"The percussion and the bass.....function as the
central heating system of the orchestra." Stravinsky
The Double bass came into Helen's
life somewhat by accident at a later stage in her musical journey! She enjoys playing with orchestras and in chamber
music projects on a regular basis, and has also given solo recitals exploring the repertoire
for unaccompanied bass and for bass with piano.
She has studied with Cathy Elliott, who is also an ongoing mentor to her ever evolving bass journey.
She recently enjoyed some intensive periods of study with Jurek Dybal, co-principal of the Vienna Philharmonic at the
Prades Festival. Helen holds a diploma in performance on the double bass.
She has enjoyed travels to as far afield as Mumbai and China with the bass, and
much enjoys more local UK excursions to places including Brighton, Cornwall, Somerset and Eastbourne.......anywhere she can
swim in the sea as well as play the bass always tends to favour a positive response!! In addition to her professional freelance
engagements, she also much enjoys supporting groups of young musicians with her bass wherever she can - especially cello orchestras!
One of her favourite books is "The Double Bass" by Patrick Suskind: "A
monologue by a bass player about what it is like to be a dirty worker in a glorious profession."!
didn't take it up out of choice. It was more by accident, like the virgin's pregnancy......Come to mention it,
I can't think of any others becoming a double-bassist by choice either. Makes sense really. It's not exactly
a manageable instrument. It's more of an obstacle than a musical instrument. It's not possible to pick
it up and carry it, so it just has to trail along behind you everywhere, and if it ever falls over, then it's had it......If
you have friends around, it always hogs the limelight. Noone will talk about anything else........No, you really aren't
born to be a bass-player. You get there by all kinds of detours, accidents and disappointments." Patrick Suskind
After some fairly accidental life events led Helen to the bass, and brought her to the very roots
of the orchestra, it was an instant love affair, which has continued to flourish and develop, and is an ever evolving and
much enjoyed part of her life. She is convinced that she has found the best seat in the orchestral house, and is willing to
deal with (almost!) any level of bass logistics plotting to get there.
This unexpected voyage
has provided an opportunity to experience as an adult some of the feelings of pure joy of discovery and raw excitement of
developing new abilities and experiences, as her students frequently do. She has likewise had to deal with some of the
issues of the challenges and potential obstacles which can fall in the path of any student learning an instrument. This
all helps her to have a better understanding of what her students are often going through during their paths of learning and
helps her to be able to relate to them more closely.
Music repertoire includes:
Piazzolla: Fuga e Misterioso
Schubert: Trout Quintet - with various friends and colleagues including the Paulina Quintet, faculty of St Paul's
Schubert: Gesang der Geister unter den Wassern - performed at St Endellion Festival with singers
including Marc Padmore, Roderick Williams, Peter Hoare, Robert Davies.
Stravinsky: Soldier's Tale - performed
with the Simon Callaghan Ensemble narrated by Timothy West
Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals - performed at
the St Endellion Festival with players including Charles Owen and Lowri Porter.
Bach: Cantata "Ich will
den Kreutzab gerne tragen" - performed at the St Endellion Festival with Matthew Brook
Various programmes with
groups including Ensemble Suavis; The Colour House Ensemble; The Marmara Trio and friends
is known for being a strong and reliable musical foundation point for the orchestral repertoire in a variety of settings.
She has covered a wide range of orchestral repertoire on double bass in concerts, and has done many of the main principal
bass solos from the repertoire in concert. Repertoire covered includes a broad collection of the symphonic repertoire, concertos,
overtures, choral works and some opera. She has worked under a range of conductors and enjoys helping out various communities
and meeting an interesting array of people along the way!
She has played as principal bass for orchestras including
St Paul's Sinfonia; Paradisal Players; Corinthian Chamber Orchestra; Haydn Chamber Orchestra; St Endellion Festival Orchestra
and the Amadeus Orchestra. She has built repertoire experience on a regular basis over several years with these orchestras
and many more. Mostly available for weekend circuit concerts and holiday period festivals.
Orchestral fixers can
book Helen via MAS on 01306 500011.