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During our 50th anniversary year, Fellowships (FRNCM) will be conferred upon mezzo-soprano Alice Coote OBE, producer and author Paul Hindmarsh, trumpeter Rhys Owens (posthumously), and composer and conductor Benjamin Wallfisch. Honorary Memberships (HonRNCM) will be awarded to philanthropist Diana Kealey Edwards, Simon Kirkbride, General Director of the Edvard Gieg Korene, and Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University.


The ceremony will also be a special occasion for Alumni who will be receiving Associate Membership of the College (ARNCM), in recognition of the contribution they are making to their professions. This year, Associateship will be awarded to conductor Chloé van Soeterstède; singer, saxophonist and arranger Dominic Lawson; percussionist Delia Stevens; guitarist Daniel Brew; opera singer Elgan Llŷr Thomas; composer Amir Konjani; violinist Caroline Pether; pianist and music educator Jo-Yee Cheung; and bassoonist Richard Ion.

Link to the press release here

Violinist Caroline Pether is the leader of Manchester Camerata and teaches at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She speaks with online editor Davina Shum about the joy of playing in chamber orchestras – including how leading an ensemble is much like being a film director, allowing individual musicians to exercise freedom of expression within a clear overall vision, as well as Caroline’s favourite pieces to lead and direct from the violin.

Listen to the episode here.


Unquestionably, Caroline is a superb musician – technically and musically – and the thought that she puts into programme selection and then preparation is evident. I will remember the freshness she brought to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, something we know was shared by audience members, and also the detailed work she put into the recent Richard Strauss concert we did under lockdown conditions for students at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, which included the septet version of Metamorphosen alongside Capriccio. I will also remember how engaging she was when being quizzed by young primary age pupils from Maindee School, Newport prior to one of our regular chamber concerts at the Riverfront. Whatever the programme, whoever the audience, her wholehearted commitment was always the same.

Sinfonia Cymru is very fortunate to have had someone of Caroline’s calibre as its Leader for the last few years, not only because of her consummate professionalism, but she is also a lovely person and it’s been a sincere pleasure to work with her. 


Read the whole press release here.

Watch members of the Manchester Camerata perform Arnold Schonberg’s Verklärte Nacht, based on the poem of the same name by Richard Dehmel. The players are leader Caroline Pether and Roisin Walters on violin, Ruth Gibson and Rachel Jones on viola and Hannah Roberts and Steffan Morris on cello.

Produced by Apple and Biscuit recordings.

Find the article here.

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Manchester Camerata has appointed a new leader, Caroline Pether, and associate leader, Katie Stillman.

Born in the west Midlands, Pether joined the orchestra in 2013 graduating from Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and became its co-leader two years later. She teaches violin at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is also leader of Sinfonia Cymru, based in Cardiff.

In a statement posted on the Manchester Camerata website, Pether said: ‘There is no doubt that this is an extremely difficult time for musical organisations, and our orchestra is no exception. I endeavour to raise awareness of our industry’s plight and garner much-needed support for the orchestra and our wider freelance community.’

Read more here.

We are happy to announce we have appointed a new Leader in Caroline Pether, and Associate Leader in Katie Stillman. With these two fantastic musicians, we look forward to bringing amazing music making to our communities.

Caroline says: “I’m delighted and honoured to take up the Leader position at Manchester Camerata. I’ve already enjoyed eight years of inspiring music-making with Gábor and the wonderful musicians of this orchestra, and I look forward to many more. There is no doubt that this is an extremely difficult time for musical organisations, and our orchestra is no exception. I endeavour to raise awareness of our industry’s plight and garner much-needed support for the orchestra and our wider freelance community."

Read more here.

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In their never-ending quest to be just that little bit different (in a good way!), and always open to new challenges and experiences, one of Britain's most innovative and experimental classical orchestras, Manchester Camerata, have turned to the medium of film for their next project. Titled simply 'Untold', the orchestra share personal and life-changing stories through both film and music. They have all been filmed during lockdown in Manchester's historic and beautiful Gorton Monastery, and the first of this series is now live and available to watch for free online. 

In this half-hour film directed by Paul Sapin, which combines the music of Haydn, Arvo Part, Strauss and Harbison, with the spoken word of Scottish poet and laureate Jackie Kay, the slow-moving and intimate nature of the film allows us to reflect, understand, acknowledge and relate to Caroline's internal struggle and to emote with her. And even though the music and the filming are pulling your heart-strings, you are able to react and respond in your own way, which is highly commendable.

There is something about the openness and simplicity of this film which draws you in. I think this is something which can also be said of Manchester Camerata in general, they are always at the forefront of innovation and yet, it is always seemingly simple, accessible, unfussy, and unceremonious. Read the full review here.

Manchester Camerata will be running a series of online films called “Untold”, commissioned and curated by the orchestra. The first film is “Caroline”. Violinist Caroline Pether talks about the story behind this first episode, and the music choices and prose by poet Jackie Kay that it inspired.

You can listen to this interview here at 31:45.

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Jess Gillam and violinist Caroline Pether share the music they love, including a moving meditation on life in lockdown by Brad Meldhau, Jacqueline du Pre’s stunning take on Dvorak, a musical sunrise from Alice Zawadzki. Caroline also attempts to convert Jess to the joys of Brahms.

You can listen to this episode here.

What is it about chamber or smaller orchestra that appeals to you over larger orchestras?

There’s something about smaller ensembles that allows for a more improvisatory feel in terms of phrasing, colours and timings; all those things that a composer can’t easily write in the score. Somehow when there are fewer people it’s easier for individuals to shine and change the course of the musical journey within the framework of the whole. That said, there is something awe-inspiring about a vast number of people all working together in, say, a Mahler or a Brahms symphony. That depth of sound can be incredibly moving.

Sinfonia Cymru has been described in the media as first class. What do you think are the key elements of success for a chamber orchestra to rise above the rest?

For me the key is in the name; chamber orchestra. If the musicians approach the music as if they are playing in a string quartet or a wind quintet i.e. with a sense of individual responsibility and spontaneity, then the music will fizz with life. If we fall into auto pilot or crowd mentality, then we’re in trouble!

Read the full interview here.

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