Soloist Biography

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Ben Percival

Ben grew up in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where he started playing the French Horn under the tutelage of Carl White, as well as taking lessons on the piano. He continued his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating in 2018. At the RNCM he enjoyed a wealth of performance opportunities in a variety of ensembles from Symphony Orchestra to Wind Quintet, playing the Natural Horn and Wagnertuba on several occasions. He studied with Stefan Dohr, Tim Jackson and Alberto Menendez, and since graduation has performed with ensembles such as The Orchestra of Opera North, The Halle and The Manchester Concert Orchestra. Ben also played on the soundtrack of Lego: The Incredibles in 2018. He is a member of The Band of The Yorkshire Regiment, an Army Reserve band based in Huddersfield, with whom he has played in France, Germany, Denmark and Lithuania as well as across the UK. Since graduating in 2018, Ben has taken up teaching positions across West Yorkshire with a focus on the French Horn and Trumpet, as well as continuing his freelance career. 

Anne-Marie Czajkowskstudied voice as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music and has recently completed her PhD in Applied Psychology of Music majoring in mindfulness and music education at the University of Leeds.  She has performed at ENO, for WNO and various other opera companies, sung on TV, radio, and recently toured Berlin singing arias from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. She has been teaching voice for 22 years and currently teaches at Leeds College of Music. 

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Kathryn Vedder performed March 30th 2019

While working on her degrees, Kathryn Vedder (Katie) travelled through Europe with the Boulder Youth Symphony and the Colorado Youth Symphony. She also played in Carnegie Hall with the Flint Youth Symphony and was the featured soloist with the Fort Lewis Percussion Ensemble, Fort Lewis Wind Symphony, Un Poco Trio and the Symphonic Anime Orchestra. She played with multiple orchestras, bands, jazz bands, and chamber ensembles. Katie has performed her own arrangements at the International Clarinet Association’s Clarinet Fest and is a prolific arranger. She primarily arranges for clarinet quartet and the Symphonic Anime Orchestra, an organization that she founded and directs. Katie received her Bachelors of Arts from Fort Lewis College and her Master of Music from the University of Colorado studying under Dan Silvers. Love brought Katie to Harrogate, England, where she teaches, writes, and explores the world with her husband and cats.


Catherine Strachan performing on Saturday 22nd September 2017

Catherine grew up in Aberdeen, where she benefited from a superb start to her musical education thanks to the local authority music service and local youth orchestras. She studied modern and baroque cello performance with Myra Chahin and Alison McGillivray at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly RSAMD), and followed this with an MA in baroque performance at the University of York.

Catherine is now based in York, where she enjoys a varied career as a freelance cellist and string teacher. She is also a member of various groups including Leeds Baroque and of course Thirsk Sinfonia, and performs regularly with pianist David Hammond, with whom she has given recitals in York, Chesterfield and Rochdale.

Diane Peacock sang at the 23rd June 2018 concert.

Diane Peacock trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and TheRoyal Academy of Music. She has worked with several touring opera companies and performs as a soloist for choral societies and as a
recitalist of both classical programmes and music theatre.

Philip Cull played on 17th June 2017

The Thirsk Sinfonia was delighted to welcome the oboist Philip Cull as its soloist this evening. Philip was born in Hertfordshire and studied at Trinity College of London where he was awarded ‘The City Livery Prize’ and first prize in the College Chamber Music Competition.  After a period of freelancing in London he moved to the North East of England.  

Philip now lives in Stockton on Tees and works as a freelance player throughout the Northeast and beyond.  He has appeared with groups including the Northern Sinfonia, the English Philharmonic Ensemble with which he has recorded Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin,   He teaches the oboe at Durham and Newcastle Universities, works for the North Yorkshire music service, and is much in demand as a soloist.  
He performed the Albinoni Oboe Concerto in D Minor, one of the most beautiful concertos written for the instrument.   

Toby White played on 24th September 2016

Toby is currently completing his Masters degree as a scholar at the Guildhall School of Music & Dram under the tutelage of Louise Hopkins.
From Ripon, North Yorkshire, Toby began playing the cello, aged 5, and commenced his broader musical education at St Martin’s, Ampleforth where he served as a treble in the Ampleforth Schola.  At aged 13, he won a scholarchip at Wells Cathedral School to study with Richard May and received a grant from the Pierre Fournier Award given to outstanding young cellists at UK music schools.
In 2011, Toby was awarded a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music & Dram, London, where he studied with Alexander Bailleand Tim Lowe graduating with BMus (hons) in 2015.
Toby is a founding member of the Cavatina Quartet who made their Wigmore Hall debut shortly after winning the International Bloch competition in July 2013.  In May 2014, he performed live on BBC Radio 3 for a Total Immersions Project performing chamber works by Villa-Lobos and a series of chamber concerts as part of the City of London Festival later the same year.
As well as Chamber music, Toby had had the privilege of giving solo recitals throughout London and in March 2015 made his professional Concerto debut with the Harrow Symphony Orchestra.  
Toby is the grateful recipient of a Help Musicians UK Fleming Award and his studies are generously supported by the Guildhall School Trust.