Scottish violinist Rowan Bell gained undergraduate and Masters degrees as a Douglas Downie Scholar at the Royal College of Music under Professor Dona Lee Croft. As a member of the Vardanyan Quartet he held the Bulldog Junior Fellowship at Trinity College of Music from 2008-2009. The Vardanyan Quartet was the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund Ensemble in Residence at Lake District Summer Music and Park Lane Group Young Artists in 2009-10. Rowan has performed as a chamber musician at many of the most prestigious venues in the UK including the Purcell Room, King’s Place, the Wigmore Hall and the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, and has performed chamber music with artists including Martin Frӧst, Kathryn Stott, Jennifer Pike, Philip Higham, Levon Chilingirian, Simon Roland-Jones and Arisa Fugita. He has also performed as second violin in the Fitzwilliam Quartet – the quartet who premiered Shostakovich’s last three quartets.
Rowan is a Director and principal second violin of the Arensky Chamber Orchestra and a professor of violin on the Ciaccona International Music Course, as well as being a regular teacher at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. Rowan is also a Trustee of the Dorothy Croft Trust for Young Musicians and Ciaconna International Music Course.
Cressida is the newest member of the Santiago Quartet, replacing Clifton Harrison in March 2015. She brings a fantastic combination of warmth, flexibility and talent to the group, both as a person and a musician.
Having studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she learned with Maciej Rakowski, she went on to complete a Master’s Degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, under Tim Boulton. After music college, Cressida followed her passion for education to Finland, spending two years in Helsinki studying with Pirkko Simojoki, observing the Colourstrings method of teaching at the East Helsinki Music Institute and playing with the Helsinki Strings. Now based in Surrey, Cressida’s orchestral work includes the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, Royal Philharmonic and City of London Sinfonia.
She is in demand as a chamber musician and soloist, and has performed with the Lale Quartet, the Nephele Ensemble and the Tamora Quartet as well as playing solo recitals in the Great Room at Prussia Cove, The Masters of Pontlevoy and most recently at the Javeriana University in Colombia.
Cressida enjoys a variety of session and TV work, including BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, Glastonbury Festival, ITV Brit Awards and Popstar to Operastar. She teaches violin and viola using the Colourstrings method.
Johanna McWeeney graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music. Whilst at the Academy she studied with Howard Davis of the Alberni Quartet and was awarded the John Ireland Prize for Chamber Music. Her undergraduate studies were with acclaimed chamber musician Richard Deakin, and her early chamber music experience was on Quartet Summer Schools with Emmanuel Hurwitz of the Aeolian Quartet.
Johanna’s orchestral work includes the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia and the BBC Concert Orchestra. She has appeared as a principal player with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra in Dublin.
Other performances include tours with Sting, performing on his Symphonicity album and DVD Live in Berlin, music videos for boy-band McFly and appearances on TV shows such as the Parkinson Show and The X Factor.
Johanna is also an accomplished folk fiddle player, studying with fiddle players including Willie Taylor and more recently Brian Conway. She has been playing for ceilidhs and dance competitions for over 20 years and was recently featured as fiddle soloist on the Susan Boyle In Concert tour.
Jonathan Hennessey-Brown gained his musical education at Guildford Cathedral Choir, The Junior Academy of Music and the National Youth Orchestra. He graduated from the Royal College of Music with Honours in 1997.
Jonny held the second cello chair with Carl Rosa Opera Company for two years, and the principal cello chair in the Yucatan Symphony in Mexico for six. Since returning to the UK, he has worked with many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Oxford Philomusica, Bath Philharmonic and British Philharmonic Orchestra, and has had the privilege of working with musicians such as Placido Domingo, Renée Flemming, Evelyn Glennie. He performs regularly in London’s West End show The Lion King as well as appearing in Kinky Boots. He also played in the Drury Lane production of Oliver and in the 25th Anniversary Tour of Les Miserables.
Jonny was a member of the studio orchestra for live performances on ITV of the show Popstar to Operastar and has played live on Radio 3’s The Verb with Ana Silvera. Solo performances include an appearance with The Wanted on Fern Cotton’s Live Lounge show on BBC Radio 1.
He is the founder of the Santiago Quartet.