- Althea Talbot-Howard, Artistic Director/Oboe Soloist
- Kirsten Klingels, Leader
- Jennifer Janse, Principal Cello/Continuo
- Katharine May, Harpsichord/Continuo
Orchestra 18/20 comprises London-based freelance players who work as soloists, chamber musicians and guest artists with the UK's top symphony and chamber orchestras and period-instrument ensembles. Many of the musicians are Baroque music specialists, performing on original instruments as well as modern ones; others are contemporary music specialists, and others are both. This allows the orchestra to strive for the highest degree of stylistic integrity and technical excellence when tackling its frequently extremely challenging repertoire. Orchestra 18/20 works equally with or without a conductor, depending on the degree of complexity of the concert programme. A largely Baroque programme will usually be directed from the violin, whilst a contemporary programme will be directed by a guest conductor.
After studying at Girton College Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music in London - where she won prizes and scholarships from several bodies including the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and later the US Government Fulbright-Hays Programme - Althea spent six months at the Banff Centre of the Arts in Canada as resident artist. Having begun her professional career in 1994 as a soloist, performing concertos and recitals at venues throughout the UK and abroad, she took five years out from 1999 to the end of 2003 to focus primarily on orchestral playing. During that time she was a regular Guest Principal Oboe and Cor Anglais player with major orchestras such as the RPO, the RPCO, the BBCSO, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the NSO of Ireland. In 2004 she resumed a full-time solo career, and combines regular concerto performances, music society recitals and radio broadcasts with giving masterclasses at conservatoires and private teaching.
As Artistic Director, Althea is responsible for the artistic policy of the Orchestra, concert programming and orchestral management. She shares the musical direction with the other principal players. More on Althea Talbot-Howard [top]
Kirsten studied at the Royal Academy of Music where she won both the Kreisler violin prize and the Harold Craxton prize for chamber music. Since leaving she has developed a varied career working as a freelance player based in London. Kirsten has always loved the music of the eighteenth century, and has a particular interest in playing the repertoire of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras on violins made in those periods. She has performed and recorded with specialist period instrument orchestras such as the Hanover Band, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Gabrieli Consort. She has also worked as leader and soloist with both the Hanover Band and the ensemble Fiori Musicali. Kirsten's interest in 20th-century and contemporary music is expressed through performing and recording work with the Orchestra of St John's Smith Square, the Britten Sinfonia, the London Chamber Orchestra, the London Festival Orchestra, Primavera and Lontano. Film session work includes the London Metropolitan Orchestra and the London Telefilmonic.
In addition to leading and directing orchestra 18/20 she is also leader of the Bell string quartet. [top]
Described by Yehudi Menuhin as "amongst this country's finest musicians", Jenny is a graduate of Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music, where she was a scholar. In 1991, she won third prize with pianist Virginia Hanslip in the Shostakovich International Chamber Ensemble Competition in St Petersburg. Since then she has given numerous recitals throughout the UK as part of Yehudi Menuhin's Live Music Now! scheme. In addition to her work as a freelance orchestral cellist - which has seen her work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and the Philharmonia - Jenny is also a member of the Baroque ensemble The Musicke Companye, which has broadcast on both Radio 3 and Classic FM and made several Wigmore Hall appearances. She has performed with major period instrument ensembles including The King's Consort, The English Concert, Collegium Musicum 90 and The Sixteen. [top]
Whilst studying at the Royal College of Music in London, Katharine won many prizes for her solo and continuo playing, including the Raymond Fennell Prize for the best degree of the year. She has since studied with Jill Severs in London, and as a scholarship holder at the Accademia Muisicale Chigiana in Siena, where she also received the Accademias highest award, the Diploma of Honour. Her career has benefited from awards given by several trust funds, and she is particularly grateful to the Countess of Munster Musical Trust.
Katharine has given numerous concerts for music clubs, universities, the National Trust and music festivals including the Belfast and Sligo Early Music Festivals, and the London Handel Festival. Recordings include broadcasts for Central Television and TVS, and three CDs with The Windsor Box & Fir Company for Isis Records. In 1997, Katharine made her Wigmore Hall debut , where she was described by a critic from The Times as the evenings feisty and urbane harpsichordist. Until recently a tutor at Morley College, London, Katharine also writes for Early Music Today and Music Teacher. [top]