Maxine Willis – Flute
Gwenllian Davies – Oboe
Andrew Mason – Clarinet
Sarah Andrew – Bassoon
Helen Shillito – Horn
Eleri Darkins – Harp
Since its debut broadcast for ORS Television, the Aurora Ensemble has promoted the wind quintet and its music as a serious and wide-reaching chamber ensemble. As well as performing in a wind quintet combination, this flexible ensemble also performs as a trio or quartet and expands to include piano and harp. The Aurora Ensemble aims to programme interesting and appealing repertoire.
The Ensemble has performed in many major venues and festivals including the Purcell Room, the Cheltenham International Festival of Music, the English Music Festival, the Young Musicians’ Trust’s “Outstanding Musicians’ Series” and at the South Bank Centre’s Rimsky-Korsakov Festival. They have broadcast on Radio 3 for the BBC Young Artists’ Forum Series. Performances in 2001 included recitals at the Barber Institute of Art, Birmingham; the Guildhall, Guildford; the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay; Blackwood Miners’ Institute; Allendale Music Club; Chelmsford Cathedral and St. David’s Hall, Cardiff.
In May, 2001, the Ensemble was a prizewinner at the European Musique d’Ensemble competition at the Paris Conservatoire. They are also members of the late Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now! scheme which takes live music performances into the wider community – to hospitals, residential homes for the elderly, schools and centres for the disabled and prisons.
In 2000, the Ensemble launched its own education project Sounds Exciting (Patron Neil Black OBE) which runs in conjuction with their recital work visiting local schools and universities. They also perform and direct chamber music courses at Hawkwood College, Gloucestershire. Forthcoming concerts include recitals at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and the Petworth Festival.
Reviews of the Aurora Ensemble:
‘wonderfully idiomatic…………a committed performance’
BBC Radio 3
‘Fresh from their regional conquests at home and abroad, the young inspired instrumentalists epitomise the best emanating from our music colleges. Their attitude and musicality brought a freshness and spontaneity in both repertoire and presentation’