Thomas Gold: Piano, Fiddle & Arrangements
After studying at the Royal Academy of Music and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he was awarded a PhD in composition from Kings College London. His large scale compositions have been performed by groups such as Lontano, BBC singers and the London Sinfonietta at prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall and the Aldeburgh Festival. His award-winning work 'Terrains' was broadcast on the BBC Young Musician of the Year and is published by the Guildhall School of Music.
Complementing his classical background is his love of folk music, particularly that of the British Isles. His study and performance of different folk fiddle dialects has led to a detailed technical understanding of the features which can contribute towards regional variety, such as bowing and ornamentation. He performs folk fiddle with numerous groups throughout the West Country. Thomas holds an LRAM in music education and teaches classical piano, composition, theory and folk fiddle.
Thomas has arranged (or perhaps composed?) striking new contexts for traditional tunes through distinctive dramatic shapes and powerful juxtapositions. Yet even at its most complex, it is the tunes which remain the focal point, guiding the listener through an unfamiliar musical space. An ecletic range of influences inform the South Country including the classical and folk traditions of England and the composers who collected and integrated folk music into their concert music, such as Vaughan Williams and George Butterworth.
Andrea Green: Violin
After completing her musical training at Melbourne University in Australia [B.ed Mus], Andrea moved to the UK to train at the Newark School of violin-making in Nottinghamshire; she continues to play the violin she made there and is helpfully always on hand to offer any technical advice to the group's string players.
Andrea is currently a full time violinist and teacher, with a particular interest in folk music. Her interest in the latter began after hearing Irish fiddle players, Nollaig Casey and Martin Hayes, on their tour of Australia in 1990 and has had a passion for the music ever since. After travelling to the West Coast of Ireland to play with Martin Hayes at the Willy Clancy Festival, she's never looked back and continues to play at Sidmouth, Chippenham, Broadstairs and Priddy Folk Festivals.
Andrea also plays regularly in string quartets and other chamber groups and is equally at home in pub sessions or concerts. She is in great demand as a teacher and director of various string ensembles, and fits this around her busy family life in Somerset.
Alex Ennis: Violin & Viola
Alex completed a Diploma in Performance (Violin) and a Post Graduate Certificate (Viola) at the London Trinity School of Music. In 1998 she was a teacher and string section coach for Antigua & Barbuda Philharmonic Orchestra . On returning teaching posts were held at Wellington school and Bridgwater College, where she continued to coach string ensembles and gives individual lessons.
Alex is currently teaching violin and viola at a number of schools and is in demand as an orchestral leader and soloist, working with the Somerset County Orchestra, Bridport Chamber Orchestra, Axe Vale Orchestra as well as performing in a number of other ensembles in the West Country.
Her considerable performing experience also includes over ten years with the Ceilidh band Hobsons Choice and recitals throughout the UK with the Thalia Duo. Alongside teaching classical violin and viola, Alex also teaches different folk and improvisational styles, bringing an in-depth knowledge of multiple genres to the South Country.
Fiona Cormack: Accordion & Piano
Fiona gained her music degrees from the University of Surrey (BMus) and Royal Holloway (MMus - Ethnomusicology). Her first instrument is the classical (free-bass) accordion, but always retained her passion for folk traditions which were instilled by her Scottish and Irish ancestry. Fiona's strengths as a researcher was especially evident during her education where her projects largely involved music traditions of the British Isles.
Although still performing regularly in a number of ensembles, Fiona is a professional archivist with strengths in music collections and digitisation. Amongst other activities, Fiona enjoys rediscovering traditional source materials in her spare time and loves trawling through manuscript collections which have helped inform the South Country's arrangements. She also delights in putting together new tunes, some of which have found their way into the quartet's repertoire.