Fenella Humphreys - Violin

Fenella Humphreys, winner of the 2018 BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award, has won critical admiration and audience acclaim with the lyrical grace and intensity of her playing.

Described in the press as “alluring”, “unforgettable” and “a wonder”, Fenella is one of the UK’s most established and versatile violinists. She enjoys a busy career combining chamber music and solo work, performing in prestigious venues around the world. She is frequently broadcast on the BBC, Classic FM, DeutschlandRadio Berlin, West-Deutsche-Rundfunk, ABC Classic FM (Australia) and Korean radio.

Fenella performs widely as a soloist. Her first concerto recording, of Christopher Wright’s Violin Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Martin Yates (Dutton Epoch) was released in 2012 to great critical acclaim (“Fenella Humphreys’ performance is a wonder” – International Record Review), and was selected as Orchestral CD of the Month in a 5 star review in BBC Music Magazine.

Over the past decade Fenella has captured international attention by applying spellbinding virtuosity to a strikingly broad range of compositions. Her Bach 2 the Future albums, the second of which won the coveted BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award, combined newly commissioned works with two of Bach’s solo sonatas and partitas and other repertoire landmarks. She has given the first performances of scores by, among others, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Sally Beamish, Gordon Crosse, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Adrian Sutton and Piers Hellawell, and made the world premiere recording of Christopher Wright’s elegiac Violin Concerto.

Fenella’s most recent disc, Four Seasons Recomposed with Covent Garden Sinfonia and Ben Palmer (Rubicon), was released in June 2019. The album unites Max Richter’s iconic Recomposed: The Four Seasons with Pēteris Vasks’ Lonely Angel and Arvo Pärt’s Fratres to produce a compelling meditation on the profound power of melody. The disc was launched with a performance of Recomposed at Proms at St Jude’s, and was placed at No. 6 in the Classical Charts. It was BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Concerto Choice’ in September 2019; was chosen as one of BBC Radio 3’s pick of new releases on Essential Classics; and for Apple Music’s Classical A-List; was Scala Radio’s Album of the Week, and was been described by Radio 3’s Record Review as “…a delight. The whole thing is gently expressive, meditative, touching and very effective.”

Fenella’s previous disc, So Many Stars with acclaimed pianist Nicola Eimer, was released on Stone Records in February 2019. It was described as “hugely rewarding” by The Observer; “an absolutely exquisite album” by BBC Radio 3’s Record Review, and was The Strad’s Recommended Recording that month.

Fenella is a passionate chamber musician, enjoying performances with Ensemble Perpetuo, Counterpoise and I Musicanti as well as collaborations with artists including Alexander Baillie, Adrian Brendel, Pekka Kuusisto, Alec Frank-Gemmill and Martin Lovett, and is regularly invited by Steven Isserlis to take part in the prestigious Open Chamber Music at the International Musicians’ Seminar, Prussia Cove. Concertmaster of the Deutsche Kammerakademie, Fenella also enjoys guest leading and directing various ensembles in Europe.

Fenella’s teachers have included Sidney Griller CBE, Itzhak Rashkovsky, Ida Bieler and David Takeno at the Purcell School, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Robert-Schumann-Hochschule in Düsseldorf where she was awarded the highest attainable marks both for the ‘Diplom’ exam and the ‘Konzertexamen’ soloists’ diploma.

Fenella plays a beautiful violin from the circle of Peter Guarneri of Venice, kindly on loan from Jonathan Sparey.

We've had the pleasure of performing with Fenella on three occasions: for Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1 in November 2008, for Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No 1 in March 2014 and for Korngold's Violin Concerto in June 2017. Fenella was due to return in June 2020 to perform Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No 2 with us, and we look forward to rescheduling this for a future concert.

Find out more about Fenella and her forthcoming engagements at www.fenellahumphreys.com.