The Gaudier Ensemble

Described by the Sunday Times as “one of the world’s élite ensembles” the Gaudier Ensemble was formed in 1988 by a group of international musicians, founder members of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, who wanted to perform and record the chamber music repertoire for wind, strings and piano.

Ever since its first Wigmore Hall appearance, which received extensive critical acclaim, the Ensemble has forged an international reputation as one of the finest mixed chamber ensembles. Its first recording of the Schubert Octet was recommended as first choice for the BBC’s feature “Building a Library”, and its many recordings for the Hyperion label have been regularly recommended in the press.

Its members have distinguished themselves as soloists, chamber musicians, and orchestral principals now working with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, English Chamber Orchestra, The Philharmonia, National Orchestra of Wales and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

A two year residency at Kettle’s Yard in the University of Cambridge enabled them to develop their repertoire and establish their distinctive musical identity, before going on to forge an international concert and recording career.

A full list of the Gaudier Ensemble’s many recordings with Hyperion may be viewed via the website: A selection of these recordings will be on sale during the Festival.

More information and a discography can be found on the website’s Gaudier Ensemble page.

 Image © Jane Tearle


Marieke Blankestijn


Born in The Netherlands, Marieke studied with Herman Krebbers and Sandor Végh. She is a founder member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and has been their leader since 1985. With them she has also appeared as a soloist working with conductors including Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Bernard Haitink.

With the Chamber Orchestra of Europe she has recorded and directed all the Brandenburg Concertos and made her own recording of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’. She has recorded the Haydn ‘Sinfonia Concertante’ with Stephen Isserlis and the Bach ‘Oboe and Violin Concerto’ with Douglas Boyd. She is also leader of the London Mozart Players, whose principal conductor is Gerard Korsten (the original principal violin of The Gaudier Ensemble).

In 2012 Marieke was appointed Leader of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

Henrik Brendstrup

Cello. Henrick is not performing with the Ensemble this year

Born in Denmark, the cellist Henrik Brendstrup studied at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen with Erling Bløndal Bengtsson, and later in London with William Pleeth and Ralph Kirshbaum.

In 1987 he made his first tour, and shortly after he became a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.Henrik has worked closely with the orchestra ever since, now as an associate member.

He has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, and is a regular guest at international chamber music festivals such as Risør, Stavanger, Oslo and Lockenhaus.

His numerous recordings include the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven, solo works for cello by Sofia Gubaidulina, and cello works by Chopin and Lizst which won the French “Diapasson d’Or” award.

A very active chamber musician, Henrik Brendstrup has been the cellist of several leading ensembles in Denmark, such as The Danish String Quartet, the string sextet “Copenhagen Classic” and the Gefion Trio.

He is Professor of cello and chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music, Århus, Denmark, and gives masterclasses all over the world.

Lesley Hatfield


Lesley Hatfield leads a distinguished and varied musical life, combining her position as Leader of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales with chamber music, solo playing and teaching.

After graduating with First Class Honours from Clare College, Cambridge, she studied at the Royal Academy of Music. During her early career, as a chamber musician and member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, she worked with Sandor Végh and Nicholas Harnoncourt, both of whom had a lasting influence on her musical approach. She was co-Leader of the Northern Sinfonia and Leader of the Ulster Orchestra before taking up her current position.

Chamber music has always been an important part of her musical life. As well as being a member of the Gaudier Ensemble, Lesley is regularly invited to participate as a guest in a wide range of ensembles and chamber music festivals, also collaborating with pianists such as Ian Brown, Alasdair Beatson and Huw Watkins. Participation in the International Musicians’ Seminar Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove is a regular fixture in her diary.

She has appeared as soloist and director with many orchestras around the UK, recorded for the Chandos and Naxos labels, and is regularly heard on BBC Radio 3.

She is an enthusiastic exponent of contemporary music and has had a number of pieces written for her, including John Casken’s ‘Après un Silence’ which she performed in the Royal Festival Hall with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

She is much in demand as a teacher, and has a busy schedule of students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

In 2008 she was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2018 she became Patron of a Cardiff-based charity ‘Making Music Changing Lives’ (MMCL), which seeks to transform the lives of children and the communities from which they come through music and by providing the opportunity to learn musical instruments.

(Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)

Richard Hosford


Richard was born and brought up on a farm near Melcombe Bingham in Dorset. After studying with Patrick Shelley, of Dorset Opera fame, he went to the Royal College of Music in London.

He was a founder member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and met many of the Gaudier Ensemble there in the early 1980s. He has since been Principal Clarinet of the London Philharmonic and now BBC Symphony Orchestras. He divides his time between chamber music with the Gaudiers and the Nash Ensemble, teaching at the Royal College of Music and orchestral playing. He has performed concertos with many orchestras, recorded the Copland and Mozart concertos with COE, and numerous chamber music discs.

He now divides his time between these musical activities, cows, sheep, dogs and chickens!   Just to enjoy a week of chamber music in Dorset!

Ulrika Jansson


From a small harbour town on the east coast of Sweden, Ulrika has lived in Stockholm since she started her musical education at the Royal College of Music aged 16.

Her violin has taken her all around the world in many musical constellations: everything from jazz with drummer Max Roach’s quartet, a Czardas duet with Rumanian violin king Roby Lakatos, to a Schubert quartet as interval music in Swedish television’s Eurovision song contest final.

Membership in The Chamber Orchestra of Europe has had a profound effect on her life. The joy of making music with fantastic colleagues has never faded and lifelong friendships have ensued. She also met her husband in the COE, a British trombonist, whom she snapped up and took to Sweden!

Ulrika has been co-leader of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra for many years. She loves her job, is highly involved in the planning and programming, and is fascinated by the dynamic group processes that arise between passionate creative musicians.

Ulrika relaxes at her country house, and takes long walks in the endless Swedish forest picking wild berries and mushrooms. She loves to dance and is currently learning lindy-hop and tango.

Iris Juda


Iris Juda was born in Holland and studied violin with her father Jo Juda (leader Concertgebouw Orchester Amsterdam), Hermann Krebbers in Amsterdam and with Sandor Végh in Salzburg.

She was a founder member and has been Marieke’s deskpartner in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for many years. She played from 1985-1990 as a member of the Hanson String Quartet. After that she played with the Nash Ensemble and also joined the Endymion Ensemble as violist. Iris moved to Salzburg in 1995 where she still lives with her husband and two children. There she plays in an Austrian folk group and is Principal viola with the Camerata Salzburg.


Robin O’Neill

Bassoon.  Robin is not performing with the Ensemble this year.

Robin O’Neill is principal bassoonist with the Philharmonia Orchestra and has held the same position with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the English Chamber Orchestra. He is a member of London Winds and the Gaudier Ensemble.

He is a Grammy-nominated recording artist and has recorded virtually the whole of the core chamber music repertoire, with more than 40 CDs to his name on labels such as Hyperion, Chandos, Decca and Philips. He has collaborated with musicians such as Mikhail Pletnev, Mitsuko Uchida, Stephen Kovacevich and Pinchas Zukerman. He has also performed by invitation for His Royal Highness Charles Prince of Wales. In his parallel career as conductor he has conducted, amongst others, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

He is professor of conducting at the Royal College of Music.

Sally Pendlebury


Sally Pendlebury is a member of The Fitzwilliam Quartet, The Angell Piano Trio and Möbius. She grew up in Manchester and now teaches there at the Royal Northern College of Music. She regularly plays guest principal cello with London Sinfonietta, Philharmonia, RPO, Royal Northern Sinfonia, ECO and BBC Philharmonic.

She is an associate member of Chamber Orchestra of Europe and was Cello section leader of Opera North for 5 years. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the Fitzwilliam Quartet who will celebrate by re recording their benchmark Shostakovitch Quartet cycle and the late Schubert quartets.

In September Sally will be playing sonatas in the Nuremberg Chamber Festival with pianist Andrew West and later in the year, she will be performing with the Brooklyn Chamber Music Society in New York.

Stephen Stirling


Stephen Stirling is one of England’s most sought-after horn players. Since studying at the Royal Northern College of Music with Ifor James and Julian Baker, he has travelled all over the world mostly working in the rather rarefied world of chamber music.

As a soloist, he has broadcast concertos on BBC TV and Radio 3, and appeared with orchestras such as the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the City of London Sinfonia (with whom he has recorded Vivaldi’s virtuosic Double Horn Concertos) and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Hickox, Marriner, Holliger and Fischer. On his recent recording of all Mozart’s Horn Concertos he is also accompanied by the CLS. As a member of the Endymion Ensemble, The Fibonacci Sequence and Capricorn, Stephen has taken part in many critically acclaimed recordings, including Mozart’s entire output for wind ensemble with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

His second recording of the Brahms Horn Trio, with the Florestan Trio, received a ‘Gramophone’ award nomination. Stephen gives frequent masterclasses on courses such as the Dartington International Summer School, Canford Summer School and Aberystwyth Musicfest.

He is a professor of horn at Trinity College of Music in London and a regular contributor of articles to The Horn Magazine.

Susan Tomes


Susan Tomes has won numerous international awards as a pianist, both on the concert platform and in the recording studio, including the 2013 Cobbett Medal for distinguished service to chamber music. She grew up in Edinburgh and was the first woman to take a degree in music at King’s College, Cambridge.

Her career encompasses solo, duo and chamber playing; she has been at the heart of the internationally admired ensembles Domus, the Gaudier Ensemble, and the Florestan Trio, winners of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. She has made over fifty CDs, many of which have become benchmark recordings. In addition to her performing career, Susan gives masterclasses, serves on competition juries across Europe and is on the faculty of the European Chamber Music Academy and of ChamberStudio in London. Her lecture-recitals, most recently on late Beethoven Sonatas, enable her audiences to engage with the great classics on a new level.

She has gained widespread recognition as a cultural commentator and is the author of four acclaimed books about performance: Beyond the Notes (2004), A Musician’s Alphabet (2006), Out of Silence (2010), and Sleeping in Temples (2014). Her fifth book, Speaking the Piano, will be published by Boydell Press in 2018. Her appeal to a diverse readership was demonstrated by her appearance in 2016 at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which attracted a sell-out audience. In 2017, The Scotsman gave her Queen’s Hall solo recital a five-star review: ‘She distils the essence of a piece of music into its purest form in the most profound and moving way.’ Susan is the artistic director and pianist of Winterplay, a festival of chamber music for all ages, held in the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.

Susan’s Blog may be read at her website below. @susantomespiano

Stephen Williams

Double Bass

Steve was born in Wales and he attended a vast comprehensive school where everyone had the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. Bass lessons started when he was 14, he played in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and in 1978 played with the first ever European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.

Following 4 years at the Guildhall School under Tom Martin he played with the RPO for 3 years. In 1987 he joined the English Chamber Orchestra as principal bass, touring and recording with Daniel Barenboim, Mitsuko Uchida, Antal Dorati and Pinchas Zukermann. Steve is also a founder member and principal bass with Britten Sinfonia, working closely with many living composers including James MacMillan, Tom Adès and Helen Grime.

Steve has recently appeared as a guest artist with the Emperor and Tippett Quartets as well as Haffner Winds. As a studio player he has recorded with Robbie Williams, Tory Amos and Rufus Wainwright and played on film soundtracks for Endeavour and Mary Poppins!

Steve plays an Italian bass made in the 16th century by Gasparo da Salo.

Robert Philip

(Festival Talks and Programme Notes)

Robert Philip studied organ, piano and bassoon at the Royal College of Music and went on to Peterhouse, Cambridge as the organ scholar. For many years he worked as a BBC producer of arts programmes for the Open University.

He later became a music lecturer at the Open University and wrote teaching material for several of its Arts courses. He is the author of two books which pioneered the study of the history of performance on recordings, and helped to create an entirely new academic discipline.

As a speaker, he is a well-known voice on Radio 3’s CD Review and at pre-concert talks. His third book, The Music-Lover’s Companion to Orchestral Music, will be published in October by Yale University Press.


Gaudier Guest Musicians in 2019

Margaret Cole


American-born Maggie Cole lives in London and enjoys an international life playing and recording on harpsichord, fortepiano and modern piano. Best known for her performances of Bach (her recording of the Goldberg Variations was voted critics’ choice in Gramophone magazine) and the spectrum of 17th and 18th century harpsichord composers, she has also devoted herself to more modern repertoire, including works by Falla, Poulenc, Andriessen, Ligeti and Gavin Bryars. Maggie performs regularly on fortepiano with Trio Goya, and with the Nash Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia and the Sarasa Ensemble. Maggie’s recordings on harpsichord include keyboard sonatas by Soler, Poulenc’s Concerto Champêtre, Boccherini sonatas with cellist Steven Isserlis, Bach flute sonatas with Philippa Davies and the complete Bach violin sonatas with Catherine Mackintosh. She has recorded Haydn and Beethoven trios with Trio Goya, and recently released a CD of music for flute and modern piano by Philippa Gaubert. Maggie is professor of fortepiano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and teaches early keyboards at Dartington International Summer School.

Michael Cox


Michael is Principal Flute of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart Players and the London Sinfonietta. Solo projects have included performances of the Mozart, Nielsen, Dalbavie, Wennaskoski, Holt and Blake concerti in London, and Boulez’s “Explosante Fixe” in Scotland. He has also made recordings of songs with tenor James Gilchrist and mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly. Other recent recordings have included new unaccompanied and chamber works by George Benjamin, amongst others, and three new solo albums. Recognised also for his contribution to new music, he has given many World and UK premieres and he has been the dedicatee of many new works. Michael Cox is a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, and many of his students are now in orchestras around the world. He has launched two pedagogal websites in recent years, to support players in all parts of the globe, and has given his unique curricular flute course in the UK, Portugal, Greece, Canada and Australia. Michael lives with his family in a hill-top village near Oxford.

Andrea de Flammineis


Andrea  studied at the Conservatorio di Musica Giuseppe Verdi in Milan and at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart.  He became a member of ECYO in 1987.  He began his professional career in 1990 as Principal Bassoon of the Orchestra della Toscana in Florence and three years later moved to London to take up the position of Principal Bassoon of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House  under the Musical Directorship of Bernard Haitink.

In addition to his work at Covent Garden he makes frequent guest appearances with other orchestras, notably the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He has recorded chamber music works for Decca, ASV, Black Box, Orchid Classics and Champs Hill. Andrea teaches bassoon at the Royal College of Music and gives masterclasses regularly in other musical institutions.

Richard Simpson


Richard Simpson studied at The Royal College of Music with Sydney Sutcliffe and on leaving was appointed by Pierre Boulez to the position of sub-principal oboe with the BBC Symphony Orchestra;  a position he held for just one year, before being invited to join the Halle Orchestra as Principal Oboe. He spent eighteen years with that orchestra and during that time had the opportunity of performing concerti by Mozart, Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Martinu and Hummel to critical acclaim.

In 1991 he returned to the BBC Symphony Orchestra, this time as Principal Oboe. He has recorded for the BBC the Sinfonia Concertanti of both Haydn and Mozart and appeared with them as soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto.

He has been a professor both at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music.

His most recent chamber music recordings have featured English composers and include Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, the Sonata for Oboe and Piano by Edmund Rubbra and works by Gordon Crosse, John Manduell and David Dubery.

Ursula Smith


Ursula Smith is a Cello Professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she is also Senior Tutor in Chamber Music.

From 2006 to 2012 Ursula was a member of the Zehetmair String Quartet, a quartet which performs and records for the most part from memory. She performed in many of the world’s top venues and at Festivals including Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Schleswig Holstein and Salzburg. Their 2007 ECM recording of Bartok’s Quartet No.5 and Hindemith’s Quartet, Opus 22 won the Chamber Music Diapason D’Or of the year in France. Other chamber music discs include the complete Beethoven folk songs for piano trio and voices (for Deutsche Grammophon) with musicians including Marieke Blankestijn.

At the invitation of Lukas Hagen, she was a jury member of the International Mozart Competition for String Quartets in Salzburg in 2014 and she will be on the jury of the Banff International String Quartet Competition in 2019. Future engagements include a series of Brahms Sextets with the Castalian String Quartet at the Wigmore Hall, in 2019-20.

She was Principal Cello of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a decade from 1993, and has guest-led the cello sections of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra.

Cerne Abbas Music Festival 2019