W A L E S
Jessica began violin at school aged 8 after having been on the waiting list for almost 1 year! Jessica loved Drama and English as well, but it became apparent from a young age that music was to become Jessica's greatest passion. At Secondary School, Jessica developed a closes bond with her violin teacher at the time who now teaches her Grandmother. Jessica undertook one week's work experience by her teacher's side so that she could gain insight into her local music service.
Jessica attended an incredibly supportive college (for ordinary, state-school children or for those from financially deprived backgrounds) - she received free violin and piano tuition for two years, free course books and was permitted discounted music trips to Paris and Prague. Jessica holds an extreme level of gratitude towards all the unique and encouraging tutors who once taught at South Downs College (Waterlooville, Hampshire), all of whom have now sadly left after the music department received re-assessment. During those two years, Jessica also sung in the college choir and all-female chamber choir, achieved ABRSM Grade 8 Distinction in violin, took piano and theory exams, led the Fareham and Gosport Area Youth Orchestra, and played in the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra and their Chamber Orchestra. Jessica's highlight in this orchestra was their performance of Mahler's 2nd Symphony at Winchester Cathedral. Jessica also attended residential courses at Avon Tyrell and Bryanston School, and played in high-class venues in Petersfield and Basingstoke. Charitable concerts were also organised by Jessica as part of larger groups, allowing her to give many solo performances in venues throughout Hampshire – for example, Portsmouth High School.
After college, Jessica immediately undertook a BA (Hons) at the University of Southampton. This was a jam-packed three years where Jessica quickly discovered that string playing music students were often needed for exciting, if not once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Jessica played in the 1st violins of the Southampton University Symphony Orchestra throughout her music degree (which was then conducted by Robin Browning). The University orchestra perform thrice a year, and Jessica also attended two foreign tours to Nice / Canne and then Valencia in the Summer. Jessica also attended two pre-term, week-intensive courses with the orchestra in late September. Jessica led both the 1st and 2nd violin sections for the Southampton University Sinfonietta (Chamber Orchestra), where she worked under the batons of three accomplished conductors: Jonathan Lo, Dane Lam and Maxime Tortilier (conductor for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.) Departmental Historical Projects happened at least once a year involving a concert at Southampton's historic St Michaels Church, allowing Jessica to receive Baroque coaching from Adrian Chandler of the renowned 'La Serenissima' on more than one occasion. Jessica played 1st violin in her University quartet 'Euphoria' for two years and currently plays 1st violin in a commercial quartet, 'Cartol'. (See the Cartol website for further information.) As the culmination of 3 years education, Jessica played a Russian recital of Shostakovich and Prokofiev and specialized in Czech composer Martinu as the subject of her dissertation.
Jessica has received an overwhelming amount of support and assistance through the years: a 100% string scholarship onto an Easter orchestral course, a bursary to Dartington International Summer School where she led the Dartington String Orchestra, two co-principal bursaries to perform in the 2nd violins (Elgar Cockaigne, Respighi Pines of Rome) and 1st violins (Strauss' Alpine Symphony) with the Rehearsal Orchestra in Trinity Square London; Jessica is this year's recipient of the Gillian Halse bursary to attend Rehearsal Orchestra's Edinburgh course in alignment with Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is receiving full funding to perform Wagner's Tannhauser with the Edinburgh Opera Players Group this coming September. As Jessica now lives in the Welsh Capital of Cardiff, Jessica has received three large sources of funding from the William Price Charitable Trust, the Wessex Society for Young Musicians Trust and the Engineering company Turbocam International, so that she can study under Lowri Porter (co-principal of the Welsh National Opera) at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Prior to her Masters, Jessica worked as a full-time violin and piano teacher for one year, so that she could prepare for music college and continue her studies with University violin teacher, Caroline Balding.
Jessica's dream is to one day enter an opera orchestra and she is currently preparing for auditions for performing placements with either WNO or the BBC National Orchestra of Wales next year. Jessica is entering year 2 of her course and really enjoys performing in Cardiff - be it in the Dora Stouzker Hall or St Davids hall, and be it with the RWCMD Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Orchestras, or Conductors Showcase Orchestras. Jessica recently co-led a RWCMD production of Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro, and performs on a £10,000 George Hudson Violin kindly on loan from the Benslow Instrumental Loan Scheme.