl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition in Denmark. As the Associate Ensemble in Residence at the Birmingham Conservatoire and Quintet in Residence at the Purcell School, they mentor some of the finest up and coming musicians in the country.
Since it’s formation in 2009, the Atéa Quintet has performed in some of the finest halls in the world. Highlights include a critically acclaimed Friday night recital at the Wigmore Hall, performances at the Cheltenham, Brighton and Lake District Summer Festivals and concerts in St Martin in the Fields, Bridgewater Hall and St Johns Smith Square. Recent seasons have included a tour to Scotland, the Czech Republic and a residency at the Two Moors Festival.
Brought together by their communal love of wind chamber music, members of the Atéa Quintet have individually received several prizes in international competitions and played with all of the country’s leading orchestras. The Quintet is eternally grateful for the support that they have received from the Tunnell Trust, Kirckman Concert Society, New Dots and Live Music Now. They are looking forward to a tour of Japan in 2017 as well as many other recitals all around the world.
Rachel Spencer | violin, voice
Originally from Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, Rachel Spencer studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Peter Lissauer and James Clark, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Alexander Janiczek. As a chamber musician Rachel performs regularly with ensembles including the Kapten Trio, Assembly Project and Roxburgh Quartet, and she has performed with artists such as Benjamin Grosvenor, David Watkin, Alasdair Beatson and Philip Higham. Rachel is in demand as a concerto soloist and leads a busy and wide-ranging freelance career, now based in Glasgow. Passionate about music education, Rachel has been an artist for outreach scheme Live Music Now since 2011, a position which has seen her lead education projects across the UK, Denmark and the Middle East.
Rachel's other musical passion is choral singing. She has appeared with consorts including Dieci Voices, Reverie and the National Portrait Choir, on broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 In Tune and BBC Radio London, and at festivals including the BBC Proms. Rachel is a soprano coach for Ulster Youth Choir and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
Rachel Walker | Voice
Rachel Walker was brought up in the small village of Kinlochewe in Wester Ross, where she was introduced to Gaelic song as a young child. A popular performer at local Ceilidh's and events from the age of ten, she quickly fell in love with the songs and culture of the Highlands of Scotland and has become a much loved ambassador of the culture. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy’s Scottish Music course, where she studied Gaelic song under renowned tutor Kenna Campbell, Rachel has released three albums, the latest, Air Chall showcasing her talent as a songwriter. Two of the songs on the album have been recognized internationally, one as a semi finalist in the UK songwriting contest, which annually receives over 100,000 entries, and the second as a finalist in the Liet international song contest, showcasing songs composed in European minority languages. Rachel regularly performs as a solo artist, and supported Gaelic Rock group Runrig on their 2008 winter tour, playing to sold out venues such as the Manchester Apollo, and the Glasgow Barrowlands. Aside from singing, Rachel's past work includes record production, and musical direction. Rachel currently works at West Highland College, UHI, where she lectures in Music. She is also the Gaelic song tutor for the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton.
Rachel is also a member of Gaelic song group Cruinn, who released their debut album in January 2013, and will be performing extensively throughout Scotland in the coming year. Rachel was named Gaelic Singer of the Year at the Trad Awards in December 2013. Rachel lives in Lochaber, where she is a lecturer in Music and Sound Production at West Highland College, UHI.
Miriam Iorwerth | Marimba
Miriam Iorwerth has lived in Lochaber since 2006. She studied Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) at the University of Surrey, and is now working towards a PhD in Networked Music Performance at Glasgow Caledonian University. She worked in electronics after graduating, including a job in the Antarctic, before returning to a career in music education. She currently works as a lecturer on the BA Applied Music course at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and lives in Glenfinnan with her chickens and cats (and husband).
Ainsley Hamill & Alistair Paterson
Ainsley (song) and Alistair (piano/keyboards) are two young Glasgow-based musicians who have been performing together for almost six years after first meeting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2009. Both graduated from the Scottish Music course at RCS in 2013 with first class honours degrees and since then, they have continued to forge careers as professional musicians. Ainsley and Alistair are both members of the critically acclaimed folk band ‘Barluath’ (www.barluath.com), but they have also performed extensively as a duo and have delighted many audiences with their varied repertoire and engaging performances.
Peaks is the musical partnership between violinist George Smith and cellist Duncan Strachan, founder members and one half of the internationally-renowned Scottish chamber ensemble the Maxwell String Quartet. Composer-instrumentalists Smith and Strachan have worked with many renowned artists including cinematographer Herman Kolgen, theatre company Cryptic, London Studio Centre Dance and Anna Meredith. They have performed their own music at major venues and festivals across the UK and Europe. www.maxwellstringquartet.com
Megan Henderson | vocals, keyboards, fiddle
Megan hails from the West Highland town of Fort William. Growing up in a household with 6 older siblings all immersed in music, her path to becoming a musician was almost inevitable. She honed her skills whilst at school receiving formal training in both classical and traditional Scottish music.
Megan went on to study Classical Violin at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and gained valuable experience. Traditional Scottish music always remained a strong passion and shortly after graduating she joined highly respected Scottish folk group Breabach. Two time winners of ‘Folk Group of the Year’ along with ‘Best Live Act’ (2013) and ‘Best Album’ (2016) at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards. The band are also nominated as “Best Group’ at this years BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.
Megan’s versatility, technical skill and outgoing nature make her a much in demand session musician for recording and live performances and also resulted in her being nominated as ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2012.
She will be joined for the Loch Shiel Festival by her brother Ewen Henderson who also has been naturally steeped in the traditional music and Gaelic culture of the area from an early age. Ewen started learning the fiddle at five years of age and since then has mastered an impressive array of instruments, having had the privilege of learning from many of the true masters of West Highland traditional music such as Aonghas Grant Snr. on fiddle and Angus MacColl on bagpipes, whilst also being influenced by his strong family musical heritage. Over the years, Ewen has been fortunate enough to play all over the world from Shanghai to the Isle of Skye with a host of top Scottish and global cross-genre bands including the world-renowned Battlefield Band, with whom he toured for several years. Ewen is currently kept busy touring with Mànran, the band he co-founded in 2010, and the Afro-Celt Sound System.
Making up the trio is Megan’s fellow Breabach band member, Ewan Robertson. Alongside his work with Breabach, Ewan is also an accomplished solo performer, composer and arranger and a former winner of the ‘BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician’ of the Year award. His musical journey began on the fiddle and pipes although his attentions were drawn to the guitar and song whilst studying at Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd, based at Plockton High School. Ewan’s debut album ‘Some Kind of Certainty’ (Greentrax) was released in Spring 2010 with his second CD ‘ Transitions’, based on his experiences of Ironman triathlons, due for release in 2017.
Elizabeth McCormack was born in Fife, Scotland and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, London. She is a past winner of the Scottish Opera, John Noble Bursary, the Decca-Kathleen Ferrier Prize, the Royal Overseas League Music Competition, the Isobel Baillie Performance Award, Scotland’s representative in Cardiff Singer of the World 1993 and a recipient of the Countess of Munster and Caird Scholarships.
For Scottish Opera, she created the role of the Daughter in The Vanishing Bridegroom (also at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), for whom she has also sung Varvara in Katya Kabanova, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly,Iolanthe and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro.
For English National Opera, she has sung Pitti Sing in The Mikado, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and Garcia in Don Quixotte. She sang Nancy in Albert Herring at the Banff Festival, Canada, Melanto in The Return of Ullysses and Tancredi at the Buxton Festival, Pippo in The Thieving Magpie and Zerlina in Don Giovanni for Opera North, Flora in La Traviata with Antonio Pappano and Karolka in Jenufa with Sir Simon Rattle at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris and La Cenerentola for Castleward Opera. For the Opera Bastille, Paris, she performed Parsifal playing the part of the Second Flowermaiden and in La Clemenza di Tito she played Annio to Ann-Sophie von Otter’s Sesto. More recently, Elizabeth has played the role of Ruby in Nigel Osborne’s one-woman opera The Queen of Govan for Scottish Opera and peformed in Osborne’s Differences in Demolition in Bosnia and Vienna.
Her concert career includes Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Phillip Ledger at the Queen Elizabeth Hall & in Caen, France. Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the ECO and Jeffrey Tate. Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Hindemiths’s Das Nusch Nuschi at the Barbican and Birtwhistle’s The Mask of Orpheus at the Royal Festival Hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Davis, Pulcinella at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Hasse’s Requiem at the Sorbonne, Paris, Mozart’s C Minor Mass at the Royal Festival Hall and in Yorkminster, and many recitals including the Buxton Festival, St. Andrews University and the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh.
Recordings include Hasse’s Requiem (ADDA), The Vanishing Bridegroom (BBC TV), Villa Lobos’ Magnificat (Hyperion) La Traviata (Mecenet Musical) & Newly SprunginJune (Sonsie Face) a recording of Scots duets with tenor, Jamie MacDougall.
Recent performances include Purcell’s Dido at Culross Festival, Five:15 with Scottish Opera, Soprano solo in Karl Davis’ Requiem and The Armed Man at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and performances of Tom Wilson’s Bluttenblaetter at the Edinburgh Festival and Stirling Castle.
St Finnan's Voices [coming soon]