The Cairn Quartet String ensemble perform across the world in all settings, from intimate settings to extravagant productions. They are equally at home playing for weddings and corporate events as they are on the concert stage from small intimate gatherings to Arenas.
Formed in 2007 whilst busking on the streets of Glasgow, the Cairn String Quartet are graduates of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) After winning the prestigious Scottish Institute for Enterprise New Ideas competition for entrepreneurial young Scots, the Cairn String Quartet and it's alter ego, the Electric String Orchestra hasn’t looked back.
Specialising in the arrangement and performance of all musical genres, but particularly rock and pop, the quartet provides a tailored made experience designed to make your event memorable and unique. Their very own string arrangements, as well as collaborating with other Scottish composers and arrangers, has led their playlist to be like no other, from Bach to Beyonce, Mozart to Metallica and Sinatra to Star Wars!
Cairn String Quartet have always taken pride in their efficient and personal customer service, and will be happy to answer any questions you might have regarding any event.
Emma B (Violin)
Emma Allingham began playing the violin at the age of 8. She is currently in her fourth year of study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where, after three years of tutelage under Katie Hull, she now studies with Ruth Croutch.
Emma has taken part in solo masterclasses with Harold Herzl, Fionola Hunt, Ilya Gringolts, Leland Chen and Maciej Rakowski, as well as chamber music coachings from Peter Manning, Pierre Doumenge and the Brodsky Quartet.
A keen orchestral, and chamber music performer, Emma has performed with many youth orchestras including The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, and the Copernicus International Students Symphony Orchestra. She has played Principal Second violin with Edinburgh Youth Orchestra and the RCS Chamber Orchestra, and next year she will take part in the Scottish Opera/RCS Mentoring Scheme.
Gergely Horvath was born in Budapest (Hungary), and started playing the violin when he was 6. In 1993, he was accepted at the Zoltán Kodály Hungarian School of Choir. He played at the Ede Zathureczky Violin Competiton, the Bartók-duos Competition and played for concerts with the Symphonic Orchestra of Ernő Dohnányi Music School in the Netherlands and in Switzerland.
In 2001, he was accepted at the Bartók Conservatoir, Budapest. During these years he took part in several master courses such as the Summer Academy of International Junior Musicians in Debrecen, Pal Eder's master class, and Vilmos Szabadi's master course in Keszthely.
After finishing the Conservatoir in 2006, he got the Louis Stevenson Scholarship at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, studying under Peter Lissauer. In 2006 he won the Robert Highgate Prize for Violin, and as member of the Cosmopolitan Quartet, he won all the Academy's major chamber music competitons, and toured around Scotland and England.
He have had masterclasss with numeruous artists, such as Ilyan Gringolts, Andras Keller, Jonathan Morton and Daniel Bell. With the Horvath Quartet, he have had several masterclasses with the Maggini and Brodsky Quartet, and recently asked by the RSAMD to perform Sir Maxwell Davies' 8th Naxos Quartet for the celebration of his 75th Birthday.
He has lead the Academy's opera production in Cosi fan Tutte, and he recently performed with Scottish Opera as part of their Apprenticeship Scheme.
Katie is a professional freelance violinist with several years experience of performing. Born in 1984 and brought up near Tain in the Highlands, Katie began learning the violin at the age of seven. Before accepting her place at RSAMD, Katie enjoyed playing in a number of ensembles and folk groups, and was also a member of The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. With these ensembles she was given the opportunity to play abroad in Krakow in Poland, and also toured Montana in the USA.
In 2005 she graduated from the RSAMD with BA Hons having studied violin with Jerre Gibson and Olivier Lemoine, as well as viola with Lev Atlas. During her time there Katie was involved in the busy orchestral programme at the Academy including symphony, chamber and opera orchestras, leading and co-leading the orchestras. She was awarded the John McInulty Prize for Orchestral String Playing in 2004.
As First Violinist with the Ragazzi String Quartet, she was invited to Berwick-upon-Tweed to take part in the Paxton House Summer Music Festival in July 2005, performing Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet at the Young Musicians Platform. That same month, the Ragazzi Quartet worked alongside critically acclaimed guitarist Allan Neave, on the soundtrack for a nationwide television advert for Minute Maid Juices.
Katie has since returned to the RSAMD, and completed a Postgraduate Diploma, which she achieved with distinction.
As well as her busy freelance schedule, present Katie enjoys teaching children of all ages for local councils and the RSAMD Musicworks centres.
Catherine (aka Cat) began playing the violin at the age of eight after deciding to rebel against her brass teacher father. After playing for six years throughout school, Cat went on to study at the RSAMD (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) junior school for four years and continued on to the senior academy, where she studied violin with Peter Lissuaer, Edwin Paling and Justine Watts.
Whilst at the Academy, Cat performed regularly with the symphony, chamber and opera orchestras, and was a member of many smaller chamber groups. During her fourth and final year, Cat took a keen interest in electroacoustic composition, and after gaining a 2:1 BMus (Hons) degree, she went on to study for a diploma in sound engineering from the world renowned SAE. Cat has also taught for both Angus and East Renfrewshire councils and the Musicworks project, as well as enjoying a busy private teaching schedule.
Cat eventually gave in to her fathers requests, and also took up the euphonium alongside her violin, although she likes to keep this secret. Maybe the opportunity for a guest spot with the Cairn Quartet will arise in the near future...
Gillian began learning the violin at the age of 9 under Jane Ferguson before being accepted into the Junior Academy of Music in 2006 where she was taught by Jerre Gibson.
She enjoys playing in orchestras and has done so from an early age, including West of Scotland Schools Symphony Orchestra, Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Camerata Scotland. She was also lucky enough to be one of a small group asked to play at the MOBO awards in 2009.
Away from her studies, Gillian is a violin tutor at Inverclyde Junior Strings, the orchestra she first started in herself at the age of 10.
Currently studying with Justine Watts and in her final year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Gillian is looking forward to future opportunities and the year ahead.
Charlotte began violin lessons at the age of five, having been raised in a very musical household. Her mother was a violinist in the Royal National Scottish Orchestra and her grandfather was principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra. When Charlotte was in her last year of Primary School when she was awarded a place at the junior department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. It was here that her love of performing begun to grow through weekly lessons, orchestral rehearsals, concerts and the opportunity play to an audience regularly. Charlotte’s teacher at the RSAMD encouraged her to audition for both the National Children’s’ Orchestra of Scotland and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, both of which she became a member of. Through these orchestras, Charlotte performed in prestigious concert halls as the Berlin Concerthaus and in the Albert Hall as part of the ‘Proms’ series. This ignited her passion for orchestral performance and spurred her on to audition for a place at Music College.
In 2003, Charlotte began an undergraduate course at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating in 2008 with a BMus(hons) Degree and Postgraduate Diploma in orchestral performance.
After completing her studies, she was given the opportunity to move to Chile, South America to work with the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Teatro Municipal – the most prestigious opera house in South America. After working and living abroad for two years, she decided to return back to the UK to pursue her career as a musician.
Since moving back to the UK, Charlotte has had the opportunity of performing regularly with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Hull Sinfonietta, Welsh Session Orchestra, Manchester Concert Orchestra, Scottish Festival Orchestra and with Skipton Camerata.
In her spare time Charlotte enjoys walking her wee pug, aptly named Puglet!
Jenna first started studying viola aged 17 at the RSAMD as part of her BMus(honours) degree. She studied both viola and violin and took a particular interest in traditional and gypsy music while studying. During her degree she was heavily involved in symphony orchestra, string orchestra, quartets and duos and played in several string masterclasses, learning from accomplished musicians such as the Brodsky Quartet, Garth Knox, Lawrence Power, Barbara Westphal and of course her tutor, the one and only Lev Atlas.She regularly performs as part of the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and several professional chamber groups around Scotland. She has worked with Traditional Artists such as Dick Gaughan, Karen Mathieson and Capercaillie, and has performed with Chipmunk, Emeli Sandé and Professor Green.Jenna has her own teaching practice where she teaches young people violin and piano and teaches for the Royal Conservatoire at Musicworks String Project in Dumfries & Galloway. Teaching youngsters is something she loves and is currently working towards her PGDE in Secondary Music Teaching.
Irish born, Annemarie began studying viola at the age of 17 with Elizabeth Csibi at the Royal Irish Academy of Music Junior School. Awarded an Irish Permanent High Achievers Award and numerous Feiseanna prizes, Annemarie continued her studies at the RSAMD in Glasgow receiving both a degree and then Post Graduate Diploma in Music Performance under the tutalage of Lev Atlas, principal viola Scottish Opera, and Andrew Berridge, co-principal of BBCSSO. Annemarie has performed in many masterclasses, including Robin Ireland, Gareth Knox and Barbara Westphal. Annemarie is a keen chamber musician, involved with various ensembles, and performed regularly RSAMD's Symphony, Chamber and Opera Orchestras. She recently performed with Scottish Opera and their Apprenticeship Scheme. Annemarie enjoys teaching violin and viola, and was awarded a distinction in the Techniques of Teaching on her degree endorsement.
Annemarie's passion lies in composing string arrangements, particularly for bands and solo artists for recording and performing which she does regularly on both violin and viola. Her string arrangements can be heard on albums by Muhsinah (the noisettes), Celtic's Johnny Mac and the Faithful and X factors Danyl Johnson and Gamu. Recently, Annemarie arranged many string orchestra arrangements for the Echo & the Bunnymen Ocean Rain tour. Annemarie loves working with bands onstage as well as in the studio. She will join Ian McCulloch on his solo world tour this year.
Annemarie is also highly skilled in live improvisation.
In her spare time, Annemarie enjoys being fairly stereotypically Irish - baking ridiculous looking cakes and drinking tea.
Annemarie is the clumsiest person she knows.
Susan Appelbe (Cello)
Elspeth Mackay was born in Glasgow and began playing the Cello aged 7. She studied at the RSAMD Junior Academy of Music with Patricia Hair and Betsy Taylor before moving to London to continue her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Stefan Popov and Pierre Doumenge. Since graduating in 2007 with BMus(Hons) Elspeth has established a varied career combining performing, teaching and her passion for arranging. Elspeth is responsible for several classic Cairn Quartet arrangements including Flashdance and Blondie's Atomic.
Whilst in London Elspeth performed in many notable venues including the Barbican Centre and Cadogan Hall with the GSMD symphony orchestras.
Elspeth regularly performs with various ensembles including the Cairn String Quartet, the Allestri Ensemble and in her most recent venture project the Cello Duo 'Cellobrations!' with fellow Cellist and good friend Fiona McLachlan. The duo gave its debut recital in Glasgow Cathedral in September 2010.
A passionate and committed teacher, Elspeth currently works as a cello instructor for the East Dunbartonshire instrumental music service.
Canadian soprano Barbara completed her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland this June, where she studied under Clare Shearer. In her first year at the Conservatoire she won the Governors’ Recital Prize in Singing (RCS) and was ‘commended’ in the Margaret Dick Award (RCS). Her operatic performances include 'Queen of the Night' in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (RCS), '3rdWild Goose' and 'Fido' in Britten's Paul Bunyan (British Youth Opera), and ‘Eurydice’ in Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers (Franco-American Vocal Academy, Périgueux, France). She has also understudied the role of ‘Lucia’ in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia (RCS) and appeared as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Kodaly’s Missa Brevis (University of Victoria, Canada).
As an active performer of contemporary music she collaborated with composer Jay Capperauld to create and record Spitting, performed and recorded the Canadian premiere of In the Dark by Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour, and sang first soprano in the chamber opera Puddle Wonderful by Matthew Whiteside.
Barbara also has extensive experience singing musical theatre and can croon a mean Jack Johnson ballad.
Scottish soprano Katrina Nimmo graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2012, where she studied on the Master of Music course with Wilma Macdougall. A versatile performer, she has experience on the opera stage, oratorio and recital platforms as well as singing for Glasgow Cathedral Choir, the Cairn String Quartet and Music in Hospitals on a regular basis. Whilst at the RCS, Katrina was awarded Highly Commended in the Hugh S Roberton Scots Song competition and the Ramsay Calder Debussy Prize. She took part in public masterclasses with Malcom Martineau and Roy Howatt, where she worked on romantic French repertoire.
Since graduating, Katrina has continued to work on her voice, taking part in courses with Ryland Davies and Audrey Hyland, and continuing her lessons with Wilma MacDougall and Helen Lawson. Upcoming work includes covering the role of Cathy in the Music in The Minster’s production of Whistle Down the Wind (Labey/Taylor), solo and chorus roles in Edinburgh Studio Opera’s King Arthur (Purcell) and the soprano solos in Haydn’s Harmonienmesse with the Glasgow Chamber Choir. Katrina is also an experienced teacher and gives vocal workshops to musical theatre groups and choirs.
Richard Bett (Composer)
Glasgow based Richard Bett, is currently studying and composing at the Royal Scottish Academey of Music and Drama. Equally proficient in Piano, Clarinet and saxophone, Richard has been in demand as both composer and arranger of music from a young age. Richard has recieved the prestigious award for compositional studies from the RSAMD and is pleased to have own compositions and arrangements publicly performed throughout Scotland by differing ensembles.
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