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Julia MacDonell (horn) & Alexander Thomas (harp).

  • The Ascension Church, Timbercroft Lane, Plumstead, London, SE18 2SG United Kingdom (map)
 Julia MacDonell

Julia MacDonell

Originally from Australia, Julia studied at the Australian National University with Dominic Harvey. She played with Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Stopera and the Haydn Bande, and conducted the National Capital Orchestra.

In 2007 Julia moved to the UK to study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with David McClenaghan, Hugh Potts and David Flack. She received an RSAMD Postgraduate Trust scholarship and completed her Masters of Music (Performance). She won an apprenticeship with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and performed as a soloist with the Dunedin Consort.

After completing her studies Julia relocated to London. She freelanced and toured with the Bloomsbury Opera, the Beethoven Ensemble, the Co-Opera Co., the London Classical Soloists, Orpheus Sinfonia and has recorded with Happy Penguin Hungry Bear and Pisces Rising Epic Renditions. Julia taught across London and ran orchestral workshops.

For a brief spell Julia lived in Paris, she played with l'Orchestre de la Cité Internationale, but she popped back to play with Ruthless Jabiru and to Sweden at the Aurora Chamber Music Festival. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Regional and Community Development at Monash University, with an eye to expand here career as a workshop facilitator in participatory arts projects.

Now back in London Julia is playing with the Co-Opera Co. and the London Classical Soloists, teaches for Arts First CIC, the Nucleo Project and the London Sistema Orchestra and runs workshops at Mini Mozart. She is also an Assistant Workshop Leader of the Wigmore Hall Chamber Tots programme.

 Alexander Thomas (harp).

Alexander Thomas (harp).

Born and raised on the Wirral, Alexander Thomas is a young dynamic musician who graduated with a BA (hons) from the University of York and an MA in composition from the University of Sussex.  As a professional musician he has given Recitals in a huge variety of venues from concert halls to street festivals to Five star hotels, more than one derelict church and even several pubs (including one sell out event as part of Manchester Pride)

As well as events, private functions and recitals, Alexander is a keen orchestral player having played atRoyal Albert Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, York Minster, St. John’s Smith Square amongst many other venues. Most recently he has performed with the London Mahler Orchestra, Orion Symphony Orchestra, Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Vitae as well as maintaining links with numerous community orchestras and choirs across London and the UK.

He is currently the resident harpist at Sherborne (formerly Canford) Summer School of Music in Dorset which congregates every summer. Previously he has worked with the prestigious National Youth Music Theatre as both harpist and pastoral care support. Most recently he performed as a featured musician in Morphic Graffiti’s highly acclaimed off-west end production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel at the Arcola Theatre in East London in the summer of 2014.

His experience in the pop sphere began as part of Brighton’s vibrant music scene and more recently to further work with a number of up and coming bands and singer/songwriters. A highlight had been accompanying iconic musician Rick Wakeman on his UK tour of Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Other celebrity clients have included David Bailey, Patricia Routledge, and recently he was part of a feature in Tatler magazine.

He currently works with acclaimed jazz singer Alexander Stewart, with whom he has had the privilege of performing with at the Manchester Pride George House Trust vigil, live on BBC Radio Manchester and live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme. The pair are currently planning a UK Tour as well as working in the recording studio.

Alexander has a particular passion for exploring new repertoire for the harp, particularly in an accompanimental role to singers and instrumentalists in works initially written for piano accompaniment. He has also put his skills as an arranger in a version part of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols for solo voice. He studied harp in London with Gabriella Dall’Olio for five years, alongside further lessons with Rachel Masters, having participated in masterclasses with such eminent harpists as Fabrice Pierre, Sylvain Blassel, Marie-Pierre Langlamet and Willy Postma.

Alexander is also a flautist, saxophonist and singer, as well as a composer. He has studied composition with Thomas Simaku, Martin Butler, Ed Hughes and Malcolm Singer, and has had orchestral, solo, chamber and theatre works performed across the UK and further afield in Spain and Italy. He co-devised a new piece of theatre-with-music with international research-based theatre company Root Experience for the 2011 Brighton Fringe Festival entitled Berlinernacht, based on the music of the Berlin Kabarett scene of the 1930s, for which he arranged the music and wrote English lyrics himself. He has had works performed at the St Magnus International Festival on Orkney as well as his orchestration of Vaughan Williams’ song cycle The House of Life premiered by Wirral Symphony Orchestra under Jonathan Small, sung by baritone Louis Hurst.

Earlier Event: June 24
Abraxas Ensemble