10th February 2024, 7.30 pm
Emily Blayney, violin
Elyena Clapperton, violin
Beth Willett, viola
Alec Smith, cello
Beethoven Quartet op 59 no 1, Razumovsky
Grieg String Quartet
Balakrishnan Confetti Mind
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Formed at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Innsæi String Quartet has flourished since it was formed in 2016, performing regularly in a large variety of settings, covering many genres and to all sorts of audiences! Having worked with and studied under well-renowned musicians including Donald Grant of the Elias String Quartet, Susie Mezsaros of the Chilingirian Quartet and Petr Prause, cellist of the Talich Quartet, the Innsæi String Quartet are extremely fortunate to be inspired daily as they continue building their ensemble.
The word ‘Innsaei’ is Icelandic and means ‘feelings or emotions beyond words’, which the quartet strive to convey in all their performances and which will surely be evident in this concert.
Violinist Emily Blayney is a passionate and highly motivated musician, playing in various ensembles around Manchester and the north, including Manchester Camerata and the Innsaei String Quartet.
Emily started learning the violin at the age of 7 through Surrey Arts. Inspired by the choirs and orchestras of her County music service she developed a keen interest in classical music, leading her to successfully audition for a place at the junior department of the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2013, where she studied with Sara Trickey.
As an orchestral musician she has performed in many venues, such as the Bridgewater Hall, the Royal Albert hall and the Barbican centre under the batons of many different conductors including Sir Simon Rattle. Recent work includes a tour of Germany with the ensemble Leos Strings, as well as travelling around the USA and Mexico with a string trio on a cruise ship.
As a recent graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Elyena is currently enjoying a rich and diverse freelance career as a performer, teacher and touring manager. This Scottish violinist is passionate about exploring different types of music and you will often catch her performing with a wide variety of Manchester based ensembles, which have previously included Manchester Concert Orchestra and Manchester Camerata.
Despite a Scottish heritage Elyena grew up on a beautifully secluded island off the West coast of Norway. This experience enriched her enthusiasm for both Norwegian and Scottish folk music, of which she often has performed together with her family. In addition to making music with others Elyena thrives performing as a soloist, including her debut at 16 with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and regular performances with her local ensemble, Romsdalsorkesteret.
Beth has recently completed her postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutorage of Vicci Wardman, receiving a first-class result. Beth is an enthusiastic chamber musician, most notably as the violist in The Innsӕi and Aestus String Quartets. With these ensembles Beth has participated in the Orlando Festival (Netherlands), Southwell Festival (UK), received the RNCM Weil Prize and has been a finalist in the RNCM Hirsch Prize, RNCM Nossek Prize and the RNCM Christopher Rowland Prize. Alongside chamber music Beth is also a passionate orchestral musician who has performed as part of professional orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, the Northern Chamber Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Based in Manchester, Alec is an award-winning chamber and orchestral cellist performing in venues across the UK. Alec started playing the cello at the age of 7, and has since developed a love for the instrument.
Alec graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2020, where he studied with cellists Chris Hoyle, Eduardo Vassalo, and Leonard Elschenbroich. Throughout his time at the RNCM Alec’s passion for chamber music grew – he formed the Innsaei String Quartet in 2016 and joined the Deanach Piano trio in 2017, both with whom he received tuition from many esteemed chamber musicians such as Trio Gaspard, Elias String Quartet, Henk Guittart, and many more. Both groups also performed as finalists in multiple competitions, and in 2019 Alec won the Nossek prize with the Deanach trio.
As an orchestral musician, Alec has played with leading professional orchestras such as the BBC Philharmonic and the Welsh National Opera, in both of which he currently holds a place on their extras lists. As of 2022, Alec balances his freelance work with a busy chamber music schedule. He is playing in chamber recitals with his string quartet and has recently joined Trio Kagura as their cellist. In his free time, you will often find him at the pub playing pool with his friends.