Liverpool Philharmonic Welcomes Five New Players to the Orchestra

With the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra playing to critical and audience acclaim, an appearance at the BBC Proms on 25 August and its 2016-2017 concert season getting underway in September, Liverpool Philharmonic has appointed five exceptional musicians to the Orchestra; Gwendolyn Fisher and Alex Mitchell as Joint Associate Principal Violas, Elizabeth McNulty, Principal Harp and Frances Evans and Lukas Hank as section players, second violins.

All five players bring a wealth of talent, musical knowledge and experience having begun playing their respective instruments at an early age, going on to study at leading conservatoires, and gaining extensive performance and wider music industry experience in leading international symphony orchestras and other ensembles.

As members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, they are part of an ensemble of professional musicians that performs in a programme of more than sixty concerts in the recently refurbished Grade II*listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, as well as concerts in venues across Liverpool, and on tour in the UK and internationally.

Concert seasons, led by Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko, with visiting international conductors and soloists, feature a wide range of music including cornerstones of the classical repertoire, and the commissioning and performance of new music.

There are also opportunities for musicians to perform in smaller ensembles in concerts in Liverpool Philharmonic’s Music Room, built as part of the £14.5 million refurbishment of the Hall that was completed in autumn 2015 and in other venues across the city.

The Orchestra has a busy recording schedule and in 2016, new recordings are scheduled for release with Petrenko, and with conductor Andrew Manze, who has performed in Liverpool with the Orchestra on a number of occasions to great acclaim.

Musicians also have the opportunity to be part of the delivery of Liverpool Philharmonic’s extensive learning programme, acknowledged as a national leader in the field. Current flagship programmes include Schools’ Concerts performed to over 23,000 children from more than 300 schools; leadership of In Harmony Liverpool, the El Sistema-inspired music and social change programme, and a Musician in Residence programme delivered in partnership with Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Notes to Editors

Gwendolyn Fisher joint associate principal viola
A native of Chicago, USA, Gwendolyn was born in 1983, began playing violin at the age of five and switched to viola at age sixteen. Her American teachers included Victoria Chiang at the Peabody Conservatory and Martha Katz at the New England Conservatory of Music. She later moved to Salzburg, Austria, to complete a Masters Degree in viola performance in 2008, studying with Thomas Riebl at the Mozarteum University. Gwendolyn was a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra from 2009 - 2016. She has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Camerata Salzburg. An avid teacher, she teaches privately and tutors with the National Children's Orchestra and National Youth Strings Orchestra.

Alex Mitchell joint associate principal viola
Born in 1992, Alex began viola lessons with his Dad on his sixth birthday. He subsequently spent seven years studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, where his teachers included Nobuko Imai and Wen Zhou Li. He was a prize winner at the Tokyo International Viola Competition in 2015 and the Beethoven International Viola Competition in Hradek. Chamber music also plays a large part of Alex's life, and he is a member of the Zelkova String Quartet.

Elizabeth McNulty principal harp
Born in Kent in 1985, Elizabeth has worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Ballet, RTE Concert Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Northern Ballet Sinfonia. Concerto performances include Ginastera Harp Concerto, Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto, Mozetich El Dorado, Debussy Danses sacree et Profane and Ravel Introduction and Allegro with groups such as Kantanti Ensemble, Symphonia Academica and Berkeley Ensemble.

Elizabeth is a Concordia Artist and was selected for the 2011 NLO Young concert artists’ platform. She is also a keen chamber musician, working with a variety of groups. Solo recitals and chamber concerts include St James's Piccadilly, St Martin in the Fields, The Foundling Museum, The Benjamin Franklin Museum, London Arts Club,Glyndebourne, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 100 Club and Royal Festival Hall.

Elizabeth took her music undergraduate at Royal Holloway, University of London, and studied harp with Gabriella Dall’Olio at Trinity College of Music for her Masters Degree. She began harp lessons aged 9 with Janice Beven and studied with Karen Vaughan whilst at university.

Frances Evans section player, second violins
Born in Salisbury in 1990, Frances Evans began learning the violin aged seven. In 2003 she won a scholarship to the Purcell School, where she studied with Evgueny Grach, before taking a place at the Royal Northern College of Music to study with Benedict Holland. Alongside her work with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Frances also freelances with The Hallé and has played with various ensembles in prestigious venues across the UK, including the Wigmore Hall, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Albert Hall.

Lukas Hank section player, second violins
Born in Germany in 1992, Lukas Hank moved to the United Kingdom at the age of five and began learning the violin two years later. He studied with Kathryn Hardman in Bristol from the age of thirteen, until he began his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in September 2010. Growing up in the South West, Lukas has returned many times to perform many concertos including performances at the Colston Hall and St George's in Bristol. In 2014 Lukas graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a First Class Honours Degree. Whilst at the Academy Lukas studied under the Joseph Bloch Scholarship with international soloist Remus Azoitei as well as receiving master classes and coaching with other internationally acclaimed violinists including James Ehnes, Pavel Fischer, Jack Liebeck, Thomas Brandis and Maxim Vengerov.

Further information from Jayne Garrity, Head of Communications, Liverpool Philharmonic
Tel: 0151 210 3791 / 07967 364241, email: jayne.garrity@liverpoolphil.com

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