Biographies

Benedict Holland, Violin

Ben studied the violin at the Royal Academy of Music with Manoug Parikian and at the RNCM with Yossi Zivoni.  As a chamber musician he was a founder member of the Matisse Piano Quartet and is a member of the Pleyel Ensemble. As an orchestral leader he has guest-led many of the country’s major orchestras, including the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Orchestra of Opera North and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.  Throughout his performing career, Ben has been a champion of contemporary music and of working with living composers and is the violinist in the acclaimed contemporary ensemble, Psappha. He has been the Leader of Sinfonia ViVa since 2001 and its Artistic Advisor since 2006, appearing as both director and soloist. Solo appearances have been in concertos by Weill, Arnold, Vaughan-Williams, Vivaldi and Mozart, including his performance of Mozart’s A major concerto with the Orchestra, recently broadcast on Classic FM.

Ben has always put teaching at the heart of his work, with classes at the Royal Northern College of Music (where he was awarded a professorship in violin in June 2016) and Chetham’s School of Music. He also undertakes consultative classes in contemporary techniques for the Birmingham Conservatoire and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.  Ben’s violin is a rare Rogeri of 1710.

Catherine Yates, Violin

Catherine studied with Malcolm Layfield and Lydia Mordkovich at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester as well as taking further courses at Yale University and the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Aldeburgh. Always a keen chamber musician, she became a member of the Sorrel Quartet in 1989, performing and broadcasting both at home and abroad and laying down an extensive and much acclaimed discography that includes the complete quartets of Shostakovich, the major quartet works of Britten and a much lauded disc of Elgar. In July 2007, Catherine was appointed as Principal 2nd Violin with the Hallé and she held this post for six years prior to her most recent appointment, that of Deputy Head of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music. She combines her work in education with a busy freelance career as Guest Principal with many orchestras and she continues to enjoy performing as a chamber musician on both violin and viola.

   

Kim Becker, Viola

Kim Becker is a Manchester based violist who recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. She was awarded the viola seat on the Halle Strings Leadership Scheme for 2019/20 and enjoys a busy schedule of both chamber music and orchestral work in various ensembles. Kim is a very keen chamber musician and has played with the Kirkman Quartet since 2016. They have received various awards and accolades including being this year’s fellowship quartet at St. Peter’s Church, Eaton Square. The quartet has appeared in a number of festivals including the Wye Valley chamber music festival and the HARMOS festival in Portugal. Kim also has a keen interest in contemporary music and has premiered Ed Nesbitt’s ‘Partita’ for string quintet and trumpet, and Kareem Roustom’s triple quartet ‘a voice exclaiming’. She has also appeared with Psappha ensemble. Kim frequently appears with the Manchester Camerata, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and has toured to Romania and Abu Dhabi with Sinfonia Cymru. In 2013 she was given the opportunity to play with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in their recording of the BBC 10 Pieces. Kim has taken part in numerous festivals including the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.Kim’s forthcoming engagements include a performance of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Orchestra of Square Chapel, and performances of Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet and Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Kirkman Quartet. This year Kim is very kindly supported by Help Musicians UK and in September 2020 she will be joining the RNCM School of Strings as a Junior Fellow in Viola.

Jennifer Langridge, Cello

Jen studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Eduardo Vassallo and went on to become a Junior Fellow at the RNCM as part of the Nossek String Quartet, whichad a successful recital career for 10 years until 1999. Jen has been a member of Psappha Ensemble for 23 years, touring across Europe, North and South America, Australia, and most recently to Jerusalem. The group performs regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has made eight CD recordings. Jen has often performed as a soloist with Psappha, most notably at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms in 2004, playing Maxwell Davies, ‘Linguae Ignis’ for solo cello and ensemble. Alongside her work with the Victoria Quartet and Psappha, Jen is Principal cello with the Northern Chamber Orchestra and she is a cello tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music and also at The University of Manchester. She plays on a Peter Walmsley cello 1729.