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Christopher Stark, Conductor

Chris Stark is based in South London and is Principal Conductor of the Multi-Story Orchestra, which he co-founded in 2011. Multi-Story began as an orchestra that performed in a Peckham Car Park and now involves work in various spaces around the country. Their work has been recognised by the RPS and they have made various appearances at the BBC Proms. Chris is particularly drawn to projects that are ambitious in a drive to broaden access to classical music. He works extensively in community and amateur projects and is Principal Conductor of the Blackheath Halls, Ernest Read, Dulwich and Finchley Symphony Orchestras.

Chris studied the piano and cello growing up, playing in the National Youth Orchestra, and turned to conducting orchestras and operas whilst a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. Since graduating he has worked extensively as an Assistant Conductor, for organisations such as Glyndebourne Festival and Tour, the BBC Proms, Aurora Orchestra, Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment, Oper Köln, Garsington Opera, Gürzenich-Orchester and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has a particular interest in contemporary music; for Multi-Story he has conducted the works of John Adams, Gerard Grisey, Louis Andriessen, Terry Riley, and has conducted world premieres by Kate Whitley, Dani Howard, Matt Rogers, and Emma-Ruth Richards. Chris has also recorded for NMC and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

(Photo Courtesy of Lidia Crisafulli)

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David Burton, Leader

David counts himself extremely fortunate that he started his musical studies in the 1970s when State funding and support for music in schools and local youth orchestras was at its height. His first teacher, the American Mary Carroll, was a student of Shinichi Suzuki, the creator of the eponymous revolutionary violin teaching method. By a stroke of good fortune she chose David’s home city of Lincoln as her base for her two year stay in England. Here she founded one of the first Suzuki groups in the UK.

This early influence was carried forward by David’s next two teachers: Trevor Jones, who had studied with the famous Hungarian/American pedagogue Paul Rolland; and John Ludlow at the Royal College of Music. John was co-leader of the Royal Opera House Orchestra and was Dame Margot Fonteyn’s violin soloist of choice in the famous pas de deux from Swan Lake. David was honoured to be recently asked to perform the same solo with the Redhill Sinfonia.

David now divides his time between conducting, playing chamber music with the Hammig String Quartet, leading Henley Symphony Orchestra and Redhill Sinfonia, and teaching. As conductor he has worked with Redhill Sinfonia, Dorking Chamber Orchestra and directed numerous workshops and residential courses for keen amateur musicians. Conducting highlights include performances of Tippet’s Concerto for Two Orchestras, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Bach’s Musical Offering and Bartok’s string quartet no. 1.

David is a founding member of the Hammig String Quartet, now in its fourth decade and which has been giving regular recitals nationally and internationally. Having performed all of Shostakovich’s 15 quartets, the Hammigs are embarking on an odyssey of Bartok’s complete oeuvre. He is also much in demand as an excellent and inspiring teacher.

He has played in the Minehead Festival Orchestra for about 30 years and sat on the front desk next to leader Maya Magub for most of those. He is married to Jane Tyler our principal Violist. We are delighted that he will lead the orchestra this year.

David plays on a 1987 Italian violin made by Cesare Magrini with a bow from 1900 made by the famous French maker Joseph Alfred Lamy. 

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Callum Smart, Violinist

Callum Smart is quickly developing an international reputation as one of Britain’s finest young violinists and an innovative pedagogue. He is celebrated for the sincerity of his singing line, combining ‘brilliant technique with the confidence to take risks’ (Bachtrack) and his ‘utterly convincing’ interpretations (BBC Music Magazine).

Recognised as a rising star since winning the BBC Young Musician strings category and being the top European prize-winner at the Menuhin Competition in 2010, Callum now enjoys concert appearances with the UK’s leading orchestras. This season sees him return to Wigmore Hall with Ben Goldscheider and Richard Uttley, direct the Northern Chamber Orchestra in a series of concerts, and perform the Elgar, Schnikkte, Bruch, Mendelssohn and Dvorak Concertos.

Previous season highlights include re-invitations to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Philharmonia Orchestra, as well as performances with the Hallé Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, European Union Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus Sinfonia and Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra covering a wide range of concerto repertoire.

As a recitalist, Callum performs at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and at a number of European festivals including the Cheltenham Festival, Dvorak Festival in Prague, Menuhin Festival, Mecklenburg Vorpommern and the Malmo International String Festival. Now with 3 recital discs to his name, 2020 saw the release of ‘Transatlantic’, which was a top 30 album on the UK classical charts and led to Callum being featured as Classic FM and Scala Artist of the Week.

As a celebrated violin pedagogue, Callum holds a professorship at the RNCM and held a position teaching and performing at Orford Musique in 2023. He continues his work towards diversification and accessibility of classical music with mentorship roles in the Benedetti Foundation and Music Masters, as well as his Instagram account with 55k+ followers.

Callum earned an Artist Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, studying with Mauricio Fuks. He then took up a place on the International Artist Diploma postgraduate course at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) studying with Ana Chumachenco and Noah Bendix-Bagley.

Callum plays on a c.1730-35 violin by Carlo Bergonzi.

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Jill Morton, Pianist

Jill enjoys a highly successful career as soloist, chamber musician and teacher. Her performances have taken her throughout Britain and across Europe and have received critical acclaim. Since making her professional debut, she has performed in all the major concert halls throughout Britain and has been heard on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night as soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

In addition to her performing career, Jill is a Principal Tutor for the Piano Teachers’ Course UK, the country’s leading professional course for piano pedagogy, and has a successful YouTube channel showcasing the syllabus repertoire on the ABRSM and Trinity graded music syllabuses. She has given masterclasses at universities and specialist music schools throughout Britain and is becoming recognised as a competition adjudicator. She also teaches at the Perse school in Cambridge and is Pianist in Residence at the British Isles Music Festival.

After becoming a mum, Jill was inspired to set up “Encore! Concerts for all, big and small”. This monthly concert series provides an opportunity for preschool children and their carers to experience the thrill of live music in a relaxed and informal environment. The series celebrated its 10th birthday in September 2023.

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