Ben Simnett

Ben began playing the clarinet at the age of 10, quickly becoming involved with local orchestras in Salisbury where he grew up, and eventually with the Wiltshire County Youth Orchestra.  He went on to study music at the University of Leeds, spending a year of his course in Weimar, Germany, at the Franz Liszt Hochschule für Musik.  He then completed a Masters in performance at the RNCM in Manchester, studying with Lynsey Marsh and Linda Merrick.  As a member of the Rivendell Quintet, formed at the RNCM he performed at various venues in the North West and further afield, including the Tunnel Trust course in Perthshire.

 Ben Simnett2

Now living in Macclesfield, Ben spends much of his working week with young musicians in Cheshire and Derbyshire schools

Originally drafted in to play the bass clarinet for the High Peak Orchestra, Ben is delighted to have the opportunity to perform as soloist for Weber’s 1st Clarinet Concerto.  When not teaching or playing, Ben still finds time for the occasional cycle ride and is perpetually entertained by his 10 month old son’s efforts to play the xylophone along with many other tricks.

Doug Badger

Doug Badger was born in Edinburgh where, at the age of 11, he began learning the cello with renowned Scottish teacher Eleanor “Kitty” Gregorson MBE.  He later attended the Junior Department of theRoyalScottishAcademy of Music and Drama, before progressing to the University ofYork, where he attained a BA in Music.

In 1998 he moved toManchester to continue his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with Jennifer Curtis and was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Performance in 2000.

Remaining inManchester, he is now enjoying an active professional career as a freelance cellist with ensembles and orchestras throughout the UK, including the BBC Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Welsh National Opera, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Opera North and Skipton Camerata.

He also appears regularly as a chamber musician and concerto soloist, including recent performances of Schubert’s String Quintet, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, Haydn C major concerto, Beethoven Triple concerto and, early next year, Schumann concerto with Skipton Camerata.

When he’s not playing the cello, Doug is an avid chess player and enjoys swimming, yoga and going for walks with his dogs, activities which he counterbalances now and then with an enthusiastic interest in real ale.  Doug plays a fine 19th century cello of unknown origin, generously bequeathed to him by Kitty Gregorson.

Dewi Tudor Jones

Dewi Tudor Jones studied music at the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music with Peter Cropper, Julia Hanson and Wen Zhou Li.  He graduated in 2007 with a first class degree and a Master’s degree and was awarded the Hargreaves Recital Prize.

Dewi Tudor Jones

He now works in and aroundManchester, the North of England and Wales with orchestras including Northern Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata, the Hallé, Opera North, Sinfonia Cymru, Amaretti Chamber Orchestra and has led the Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra.  As a soloist, he has recently performed the concertos of Bruch, Bach, Beethoven and the Brahms Double with various orchestras around the North West and he regularly gives recitals with various chamber ensembles.

Away from the violin, when theManchesterrain holds off for long enough, he enjoys getting out on the grass for a game of tennis.

Benjamin Powell

 Benjamin Powell performs across the UK and abroad both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, and gives regular concerts of contemporary music.  He studied in Manchester and Cologne with Carole Presland, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alexander Melnikov.  He currently lives in Manchester, and is a staff pianist at the RNCM.  The Powell Trio, which he formed with Oliver Heath and Christopher Murray, are Young Artists in Residence at Salford University.


 Benjamin is very involved in music education, teaching piano at the Junior RNCM, for Yorkshire Young Musicians and privately.  Equally at home in chamber music, song, and solo recitals, Benjamin Powell has performed across the UK and Europe in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, and Bridgewater Hall.  Forthcoming engagements include the Purcell Room, Blackheath Halls, and St. James’s Piccadilly.  His recent solo recital for the Park Lane Group’s New Year Series in the Purcell Room was highly acclaimed: ‘Benjamin Powell demonstrated an immense range of tone and sound in his programme: granite and stern for Stockhausen, brilliantly light-fingered in Elliott Carter, fiery and moody for Anthony Gilbert, volcanically sensuous in Scriabin.’  (Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph)

Benjamin was born and raised in West Sussex and has lived in Manchester since 1999.  He studied with Carole Presland at the Royal Northern College of Music and later with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alexander Melnikov at the Hochschule für Musik Cologne and RNCM respectively.

First prize was awarded to Benjamin Powell at the prestigious British Contemporary Piano Competition Oct 2010, held at the University of Surrey.  Philip Mead, Founder, Artistic Director and member of the jury, said of the winner, Benjamin Powell has shown himself as a consummate musician with a transcendent pianistic technique in the service of a refined musicality.  Some of his performances during the competition were truly breath-taking.  He was a worthy first prize winner.

Benjamin has performed across the UK and Europe in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, and Bridgewater Hall, and his trio, with Oliver Heath and Christopher Murray, are currently Young Artists in Residence at Salford University.  Since 2007, Benjamin has been a staff pianist at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Steven Wilkie


Steven Wilkie.  Now one of the country’s leading violinists, Steven Wilkie was a prize-winning student of Yossi Zivoni at the RNCM.  He has played with most of the UK’s orchestras and his concerto appearances include the Bach Double (with Yossi Zivoni), Mendelssohn, Bruch, Dvorak, Beethoven and Prokofiev.  In 2004 he made his European concerto debut in Lucerne.

Steven Wilkie

Steven is much in demand as an orchestral leader and has worked with conductors including George Hurst, Sir Edward Downes and Christopher Warren Green.  He is also a member of The John Wilson Orchestra with whom he is often to be heard on radio, television and cinema.  An active chamber musician, Steven has performed in recitals throughout the country and also served as adjudicator for BBC’s Young Musician of the Year programme.

Steven is an examiner for the ABRSM. He plays a Nicolai Gagliano violin dated 1765.