Leon String Quartet Kent – About Us
Since forming in 2010, the quartet has performed recitals across the South East. Amongst programmes of well-loved works, the quartet has performed world premières by upcoming composers at both Deal Festival and Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival. The quartet also appears regularly in Canterbury’s Free Range concert series, including an upcoming performance of Prokofiev’s String Quartet no. 2 in November 2014. The quartet will join forces with a harpist and dancers in Spring 2015, for a unique concert of contemporary works by famous and local composers at the Gulbenkian Theatre, and the Trinity Arts Centre.
Recitals aside, the quartet also devote their time to educational outreach projects and have performed Noyes Fludde with the Sacconi quartet in Folkestone and an open rehearsal of Mozart’s clarinet quintet at the Beaney Institute in Canterbury City Centre. Most recently, taking to the stage of the Gulbenkian Theatre for a sold out production of ‘The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe’.
The Leon quartet enjoys an ongoing collaboration with local chamber/folk band Arlet, performing pieces jointly written by Arlet’s accordionist/composer Aidan Shepherd and the quartet’s violist/composer, Matthew Brown. These events, featured in the Smugglers’ Festival and the Free Range concert series, have proved hugely successful and aim to celebrate the diversity and beauty of two very different ensembles sharing one stage.
The quartet will be featuring on Arlet’s latest album.
Karen studied with the late Carmel Kaine, and has enjoyed solo master classes with Rachel Podger and string quartet coaching with Martin Outram. She is particularly fond of interpreting works by Russian, Czech and Polish composers. Karen recently performed Janacek’s ‘Sonata for Violin and Piano’, and Martinu’s ‘Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola’ with Matthew Brown. Future concert projects include performances of Ravel’s ‘Tzigane’ and regular concerts in St John’s, Smith Square with the Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra.
Karen enjoys a busy schedule as a freelance solo, orchestral and chamber musician and works as a violin teacher in East Kent, regularly leading workshops and orchestras. She plays on an early twentieth century violin by the German luthier Henreich Heberlein Jr., kindly donated by Eric Richards in 2010.
Kammy performs regularly with kent-based orchestras and chamber ensembles. In June 2012 she played a concert series featuring Vaughan Williams ‘The Lark Ascending’.
She plays on a French Mirecourt violin made by Leon Mougenout in the same year as the Wall Street Crash. The quartet takes its name from Leon himself.
In 2013 he completed a Master of Music in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he studied with Adam Gorb and Paul Patterson, with a scholarship kindly supported by the Richard Newitt and Radcliffe trusts. Since entering the RNCM, Matthew’s song ‘There Came a Wind Like a Bugle’ was premièred by Rhona McKail and Yshani Perinpanayagam at Canterbury’s Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival, and given a second performance by Kathryn West and Aaron Parker at RNCM.
October 2012 saw the première of his new work for soprano and orchestra, ‘Caelestialis’, with Jessica Gillingwater and the RNCM symphony orchestra conducted by Carlos del Cueto. In October 2013, Matthew’s striking work for solo viola and orchestra, ‘Three Illusions of Peganum Harmala’, was performed by Paul Beckett with the RNCM symphony orchestra. Most recently he wrote a piece for an ensemble that combined the Leon String Quartet and the chamber/folk band, Arlet, as part of the Sounds New Contemporary Music Festival 2014. He frequently writes arrangements for the quartet, and has recently completed a new work written for the quartet to be played in the Deal Festival 2014. In February 2014, Matthew’s duo for violin and viola, was influenced by Martinu’s ‘Three Madrigals’, which he regularly performs with Karen Jolliffe. Matthew frequently combines his interest in composition and viola playing, and contributes towards the composition of new music for the viola as part of Canterbury Christ Church University’s annual Viola Day, lead by Martin Outram.
During the final two years of his degree he led the cello section of the university symphony orchestra and enjoyed regular coaching from Martin Outram of the Maggini Quartet. During his studies, he received tutelage under Sue Lowe at Eton College and attended masterclasses from Sandy Baillie and Pierre Doumenge.
Mike won the Christ Church Music Department Scholarship for two consecutive years and was also awarded the Canterbury Arts Council Scholarship and Lord Lieutenants Fund Grant. He is now teaching at Oxford Cello School as well as in Kent and London. He also co-directs Cello Love weekend workshops, which focuses on the enjoyment of musical collaboration.
Mike is currently working towards an LRSM in cello performance. He plays on a French cello made in 1870 by Pierre Charles Jacquot.