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I play baroque violin, nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, hardanger fiddle, medieval vielle, rebec, viola d’amore and accordion and can turn my hand to most string and keyboard instruments.

My parents are musicians and I was brought up in a house where music took the place of television as a source of relaxation and entertainment. There were musical instruments lying around everywhere – ranging from guitars and recorders to a straight-sided viola and a length of hosepipe with a mouthpiece on one end and a funnel on the other. I read music at Oxford University and while there, worked with the instruments in the Pitt Rivers museum. I came across many curiosities including a leather violin. This experience cemented my fascination with unusual instruments and gave me a taste for sounds that contain plenty of jangle and scrape.

Having completed my degree at Oxford I spent two years as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music studying baroque violin, joining The English Concert half way through my second year. As a violinist, I have played with all the main period instrument groups in the UK, toured widely and made many orchestral and chamber music recordings for radio and CD. A highlight of my work in this area was leading Jonathan Miller’s production of
The Matthew Passion which was recorded for CD and BBC television. These days my work in Historical Performance is confined to chamber music and leading and directing ensembles, although I play occasionally with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Recently I have incorporated some of my more unusual instruments into my historical performance work. I regularly perform an 18th century arrangement of Vivaldi’s concerto, Spring, from the Four Seasons, for hurdy gurdy and orchestra. I have also played the nyckelharpa and hurdy gurdy in numerous projects with the Scottish early music group, Concerto Caledonia.

Alongside my work as a baroque violinist I learnt to play the accordion and spent a postgraduate year at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama developing my improvisation and composing skills through this instrument. Around that time I borrowed a hurdy gurdy and a few years later a nyckelharpa. I have many stringed instruments from around the world but it is these two that I love the most.

My interest in non-Western and traditional music has led to collaborations with musicians from India, Tanzania, Iran, Norway and Spain as well as traditional music players from England, Wales and Scotland. I was a member of the Chris Wood Trio for five years and The Ian McMillan Orchestra for another five. My own group,
SYM, is a collaboration with a Hardanger fiddle player from Norway and a nyckelharpa player from France.

I have composed and arranged music for Chipping Norton Theatre and my groups, SYM and The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments. I have played in several productions at The National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe, and have toured with the dance theatre company, Second Stride.

I have directed the period instrument orchestras at the Royal Academy of Music and The Royal Welsh College of Music and this year I taught a class (‘How to be H.I.P. – historical performance as a contemporary practice’) to all students studying Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music.

This year I have made several programmes for BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show.

The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments

In 2010, I founded The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments which is now the main focus of my work. With this group I explore my interests in unusual instruments and sounds, work with some exceptional multi-instrumentalists, and combine many of the varied experiences of my musical career. Performing has been the main focus of The Society to date, but we are in the process of making it a society in the true sense of the word. It will provide a forum and source of information for all who are interested in ‘strange and ancient’ instruments, and a place where people can find recordings and sheet music suitable for unusual combinations of instruments.
I oversee all artistic elements of the group, ranging from primary research and exploration of source materials to maintaining the highest standards in the realisation and performance of the music. The Society has performed many concerts, released a
CD and given several radio broadcasts. In December 2012, a live concert performance of our programme, ‘The Ministry of Angels’ was broadcast on 'The Early Music Show' on BBC Radio 3. More information can be found on The Society's website. www.strangeandancientinstruments.com
Current projects

I am guest directing a collaboration between renowned Norwegian baroque orchestra,
Barokkarnerne and Hardanger fiddle player, Benedicte Maurseth. We completed the first phase of this project in September last year with two performances. A recording and more performances will follow later in 2014.

The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments' current project,
‘Nine Daies Wonder’ will tour throughout 2014 and 15.