Alexandra and Charlotte Reid have been performing violin duets together for over twenty years. As a Violin Duo they have given numerous recitals, including for the Amersham Festival, Winchester Cathedral, Wendover Music Society, Wooburn Festival, Little Missenden Festival AGM, and for Maidenhead Music Society at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts. They have also given a series of performances in London at venues including St. James’s Church, Piccadilly and Southwark Cathedral, as well as in Cambridge at Kettle’s Yard, West Road Concert Hall, and the Fitzwilliam Museum. Concerto appearances have included a tour of Germany performing Bach’s Concerto in D minor for two violins with Wycombe High School, and performances of concerti by Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
In 2006 both sisters received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music where they gave frequent duo performances, as well as receiving tuition from Thomas Brandis, Hartmut Rohde, Aleksander Pavlovic, Marianne Thorsen, and renowned Violin Duo Jennifer and Angela Chun. They each won chamber music prizes at the Academy, Charlotte as recipient of the Sir John Barbirolli Prize and Alexandra of the Max Pirani Award, as well as giving a duo performance of Moskowski’s Suite for two violins and piano, op. 71 in the Duke’s Hall.
As keen chamber musicians, Alexandra and Charlotte are the violinists of the Hampden Quartet. Formed in 2006 with friends from the Academy, the Quartet has given numerous recitals including a series of performances in Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire, from where they took their name. The Quartet has also performed at St James’s Palace for an evening celebrating the sixtieth Anniversary of NATO, and in July they played at the Tower of London for a reception celebrating the arrival of the Olympic Torch in London. Following a concert in 2009, an article in the Financial Times stated: “I don’t think anyone was unmoved by the ardour and commitment with which this group delivered the soul-harrowing slow movement of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden quartet and the exuberant finale of Beethoven’s opus 130″.
Both sisters also love orchestral playing, and while at school they led the National Children’s Orchestra before going on to lead the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain from 2004-2006. This included giving a performance live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune as the violinists of a quartet representing the Orchestra. Since graduating from the Academy they have worked with orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, London Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and Britten Sinfonia. They are also the Leader and Principal 2nd Violin of the Orchestra of St. Paul’s, Covent Garden. Alexandra and Charlotte take an active interest in education work, and have twice toured the UK as part of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music Quest project.
Music for Violin Duo is not widely known in the chamber music world, but Alexandra and Charlotte enjoy exploring the wealth of repertoire that exists for this combination. This includes works by composers as diverse as Purcell, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Boccherini, Suk, Sarasate, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Martinu and Milhaud. As well as performing many unaccompanied pieces the Duo works frequently on accompanied repertoire. In October 2010 they were delighted to première The Awakening by Jonathan Galton, composed for Alexandra and Charlotte together with pianist Elizabeth Burgess.
In autumn 2012 the Reid Sisters are looking forward to a series of recitals in London, Buckinghamshire, and further afield.
Alexandra Reid graduated in 2008 with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music where she completed her Postgraduate Diploma under Erich Gruenberg. Whilst at the Academy she led the Concert Orchestra, was a member of the Academy Soloists, received the Bache Fund Prize, and in her final year was Project Manager of the Leverhulme Orchestral Mentoring Scheme. As a member of the Pirani Horn Trio she won the Academy’s piano trio prize, and was invited by the British Horn Society to give a performance of the Berkeley Horn Trio, op. 44 at a Memorial Concert for Dennis Brain.
In 2006 Alexandra completed her undergraduate degree in Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge, graduating with first class honours. Whilst at Cambridge she received a University Instrumental Award, led the University Chamber Orchestra, and appeared as soloist in Mozart’s Violin Concerto in A major, K219. She was also awarded the Williamson Prize for Performance. From 2007 – 2008 she was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, with whom she toured Europe and Asia.
Alexandra has also studied with Peter Hanson and Sophie Langdon, and is now working in London. In 2010 she was appointed No. 3 Second Violin with Britten Sinfonia, with whom she has toured the UK and abroad. She has also worked with the London Sinfonietta, Aurora Orchestra, BBC National Orchestral of Wales, and the Philharmonia Orchestra, as well as playing frequently with the London Chamber Orchestra with whom she was privileged to perform at the Royal Wedding in Westminster Abbey in April 2011. Alexandra is also a member of the Goldfield Ensemble.
Charlotte Reid recently graduated with first class honours from the Royal Academy of Music where she studied with Marianne Thorsen and Clio Gould. During her undergraduate degree she was awarded the Franz Rezenstein prize, the Goetze Bequest Award, the Vivian Dunn Prize and the Poulett Scholarship. In her first year she led the Royal Academy of Music String Orchestra, and most recently she led the Academy Symphony Orchestra under Pablo Heras-Casado. She has also led the Academy Composers’ Orchestra and has been Principal 2nd Violin of the Academy Opera Orchestra. In July 2009 she performed on BBC Four as part of the documentary How to be a Composer.
Prior to her time at the Academy Charlotte studied with Peter Hanson. In 2006 she completed her fifth year with the National Youth Orchestra, having been accepted as the year’s youngest violinist in 2002. During her time with the orchestra she performed under Yan Pascal Tortelier, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Colin Davis at the BBC Proms. She was appointed leader for the orchestra’s 2005 and 2006 seasons, which included leading the NYO Sinfonietta in a Chamber Prom at Cadogan Hall.
Charlotte performs extensively outside the Academy, including in 2009 a series of solo recitals in Oxford and London with pianist Daniel Swain. She has worked with orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta, London Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra with whom she participated in the LSO String Scheme during 2009/10. She has also recently received the Meyer Foundation Orchestral Award from the Philharmonia Orchestra. In September 2010 Charlotte started a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music.