The Musicians

"Beyond praise" Fanfare (USA)

Martin Feinstein – flute/recorder/director

Martin Feinstein-formal 2
Martin Feinstein is recognised as one of this country’s leading period performers.
After playing jazz piano and guitar from a young age, Martin only began playing the flute as a fifteen year old, inspired by hearing the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Three years later he started flute and recorder studies at the Royal College of Music and there won a German Government Scholarship which enabled him to continue his training in Hamburg with the great German flautist Karlheinz Zoeller. After spells working with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and Ensemble Modern, he returned to London to form and direct the Feinstein Ensemble.
As a soloist and with his ensemble, his chamber and concerto recordings for Naxos, Black Box Music, Sanctuary Records, Dutton Epoch, Barn Cottage Records and BBC Television have met with critical acclaim. Fanfare (USA) said that “Feinstein’s flute-playing is beyond praise – I have never heard better.” Gramophone described Feinstein as “A graceful player and decisive conductor.” They noted that “Feinstein has acquired a formidable command of Bach’s very particular style..these are virtuoso flute concertos played with great authenticity and consummate musicianship.”
Martin Feinstein’s love of Bach’s music continues to inspire his work.

Catherine Manson – violin/leader


Catherine Manson enjoys a versatile performing career as a soloist and chamber musician.

As first violinist of the classical London Haydn Quartet she has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Sydney Opera House. The quartet’s series of recordings of the Haydn quartets on the Hyperion label has met with high critical acclaim internationally.

She was appointed as leader of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in 2006. Together with the orchestra’s director, Ton Koopman she has recorded the six obbligato sonatas by Bach, Haydn’s concerto for violin and organ and the complete chamber music by Buxtehude. They have given many concerts together throughout Europe.

She is frequently invited as guest leader of ensembles such as Il Gardellino, Collegium Vocale, the  Smithsonian Chamber Players in USA and Arcangelo in the UK. She has recently appeared as soloist and director with Tafelmusik in Canada and with the Orquesta Barrocca de Sevilla.

Teaching has always been an important part of her musical life; in 2001 she co-founded and now directs MusicWorks, presenting chamber music courses for young musicians. In addition to giving classes and seminars at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music she has taught at the Baroque Performance Institute in Oberlin College, USA, the Granada International Festival’s ‘Musical Interpretation’ course, the Domaine Forget chamber music courses in Canada and given masterclasses at Juilliard School, Yale and Indiana Universities.

Miki Takahashi – violin


Miki Takahashi is a period violinist, performing as a soloist and a chamber musician world wide. In 2005, she won first prize and the special prize for stylistic ornamentation at the Third International Telemann Competition in Magdeburg, Germany. In that same year, Miki was awarded with the first prize as well as the audience prize at the International Music Competition Musica Antiqua in Bruges.

In subsequent years, Miki has appeared as a soloist at the Telemann Festival, Leipzig Bach Festival, Printemps des Arts 23eme Festival Baroque in Nantes, as well as giving her debut solo recital at Tokyo’s Hakuju hall in Japan and at The Schubert Club in Minnesota, USA. Her repertoire stretches from early baroque music such as Marini, Pandolfi to contemporary music.

Miki has made solo appearances with various ensembles including les Nations Japan, Musica Fiorita, Il Gardelino, Ensemble San Soucis Berlin, Brandenburg Baroque Soloists and Collegium Musicum 90. She is currently principal first/second violinist with the Feinstein Ensemble and a member of Den Haag Piano Quintet, a historical piano quintet consisting of violin, viola, cello, double bass and a fortepiano. Miki has worked as co-leader with Early Opera Company, St. James’s Baroque players, La Nuova Musica, Classical Opera Company and the Gabrieli Consort. She has worked with distinguished artists as Enrico Onofri, Monica Hugget, Marcel Ponseele, Jan de Winne, Lorenzio and Vittorio Ghielmi, Jean Lamon, Elisabeth Wallfisch, Andrew Manze, Alfredo Bernardini, Simon Standage, Amandini Bayer, Martin Feinstein, Catherine Manson, Mauris Stegmer, Glenn Wilson and Richard Gwilt.

Jane Norman – viola


Jane Norman has played violin and viola with the Feinstein Ensemble since 2000 and has played principal viola since 2009. Jane studied at the Guildhall School of Music, continuing her studies there with a post-graduate Early Music Diploma where she developed a complicated relationship with the wonderful timbre and scary unpredictability of gut strings which has continued for more than twenty years.  At an early age she was introduced to the music of Bach and Purcell by her father; she has a particular love for music of the baroque era and feels privileged and a little surprised to earn a living playing it.

Jane has toured Europe, Japan, North and South America with such groups as the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, The Sixteen and The Kings Consort and made many recordings with these and other groups. As a soloist she has recorded for The Kings Consort on the Hyperion label. She also enjoys teaching students of all ages; her youngest pupil is a six-year-old promising violinist and her oldest is a lady pianist of ninety-three who lives in a residential home and loves to revisit tunes she remembers from her younger days.

Jane now lives in Somerset, and spends her time away from music exploring the countryside with her dog and learning to paint in watercolour.

Christopher Suckling – cello


Christopher Suckling is a continuo cellist and gambist noted for his 'captivating expressivity'. He is a principal player with Gabrieli and the Feinstein Ensemble and has performed and has broadcast live as a soloist and chamber musician on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. His recordings have been critically praised for the quality of his tone and his 'exquisitely fluid' playing; the Independent has cited the 'warmth of the cello sonorities', whilst a five-star review in the BBC Music Magazine noted ‘particular highlights in Christopher Suckling's resonant cello’. His work as a director has been described as 'scintillating', 'dynamic' and 'containing moments of real beauty'.

Christopher is also an active researcher. His doctoral thesis locates the evolution of the realisation of recitative by the cellist in early eighteenth-century Italian opera and offers a method through which current cellists can explore this practice. The relationship between his performance and research has led him to act as a consultant for BBC television and to contribute performing editions to recordings, notably Handel L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and Purcell King Arthur and The Fairy Queen for Gabrieli. The resulting performances and recordings have met with universal acclaim; King Arthur won both a Helpmann Award in Australia in 2019 and the BBC Music Magazine Awards Recording of the Year in 2020.

Christopher is Head of Historical Performance and Deputy Head of Academic Studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he teaches in the Academic Studies, Research, and Historical Performance departments.

Kate Aldridge – bass


Kate Aldridge was born and bred in Dorset where she began learning the double bass aged 11. She studied at the Royal College of Music with Peter Buckoke and during that time gained places on both the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Experience for Young Players and the London Symphony Orchestra String Scheme. After graduation she went on to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Historical Performance at the Royal Academy of Music where she studied with Chi-chi Nwanoku, supported by a Winifred Disney Award. She graduated with distinction in 2005 and spent a year with the Southbank Sinfonia. Kate is now a busy freelancer, based in London. She specialises in period performance and works regularly with, amongst others, The Old Street Band (English Touring Opera), Musical and Amicable Society, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Music for Awhile, Classical Opera, Hanover Band, Florilegium, Gabrieli Consort and Players, Feinstein Ensemble, Ex Cathedra and Brecon Baroque.

Robin Bigwood – harpsichord/organ


As a continuo harpsichordist and organist Robin is a core member of Passacaglia and Feinstein Ensemble, and with them has played in most of the UK’s major festivals, in London’s concert halls, and in Europe. He has also performed and toured widely with London Baroque, Florilegium, The Sixteen, Scottish Ensemble and Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Recent solo harpsichord engagements have included Bach concertos and Preludes & Fugues in King’s Place, London, and English virginal music at Handel and Hendrix Museum in London. Published writing includes articles for Gramophone, Early Music Today and Early Music Review. Robin teaches harpsichord, fortepiano and continuo at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and has also taught at Trinity Laban and the Yehudi Menuhin School.
At the piano, Robin has a duo partnership with recorder player Annabel Knight – their recording of Gordon Jacob’s recorder works for Naxos received much critical acclaim.

Alongside his work in the purely classical sphere, Robin is a respected music technologist. He founded the ensemble Art of Moog, which plays ‘21st century Hyper-Bach’ on synthesizers. He also works with major music publishers and record labels as a producer, sound recordist, editor and programmer. His own label, Barn Cottage Records, now has nearly 20 albums in its catalogue, and was set up to give entrepreneurial musicians a platform for specialist projects. Since 2001 Robin has also written extensively – almost 300 techniques articles and equipment reviews – for the industry recording magazine Sound on Sound.