Rhiannon Symonds (Trombonists)

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Published on: February 21, 2012

RHIANNON SYMONDS, ATCL, TENOR TROMBONE

Rhiannon, 14, has been playing the trombone for 5 years. At the age of 11 she passed her Grade 8 with Distinction and at 12 became the youngest ever brass player in the prestigious National Youth Wind Orchestra of Wales where she is currently Principal Trombone.

In 2009 Rhiannon was awarded the Robert Lewin Scholarship by the AYM, became a Future Talent Star and the youngest member of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Youth Orchestra. In 2010 Rhiannon was again awarded the Robert Lewin Scholarship as well as an EMI Music Scholarship and Musicians Benevolent Fund Scholarship.

2011 was a very special year for Rhiannon. In January Rhiannon competed at the Chandos Symphony Orchestra Young Musician of the Year competition and was awarded the title of Most Promising Player for the second successive year and in February she won the Newark National Brass Festival. During March Rhiannon was a concerto soloist with the Solihull Symphony Orchestra and became the youngest trombonist in the UK to pass the Associate of the Trinity Guildhall London (ATCL) examination following a 40 minute recital. In July she performed at the Ryedale Festival on behalf of Future Talent in the presence of HRH Katherine Kent and took up the co-principal trombone position with the National Youth Brass Band of Wales. In November, Rhiannon was runner-up in the AXA Ambition Awards in the Arts category, a highly competitive national competition, and performed for the third time at the Royal Albert Hall for the Music For Youth Schools Prom. To close the year Rhiannon was successful in auditioning for positions with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain and securing her Grade 8 with Distinction on Euphonium.

Alex Kirk (Pianist)

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Published on: June 9, 2011

Alex started learning the piano at the age of five. From 2003 he has been attending the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under the Junior Music and Access Studies course, and at the age of fourteen, passed grade VIII with distinction.  This pass was acknowledged by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music for gaining the highest mark in the region. In May 2010, Alex was awarded the Margaret Rose Bursary by Drybrook Ladies Choir in memory of their founder musical director Margaret Burford. Earlier this year he gained The Herbert Howells Bursary , was a finalist in the Gloucestershire Young Musician and won the Cheltenham festival’s Keith Nutland award  for best young musician. As an accompanist, he plays for the Forest of Dean Male Voice Choir and the Springfield Singers and is quickly becoming well known as a talented classical pianist, performing in venues such as Cheltenham Town Hall and Bath’s Guildhall. Alex was successful in auditioning for a place at the Royal College of Music in London where he will start in September.

Simon Smith (Violin)

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Published on: April 4, 2011

Simon Smith is active as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher.

As a soloist he has performed with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields throughout the USA, with the Philharmonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. John’s Smith Square, and the City of London Chamber Orchestra. He has given recitals in the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, as well as for Music Clubs and festivals throughout the UK.

Contemporary Music is a speciality and in 2007 – 9 he performed the complete Kurtag “Signs Games and Messages” alongside works by Paganini, and all the unaccompanied works by Bach. Future plans include further Bach series, and performances of the 10 Beethoven sonatas with pianist Mark Fielding.

As a chamber musician Simon has performed with the Fielding piano trio and Fourte string quartet. He directs the COA Ensemble, and in 2004 directed a chamber music festival in Hertfordshire, the Mundens Festival. For 8 years he was a member of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Octet, performing in concert halls and broadcasts throughout the USA, Canada, Australia, Taiwan and Germany.

He is much in demand as guest leader, performing with orchestras such as the Bournemouth Symphony and Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, English Sinfonia, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Halle and Salzburg Camerata. He is leader of the Norwich based Chamber Orchestra Anglia.

Simon Smith is a visiting lecturer at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He has given numerous masterclasses, schools concerts and composers workshops. He will be running two summer courses in 2010. His research interests include the development and teaching of violin technique in the context of contemporary music.

Simon studied with David Martin, Frederick Grinke and with Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall School of Music, where he was awarded the Gold Medal. He  received a DAAD scholarship to continue his studies in Germany with Wanda Wilkomirska.

He plays on the ex-Hirsch Rogeri violin, made in 1706.

Simon is married to the violinist Clare Hayes, (a member of the Emperor String Quartet) and has three children. Outside of music he is a school governor, has completed courses in Philosophy with the Open University, and collects LPs and vintage Hifi.

Artem Kotov (Violin)

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Published on: February 8, 2011

Artem Kotov (Solo Violinist)

Artem Kotov was born in Ekaterinburg in 1983 and started to play the violin at the age of six at the Ekaterinburg Academy of Music.  At the age of nine, he performed the Bach E major violin concerto with the academy orchestra.  Following several successful performances at the Ekaterinburg Philharmonic Hall, the Opera Theater and at the music festival organized by UNESCO, Artem was awarded the Scholarship of Russian Ministry of Culture.

Artem won the first prize at the Jeunesses Musicales competition in Bucharest at the age of ten, and the first prize at the “Citta di Stressa” International Competition in Italy in 1996. His other awards include prizes at the “Premio Rodolfo Lipizer” competition in Italy and at the International Competition of Markneukirchen, Germany. In 2007, Artem became laureate of the 5th Uralsk International Violin Competition in Kazakhstan and won the Bach Competition for Strings in London.

Artem’s concert tours include Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Italy.

During a 2006 tour of the South and Central America, he was invited to give a masterclass at the Cuban Institute of Music in Havana.

Artem Kotov’s repertoire includes the Six Sonatas and Partitas by Bach, Six Sonatas by Ysaye, and ten violin sonatas by Beethoven. Since 2005, Artem has been artistic director of the “Primavera Classica” international music festival, which has had big success at Moscow’s best concert halls, featuring some of the finest artists of the younger generation. Artem Kotov has studied with Igor Frolov at the Moscow State Conservatory and is currently studying at Trinity College of Music in London with Pieter Shoeman. Artem is a Golubovich Scholar, and has a full scholarship for three years. He is playing on an astonishing violin by Ceruti, 1820, which was kindly loaned to him from Trinity College of Music.

Nick Macorison (Basoon)

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Published on: December 16, 2010

Nicholas was born in 1988, and began his musical career as a treble in the Choir of the Queens Chapel of the Savoy, London, where he was Head Chorister. After this, he began to play the Bassoon, and was eventually rewarded in 2006, with an entrance scholarship to study at Birmingham Conservatoire. He studied there with Meyrick Alexander and Nicholas Hunka. In 2008 he was awarded an ERASMUS Scholarship, and a place in the bassoon class of the Music Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. There he studied with Professors Jiří Seidl and František Herman, who were both previously Principals in the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. He regularly participates in masterclasses and music Festivals, both in England and Europe. He has also studied in Switzerland with David Schnebeli, Lyndon Watts and Marc Trénel, Germany with Klaus Thunemann, and in France with Carlo Colombo.  Nicholas is currently studying for a masters at the Royal Academy of Music, London, with an scholarship, studies with Gareth Newman, John Orford and David Chatterton.

Contemporary Music makes up a crucial component of his creative output.  Regularly playing in contemporary and avant garde music ensembles, he recently appeared as soloist with the Interrobang ensemble. This year he has premièred works by Dolden, Peate, Liu and Dewey. He has also studied in masterclasses with contemporary music experts Pascal Gallois and John Orford, and will continue to study with John at the Royal Academy.

Nicholas regularly plays with orchestras, and as well as his work with the college orchestras and ensembles, he has been invited to play with most of the amateur and semi professional orchestras and ensembles in the West Midlands (Sinfonia of Birmingham, Regency Sinfonia, Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra). Additionally he has been invited to play with the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, London. As well as having a teaching privately, Nicholas was this summer invited to work with the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, as bassoon tutor  Away from music Nick enjoys following Cricket and Football, and sampling real ale!

Marie Roberts (Violin)

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Published on: November 30, 2010

Marie was born in Aberdeen in 1977 and moved to the Forest of Dean in 1981.  She started playing the violin at the late age of 9 and quickly progressed to grade 8 standard within 5 years, under the direction of Rhiannon Davies of Cardiff.


Marie attended Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds, where she studied music performance with Dr Clive Brown and violin with Duncan Druce.  An integral part of the course was solo work.


Marie has been playing 2nd violin with RFDO since September 2000, leading the section for most of that time. She led the Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra in their May 2007 concert in Stroud Subscription Rooms and has been asked to lead again in March this year.

Recently she has been studying with Ralph Wallace on solo work.

Richard Fletcher (Violin)

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Published on: November 30, 2010

Richard is a former leader of the National Children’s Orchestra. He graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester with first class honours in 2005; whilst studying in Manchester he held principal positions in the RNCM chamber orchestra and University Sinfonietta, together with many other chamber ensembles.


Since 2005  Richard has been studying medicine at Manchester University Medical School and in his spare time he goes sailing!

Lydia Griffiths (cor Anglais)

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Published on: November 30, 2010

Lydia has just finished her first year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she studies with Helena Gaunt.  Her first teacher was Graeme Adams and when she was 16 she gained a place at Wells Cathedral School (one of four specialist music schools in England) as a Specialist Musician with DfES funding for the Sixth form.  There she studied the oboe with Liz Fyfe.


Lydia is principal oboe in the National Youth Wind Ensemble and is a past member of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra.  Lydia plays in the Treblos Wind Quintet which is based in London.


This year Lydia won the Hereford Police Choir Bursary and was a finalist in the Chandos Young Musician competition.


Lydia is supported by the Guildhall School Trust


Tatiana Dolgowska (Piano)

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Published on: November 30, 2010

Tatiana Dolgowska was born in 1982 and started playing the piano when she was 6.  Following 11 years study with the renowned Russian performer and teacher, Elena Lebetskaya she moved to Krakow and continued her studies at the Music Academy where she graduated with a first class Master’s degree.  Tatiana continued her extensive studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire where she was awarded an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma with distinction.  She has subsequently participated in master classes with Peter Donohoe and Dmitri Bashkirov and has been a soloist throughout Europe and most recently in Israel.  She is currently busy continuing her performance career and combining it with teaching piano at Repton independent school.

Sarah Waycott (flautist)

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Published on: November 30, 2010


Sarah Waycott studied at the Gloucester Academy of Music where she was asked to perform solo flute with the string ensemble and also spent a year as a trainee in Indian Music which led to her giving Indian music workshops for others.

In 2005 Sarah graduated from Bath Spa University College with a BA Honours Degree in music where she studied flute with Richard Dobson and Cello with Ruth Zagni. In her final year she won the concerto competition which led to a solo performance of the Vivaldi flute concerto ’Il Cardelino’ at the Guildhall, Bath.

In 2004 she won the Margaret Rose Bursary awarded to a local young promising musician, by the Drybrook and District Ladies Choir for whom she regularly performed.

During her time at Bath and briefly at the Welsh College of Music and Drama Sarah also studied ‘cello with which she performed in a series of concerts with the Seven Hills String Quartet, was part of the orchestra that opened the Bath festival in 2004, and the Phillip Glass Festival in Holland. She has also appeared in an advert for Sky Television.

With her flute Sarah has taken part in master classes with Graham Mayger, Stephano Parrino, Karen Jones, Ian Clarke, Sarah Newbold and Philippa Davies and performed in Prague and Sweden and also Gibraltar and Uganda as a soloist.

Sarah has also been involved in many outreach and voluntary projects. Whilst at university she took the Gamelan into hospitals and hospices to do workshops with children, and also performed in homes for the elderly as part of a flute and violin duo. Whilst studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama she also took a musical workshop into primary schools in Carmarthenshire with three other musicians as an introduction to music and various instruments including flute, clarinet, cello and harp. In July 2008 Sarah travelled to the Kampala Music School, Uganda, as part of a woodwind trio to volunteer as a flute and cello teacher for seven weeks. Her time there included joining in every aspect of the day to day school life from organising the weekly informal concerts to conducting the junior orchestra and performing trio concerts for the general public and also orphans at a primary school.

Sarah is a regular performer both as a soloist and in ensembles and orchestras. She appears regularly as a guest soloist for concerts and also plays in shows, operas and for functions, weddings, funerals and other events. She is part of ensembles such as Flute and Harp, the Sanyu Woodwind Trio, Chamber Flutes and Be Bop Da Jig, a fusion group that performs folk, jazz and blues.

Sarah is currently studying Flute at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Philippa Russell and previously Jonathan Burgess, principal of the WNO and piccolo with Nic Dowton, also of the WNO.

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