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‘Wiltshire Quartet’ makes its ‘Music in Farley’ debut

‘Wiltshire Quartet’ makes its ‘Music in Farley’ debut

January 2015

The ‘Wiltshire Quartet’ made its ‘Music in Farley’ debut at a Burns Night concert at All Saints Church, Farley, on January 24. They performed works by Bach and Tchaikovsky which were warmly received.

Originally formed as a supporting ensemble for the annual ‘Farley Music Festival’ and known as the Farley Quartet, the group decided, after playing many concerts and other engagements in and around Wiltshire, to rename itself the ‘Wiltshire Quartet’.

Founding members Catherine Clark Demetriadi (violin) and Martin Alford (viola, piano and organ) have been joined by their new leader, Bill Benham (violin and viola), and cellist Dawn Thompson (see ’Notes to Editors for biographies). Since December, the quartet has performed at St Thomas’s Christmas Tree Festival in Salisbury, while at St Mary’s Church in Dorchester they played in support of Footprints, a charity dedicated to helping newly released prisoners.

The group will be playing the beautifully moving ‘Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross’ by Josef Haydn on Good Friday (April 3) at St Mary the Virgin Church Potterne, Wiltshire, and at the Chamber Music Club, United Reformed Church, Fisherton St, Salisbury on Holy Saturday (April 4). They can be heard again during the annual Farley Music Festival opening concert on June 9, 2015. The programme will include Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ‘On Wenlock Edge’ and Mozart’s oboe quintet, with guest oboist Gaynor Alford.

To enquire about future performances or the availability of the Quartet for concerts, weddings, etc., contact Catherine Demetriadi at thewiltshirequartet@gmail.com.

All the members of the ‘Wiltshire Quartet’ live in Salisbury and the Wiltshire surrounding area. Their biographies are as follows:

Catherine Clark Demetriadi – violin

Catherine C. Demetriadi is Head of Development at the Royal School of Church Music. She began her violin studies as a student of Anne Gombosi, principal of the All Newton Music School near Boston, USA, continuing in high school with Joe Schaaf at the Cambridge School of Weston, Massachusetts. Her chamber music and orchestral playing took off during summers at Greenwood Music Camp in western Massachusetts.

Catherine moved to Wiltshire in 2009 and now plays with the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and the Salisbury Sinfonia as well as ‘gigging’ for charity events and playing in worship services. She was a founding member of the Farley Quartet along with Martin Alford, and the two of them joined forces with Bill Benham and Dawn Thompson in the autumn of 2014 to form the Wiltshire Quartet, which made its Salisbury and Dorset debuts in December. She also sings with various ‘pick-up’ groups, including the Farley Chorale, Poscimur and QPM and is an artist, writer, photographer, and newlywed! She lives with her husband Julian in Harnham, Salisbury.

Martin Alford – viola, organ, and piano:

Martin graduated as a Bachelor of Music at London University in 1974 and then trained as a school music teacher. He moved to Wiltshire in 1978 to be Head of Music at Pewsey Vale School, where he remained until his retirement in 2012.

He has been Musical Director of Devizes Chamber Choir 1981-91, Organist and Choirmaster of St Mary’s Market Lavington 1986-2000, and Musical Director of Swindon Gilbert and Sullivan Society 1993-2006. He freelances regularly as organist, accompanist and viola player, and is Principal Viola of Salisbury Symphony Orchestra.

Bill Benham – violin, viola

Bill studied the violin with John Sealey at Winchester and then Jean Pougnet and Homi Kanga. At the age of 20 he joined the Bath Festival Orchestra and at 22 the London Symphony Orchestra. At 27 he joined the Northern Sinfonia as co-leader. Two years later he returned to London where he worked as a freelance session musician. He also qualified as a teacher of Alexander Technique in 1979. In his forties, he took lessons from Alfredo Campoli and gave a number of recitals. He also took up the viola in 1990. Since he retired from the London scene, he has given a number of recitals in the Salisbury area, twice playing in the Warminster Festival. He has recently become the leader of the Farley Quartet, re-launched in 2014 as the Wiltshire Quartet. He now lives in Steeple Langford and has developed an adjustable violin chin rest – the “Ergonomic Chin Rest” (see www.adjustablechinrests.co.uk) – which is especially suitable for long-necked players like himself!

Dawn Thompson – Cello

Dawn started her working life as a peripatetic cello/bass teacher in Wakefield. On moving to Cheshire, she added violin to her teaching practice and coached orchestras in both Crewe and Nantwich.

She moved to Wiltshire in 1994, where she was employed as a cello teacher at St Mary’s and St Margaret’s Schools in Calne, and a few years later moved to Dauntsey’s School as a teacher and Co-Ordinator of Instrumental Music. She has led the cello section in many amateur orchestras and has enjoyed conducting, composing and arranging music throughout her career. Since leaving Dauntsey’s School (in September 2011), she has developed her love of textiles, and now spends much of her time in the Steeple Ashton Textile Studios where she is a spinner, weaver and dyer.

For further information:
Dr Julian Demetriadi PhD FIH
Managing Director,
CommunicationsPoint,

Tel:        01722 238 627
mobile:  07585 505309
Email:    
julian@communicationspoint.net

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