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CBSO Kaleidoscope Ensemble


Collette Overdijk (Violin)

Katherine Gittings (Violin)

Christopher Yates (Viola)

Helen Edgar (Cello)

Julian Atkinson ( Double Bass)

John Thwaites ( Head of Piano, Birmingham Conservatoire)

Saturday 10th March 2018


Cosy Hall



Biography CBSO Chamber Ensemble


Newport welcomes five musicians whom you may have seen perform with the CBSO at  ymphony Hall, and tonight they are joined by the acclaimed pianist John Thwaites. The familiar Trout Quintet is programmed with two other pieces which are sure to delight.


Kaleidoscope is a flexible ensemble of CBSO musicians, using wind, brass and strings in various combinations. Initially set up to perform to schools audiences, the ensembles also often performs classical chamber repertoire in the CBSO Centre Stage Series and further afield. In their schools shows, Kaleidoscope aims to bring a different, accessible dimension to a chamber music performance, explaining musical concepts in an entertaining way and using PowerPoint projections. With repertoire from Bach to Piazzolla alongside contemporary popular and gaming music (Angry Birds has appeared on occasion!), they hope to share with their young audience that music is more part of everyday life than they might assume.


John Thwaites, piano, is Head of the Department of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Director of Cadenza International Summer Music School and a founder member of the Primrose Piano Quartet. Working with many renowned instrumentalists including long time duo partnership with Cellist Alexander Baillie, he has appeared in the major British and many International Festivals, the major London concert halls, and on British and other radio and television channels, including BBC Radio Three Lunchtime broadcasts and appearances for "In Tune". In his role as Head of Piano at the Conservatoire, John recently directed a celebrity-studded All Night Gala at Birmingham Town Hall.

Helen Edgar won chamber and solo cello prizes at The Royal Academy of Music, studying  chamber music with members of The Amadeus, Alberni and Borodin String Quartets. After further studies at The Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and a period as cellist of the ensemble in  esidence at Britten-Pears Foundation, she joined the BBC Concert Orchestra and later the CBSO. Active in the CBSO's education programme, Helen also teaches cello at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She is a founder member of the educational string quartet, The Stringcredibles, dedicated to supporting the relationship between performers and audiences by inspiring creativity in schools and community settings.


Violinist Katharine Gittings joined the CBSO under Sir Simon Rattle. She has toured and made recordings with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group with conductors including Thomas Ades and Oliver Knussen. Katharine has been Leader of Longborough Festival Orchestra since 2001, including three complete Wagner's Ring cycles in 2013. Katharine is firmly committed to encouraging the next generation of violinists, teaching and coaching at amongst others, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire & the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Schools' Symphony Orchestra and National Children’s Orchestra.


Christopher Yates studied with Stephen Shingles, Bruno Giuranna, Nobuko Imai and the members of the Amadeus Quartet at the Royal Academy of Music. He was the first viola player to reach the national final of the LSO String Competition where he played the Bartók Concerto with the LSO in the Barbican. At the age of 22 Christopher became the principal viola with the BBC Scottish Symphony  Orchestra and became the viola section leader with the CBSO eighteen months later. He has appeared as a soloist with the CBSO on many occasions, playing the solo parts in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, Tippett’s Triple Concerto, and Britten’s Lachrymae. Christopher is a member of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and has undertaken many tours, recordings and television and radio broadcasts with them. He has given the world premieres of new pieces written for him and BCMG by many eminent composers including Thea Musgrave, John Woolrich and Howard Skempton.

Dutch violinist Colette Overdijk finished her Masters at The Royal College of Music before joining Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger Simfoniorkester (Norway) and, since August 2016, the CBSO. Playing chamber music with her colleagues from the CBSO is very inspiring and important to her, and she frequently performs in the CBSO's lunchtime chamber series, Centre Stage.

Julian Atkinson has been a member of the CBSO Double Bass section for over 30 years. Highlights with each of the Music Director eras have included performing Haydn, Debussy and Janacek with Sir Simon Rattle, Sibelius with Sakari Oramo, and Wagner and Strauss with Andris Nelsons. He’s looking forward to Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla’s Debussy Festival in the Spring. Julian enjoys teaching budding bass players in school and coaching youth orchestras. At the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire he runs the bass orchestral workshops.Married to Katharine Gittings, in his spare time he might well be found running along the rivers and canals of South Birmingham, digging the garden or on a day trip to the country. Raised in Scotland, Julian still has porridge for breakfast.

This concert is sponsored by the Newport Music Coach.
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