First Violins 2019

2020 Course Tutors

Ciaran McCabe – First Violin Tutor

Ciaran enjoys a varied musical life as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. Recent solo engagements include the concerti of Bruch, Dvorak, Mendelssohn and Barber with ensembles such as the Ulster Orchestra and Orpheus Sinfonia and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at St Martin-in-the-Fields with the Brandenburg Sinfonia. He was a recipient of the Milton Violin Award and the Young Artists' Platform Award from the Arts Council of N.Ireland, which included a BBC studio recording of virtuoso violin works.

He recently became a member of the Maggini Quartet, one of Britain’s leading chamber ensembles, currently celebrating their 30th anniversary season. Prior to joining the Magginis, Ciaran was a founding member of the Cavaleri Quartet, with whom he performed in major venues such as the Musikverein, Vienna, Rachmaninov Hall, Moscow, Auditorio Nacional, Madrid, Wigmore Hall, London and throughout New Zealand and Australia. They were First Prize winners at the 2012 Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition, Second Prize winners at the 2014 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and in 2011 won the Royal Over-Seas League Competition.

Ciaran has appeared as guest leader of the Ulster Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, the Symphony Orchestra of India, English Touring Opera and Brandenburg Sinfonia and as a guest co-leader or principal with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the John Wilson Orchestra. He is also a member of the London Chamber Orchestra and the Crash Ensemble and has performed with ensembles such as the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, English Chamber Orchestra, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Aurora, Camerata Nordica, Sweden, HardRain Soloist Ensemble and the Rasumovsky Ensemble.

Ciaran studied with Yossi Zivoni at the Royal College of Music, London as a Yehudi Menuhin Scholar and later in the chamber music class of Günter Pichler in Madrid. He plays a 1689 Cremonese violin by Andrea Guarneri, on generous long term loan from a private trust.

Caroline Pether – Second Violin Tutor

Caroline is the Leader of chamber orchestra Sinfonia Cymru and holds the Co-Leader position at Manchester Camerata. She enjoys a regular duo partnership with Camerata's principal cellist Hannah Roberts and was the first violinist of the Zelkova Quartet from 2010 to 2019. Caroline studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music with Professor Wen Zhou Li and is now developing her own pedagogical career as a violin tutor at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Caroline is passionate about her involvement in a number of chamber music projects. During her time leading the Zelkova Quartet, the group were winners of the 2017 St Martin's Chamber Music Competition and the 2014 Royal Overseas League Elias Fawcett Award for Outstanding Chamber Ensemble. In 2018 they were Hattori Foundation Senior Award winners and Concordia Foundation Selected Artists. The quartet recently recorded a CD of music written by Nicholas Simpson with the label Stone Records and have also been heard on Radio 3 numerous times. Caroline continues to enjoy a variety of chamber music collaborations with colleagues at Sinfonia Cymru, Manchester Camerata, Manchester Collective, Vonnegut Collective, Psappha Ensemble and Ensemble Deva.

As a soloist Caroline holds a Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians and a Postgraduate Performance Award from Help Musicians UK (formerly know as Musicians Benevolent Fund). Highlights include directing Vivaldi's Four Seasons with Sinfonia Cymru and performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto in Bridgewater Hall with conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier. Caroline also loves collaborating with amateur orchestras; past performances include Brahms' Violin Concerto with New Bristol Sinfonia, Mozart's A major Violin Concerto with Guernsey Camerata, the Brahms Double with the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra, and both the Walton and the Sibelius Violin Concertos with the Chandos Symphony Orchestra.

Caroline has a particular fondness for the Australian comedy violin duo TwoSetViolin and playing the violin at her church on Sundays. Caroline plays on a violin made by the internationally acclaimed maker Stephan von Baehr.

David Aspin – Viola Tutor

David Aspin studied at the Royal College of Music with Roger Best and Simon Rowland Jones. He is a founder member of Chroma, resident at Royal Holloway, University of London. The group has forged an enviable reputation for its commissioning of new work, collaborations and education work. With groups such as Psappha he has performed at the BBC Proms, in Buenos Aires, Lisbon and St Magnus Festival as well as recording for CD, BBC Radio 3 and webcasts.

As a soloist, David has performed in the UK and overseas including the RNCM’s Turnage Festival, Mozart in Gstaad, Switzerland, Three Choirs Festival and a recital and masterclass for the New Zealand National Music Teacher’s Association. David has performed and recorded the Telemann viola concerto with the Lancashire Sinfonietta. Other concerto appearances include works by Bartok, Berlioz, Britten, Bruch and Vaughan Williams and most recently the Walton concerto with the Orchestra of Opera North.

David is principal violist of the Orchestra of Opera North. He has also appeared as guest principal with the BBC Philharmonic, Halle, Royal Scottish National, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC NOW, BBC Scottish Symphony, Philharmonia and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras. David is a viola tutor at the RNCM and a regular sectional coach of NYO. He is often to be found walking in the Pennine hills with his dog or pursuing other activities such as yoga and swimming.

Bozidar Vukotic - Cello Tutor

Bozidar Vukotic is the founder member of the Tippett Quartet, with whom he performs regularly at Kings Place, Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, on BBC Radio 3 as well as playing at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Opera House, Bridgewater Hall, The Sage Gateshead and at the BBC Proms. He has recorded extensively, to much critical acclaim, for EMI Classics, Decca, Naxos, Vivat, Signum, Guild, Dutton Epoque, Somm, Boosey & Hawkes, Classic FM Records and Peter Gabriel’s ‘Real World’ Records, covering a diverse repertoire of Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky through to the complete quartets of Tippett, Gorecki, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Rozsa and Bernard Herrmann.

A prize-winner in the National Federation of Music Societies and Jeunesses Musicales International Cello competitions, Bozidar has performed throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Far East. In 2010 he made his debut solo CD for EMI Classics on Howard Goodall’s ‘The Seasons’. His most recent London solo performance was with the world renowned violist, Lawrence Power and the English Chamber Orchestra at Kings Place. He has an impending release of Stravinsky and Schnittke for Somm Recordings with the pianist and composer Alissa Firsova.

Bozidar was the principal cello of the Oxford Philharmonic for 10 years and has been invited to play as guest principal with many of the UK’s finest orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Spain’s Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife. He studied with Stefan Popov at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he was awarded the prestigious Premier Prix. He continued his studies with William Pleeth and completed his training with Alexeander Kniazev in Moscow.

He teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in the Junior Department where he is also Head of Lower Strings and is about to start teaching at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music. He has given classes at the Royal Colege of Music, Cambridge University, Royal Holloway University of London and Toronto University. He was made an Honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012. He plays on a beautiful 1720 Milanese cello made by Santino Lavazza.

Ronan Dunne - Double Bass Tutor

Ronan began his musical training as a chorister with the Palestrina choir in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral. He then took up the double bass and aged eighteen, went on to study in London and later, in Vienna. He spent a couple of wonderful years touring Ireland as a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra before becoming a member of the BBC Philharmonic, where he has played since 2002 and was appointed principal bass in 2015.
As well as enjoying touring to Europe and the far east, he is hugely enthusiastic about the wide variety of repertoire the orchestra performs each season. As a guest principal bass, he plays regularly with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, The Hallé, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Opera North. As a chamber musician, he has enjoyed many interesting collaborations, with such quartets as the Voglers and the Callinas.
Ronan is passionate about teaching and bringing on the next generation of young bass players. He teaches, tutors and takes classes at the Royal Northern College of Music and has given masterclasses around Europe and most recently in China

Meyrick Alexander – Woodwind Tutor

Meyrick Alexander has had a long and varied career as a bassoonist. He held the position of Principal Bassoon in the Philharmonia Orchestra from 1980 until 2010 when he left to become Head of Woodwind at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he served for seven years, becoming a bassoon tutor in 2017. He was also on the staff of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for thirty years, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music. He is in demand as a teacher and lecturer worldwide and has given recitals and classes in Europe, USA, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. For several years he has been the bassoon coach of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and the woodwind tutor of the Ulster Youth Orchestra.

Meyrick is Principal Bassoon of the London Chamber Orchestra and was formerly a member of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia. He is currently also freelancing with many British orchestras and plays period instruments with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has appeared as a soloist and chamber player with many of the UK’s leading ensembles. In 2017 he was awarded the RWCMD President’s Medal and became a Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has featured on many recordings including a recital CD “The Wandering Bassoon” with the RWCMD’s distinguished departmental pianist Catherine Milledge.

Sue Dent - Horn Tutor

Sue has over 30 years experience teaching the horn at secondary and tertiary level specialist music institutions. She has held teaching posts at many of the UK Conservatoires and now is London-based at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal College of Music Junior Department whilst retaining close ties with The Purcell School. In continued professional development, she recently completed with Distinction a Postgraduate (Guildhall School of Music & Drama) Certificate for Performance Teaching and she now teaches and mentors on the programme. Sue is also a tutor for NYOGB and NYOInspire.

For many years Sue worked additionally as a freelance musician and was a member of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. She has considerable experience as a chamber musician playing with groups such as The Endymion Ensemble, The Albion Ensemble and Configure8. And as a specialist in period instruments, she held Principal positions with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, the English Baroque Soloists and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, all with whom she toured and recorded extensively.

Leslie Neish – Brass Tutor

Les Neish has created a career as a soloist, chamber musician and educator with a world-wide reputation. Known for his musicianship, artistry and high level of communication, Les dazzles audiences with fabulous technique and stunning musicianship.
Performing the first solo tuba recital at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and the first tuba player to be awarded the Worshipful Company of Dyers Award at the Royal Overseas League Competition, Les has always pushed the boundaries. His 3 solo releases, Salt of the Earth, Shine and Affinity have won numerous awards including Brass Band World, British Bandsman, Solo CD of the Year and the prestigious Roger Bobo Award in Recording Excellence from the International Tuba Euphonium Association.
Away from solo performance Les is part of the tuba section of the American based, Brass Band of Battle Creek and as a chamber musician is a member of the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, a group with a 30 year history having performed in over 60 countries. He has also performed with orchestras throughout the UK, including the Halle, RTE Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra.
Alongside his performing commitments Les is tuba tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, RNCM Junior School, Salford University, Birmingham Conservatoire and Huddersfield University. He has given masterclasses at the Trinity College and Royal Academy of Music, London.
He has served as tutor for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Switzerland and has performed recitals and masterclasses throughout the UK, Europe, USA, South America, Japan and Australia.

Jonathan Herbert – Percussion Tutor

Jonathan won a junior exhibition to study timpani and percussion at the Royal College of Music in London and then at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He has performed with virtually every symphony orchestras in the UK and in 1992 joined the percussion section of the Halle Orchestra. In 2001 he was appointed Principal Percussion and Principal Timpani with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra.

Since 2005 Jonathan has been invited to play with the World Orchestra for Peace under the direction of Valery Gergiev performing at the BBC proms and in some of the world’s greatest concert halls including the Philharmonie Berlin, Carnegie Hall New York, Symphony Hall Chicago, Tchaikovsky Hall Moscow and the Salzburg Festspielhaus .
Jonathan is a member of the teaching staff at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal Irish Academy of Music. He has previously held teaching posts at the Liverpool, Manchester and Salford Universities. Jonathan has been the featured guest artist at the RNCM day of percussion.

Tanya Houghton – Harp Tutor

Originally from Birmingham, Tanya studied in Cambridge, London and Paris before embarking on a freelance career based in the UK and Ireland. She enjoys playing for a wide range of ensembles from symphony orchestras to chamber groups, and accompanying soloists and choirs. Her recent orchestral work includes appearances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the RTE NSO in Dublin and she is principal harpist of the chamber orchestra Orchestra of the Swan. As a choral accompanist she is fortunate to have worked with composers and conductors including John Rutter, Bob Chilcott, David Hill and Graham Ross, with whom she has appeared on BBC Radio 3's 'In tune' programme and also features on his CD of music by Imogen Holst, recently nominated for a Gramophone award. The recording ‘A rose in the middle of winter’ in which she accompanies Commotio choir in music by Bob Chilcott reached the top of last year’s classical charts. She played for Britten’s 100th birthday concert in Wigmore Hall, accompanying tenor Nicholas Mulroy, and works regularly as a recital accompanist for singers. Aside from playing, Tanya works as an examiner for both the ABRSM and the Royal Northern College of Music, and has adjudicated the harp class at the Bromley and Redhill & Reigate competitions. Also a singer, she directs and sings in Melisma, the Belfast-based 8 voice choir.

Ruth McGinley - Piano Tutor

Born in Derry N.Ireland, Ruth McGinley gained widespread recognition as one of Ireland's leading pianists when she won the piano final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. She was awarded scholarships to study with John O'Conor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy in London before being awarded a Postgraduate in Solo Performance from the Royal College in London where she studied with the late Irina Zaritskaya.
Ruth has performed as soloist with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, National Symphony Orchestra, RTE Concert Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra and as a solo recitalist throughout UK, Europe and the Middle East. She broadcasts regularly for BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, BBC Radio Ulster and RTE and was honoured to be invited to perform as soloist at the BBC Proms in the Park.
Returning to Northern Ireland from London in 2004, Ruth combines her performing career with teaching and mentoring young musicians. Many of her students have won prestigious awards including the NI Young Musician of the Year and gone on to enjoy life as professional musicians.
She is a sought after chamber musician and enjoys collaborations with musicians from different genres. Ruth is the official accompanist for the multi-platinum selling trio "The Priests" in concerts and broadcasts. She is also the accompanist of choice for BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle broadcasts and has appeared with a range of artists - both in live contexts and session recordings - across a number of its programmes.
2016 saw the launch of Ruth as a recording artist as she released her debut solo album "Reconnection" in which she reflects musically on her life journey so far.


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