Connecting Generations: WW1 Songs Remembered and Shared

As part of a wide-reaching WW1 commemoration project, the London Mozart Players, Croydon’s resident orchestra, have been facilitating the visits of newly established primary school choirs to Croydon senior’s homes


As well as preparing Jonathan Dove’s new commission For an Unknown Soldier, the children of Atwood Primary Academy, Croydon Parish Church Juniors, Ecclesbourne Primary Academy and Monks Orchard Primary, have also been learning old wartime songs, and creating their own variations of them to sing to residents of local care homes. Repertoire includes Wish Me Luck, It’s a long way to Tipperary and other familiar tunes.

The choir of Monks Orchard Primary School performed at Elizabeth Court  on Wednesday 1st October, which also happened to be International Older People’s Day.

The ‘Coffee Concerts’ which have come to be known as WW1 Songs Remembered and Shared, are an important part of the project for several reasons. They are providing an important performance opportunity for the schools in the lead up to the main concert on the 14th November, and they are also encouraging the children to engage creatively with a bygone era.


PRESS RELEASE: World Premieres of ‘For an Unknown Soldier’

The London Mozart Players and The Portsmouth Grammar School collaborate to commission major new cantata from Jonathan Dove to commemorate WWI

• World Première performances in Portsmouth and Croydon in November 2014
• Over 300 children from Portsmouth Grammar School and Croydon primary schools involved in the first performances
• Featuring renowned choral conductor Nicholas Cleobury and outstanding young tenor Nicholas Sharratt.

The London Mozart Players and The Portsmouth Grammar School will present the World Première performances of a major new co-commission from Jonathan Dove on 9 November 2014 in Portsmouth Cathedral and 14 November in Fairfield Halls Croydon. For an Unknown Soldier is a setting for tenor solo, children’s choir, adult chorus and chamber orchestra of nine poems about the First World War. Opening with a setting of Wilfred Owen’s portentous ‘1914’, the work offers a moving meditation on the tragedy of war with poems by Mary Gabrielle Collins, Helen Dircks and Ivor Gurney among others.

The LMP is delighted to continue what has become an annual collaboration with Portsmouth Grammar School, which has in recent years seen the commissioning of important new work from composers such as Roxanna Panufnik and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

James Priory, Headmaster of Portsmouth Grammar School comments:
“We are thrilled to be giving young musicians from Portsmouth and Croydon the opportunity to work with a living composer and to be involved in creating a major new musical work inspired by Remembrance. I cannot think of a better way for young people to engage creatively in the centenary of the Great War.”

Viv Davies, Managing Director of the London Mozart Players comments:
“We are really excited to be collaborating with the Portsmouth Grammar School and Jonathan Dove on such a significant and important project. The preparation for the events in November has brought together diverse individuals and groups in a unified and common purpose. We have no doubt that the première performances of the cantata will be profound and moving occasions that will express, in a wonderfully creative way, the essence, spirit and deep significance of remembrance. We are looking forward to it immensely.”

Simon Blendis – Leader

Simon Blendis joined the LMP as Leader in 2014. As well as leading for a wide variety of concerts, Simon has particularly enjoyed developing his relationship with the orchestra through an increasing amount of directing. He has also created the innovative leadership development event Podium, which has become an important strand of the LMP’s work and is gaining a strong reputation in the business world.

Away from the LMP Simon enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, soloist and orchestra leader. He has been a member of the Schubert Ensemble for twenty-three years, with whom he has performed in over thirty different countries, made frequent broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and appeared regularly at Europe’s major venues. After 35 years at the forefront of British chamber music the Ensemble will retire in 2018, leaving behind a legacy of over 80 commissions, 25 CD recordings and a large library of live performances on YouTube.

Simon is also in demand as a guest-leader and guest-director and has appeared in this role with most of the UK’s major orchestras. Since 1999 he has been one of the leaders of Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa in Japan, with whom he has recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for the Warner label. As a soloist he has made recent appearances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the RPO and the CBSO.

Simon is a keen exponent of new music. He has given over 50 first performances and has had new works written for him by, amongst others, John Woolrich, Tansy Davies and jazz legend Dave Brubeck, as well as violin concertos by David Knotts and Jeff Moore.

Croydon School Artwork Competition

Help us to mark the WW1 centenary with the community of Croydon

As part of our commemorative concert on 14th November at Fairfield Halls, we are inviting schools across the borough to produce one piece of artwork inspired by the words ‘For an Unknown Soldier’ to enter an art competition. The three best pieces of work as judged by independent judges will be displayed at The Croydon Clocktower, Katherine Street.

For more information contact Jenny Brady at the LMP office, telephone: 020 8686 1996, or email:
LMP schools poster WW1 concert-no marks (2)

London Premiere – November 14

This event is expected to sell out. Tickets from £12.

Box office 020 8688 9291

Click here for more details

Click here to purchase tickets

The London Mozart Players are proud to announce their special concert at Fairfield Halls to mark the centenary of WW1 on Friday 14th November at 7.30pm.

This concert is the culmination of a far-reaching community project funded jointly by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Croydon Council and Portsmouth Grammar School.

The project has touched the community of Croydon on many levels with the formation of four junior school choirs performing alongside Whitgift School, Croydon Minster and Portsmouth Grammar School choirs in the London premiere of For an Unknown Solider written by the renowned composer Jonathan Dove.

Riddlesdown Collegiate will curate a WW1 commemoration exhibition to be displayed in the foyer on 14th November created from their trip to the First World War, Stories of Croydon exhibition at the Museum of Croydon, memorabilia collected from the residents of Croydon and their written responses to these artefacts.

All schools in Croydon have been invited to produce artwork to mark WW1 that will be displayed that evening in the Fairfield Halls.

We will be joined in the concert by young instrumentalists from Croydon Music and Arts who will play side by side with the LMP. Flautist Emma Halnan, the Croydon Festival winner 2013, will also perform a concerto with us.

We invite you all to join us with the community of Croydon to mark the WW1 Centenary.

Friday November 14th 2014, Fairfield Halls, Croydon at 7.30pm


LMP-WW1 leaflet emailLMP-WW1 leaflet email2


LMP Plays for “Strictly” Star

The LMP have been asked to play for a charity event for Kristina Rihanoff – professional dancer from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The event will be at the Mansion House and those in attendance will include the Prime Minister.

Kristina was the ‘Strictly’ professional partner of John Sergeant (2008), Jason Donovan (2011), and James Bond actors Goldie (2010) and Colin Salmon (2012).

Hong Kong Airport

LMP Daily update on China trip – Peter Wright

Late night eating in Wuhan

Late night eating in Wuhan


Full blog and photos.



Following a short rehearsal in London we all got on a coach and arrived at Heathrow 4 hours early.

Lots of time for shopping, eating and drink. Flight left on time.

Smooth 12 hour flight and landed bang on time but in a severe storm. We weren’t allowed to disembark because of the danger of lightning strike on the gangway!

The onward flight was then delayed due to bad weather and we landed at Wuhan about 9pm. There was an air conditioned limousine waiting – not of us but – for Gerard who whisked away into the night. We got onto one of 2 coaches (not sure why as there are only 27 of us) for the interesting hour long journey to the hotel. The 2 drivers raced each other through the busy streets both determined to get us to the hotel first but risking none of us arriving at all! En route some interesting sights of young girls dressed up in short skirts, high heals and lip stick but on what looked like a hair dryer purporting to be a motorbike with no lights and not wearing crash helmets!

We finally arrived at our luxurious hotel, about 11pm, after nearly 24 hours travelling. Then, after finding our rooms on the 23rd floor, it was off to eat, back for a drink, catch up on emails and bed.

May 21st

I woke at 5am. 1st problem to sort. The British council had emailed to say they were delighted to inform me that they had invited 20 people to use the 20 complimentary tickets I had promised for our Shanghai concert. The problem was that a) we had actually been allocated only 8 tickets and b) I had already promised 4 of them to someone else. Great. So it’s looking like my day off will be busy sorting that little problem. However, another email was a request from Kristina Rihanoff (strictly come dancing) to quote for providing musicians for an event in September.

Another email. The British council want to bring 14 people to the Beijing concert.

Enough for now. Back to sleep.

Awake again.

Our ‘free day’ to recover.  News that Beijing has ‘sold out’ (2000 tickets).  Amazing breakfast in the hotel. Noodles, Dim Sum etc etc. Then Paul, Scott and I took a taxi into town. We thought that last night’s coach was scary but this was something else. No seat belts, no signals, mains roads shared by lorries, cars, push bikes, pedestrians and chickens. Very smoggy and raining. Not hugely interesting.  Back to hotel. Practise and then a managing group meeting at 6.30pm

Now just heard that Shanghai only have 8 seats unsold and Wuhan is also a sell out. Everyone loves the LMP out here. Are there any Chinese people who might like to come to Croydon next Thursday 29th?

David Wilson and Gerard went to the hall and met with Sa Chen – the soloist. In the evening the management group went to the most astonishing restaurant. Not one person spoke a word of English and I’m not sure they had EVER had a westerner in their restaurant.  But they had wifi! We linked to “google translate” and typed in “spicy chicken” “spicy pork”  “spicy noodles” and out popped the Chinese translation. The waiters had never seen anything like it and ran to the kitchen shouting Instructions.

A word of warning. DON’T use the word spicy unless  you like mountains of red and green fresh chillies.

Downtown Wuhan

Downtown Wuhan


May 22nd

4.22am. Can’t sleep. Jet lag. Concert tonight as well.

First concert tonight. Amazing audience. The soloist had to do 2 encores and we did the whole of the last movement of the Jupiter symphony as our encore. Stats for audience. 90% under 30 years old! Everyone played brilliantly. I did a speech at the beginning of the concert with a translator by my side. After the concert back to hotel and a drink and now bed. It’s 12.21am and the coach leaves for the airport at 6.50am. That’s the schedule every day now. 6.30am coach, flight, rehearsal, concert, hotel by 11pm the coach at 6.30am!

Wuhan concert hall

Wuhan concert hall


May 23rd. Wuhan – Shanghai

Travel via plane to Shanghai. Very hot and humid. Short walk to concert hall. Apparently Putin had been there the day before. We found a restaurant in the Lonely planet but didn’t choose the Bullfrog! I had invited representatives from the British Council back to the hotel bar after the concert. I left the concert hall in a hurry to ensure I arrived at the hotel before they did only to find the bar full of “ladies of the night”. I quickly rang the BC and changed the venue. Phew!


May 24th Shanghai – Beijing

Travel to Shanghai station and bullet train for 5 hours to Beijing. 298kmh. Paul and I thought we’d managed a cheeky upgrade for £9.70 only to find that was only an upgrade for one stop! So we had to sneak back to our original seats. Check into hotel and we had 20 mins before coach to concert hall. Astonishing hall. Completely sold out. Met representatives and guests of British Council then back to hotel, drink and bed.


May 25th Beijing – Guangzhou

5.45am onto the coach to the airport. 3 hour flight to Guangzhou (it’s as far as London to Moscow).

Check into hotel and 3 hours before rehearsal. Had a noodles in a local tiny restaurant Followed by a sleep. Then to the hall. It’s VERY hot and sticky here. Wonderful hall and loads of children in the audience.





The audience were totally thrilled and afterwards about 30 of them wanted photos taken with me and Scott.


Then back to the hotel where Gerard bought everyone drinks. Our Chinese soloist Chen Sa joined us. We ate and drank until 1.30am. Then emails to sort until 2.30am and sleep. Up at 6am.

May 26th. Guangzhou – Hong Kong – London

Incredibly unhelpful coach driver refused to put the luggage on the bus so David Wilson got inside the underneath of the coach and did it himself. Then the driver had to reverse his coach out of the car park onto a busy road then drove erratically to the airport.

We have now checked in and having coffee before 16 hours flying back to London!







Piano Concert – half the ticket price comes to the LMP

Dear Friends and supporters,

One of the new collaborations we are working on may include booking new upcoming young artists. One or more of the pianists playing in this concert could be invited to play with us. You can go and get a “preview”. We have been offered an exclusive deal on this concert. If you buy a £20 ticket then the LMP will receive £10 of the ticket price as a donation.

The number of tickets available is limited so if your are interested then please respond as soon as possible.

Cadogan Hall on 11th June 2014 at 7.30pm. PIANOWORKS features four brilliant pianists at the outset of their careers from the UK, Turkey, UAE & India. All have been studying on scholarships at our excellent Royal Colleges. 
We are keen to engage with LMP friends and audiences on a journey exploring the next generation of outstanding pianists who might have a role to play with the LMP as future Pianists who could direct from the keyboard. This concert offers us just such an opportunity.
The concert would also be a wonderful opportunity for LMP players to meet you off the platform and join you as fellow audience members. The Music Entrepreneur Mark Stephenson, who the LMP is working closely with on the future development of the LMP, is the Artistic Director of PIANOWORKS and Vladimir Ashkenazy is the Patron, who of course appeared as a soloist with the LMP during the early Harry Blech days. 
Other guests attending include Dame Vivienne Westwood, who’s celebrity fitter is providing concert dress for the pianist Grace Francis, His Excellencies The Ambassadors from Albania, Turkey, UAE and the Deputy High Commissioner of India. 
Organisers of the concert are distributing complimentary tickets to other key sectors including the Press & Media, Publishing & Recording Industry and they are encouraging as many young people and students to attend the concert as possible. 
A link to their website is below. We hope very much you will be free for this event

Please contact Peter Wright as soon as possible if you are interested.

A day at Surrey Hills Festival – May 3rd

From a Percussionist point of view. – Surrey Hills Festival – Rodion Shchedrin, Bizet Carmen Suite


This will be a very long day!  This is a large and complex piece to organise logistically and the percussion parts have been emailed to the percussion players in advance.  Each of the five players have their own individual part with a long list of instruments they will have to play.  The setup for each player is important – how to position the instruments around themselves to be able move from instrument to instrument in the most intuitive way to play everything that’s been written for them.  A percussion stage plan has been drawn which will undoubtedly change on arrival at the venue!

Between Sarah Stuart and myself we have worked out who is to bring which of the 45 or so separate percussion instruments for this work including 5 timpani, Marimba, Vibraphone, 2 pairs of bongos, tubular bells, 5 tuned tom toms, 3 tuned cow bells, Xylophone and copious toys and stands to put everything on.  The percussion equipment completely fills two vans.

In the morning the vans take an hour to load.  We arrive at the venue over two hours before the rehearsal.  This is the minimum amount of time we will need to unload, build all the instruments and work out how to position all the instruments on the stage.  As we work we realise the 5 timpani will have to go behind the double basses on the lower stage and the percussion will have to be staggered as there is not the room for all the percussionists to be in a line on the higher staging.

With just enough time for fine tuning some of the drums we are ready to play at 2pm.

The rehearsal.

With the curtains soaking up much of the sound the percussion players are finding they are having to play up more than usual. Shchedrin creates subtle textures with the Marimba and Vibraphone and even writes chords on the tubular bells using two players and these are important colours not to be lost.  The piece also really shows off the versatility and virtuosity of the LMP strings.

The Concert.

 The first half is Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major and Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra.  These pieces demonstrate superbly the LMP’s deftness and lightness of touch, technical skill and world renound chamber skills in accompanying and supporting the soloists and giving them a perfect canvas and the right atmosphere to shine.  The second half is the Shchedrin Carmen Suite and is the perfect piece to showcase the LMP at their electric and exciting best.  After returning to the stage 5 times during the final applause, Daniel Cohen and Guest Leader Ruth Rogers lead the orchestra from the stage and leave the audience wanting more.

Roughly two and a quarter hours after the end of the concert at 00.10 Sarah and I leave; tired but extremely happy at the end of another fantastic day of music making with the London Mozart Players.

Written by Scott Bywater, Principal Percussion and Co-Principal Timpani of the LMP.

Many thanks go to Sarah Stuart for her help, organisational skills and splendid playing as guest Principal Percussion on this concert. 

David Angel

20th July 1954 – 10th April 2017

David Angel studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School with Frederick Grinke and Jaqueline Salomons, and had many masterclasses with Lord Menuhin.

In 1971 he won an Associated Board Scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Frederick Grinke. He had regular chamber music coaching with Sidney Griller and won prizes for both solo and chamber music.

He has played quartets professionally since 1976; for eleven years with the Bochmann Quartet and since 1988, with the Maggini Quartet, which he co founded in that year. With the Quartet he has performed and broadcast widely as well as recording some thirty discs and working with composers such as James McMillan, Eleanor Alberga, Roxanna Panufnik, and extensively with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

With pianist David Elwin he has enjoyed a long standing duo: in September 2007 they made their maiden tour of Japan.

When his quartet schedule allows, he co-leads the 2nd violins of the London Mozart Players, a job he has held since 1995.

Much in demand as a teacher and quartet coach, he has been professor of quartet playing at the Birmingham Conservatoire since 1993. In addition to teaching privately, he has taught violin at Southampton University, the Birmingham Conservatoire, and as a guest at the Menuhin and Purcell schools.

Gala fundraising concert April 29th

LMP Gala Concert

A hundred or so people were privileged to attend the most delightful gala concert on Tuesday 29 May.  The concert was genially hosted by Sir Vernon Ellis. Sir Vernon is an eminent businessman, chair of the British Council, and famous for his enduring support to music, especially opera, as recognised by his knighthood.  The venue was one of the many stars of the evening; as out host explained, the venue was once a hotel, so the size of the reception area and its resemblance to the salons in which the music of Mozart and many others was originally performed was entirely explicable and appropriate.  Such is Sir Vernon’s love of music that he considers himself self-indulgent rather than generous to host as many as 90 concerts each year.

On what was an unusually warm evening, many guests arrived having survived the inconvenience of the tube strike, to be welcomed in a way which made the cares of the day swiftly dissolve. The LMP indulged their guests in a multi-faceted feast from start to finish.  Even before the main course of music, the guests enjoyed a champagne reception, with canapés and other hors d’oeuvres most of which were prepared by the multi-talented Julia Desbruslais, served generously and charmingly by members of the orchestra and at least one of their offspring.  The reception provided an ample opportunity for mingling with friends old and new.

The concert was wonderful in so many ways.  The programme was beautifully constructed and performed.  Our ears adjusted to the rather intimate acoustic of this venue to the sound of the Magic Flute overture, conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton.  Then we had another glimpse of the prodigious talent of Laura van der Heijden (BBC Young Musician of the Year 2012) performing the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with such apparent ease and finesse as if she’d been doing so far longer than her 17 years.  Tasmin Little followed, backed by the string section, in “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Such was the intimacy of the occasion that Tasmin took the time before playing to introduce the composer’s markings to the score, which gave some of us, at least, a new perspective on a familiar piece.

Howard Shelley has a great knack of putting the great music he plays into context, as those who manage to attend the pre-concert talks/interviews that are such a feature of LMP concerts well know.  He led the orchestra through two movements of Mozart’s sublime concerto no 21, having explained how this was written in an extraordinarily productive period.

Those who assembled this programme might well have asked themselves “How do you follow that?”  With a nod to Monty Python, perhaps they said “and now for something not completely different”.  Somebody of undoubted genius (£10, please, Peter) but too young to have heard them live (that’s £20, please) claimed to recall the work of the incomparable Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, and in particular their song to the tune of Mozart’s horn concerto.   With great ingenuity (£30) he approached a trumpet student and successful author, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and commissioned her to produce an updated version, around the theme of the LMP’s parlous financial circumstances.  Such was his persuasiveness (£40), that Cynthia accepted the commission and delivered a masterpiece.

With Messrs Flanders and Swann sadly no longer available, there was simply no choice but to plead, cajole or blackmail Sir Richard Stilgoe to perform the world premiere of this hilarious and linguistically demanding work.  Whatever the measures taken to arrange his cooperation, they worked and the outcome was a masterwork, both in conception and delivery.

Viv Davies, the managing director of the “new” LMP took the opportunity to thank all concerned for their generous contributions to the evening, including Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis, the performers (all of whom had waived their fee) and the audience.  Viv played particular tribute quite rightly to the members of the working group of musicians who are working tirelessly and almost sleeplessly on the various activities necessary to secure and enhance the future of the LMP.  Representing that group, Paul Archibald, Julia Desbruslais and Peter Wright then introduced the main themes of these projects

As if that wasn’t enough, we were all further indulged with a delicious buffet supper, again served by the indefatigable LMP players, but who then had more time to mingle.  It was a real privilege to be able to chat freely with the performers, and the evening came to an end all too soon.

Article by Nick Mallett

Judith Busbridge

Judith graduated in Music from Birmingham University and completed her viola studies with Thomas Riebl in Salzburg, where she was solo violist in the Camerata Academica under the directorship of Sándor Végh, a post she held for 5 years.

Outside her schedule with London Mozart Players she was, until 2011, a founder member of the multi-award-winning Dante String Quartet, with whom she performed at major concert halls and festivals throughout the UK and Europe, winning the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music in 2007.
From 2010-13 she was violist with Ensemble 360, a versatile group of eleven musicians of international standing who enjoy a residency in Sheffield with Music in the Round, and with whom she again won the RPS Award for chamber music in 2013.

Judith’s varied freelance career also includes playing guest principal viola with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Opera House, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields. She is also solo viola in John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, which performs repertoire of nineteenth and early twentieth centuries on period instruments.

Since September 2013 she is also one of the principal violas with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Sarah Burnett

When did you join the LMP?


Where else do you work?

I’m a member of Britten Sinfonia, The Haffner Wind Ensemble and teach at the Royal College of Music. I am also Bassoon Consultant at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire..  Any free time after that takes me up and down the country, working for other orchestras as guest principal, as well as giving masterclasses and doing the odd bit of session work.

When did you start playing the bassoon?

Aged 11

What is your first musical memory?

Playing for the first time ever in an orchestra.  It was Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony with the National Youth Orchestra.  I was only 12 and was totally overwhelmed by the sheer raw power of the music.

What is special about your instument?

It’s an old 1927 Heckel with a huge history, and it happens to have been made the same year as my house was built.  It has a warm singing voice with many individual quirks, which always makes it interesting to play. Shostakovich said the bassoon was the instrument closest to the human voice; I don’t think you can get a better compliment than that.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love being outdoors, whether it’s just pottering in the garden, going for walks and cycles or having a barbeque.  Friends and family are extremely important to me; there’s nothing better than sharing food and wine with those you love.


Mozart – It speeds up your reactions

Listening to Mozart minuets could speed up your reaction times when working, according to a new study. Researchers from Kyoto and Harvard Universities found people of a range of ages worked more efficiently while listening to the soothing strains of a Mozart minuet.

Participants aged between eight and nine and 65 to 75 were asked to complete a Stroop task, where a word spelling out a colour is presented in a different colour (such as ‘red’ written in blue letters). When listening to Mozart quietly in the background, reaction times were faster and error rates were lower than when listening to no music at all, or listening to a modified version of the piece with introduced errors.

These findings help make the case that music, sometimes thought of as a pleasant byproduct of evolution, may have played an positive role in human evolution, regardless of cultural systems of harmony or pitch. It’s also further evidence of the Mozart effect, which suggests listening to classical music can make you more intelligent.

Click here for the complete article

Wiltshire Music Centre

The LMP performed at this wonderful hall on Friday 25th April 2014. We would like to thank everyone involved at the hall for inviting us to perform. Thanks also to Orchestras Live for their support with this event.

Howard Shelley was conductor and soloist and gave a great performance – as usual. The program included Poulenc Sinfonietta and Aubade (for Piano and 18 instruments). The concert concluded with Haydn Symphony 104  “London”.

Thank you to Sebastian Comberti  and Howard for the pre concert talk. Members of the orchestra met the audience during the interval.

The staff at the hall were so friendly and helpful. They also provided yummy snacks and fruit with Tea during our breaks and made the orchestra feel extremely welcome.

We are really looking forward to re visiting in the future.

Michael Posner

Michael studied with Nobuko Imai, Mischa Geller and Simon Rowland-Jones at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he achieved a Gmus RNCM and PP RNCM, and was the winner of the Dearden Academic Award.

Upon leaving the RNCM, he joined the Peterborough String Orchestra where he became principal viola, playing regularly in the Chamber Ensemble and as soloist with the orchestra. Michael then moved to London, where he became a member of the London Mozart Players and a regular in all of London’s leading chamber orchestras including the Academy of St Martins, English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia. He has toured and recorded extensively with these orchestras.

Over the last 20 years Michael has developed a passion for teaching, alongside his playing. He held a post at Trinity College of Music, Junior Department for 14 years, and has recently taken up a post at Bromley Youth Music Trust teaching violin and viola, coaching chamber music and conducting orchestras. With his wife Julia Desbruslais, he runs the highly successful Summer Strings music courses, and coaches regularly on the Arpeggione course.
Michael is a keen supporter of Arsenal football club.

Julia Desbruslais

At sixteen Julia Desbruslais won an open scholarship to study the cello with Florence Hooton at the Royal Academy of Music.  During this time she won many awards including the Suggia Award and the Leverhulme Chamber Music Scholarship.  Under the direction of Sydney Griller she was a founder member of the all-female Fairfield String Quartet. They enjoyed ten years touring Britain and Europe, winning major competitions, giving many live broadcasts for the BBC, and recording for Hyperion.

On leaving the Quartet, she became Co-Principal Cello with the London Mozart Players, where she regularly performs with the Chamber Ensemble and has appeared as a concerto soloist. She is also Principal Cello with the London Jupiter Orchestra, with whom she has performed John Taverner’s Eternal Memory at St John’s, Smith Square. She regularly plays as guest principal with many London orchestras, including the New London Orchestra and City of London Sinfonia.

She has a great passion for inspiring young children and is one of the leading lights in the vast education programme of the LMP. Her work has included performing to all ages from work with young children to the elderly in numerous and varied venues.  Her work with young children led to the production of television workshops and compositional projects and she was responsible for the setting up of cello master classes and massed cello ensembles with young children. Julia holds posts as a cello teacher at Whitgift School and Eltham College, and a large private class. With her husband Michael Posner, they run the highly successful Summer Strings residential music courses for children of all ages.

She is a member of the cello quartet formed from the four cellists of the LMP, presenting concerts drawing on the works of the great cellist composers. Their first CD Petits Fours was received with great acclaim. Recent recordings include ‘Lullaby for a Lost Soul’ by Ronald Corp.

Sarah Butcher – Cello

Sarah studied cello with Stefan Popov at the Guildhall School of Music and chamber music with Hans Keller and the Chilingirian String Quartet. She also took part in masterclasses with William Pleeth at the Aldeburgh Summer School. She has played in many orchestras and ensembles in the UK including the BBC Symphony orchestra, The Guildhall String Ensemble, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Peter Gabriel’s New Blood Orchestra, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera Orchestra for whom she has played principal cello.

She has made recordings for the Cello Classics label, Music for Two Cellos and ‘Petits Fours’, music for four cellos with the London Mozart Players cello section. Also on the Cello Classics label she has performed in a CD of music by the great pedagogue Julius Klengel. As a baroque cellist and founder of Bach Camerata she has also recorded St John Passion (in English) with The Crouch End Festival Chorus and David Temple.

Sarah is a keen chamber musician and has played with the Mistry String Quartet and was a member of the Mainardi Trio. For 10 years she was Artistic Director of The Chamber Players who play regularly at Festivals and venues throughout the UK, including Holywell Music Rooms, Imperial College and Buxton and Chichester Festivals with artists such as Ashley Wass, Gaby Lester, Tim Horton and Benjamin Nabarro.

Sarah is a keen participant in education and community projects and plays principal cello in the Chipping Campden Festival Academy Orchestra, sitting side-by-side with music college students for a series of concerts in the Chipping Campden Festival. Other recent projects include devising a piece for the Croydonites Festival with SLiDE in South Norwood and workshops and concerts for Everyone Matters in Bromley and Kingston.

Sarah also edits audiobooks for the Naxos AudioBooks label and has been involved in many exciting projects including The History of Classical Music and Famous Composers in collaboration with ClassicFM. She has performed on several of these discs including The Cellist of Sarajevo and Macbeth with music by oscar-winning composer Stephen Warbeck.

She has been a member of the London Mozart Players since 1998.