iuventus ensemble

Iuventus QuartetBiographies

The Iuventus Ensemble started off as a quartet. Formed in 2003, The Iuventus quartet has been hailed be the Irish Times as “startling” – “Theirs was a purely musical approach – bracing, fearless and utterly engaging.” The Strad wrote of their “technical ease, sensitivity to style, elegance in phrasing and excellent intonation” and hailed their rendition of Janacek’s First Quartet as “powerfully communicated”. They have performed at venues throughout the UK, at the 2003- 2006 Chichester Festivities, and at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

The Iuventus Quartet was chosen for the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme and played at music societies throughout the country in the 2006-7 season. In another recent review, the Iuventus were described as “spellbinding”, bringing to the music “great expertise, dedication and superb musicianship”. The quartet has also played at the Buxton Festival, the Cambridge Summer Recital Series and St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. In 2008 they performed in Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand and went on to give workshops to Burmese orphans in the refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. In 2009 the players of the quartet decided to expand into an ensemble to allow for more flexibility and imaginative programming.

Ruth Rogers (violin) studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky and Herman Krebbers. She graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2001 and was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal - the college’s highest accolade - by HRH The Prince of Wales. She has performed as a soloist at such prestigious venues as The Wigmore Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, and St John’s Smith Square. Ruth has appeared in concert alongside distinguished performers, including Shlomo Mintz, Ida Haendel, and John Lill, and has lead orchestras under the batons of Lorin Maazel, Colin Davis, and Daniele Gatti. She currently works as co-leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and also performs regularly with the Aquinas Piano Trio.

Elizabeth Williams (violin) studied as a scholar at the Royal Academy of Music where she was awarded, amongst others, the Roth Violin Prize for her final recital. As a postgraduate she won a major scholarship to study with Mauricio Fuks in Bloomington, Indiana and since returning to Britain has enjoyed a busy freelance career as a member of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, London Chamber Orchestra and as guest principal with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. As a soloist and chamber musician she has broadcast on Radio 3 and Classic FM, toured with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble and performed concertos at the South Bank. Elizabeth is a member of the Royal Opera House Orchestra at Covent Garden.

Becky Low (viola) studied violin with Eta Cohen. Eta was a great inspiration and it was during a chamber music lesson that Becky first discovered a love for the viola, particularly as part of a string quartet. Becky was the leader of the National Youth Chamber Orchestra. In 1988 Becky won a place at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School where she enjoyed a huge amount of chamber music and studied with Mauricio Fuks and Simon Rolland-Jones. She went on to study at The Royal Academy of Music and while still a student she started her first professional position with the Scottish Ensemble and began freelancing in London .Becky enjoys a wide and varied career playing in small chamber orchestras, notably playing with The London Chamber Orchestra at the recent Royal Wedding!

Katherine Jenkinson (cello) studied with Florence Hooton, Colin Carr and David Strange. She has performed as soloist throughout Europe, in Africa and Asia. She gave her Wigmore Hall debut in 2004 and has since returned there several times. She has been kindly supported by trusts including Countess of Munster, Tillett Trust, Dorothy Grinstead, MBF and Worshipful Company of Musicians. Katherine has performed with the London Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group amongst others. In 2001/2 the young British composer, Thomas Hyde wrote an unaccompanied cello suite which was written and dedicated to Katherine and which she has now recorded. A former member of the Allegri String Quartet, Katherine plays on a 1720 Italian cello by Taningar. She is grateful to the Countess of Munster for their help in the purchase and restoration of this cello.

Thomas Hull (clarinet) made his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in 1982 and went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Jack Brymer and Anthony Pay. He has performed extensively as a clarinettist throughout England and on the continent. In 1987 he founded the City of London Chamber Orchestra with whom he has performed many times both as a conductor and solo clarinettist in London’s concert halls, and also at festivals in places as far afield as Bath and Barbados. In 2008 the Chipping Campden Music Festival invited him to set up an Academy Orchestra, featuring key professional players from leading London orchestras paired with recent graduates and post-graduate students from the UK conservatories and this project has had four successful years at the festival so far. In addition to all this, Thomas is now a Director of Ingpen & Williams, one of the UK’s leading artist management companies.

Nicola Sweeney (violin) studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with David Takeno. She graduated with a first class honours degree and having won all seven violin competitons there, including the concerto prize for her performance of Brahms violin concerto which she played with the Symphony Orchestra. Nicola has performed as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the R.T.E concert orchestra and the Orchestra of St Cecilia as well as the Irish Chamber Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra and Belgrade Strings. She also plays principal 2nd with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra as well as directing the London Irish Camerata and Euco. Nicola has been assistant leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra for ten years and she loves playing chamber music with her ICO colleagues as well as with the Nash ensemble. She does a lot of projects with the LSO including education work and also teaches at Brighton College.

Victoria Sayles (violin) graduated early from the Royal College of Music because she was asked to be Concertmaster at Santiago Opera House for their Gala Concert with Placido Domingo. She was a Foundation Scholar at the RCM, her professor was Itzhak Rashkovsky and she played the RCM Guadynini violin. She was awarded full scholarships to Bowdoin International Music Festival 2004 & 2005 and to Keshet Eilon Mastercourse. Vicky has led many ensembles and orchestras playing for all the major conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Ashkenazy, Sir Roger Norrington, Peter Schreier and others. Vicky performs recitals and also plays with London Chamber Orchestra and Academy-of St-Martin-in-the-Fields Orchestra. She was leader of The Amadeus Orchestra on tour in China. She has performed with pianists such as Alvin Moisey, YCAT winner Alba Ventura and composer Huw Watkins.

Jon Thorne (viola) studied at the London College of Music with Maureen Smith and Penny Filer, then at the Royal College of Music with Simon Rowland-Jones and later with Mark Knight. Upon leaving the RCM, Jon joined the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. In 2001 he left the BSO to form the Bronte String Quartet. He then joined the Badke Quartet in April 2009 and is also the violist in the Abbracci Piano Quartet. Jon is a strong believer in music education and is a Viola & Chamber Music Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. Previously he taught viola at the Royal College of Music (2001-2011), the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 2006-2011) and the Royal Holloway University. He is viola and chamber music coach for various courses and has given masterclasses at festivals across the UK and Europe. Jon plays a fine viola by Marino Capicchioni.

Nicholas Holland (cello) studied at the Royal Academy of Music until the age of 18 when he took up the position of principal cello in the Italian Toscanini Orchestra. In 1989 he returned to the UK and subsequently won the Jacqueline du Pre Prize awarded by the Royal Society of Arts. Nicholas was invited to join the Balanescu Quartet in 1995 with whom he has recorded for Decca, EMI and Mute. He is also a member of the English String Quart.

Martin Cousin (piano) is now regarded as one of the most dynamic pianists of his generation, having been awarded 1st prize at the 2005 Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition (Seregno, Italy) and Gold Medal at the 2003 Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition (London). Martin appears regularly at the major London musical venues such as Wigmore Hall, the South Bank, Barbican Centre as well as Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. He has performed as concerto soloist with the London Philharmonic, Halle, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Concert Orchestras. Performances further afield have included tours of New Zealand, the US, Indonesia and Thailand, concerts in Stockholm, Brussels, Toronto, Tokyo, Berne and The Hague together with numerous recitals throughout Italy. Martin's hands are also featured on the big screen in the Oscar-winning film "Shine", for the scenes involving Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto.