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Musicians...

Since the quartet was founded in 1998 by Michelle Falcon, the Bath Spa String Quartet has grown in popularity and success, gaining many repeat bookings and personal recommendations from our past clients. We have expanded our musician base to be able to provide more than one quartet on a day.

The quartet as a whole is a member of the Guild of Professional Wedding Services, and all of our musicians have been auditioned for their positions, so our clients can rest assured of our high standards at all times. The majority of our players are Music graduates, and those who are not, have proven their worth over many years, playing in local ensembles from Bath Philharmonia to Bath Baroque. The musicians listed below work together co-operatively within the banner of ‘Bath Spa 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. Whichever combination of musicians we provide for your event, you can rest assured that we will provide a professional service of the highest quality.The Musicians

Michelle Falcon 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-West of England and South Wales.

Sheila grew up in Reading, where she was the co-principal of the Reading & Berkshire Youth Orchestras. She studied violin and viola with members of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet at York University, where she also co-led the orchestras and studied further with Sydney Griller, Neville Mariner, the Medici and Amadeus String Quartets. She went on to teach violin and viola in York, where she led the York Symphony, North Wolds Chamber and Guildhall Orchestras and became a founder member of the Yorkshire Baroque soloists. Sheila particularly enjoys playing for opera and played for Opera Barga in Tuscany as well as for York Opera, Bath Opera and White Horse Opera. She taught in Cornwall for several years and led the Cornwall Symphony Orchestra, playing the solo part in “Scheherazade”. She settled in Bath in 1990 and has played for many local orchestras and choral societies, but now concentrates mainly on playing with the Bath Spa String Quartet.

Anna moved to Bristol in 1986 where she founded a particular interest in string chamber music. Following coaching with the school string quartet she attended the Chamber Music Course at Canford International Summer School with the Coull Quartet, where she also played the solo cello part in Una Vivaldiana – a premiere of a work by Nigel Clarke based on themes from the Four Seasons. She studied cello from 1996 -1998 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she continued studying with Stefan Popov, and the late Raphael Sommer. Anna returned to Bristol in 1998 where she began her own private practise, teaching cello and piano. She held a series of Cello Recitals at the Bristol Music Club, performing popular works by Brahms and Schumann. Anna began doing freelance work with the Bristol Baroque Players and for Music for All Occasions. She also performed in the Bath Philharmonia and the West of England Philharmonia Players. In 2001 she resumed her chamber music playing with Strings & Bows, a String Quartet who performed at a variety of events all over the West Country. Anna now plays for the Bath Spa String Quartet. She also enjoys playing for the Regency Sinfonia who regularly perform large-scale works with the Gloucester Choral Society.Debbie, Claire, Sue, Michelle, Sheila, Simon, Carmen, Tim

Karen grew up in Swansea and started playing the piano and violin at the age of seven. At thirteen, she took up the viola as there were no viola players in the school orchestra. She played viola with the West Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and then went on to study Music at the University of Cardiff. She went on to teach violin, viola and Cello and played the viola in various orchestras. Karen also had an interest in singing and spent many years singing for the BBC in Cardiff. When Karen moved to Wiltshire in 1998 she re-established her love of string playing, leading the viola section in North Wiltshire Orchestra as well as playing for various other choral societies and ensembles. Karen now teaches classroom music and plays viola with the Bath Spa String Quartet.

Wendy studied at the Royal academy of Music for four years and more recently, privately with Yossi Zivoni. For two years whilst at school, Wendy led the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. She freelanced for many years in London and the Home Counties playing orchestral music, session work and in the rock band “Centipede”. In addition to her own string quartet, Wendy was a member for several years of The Original String Quartet, a flexible group of musicians who played regularly in all the central London Pizza Express Houses.

Tim P began playing the viola at the age of sixteen, having previously studied the violin. He played in the Wiltshire Youth Orchestra as leader of the viola section, during which time he performed a concerto at Haydn’s place of work, the Esterhazy Summer Palace at Eisenstadt. At twenty, he attended the London College of Music, graduating in 1995 with a diploma in performance. Tim is a founder member of the Bath Spa String Quartet and since finishing his studies, he now teaches viola and violin.

Theresa studied the cello at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. She has been teaching the cello in and around Trowbridge for the last fifteen years and has played regularly for local choral societies and orchestras. Despite cutting back on her teaching commitments to enjoy her family life, Theresa continues to play in the Vallis Chamber Orchestra and deputises for the Bath Spa String Quartet.Sheila, Tim, Karen - The Violas

Bethany graduated from Bath Spa University College in 2003 with a degree in Dance & Music, where she studied cello with Ruth Zagni. Since then she has integrated into the local music scene, playing with Bath and Frome Symphony Orchestras and various quartets and chamber ensembles. Beth also has a passion for improvising and applies this to many genres of music. She plays regularly at Bath traditional folk music sessions, as well as with singer/songwriters such as Jane Taylor and Rob Sharpels. Beth occasionally plays cello for Radio 2 Folk Award winners “Bellowhead” and has a residency in a Bristol Restaurant with Lebanese composer/guitarist/pianist, Nizar Hussayni. She has recorded for many artists involving sessions at Moles Studio, Bath and Realworld Studios, Box. When Beth returns to her home county of Warwickshire, she sings and plays cello and recorder in her own family band, covering material form Blues and Jazz to roots/folk rock, Eastern European and classical.

Seona studied viola with Roger Chase at the Royal Northern College of Music and at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She has played in many varied settings from scaffolding towers in abandoned shipyards, to pubs in County Clare, to touring with hillbilly punk rockers in Dorset; a variety that she informs us, adds colour to her playing! She has settled down now though, and is currently teaching violin and viola in Somerset schools.

Claire started playing the violin at the age of nine and enjoyed playing with the North Somerset county orchestras and eventually the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Claire then moved to Cardiff to study performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Barry Haskey as her tutor. Whilst at Cardiff, Claire gained firsts in all of her performance modules and in her 2nd and 3rd year recitals. She was a member of the Rowe Quartet, playing at many corporate functions, weddings and recitals. Since graduating in 2002, Claire has been playing with the West of England Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh Sinfonia, Taunton Philharmonia, St Davids Festival Orchestra, Scirrocco Trio and the Bath Spa String Quartet.

Carmen spent her childhood in Leicester and played in the Leicestershire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra until moving to Leeds to study for a degree in Music & French. After graduation, the next few years were spent moving from place to place and doing varying jobs of little artistic value before eventually settling in Paris. She became a trilingual translator in English, French and Estonian, but then moved back to England in 1996. Carmen plays with many local orchestras, opera and chamber groups, as well as keeping up the folk tradition by fiddling in an Irish band! Since 2001 she has been working as a violin teacher for the Wiltshire Music Service, has performed concertos with the Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra and plays for Bath Spa String Quartet on a regular basis.Theresa, Kate, John, Anna, Beth  - The Cellos

Debbie began playing the violin at the age of ten. During her school years she was a member of The Barnet Schools Symphony Orchestra which performed in many London venues, including The Royal Albert Hall and The Royal Festival Hall. She went on to study Music at Bath College of Higher Education and graduated in 1994. Since graduation Debbie has been a peripatetic teacher in the area, teaching violin, classical guitar and viola for the county music services. Debbie regularly plays for local orchestral groups and you will often find her name in the programme for many of the Musicals put on in Bath.

John is a largely self-trained musician who collects and plays on a wide variety of musical instruments. He claims to be able to play a tune on almost anything, is a self-confessed virtuoso on the hosepipe and ocarina and complains of the lack of opportunity to demonstrate these skills! He also plays regularly in a variety of musical ensembles in and around Bath on cello, viola da gamba, trumpet, cornet, flute, recorder and mandolin. He is a founder member of the Bath Spa String Quartet and is the quartet’s musical arranger. He will be happy to work on any musical numbers that are specially requested for your event.

Kathryn has studied the violin since the age of eight. As a member of the Leicestershire Schools Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, she performed in the UK and a number of European countries. After gaining her A-levels, Kathryn read Music at Bath College of Higher Education where she specialised in performance. Since graduating in 1992, Kathryn has made Bath her home, teaching violin and piano in her spare time. She is a founder member of Bath Spa String Quartet and plays regularly in a number of local orchestras.

Tim R studied violin and viola with Joan Spencer at the Guildhall School of Music, London, gaining LGSM in 1969. While working as an English teacher in London he studied with Dennis Simons then co-leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and later with Leonard Hirsch in Bristol. In London he played with the Chelsea Opera Group and the Saloman Orchestra. Currently he leads the Bath Symphony Orchestra and conducts The Argyle String Orchestra, Bath Concertino and the Orchestra of St John's Batheaston. He has performed concertos by Mendelssohn, Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi, Stamitz and Herschel, amongst others.

Gillian grew up in Ayrshire, learning the violin and piano from an early age. She became a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland at its inception in 1979 and subsequently lead the Ayrshire Youth Orchestra and the Glasgow String School Orchestra (with opportunities to perform concertos by Vivaldi and Bach), before joining the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. After a spell at the Royal Northern College of Music, she pursued other directions for some years, before securing a peripatetic teaching post in Ayrshire. Gillian has enjoyed playing with many orchestras and chamber music groups, in a variety of genres, and was formerly leader of the Eglinton String Quartet. In 1996, she took another break from her musical career, spending two years living and working at the Findhorn Foundation, and finally settled in Somerset in 1998. She currently teaches violin and viola in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire schools and plays for choral societies and other groups from time to time.

Claire grew up in Hampshire and having been involved in music from an early age was selected for the Hampshire Specialist Music Course aged sixteen. Claire held the principal cellist position in Hampshire Youth String Orchestra and studied music at Birmingham Conservatoire and Bath Spa University, graduating with a BA (Hons) in 2009. Claire is currently a Graduate Music Assistant at Wells Cathedral School and freelances with the Bath Spa and Southampton String Quartets. 

Sarah studied the violin with Leonard Hirsch and Harry Cawood. Since University in Bristol she has been a member of many local orchestras (Brunel Ensemble, Bath Philharmonia, Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra) including leading Avon Sinfonia. She currently plays for Cheltenham Chamber Orchestra and the Minehead Festival Orchestra. She has given recitals with various chamber ensembles including the Dorian Quartet, teaches violin and piano privately, and is an experienced accompanist. Sarah has a particular interest in contemporary music, but has also recently enjoyed performing concertos by Bach and Mozart. Other musical activities have ranged from a band playing Zimbabwean mbira music to repetiteuring for local opera companies. She has worked with Bath Spa Quartet since 2006.

Jamie enjoys a varied musical life which includes performing, composing, recording and teaching. He began studying the violin at the age of four with Sue Thomas, and as a child he played on the BBC television programme Record Breakers and was selected to travel to Japan to play in a series of concerts for the 1998 winter Olympics. He was a chorister at Hampton Court Chapel Royal before going on to study the violin with Esta Boda-Katona at the Royal College of Music’s junior department. He then studied under Marius Bedeschi at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff where he won numerous competitions including prizes for unaccompanied Bach, Paganini and chamber music. He graduated in 2007 with first class honours before gaining a scholarship to complete a post-graduate diploma for which he was awarded a distinction and achieved the highest mark of his year group. Whilst at the college he formed the pop/folk group ‘The Toy Band’ with three other students with which he writes songs, sings and plays guitar. They frequently perform in London venues and have now released two singles with New York based label Boy Scout Recordings. In 2007 Jamie was appointed as a violin teacher and chamber music coach at the RWCMD’s junior department and since 2008 has also been teaching in the college’s senior department. He now lives in Bath where he teaches privately while continuing to freelance as a chamber musician.

Heather studied piano and cello at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) with Vivien Langrish (piano) and Derek Simpson (cello). Heather holds the LRAM certificate on piano and the ARCM on cello. She spent 3 years with BBC Training Orchestra and 15 years playing with London Festival Ballet. She has taught at numerous Private schools and also has a private practice at her home in Somerset. She has performed with 2 Piano trios as well as playing at numerous events with string quartet.

John D started playing the piano at the age of four but his first love was the violin which he started at the age of eight. His first teacher was the late great Fred Herbert. John went on to study music in London where he had various teachers, the last one being the wonderful Sheila Thorne who came to live in Bath. In 1964 he moved to Somerset with his wife, where he still resides and has a varied musical life. For 6 years he conducted the Wells Operatic Society but was lured back to play the violin. For the next 35 years, he led orchestras from Bridgwater to Chippenham and played in orchestras between the two places, whilst also running a string quartet. John was a class teacher for over 20 years in Oldfield Boys' School and later at Beechen Cliff. He now plays regularly for Bath Spa String Quartet.

Linda studied with Christopher Bunting at the Royal College of Music where she was awarded the Scholefield Prize. After playing with the Orquesta Filharmónica de Gran Canaria she returned to England and taught in Wiltshire before moving to Bath. She has performed all the major concertos with orchestras in the South West as well as less familiar repertoire including works by Bunting, Sallinen and the first performance of Michael Short’s Concerto Lirico with Bath Concertino. Linda teaches the cello and plays in the Bath Spa String Quartet among other local groups, and as a deputy with the Pump Room Trio. She is currently training to be a Shiatsu practitioner.

Photo by kind permission of Chris Grant wedding & portrait photographer.

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