CONDUCTORS
 
 

 

 

Andrew Gourlay Web Link

Born in Jamaica, Andrew grew up in the Bahamas, Philippines, Japan and England. He trained as a pianist and trombonist. As a professional trombonist until his mid twenties, he freelanced with the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Philharmonia, Opera North and London Sinfonietta. He toured South America and Europe as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under Claudio Abbado. Chamber music highlights include winning the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition and concerts with the London Mozart Players Brass Quintet. His first concerts as a conductor took place at Manchester University whilst studying on the prestigious Joint Course with the Royal Northern College of Music.

He subsequently won a Postgraduate Scholarship to study conducting at the Royal College of Music in London, where he prepared Bruckner symphonies for Bernard Haitink and Mozart symphonies for Sir Roger Norrington. In 2008 he was chosen to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a public masterclass with Valery Gergiev. Other masterclasses have included several with Bernard Haitink. Awards have included the 'Star Award' from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the H R Taylor Trust Award for Conducting, the Bob Harding Bursary for Young Conductors and the Charles Leggett Award administered by the Musicians Benevolent Fund. During this time, presented The Early Music Show on BBC Radio 3 along with several features broadcast on the same station.

Andrew has conducted BBC Radio 3’s Discovering Music programme, as part of the London Jazz Festival. He has worked at the Royal Ballet as Cover Conductor for Barry Wordsworth. In 2010 he replaced Sir Colin Davis in the final concert of the Barbican Young Orchestra. Opera work has included Rusalka and La Tragédie de Carmen as Staff Music Director of English Touring Opera, and The Marriage of Figaro at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. As the recent winner of the Cadaques International Conducting Competition, his 1st Prize secures concerts with 29 orchestras around the world, including the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic. Currently, Andrew is the Assistant Conductor to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé, and Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra. He was selected by Gramophone magazine in 2010 as their ‘One to Watch‘.
 
 


 

Levon Parikian Web Link

Levon Parikian studied conducting with George Hurst and Ilya Musin. Since completing his studies, he has pursued a freelance conducting career, and is much in demand as Guest Conductor with orchestras in Britain. He currently holds Principal Conductor posts with several London-based orchestras, and is Principal Conductor of the City of Oxford Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Rehearsal Orchestra. He works extensively with students and youth orchestras, including the Royal College of Music Junior Sinfonia, the National Youth Strings Academy, and Royal Holloway University of London, where he also teaches conducting.

Levon lives in South London and his hobbies include making retaliatory hoax calls to call centres, cycling headlong into bendy buses, and wondering why he came upstairs.
 
 
 
 
Joseph Wolfe Web Link

Following studies in London, Dresden and Berlin, conductor Joseph Wolfe already has an enviable list of engagements and re-invitations to his credit. He began conducting at the Hochschule Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden where he founded and directed the Dresden Kammersinfoniker. During this period, he was also Guest Conductor of the Brandenburg Philharmonic. In London, he formed the Nimrod Ensemble of London whilst continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, eventually holding the Conducting Fellowship during the 2005/06 season.
     
He was a prize-winner at the 7th Leeds Conducting Competition in the UK and attended Tanglewood, where he shared a concert with Kurt Masur and was assistant conductor of Britten's opera A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. Recent highlights have included a return visit to Malmo Opera (DEAD MAN WALKING,including performances at the Copenhagen Opera House), his debut with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra in Suntory Hall which resulted in an immediate re-invitation and a return to the English Chamber Orchestra. He also gave concerts with the Netherlands Radio Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Bavarian State Youth Orchestra. His successful debut with the Ulster Orchestra opened the 2009/2010 season during which he also returns to Japan to conduct concerts with the Osaka Century Orchestra and the Sapporo Symphony. In the UK, Joseph Wolfe has conducted a series of concerts with the London Philharmonic (Schubert and Sibelius) gaining high praise.

These concerts followed guest appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the RTE in Dublin. Forthcoming engagements include concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican and the Manchester Camerata. Following his work with the Borusan Symphony Orchestra, culminating in the opening concert of the Istanbul Summer Festival, 2006, Joseph Wolfe held the posts of both Principal Conductor of the Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Borusan Chamber Orchestra in Istanbul over the next three years. He has conducted in both Scandinavia and Germany, where he has made radio recordings for Bavarian Radio with the Munich Chamber Orchestra and the Bamberg Symphoniker. After his debut with the Bavarian State Youth Orchestra in 2003, Joseph Wolfe was immediately re-invited for concerts Munich's Gasteig and in Nuremberg. The concerts were broadcast by Bavarian Radio, and he returned on several occasions since.
 
 
Chris Wakely

A busy husband, father of two, poly-math and physics teacher by day, Charlie Wakely is one of the foremost exponents of Guilbert & Sullivan operas in the UK. He is in demand as an accomplished Musical Director for NODA affiliated opera groups, chamber choirs, and London-based professional light music orchestras. He is also an important music editor and researcher into lost G&S and others' works, preparing rediscovered material for publication, and promoting premieres of newly arranged 'lost' works. In addition, Charlie is also a trombonist, pianist, percussionist and singer.
 
LEADER
 
Tara Persaud Web Link

Tara Persaud began studying traditional Irish folk music on the violin at the age of six, before taking up classical studies a year later. She attended Royal Holloway, University of London, reading German and Music BA Hons and German Culture MA. She also led all of the university ensembles and performed several solo recitals there.

Tara has had masterclasses with Emanuel Hurwitz, Gabor Takács-Nagy, Matthieu Herzog (Quatuor Ebène) and the Fitzwilliam, Carducci, and Badke quartets, has performed at music festivals including Dartington, Minehead, Aldeburgh and Verbier, and was a member of the Britten-Pears Orchestra for four years. Her television credits include the National Lottery Live and the BBC Four documentary “Britten’s Children”.
 
As well as leading the Salomon Orchestra, Tara is a member of a number of other amateur ensembles in London. She also works in the music industry, and since 2007 has been the Concerts Manager for the Academy of St Martin in the Fields chamber orchestra.
 
 
 
Zami Jalil – Fixer

Zami studied at the London College of Music studying violin with Suzanne Stanzeleit and viola with Robin Ireland and Susie Meszaros.  Zami regularly plays a variety of chamber music on both violin and viola and has been involved with the LCM chamber music gala concerts performing both the Mendelssohn Octet and the Brahms Sextets with members of the Primrose Piano quartet. Zami plays in a number of orchestras including Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, Orion Symphony Orchestra and the Orpheus Sinfonia.  Zami has also worked on the commercial music videos for Patrizio Buanne 'Il Mondo' and on the Derren Brown show.  He sings with London International Gospel Choir with whom he has appeared alongside X-Factor winners in concert.
 
 
SOLOISTS and WORLD MUSICIANS
 
 
PALESTINE 2003
 
PALESTINE 2003
She'Koyokh (kletzmer) Web Link

She’Koyokh is London’s award-winning klezmer ensemble performing Ashkenazi Jewish, Eastern European, Balkan and Turkish folk music at international festivals and concert halls, while keeping it real at weddings, other special occasions, and on the streets.
 
 
PALESTINE 2003
Mazen Jasmin

Mazen started playing oud as a hobby when he was 14 and found it so interesting that he developed this hobby into a professional activity. Once his family was forced to leave their country, Iraq, during the regime of Saddam Hussein, he found music almost the only way to keep them all in touch with their beloved culture, their roots, their home. Mazen and his colleague Nibras usually play for Arabic communities, but also at the Royal National Theatre and at the opening of a modern art exhibition, at the Iraqi Night, and Victoria Park Festival. Mazen can be contacted on 07810 554142.
ROMANIA 2003
 
 
 
ROMANIA 2003

Michael Copley and Balkan Baroque Web Link

As a founder member of the Cambridge Buskers, Michael has toured the world, with appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, plus tours of Japan, Australia, Canada and even Syria. Michael’s serious side, as a recorder player, has led him to concerto performances with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony and the Academy of Ancient Music.

Michael’s latest group is Sambuca, in which he is partnered by Peter Martin on lute, theorbo and guitar. Aside from his musical talent, Michael is also an impressive linguist, counting Japanese, French, German, Polish and Croatian amongst his foreign languages. His interest in all things East European takes him regularly to Bosnia, where he works with both disabled children and an adult orchestra. Thanks to many trips to Poland, he can confidently state that he can almost pronounce "W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie", a favourite Polish tongue twister.

ROMANIA 2003
Adrian Fratila and Friends Web Link

Adrian is an accomplished Romanian violinist, who has appeared in a number of traditional music festivals and concerts around the world, and is a specialist on 'Vioara cu goarna' or trumpet violin. He runs Transilvania Band which performs east european gypsy, latino and jazz standards.
TIBET 2004
 
TIBET 2004
Emma Brown Web Link

After reading psychology at Oxford University, where she also performed as principal flautist for Oxford University and Oxford Philharmonia orchestras, Emma trained as an educational psychologist. After several years freelancing as a semi-pro musician whilst working as an educational psychologist, Emma attended GSMD to study with Philippa Davies, Same Coles and Sarah Newbold for a post-diploma Orchestral Training Course. Emma is now a full-time wife, mother and professional flautist, undertaking regular orchestral engagements around London, giving solo recitals and performing as part of a flute and harp duo 'Vivace'.
TIBET 2004
Lindsay Bramley Web Link

When not maintaining the Griff Rhys-Jones fansite, Lindsay is a busy mother and mezzo soprano. She was born in Marlow, Buckinghamshire and read music as a scholar at The Queen's College, Oxford. Originally trained as a pianist, she started singing professionally at university and since then has worked as a soloist and in principal roles at prestigious venues around the world, including the Royal Albert Hall, LInbury Studio at ROH Covent Garden, ENO Studio and as an MC at Banff Cabaret Club. Committed to promoting new work, Lindsay has collaborated on several projects with David Charles Martin and French composer Sylvie Gral among others.
TIBET 2004
John Uhlenhopp Web Link

Born in Rochester, Minnesota, John grew up in Bogota, Colombia. From 1994 he won a range of international tenor competition prizes and launched his professional career. As of January 2011, his concert appearances have included Dvorak Stabat Mater with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jiri Belohlavek (subsequently released on the Supraphon label), Waldemar Gurrelieder with the Rheinische Philharmonie and Das Lied von der Erde in Palma de Mallorca. In addition, he appeared as the Voice of Christ in Charles Touremire Sixth Symphony.

No stranger to contemporary music, he made a critically-acclaimed appearance in 1999 at the Fetes de Vigneron with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Fabio Luisi. Recent main stage opera highlights include Tristan TRISTAN UND ISOLDE for Teatro Regio Torino and in Bremen; Eléazar LA JUIVE for La Fenice; Tambourmajor WOZZECK for the Stadttheater Bern; Samson SAMSON ET DALILA for the Antikenfestspiele Trier and the National Theatre Prague; the title role in OEDIPUS REX for Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, in Turin, and in concert with the Prague and Rome Symphony Orchestras; Hoffmann LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN for Seattle Opera; the title role in PETER GRIMES in Augsburg; and Sergei LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK, the Prince THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES, Boris KATYA KABANOVA, and Canio in Christoph Loy's production of I PAGLIACCI for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. Future plans include Tristan for Houston Grand Opera and for the re-opening of the opera house in Wuppertal; Shuisky BORIS GODUNOV for his debut with San Francisco Opera; and Friedrich Wilhelm DER PRINZ VON HOMBURG at the Theater an der Wien.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TIBET 2004
Soname Yangchen Web Link

Soname, born in the Tibetan countryside of noble descent, had to endure a childhood in servitude, separated from her parents and working in Chinese occupied Lhasa. She didn't enjoy the privileges of education, freedom and family life. At the age of sixteen she fled with a group of monks across the Himalayas - a difficult and dangerous journey that thousands of Tibetans must endure each year in order to enjoy basic human rights. She finally arrived in Dharamsala, Northern India, where HH Dalai Lama has his home in exile.

After six years she travelled to England (by way of France) where she has lived ever since, building a rapidly progressing singing career. She began singing very early and from the age of 6 was performing at Tibetan weddings. Once in India, she began composing, and since her arrival has recorded several CD, often accompanied by hammer dulcimer virtuoso, Geoff Smith. Her songs are are own compositions, written and performed in Tibetan. She describes them as contemporary Tibetan mountain song. Originally sung in the nomadic communities wandering about the vast, bleak landscape of her homeland, Soname has adapted the traditional songs and given them a contemporary, improvised lyricism. The words reflect the tragedy of her country and her own life incorporating extracts of poetry and legends of her enchanting and mysterious culture.
GAZA 2009
 
GAZA 2009
Nizar Al-Issa Web Link

A dynamic & exciting live performer, Nizar credits his ability to sing in a variety of styles to his refugee background and his choice of a music education in Egypt over his family's wishes for a more academic path. 'I think I've always sung', he says. 'From a really early age I was listening to the sounds all around me - from the great Arabic singers to the local guys at weddings & parties, even the fisherman & farmers ...everything I heard went in somewhere!' And I've always written songs, it comes very naturally to me - although the technique, the skills in using my voice, composition & mastery of the Oud are down to years of practice & training!' Nizar's style rejects easy labels.

He's one of a handful of players to include a bespoke, hand-made electric Oud into his performance repertoire, a move that doesn't always please the purists but makes for an exciting addition to his work. 'Yes, I'm an Arabic singer, composer who can sing in the language & traditions of many countries in the Middle East' he laughs. 'Iraqi's ask me if I'm from Iraq, while the Egyptians are convinced I'm from Cairo and in Spain they're sure I've spent time learning Gypsy Flamenco'. 'But the heart & soul of my music is the knowledge that we all share far more in common as human beings than we acknowledge, wherever we come from.'

Nizar's recent collaborations reflect this beautifully, crossing musical divides in gigs with celebrated jazz musicians, as well as working with his new band Finjaan to create exciting, contemporary sounds with his own uniquely Middle Eastern flavour. His reputation continues to grow with an increasing presence on the London scene as well as an impressive list of Festival performances in the UK, Italy, Morocco & Tunisia.
 
 
 
 
BETHLEHEM 2009
 
Bethlehem 2009
Zoe South Web Link

Born in England, soprano Zoe South began her career as a professional flautist, and made her professional singing debut as Mrs Herring in Albert Herring for Longborough Festival Opera. As a dramatic soprano, her roles include Ariadne, Brunnhilde (Die Walküre), Norma, Lady Macbeth, Turandot (all three endings), and Ortrud. The dark and dramatic qualities of her voice have also taken her into roles such as Amneris (Aida), and Princess Eboli (Don Carlo). Zoe studies with John Upperton.
 
 
Bethlehem 2009
Samira Hassassian Web Link

Born in Beit-Jala, Palestine, Samirra taught for 22 years at Bethlehem University in the Faculty of Business. She worked in Bethlehem Peace Center and is a Board member of Open Bethlehem and a member of The Palestinian Women General Union. Samira is the wife of the Palestinian General Delegate to the UK, Dr Manuel Hassassian.

 
 
Bethlehem 2009
Sue Web Link and Karl Sabbagh Web Link

Karl is a Cambridge-educated writer and documentary maker, and has made programmes for the BBC and Channel 4 in the U.K., and PBS in the USA. He has written ten books, with the most recent, The Hair of the Dog, being chosen as Radio 4’s Book of The Week this week. He is the son of a Christian Palestinian father and an English mother, and has written a history of Palestine and of his family’s connection with it, called Palestine: A Personal History.

Sue read English at Cambridge and has written poetry while raising a family. She published a collection of poems on religious themes, called Holy Ground, in 2004. She is married to the British Palestinian, Karl Sabbagh.
 
 
Bethlehem 2009
Caryl Churchill Web Link

Caryl is a playwright. Plays include Cloud Nine, Top Girls, Serious Money, The Skriker, Mad Forest, Far Away, A Number, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? and Seven Jewish Children, which was written at the time of the attack on Gaza last year. She is a patron of PSC.

 
 
Bethlehem 2009
Deborah Moggach Web Link

Deborah is an author. She has written sixteen novels to date, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, and, most recently, These Foolish Things. She has adapted many of her novels as TV dramas and has also written several film scripts, including the BAFTA-nominated screenplay for Pride & Prejudice. Deborah has also written two collections of short stories and a stage play. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a former Chair of the Society of Authors, and is on the executive committee of PEN.
 
 
 
 
PAKISTAN 2011
 
 
 
 
Pakistan 2011
Emmanuel Despax Web Link

Emmanuel was born in Paris but his burgeoning career has led him to make his home in England. In 2009 he won the prestigious Dudley International Piano Competition. In Spring 2011 he makes his Paris début at the Salle Gaveau and will give the opening recital in the Lunchtime Series at the Louvre Auditorium in the Autumn. His musical ability was discovered early. At the age of 10 he entered the Aix-en-Provence Conservatoire, studying with Michel Bourdoncle and Florence Belraouti. At 13 he gained a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School where Ruth Nye, one of Claudio Arrau’s finest students, recognised a great talent in the making.

In 2002 Emmanuel gained a full scholarship to the Royal College of Music; there he won many awards including the Kendall Taylor Prize in the Beethoven Competition, the Esther Fisher Prize for best undergraduate and the Chappell Medal. He was also awarded the RCM’s most prestigious prize, the Tagore Gold Medal, which was presented to him by HRH the Prince of Wales. While still at college, he performed Brahms’ First Concerto under Andrew Litton with the RCM Symphony Orchestra. As winner of the Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition, Emmanuel made his Wigmore Hall debut in September 2005 which was recorded live and released on the Jaques Samuel Label. Since graduating from the Royal College of Music with first class honours in 2006, Emmanuel’s international performing career has gone from strength to strength.

In his native France he has appeared at Le Festival International de Musique â la Cour at Solliès-Pont, Le Château de Lourmarin and a gala concert at La Roque d’Anthéron. Elsewhere in Europe he has given recitals at the Fazioli Auditorium in Italy (to which he will return this season), the Gasteig Blackbox in Munich, the Palais des Beaux Arts in Belgium as well as in Holland, Mallorca and Slovenia. UK orchestras he has played with include the London Festival Orchestra in their Virtuoso Pianists Series at Cadogan Hall, the City of Birmingham Symphony and the Arion Orchestra at St James’s Piccadilly. As a recitalist he has appeared at the Chipping Campden and Petworth Festivals and given performances in London at the Cadogan Hall, the National Portrait Gallery, the Drapers’ Hall and three appearances at Wigmore Hall.

 
Pakistan 2011
Victoria Mavromoustaki Web Link

Born in Cyprus, Victoria began studying violin at the age of three under Professor Andreas Konstantinou, and made her début recital at the age of seven. Showing a precocious talent, she won numerous awards and prizes including, in 1999, a scholarship to study at the Purcell School of Music in the UK. During her time there she studied with Maciej Rakowsky and was showcased in numerous concerts given by the school. In 2001, she enrolled at the Royal College of Music to study with professor Itzhak Rashkovsky and graduated with a BMus (Honours) in 2005 and a Postgraduate Diploma in advance performance in 2007. As well as being a Royal College of Music Scholar she had also received many awards including the MBF Myra Hess award, the Kit & John Gander Award and the Joan Weller Award. In 2006 she won the Philip Crawshaw memorial prize at the ROSL competition and in 2008 she received a prize at the Carl Flesh International Violin Competition. Victoria has given performances in many countries including Africa, Cyprus, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. She has appeared in prestigious venues such Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and St. Martin's-in-the-Fields in London. She has also performed in many music festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe Festval, Commonwealth Resounds Arts, Ledras Music, the Gnaoua and World Music Festival, and the Pharos Trust Cyprus Artists series. Victoria has performed as a soloist with many orchestras such as Cyprus Chamber Orchestra, Cyprus Youth Orchestra, Oxford Philomusica and the Nic Branston Foundation Orchestra. Her most recent achievement was her Debut appearance in Ayia Irini, Istanbul, where she performed Beethoven Triple Concerto.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pakistan 2011
Raja Kaasheff Web Link

Raja Kaasheff is an outstanding voice on the UK music scene. Since 2001, Kaasheff’s dedication to singing and music composing has established him as an avant-garde singer and music composer in the United Kingdom and the sub-continent. Among UK-based Asian musicians, he has the credit of creating quality compositions, often in collaboration with the living music and film legends of Asia. My Dearest Maa Featured Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Pran, Dharmendra Nadeem and Moin Akthar. Raja Kaasheff has also composed and sung for Dev Anand’s New Film Charge Sheet. He perform live with his Jazz Musicians which is unique.

As a representative of the second generation of British Asians, Raja Kaasheff has been contributing to the projection of a positive and constructive image of Pakistan and India.

As a traditionalist but versatile in the choice of genres, he has been able, in an age of pop and bhangra, to keep alive the taste for original melodies of the sub-continent. Raja Kaasheff has successfully experimented with all Asian singing styles including popular music, qawali, contemporary, semi-classical and classical. A music puritan by nature, he believes in live singing on the stage. He has released a number of melodious music albums which have contributed to endearing him to a large number of music lovers across the world. His albums include: Pyar Kar Le, Yaar Tera Sharmana, Haseen Raatein, and My Dearest Maa.

Various prestigious music TV Channels of Pakistan and Asia have been broadcasting his marvellous song videos. The recent album dedicated to the most sincere relationship of ‘Mother’ was the first music album ever launched in the UK Parliament (House of Commons). Pakistan’s most popular TV Channel GEO TV launched his music album on the eve of Mother’s Day in Pakistan in May 2009 and it was an instant hit. His musical creations are available on CDs, DVD’s.

He has brought music in the service of various humanitarian causes by working with reputable philanthropic individuals and organisations to raise funds for various humanitarian and noble causes. On 3 July 2009 was a musical evening at Pakistan High Commission London to raise funds for the dislocated people of Swat and Malakand. On 12 September 2010 Kaasheff enlivened Wembley Arena with his melodious voice, and on the 27 November again at the Pakistan High Commission he launched his Jazz band which has musicians for all backgrounds proving that music is a universal language.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Pakistan 2011
Asian Music Circuit Web Link

The Asian Music Circuit (AMC) was created in 1989 by the Arts Council of Great Britain and has been run as an independent company regularly funded by The Arts Council of England since 1991. It is a registered charity. It has been privileged to have worked with and promoted a wide variety of artists from Central Asia to Indonesia but especially from South Asia. Its promotions have included folk music such as that of the Manganiyars and Langas from Rajasthan, puppetry and gamelan from Indonesia , the Kamkars of Iran , devotional and mystic music such as the great qawwali singers Sabri brothers of Pakistan and the Nizami brothers from India, Baul singers of Bengal , the Naxi musicians of China ; the great classical traditions with vocal as well as instrumental performances such as the sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar, the great khyal singers Pts Rajan and Sajan Mishra, santoor maestro Pt Shivkumar Sharma, flautist Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia – the guqin player Li Xiang Ting of China to name but a few ; Indian film and popular music including the legendary Asha Bhosle and Jagjit Singh ; contemporary music including SHAKTI with John Mclaughlin and Zakir Hussain, Sainkho Namchylak and Yat-Kha from Tuva, Fun-Da-Mental, Sitarfunk and SomaSonic from the UK , Orange Street from India and the wonderful concerts of LES DANGEREUSES – a collaboration featuring Shubha Mudgal (India), Kandya Kouyate (Mali) and Juliet Roberts (UK).

 
 
Eleanor Merton, Founder of Adhoc Humanitarians Orchestra
Ellie grew up in Cambridge playing piano, french horn and viola from an early age and unintentionally learning international politics from range of extraordinary visitors to the family home. Her first fundraising effort was to do an Oxfam Walk as a teenager, soon followed by leaping around Oxford Street dressed as a witch to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital, among other stunts. From 1988 she read Classics at University College London and was voted in as University of London Union sabbatical student welfare officer for 1992-3.
Thereafter she retrained as a secretary, working in blue chip industries in Cambridge and London. At the same time, Ellie became an amateur orchestral organiser, founded Adhoc Humanitarians Orchestra in 2003 and returned to study in 2004-5 for a postgraduate diploma in Cultural Management at City University. For three years she worked as a secretary at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In early 2009, however, as a result of the devastation of Operation Cast Lead on the people of Gaza, and the continued occupation of Palestinian lands by Israeli military, she urgently returned to politics and voluntary work for Palestinian human rights, civil rights, non-violence peace work and aid organisations. Ellie plays the viola in several London amateur orchestras, is a Formula 1 Grand Prix fanatic in her spare time, and lives in north east London with a bossy black cat called Nonny.

Her inspiration is her late mother, Gabriel Merton, who patiently supported her daughter's footling about, although she would have been much happier if her daughter had just got "a real job”.

Gabriel was a huge supporter of the orchestra, attending every concert and even contributing background funds to make the concerts happen. Coming from a musical family, with an ‘impossible’ but musically pioneering non-believing Odessan Jewish mother and a book-publishing pacifist Fabian father, she was brought up with most of the musical establishment of the war era crashing and clattering through her childhood homes. This meant Gabriel’s appreciation of the standard of Adhoc Hums performances mattered all the more because, boy, did she know her stuff. She was always seated in the prime spot mid-stalls (you don’t want to be that close or you won’t be able to hear a thing) usually corralled with other ‘mothers of the band’ which generally lead to some entertaining reminiscing, clapping and clasping her hands together in delight, bellowing “Well Done! Braa-vo!” at the top of her voice during the applause, and expressing in no uncertain terms her huge pride in everyone involved after each the concert. She was both mascot and chief cheerleader for the orchestra and is deeply missed.