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I play baroque violin, nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, Hardanger fiddle, medieval vielle, rebec, viola d’amore, trumpet marine 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 18
th 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 I teach a class (‘How to be H.I.P. – historical performance as a contemporary practice’) to students studying Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music. I have also taught students at The Norwegian Academy of Music

I have made several programmes for BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show. My programme ‘Lost Sounds’ has been broadcast three times.

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 in the last few years it has become a society in the true sense of the word. It provides 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. It is also a registered charity.
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 over 70 concerts, released two CDs, delivered three major education projects in schools and music colleges and given numerous radio broadcasts. More information and details of our projects and performances can be found on The Society's website.

Current projects

In 2017 I started my AHRC-funded PhD at Goldsmiths College, University of London; 'Reimagining an exotic instrument of the past in a contemporary context: The trumpet marine restored'. Find more information on the trumpet marine

Alongside my research, I am developing the work of
The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments and teaching at the Royal College of Music. I also do session work and I am a featured artist on several major film sound tracks.