“I'm always very proud of my Cox violin which I call Pippin, partly for obvious reasons, and partly because it has a golden, crunchy, juicy sound like the apple. I am still loving this violin you made.”
I was born in Zambia to British parents and raised in Africa and the Middle East, where I was self-taught on the violin. At the age of eighteen I gained a place at the Royal College of Music and so returned to England, where I was fortunate enough to study with John Ludlow (violin) and Andrew Manze (baroque violin), both of whom were incredibly inspiring teachers. Though it is now sixteen years since I graduated, I still feel I am learning from what they both taught me.
In my final year at college I took a trip to the US as part of a Morris Dancing tour and it was there that I was introduced to Doug Cox. He had three violins for sale in his studio at the time and I tried them all and fell in love with one in particular - a copy of Stradivarius' Ginn violin. Doug very kindly allowed me to take it back to England to show to my teacher and I bought it forthwith and have never regretted it for a minute!
In 2000 I emigrated to Australia with my husband and baby to live in Brisbane. I'm afraid the violin - which I christened “Pippin” because of it's beautiful orange-golden sound - and because it is a Cox - remained in its case for a few years while I concentrated on my family and settling into a new country. When my three children began to get older and less demanding I started playing again and I now freelance here in Brisbane. I get to play a huge variety of music and feel very lucky.
I play regularly with the Queensland Pops orchestra, which might mean anything from performing Gilbert and Sullivan with Opera Australia to performing in the City Botanical Garden with Australia's biggest pop and country stars and live tiger cubs! I have also done a bit of casual work with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, playing for the Paris Opera Ballet and the Nacional Ballet de Cuba. In May, I did a short tour of outback Victoria with my piano trio, Wine and Olives, (Delena Gaffney, piano; Lucy Bignall, violin and Chris Patrick, cello). It was an amazing experience, playing in village halls and a lovely old Bishop's Lodge which looked like an old English manor house - but was made from pressed tin. I am also concertmaster of a community orchestra which is great fun - we have people as young as fourteen and as old as eighty, from all walks of life - students, army musicians, ex-professionals, doctors, lawyers and a Supreme Court Judge!
When not playing Pippin, I get to do my most important job, being mother/cook/chauffeur. I am also trying to break into the world of the published author, with two books and numerous short stories. Am planning a book about the world of string quartet “gigging,” which should be fun!
May 8, 2012: I have published an e-book, available on Amazon for the Kindle!
Tales of Music, Mystery & Mayhem...
Come delve into a world of mystique and music with this collection of fifteen absorbing tales. Each with its unique character, these stories will take you from the sublime to the chilling, the ridiculous to the whimsical. Ghosts, fairies, dragons, dramatic teenagers – this wonderful collection has it all! A perfect read for train or plane journeys but not recommended whilst driving a car.