The Heath Quartet

awry Saturday 18th March 2023, 7.30 pm

consciously Sara Wolstenholme, violin
Marije Johnston, violin
Gary Pomeroy, viola
Christopher Murray, cello

Haydn: Quartet in F minor op 20 no 5
Fanny Hensel: Quartet in E flat
Korngold: Quartet no 3 in D op 34

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The Heath Quartet was formed at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2002. The quartet won the Gramophone Chamber Award for their recording of the complete string quartets of Sir Michael Tippett, and in May 2013 became the first ensemble in fifteen years to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award. Their award-winning release of the Tippett was followed by the issue of the complete Bartók quartets (June 2017). There have been few changes in the performers and the link with RNCM has been maintained with the replacements. In 2021 founder Oliver Heath decided to move on. Sara Wolstenholme and Marije Johnston have joined the quartet as joint leaders.

Sara Wolstenholme (violin) is a graduate of the RNCM and the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía, She was leader of the Finzi Quartet until it disbanded in 2012, then joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra as principal second, and in that capacity has played with a number of ensembles including the Northern Sinfonia. But “coming back to quartet life is coming home to me,” she said on joining the Heath.

Christopher Murray (cello) was awarded a scholarship to study with Hannah Roberts and Gregor Horsch at the RNCM where he won the Barbirolli Prize (the RNCM’s highest award for cellists) and performed as a concerto soloist. Christopher worked with composer Hans Abrahamsen for a performance of his music for solo cello that was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Other concerto appearances include the Norfolk Symphony, Tyneside Chamber and New Tyneside orchestras.

Marije Johnston (violin) grew up in the Netherlands where she studied at the conservatoires of Utrecht and Amsterdam before coming to the RNCM aged 19. She was awarded the Gold Medal, the RNCM’s highest accolade. She also regularly appeared as a soloist with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra and National Youth String Orchestra of the Netherlands (which she led for many years). Under the guidance of the late Dr. Christopher Rowland, director of chamber music at the RNCM, she founded the Navarra Quartet and fell in love with chamber music. 

Born and raised in South Africa, Gary Pomeroy (viola) started violin lessons aged five, then took to the viola as a teenager. He was an ABRSM International Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music where he enjoyed five years of guidance in solo and chamber music, his major influences being Mark Knight, Chris Rowland and Thomas Riebl. He went on to spend a year studying at the Reina Sofia Escuela Superior in Madrid, Spain.