Who Are We?
The Bloomsbury Story
Eva de Vries, Janell Yeo - violins :||: Rachel Maxey - viola :||: Felicity Smith - cello
“I’m really excited by the Bloomsbury Quartet and am convinced that they will soon become a name on the classical music circuit. They are forward-thinking with big ideas, but also when they play, you get a real sense that they are on a mission to share their love of music with their audiences. Truly a group to watch out for.”
- Clare Norburn, Artistic Director, Stroud Green Festival
The Bloomsbury Quartet was formed in September 2017, when Eva and Felicity met while chamber music speed dating. Rather than the usual first date awkwardness, they wished the 20 minute time slot would never end! Two was great, but four is so much better; Janell and Rachel joined in and they have not looked back since!
In addition to winning the 2018 Stroud Green Festival’s Ensemble Scheme, the quartet commemorated the centenary anniversary of the First World War at China Exchange in London’s Chinatown, East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and the Petworth Festival. The Bloomsbury Quartet is the Wigmore Hall/Open Academy Fellowship Ensemble for the 2018/19 season, creating a series of musical experiences in educational and community outreach contexts, and making their Wigmore Hall debut. Recent highlights include performing in the Lake District Summer Music Patron’s Series and reaching the finals of the St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Competition. Looking ahead, the quartet is preparing for its upcoming 2019/2020 UK tour of ReCentred, a programme inspired by the life and works of Elizabeth Maconchy.
As soloists, the members of the Bloomsbury Quartet won competition prizes in the Netherlands, Singapore and the UK. Individually, they are also recipients of the Marylebone Student Award, Howard Davis Scholarship, John Booth Prize, the HSBC Youth Excellence Award, and the Diana Award; all in recognition of their talent, dedication to music making and ability to communicate and share music with others. As orchestral musicians, they have played with the Britten Sinfonia, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Metropole Orchestra, and taken part in the CBSO String Training, Oxford Philharmonic Apprenticeship Scheme, Birmingham Royal Ballet Apprenticeship Scheme and Southbank Sinfonia.
Eva, Janell, Rachel and Felicity are all passionate about inspiring and developing current and future generations of musicians and music-lovers. They believe that by using outreach projects, alternative concert formats, and social media they can successfully engage new and returning audiences alike. The Bloomsbury Quartet are receiving regular coaching from Levon Chilingirian (Chilingirian Quartet) and Jon Thorne (Badke Quartet), and have also been coached by Hartmut Rohde, the Doric Quartet, Jim Sleigh, Michael Bochmann and Leandro Silvera.
Eva plays a Giovanni Rota (Cremona 1808) violin, and Felicity a Tibor Semmelweis (London 2016) cello, kindly on loan from the Royal Academy of Music. Janell plays with a Jean-Thibouville-Lamy “Sarasate Virtuose” bow, sponsored by the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Foundation.