BRIDGE is an ongoing Music in the Round project which nurtures the development of talented young string musicians. Its second phase, focussing on creating opportunities in classical music for people of Black and Minority Ethnic heritage, began in July 2018 with a 4-day residential in Sheffield. Our current Bridge players are Elliott Bailey, Ken Fairbrother, Jesse Francis and Raye Harvey.
Elliott Bailey is a cellist of half-English and half-Caribbean descent currently in his final year of undergraduate study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Nicholas Trygstad (Principal Cello of The Hallé). In September he will begin a master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music. Alongside music, another aspiration of his was to become an airline pilot and so he regularly enjoys plane-spotting and flying, as well as reading about the wonders of the mind and psychological concepts. He regularly listens to pop music and watches sitcoms and comedy panel shows, and loves driving to and seeing new places.
Ken Fairbrother is a Scottish violinist currently studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Ken's love for collaboration leads him to participate in a wide range of chamber music and orchestral projects including the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Music in the Round’s Bridge Scheme. Although primarily a violinist, Ken is passionate about diversity in music and has also conducted orchestras, drummed in big bands, and organised music events.
London-born violist, songwriter and producer Jesse Francis has performed at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and the Royal Festival Hall, appearing in everything from baroque ensembles to piano quintets. Jesse studied at Chetham’s School of Music with one of the UK’s most respected violists Graham Oppenheimer, then moving to London to study at the Royal College of Music. He is very versatile as he is not only classically trained but has also released his own music across all major streaming platforms. Through this he has gained a large following, performed and worked with some of the biggest artists in the UK, and achieved recognition from major American artists.
Raye Harvey is a violinist currently in her fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music. Coming from a large family of Indian and Caribbean heritage, and having grown up in Lancashire and Herefordshire, Raye has a strong interest in travel, exploration and collaboration. She works extensively as a session and orchestral musician, including with the exciting Garage Classical project. She is also a member of the Home Ensemble, a 13-piece sinfonietta formed by The Ollie West Band. Raye’s passion for bringing music accessibly into communities has led to involvement in various projects in Manchester, including the Brighter Sound charity and Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra’s education and outreach events. A keen singer-songwriter and poet, Raye is currently recording her first EP (under the moniker Lakshmi) at Sheffield’s Yellow Arch Studios with the support of the Bridge scheme. Outside of her passion for creating and discovering new music, Raye trained for ten years in various martial arts, and aims to pursue this further in the future.
The Bridge Quartet features in two performances in the coming months. The first is performing a newly commissioned work written by the acclaimed Indian Tabla player and composer Kuljit Bhamra OBE at Sheffield’s city-wide Classical Weekend festival on 9 March 2019. The second is a concert performing alongside Ensemble 360 at Yellow Arch Studios as part of Sheffield Chamber Music Festival (12 May 2019).
Bridge is funded by: The Eva & Peter Wilkinson Fund, Fidelio Charitable Trust, Garrick Charitable Trust, The Golonscott Foundation, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, Myrtle Charitable Trust, ‘Scilla Thornton Fund, Friends of Music in the Round, Individual donors to the Bridge Fund, and Arts Council England.
Music in the Round's first Bridge scheme took the form of a three-year programme ofdevelopment with the Marmen String Quartet. Find out more about this scheme here.