Fenella Humphreys

Violin

At a glance

Fenella Humphreys

Violin

Humphreys's utter absorption and delight shines forth at every turn. [...] strong-toned, easy fluidity and immaculate technique.
Charlotte Gardner - Editor's Choice, Gramophone Magazine

https://www.fenellahumphreys.com/

Winner of the BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Award 2018, Fenella Humphreys is one of the UK’s most established and versatile violinists, performing solo work and chamber music in prestigious venues around the world.

Biography —

Described in the press as “alluring”, “unforgettable” and “a wonder”, Fenella Humphreys is one of the UK’s most established and versatile violinists. Winner of the BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Award 2018, 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; “Fenella Humphreys captures the music’s wistful cantabile to perfection, producing a golden tone in all registers with the utmost sensitivity to where every phrase is moving”  – The Strad), and was selected as Orchestral CD of the Month in a 5 star review in BBC Music Magazine.

A number of eminent British composers have written works for Fenella, both in her own right and as a former member of the Lawson Trio. Fenella’s recent Bach to the Future project, a set of six new unaccompanied violin works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gordon Crosse, Sally Beamish, Adrian Sutton, Piers Hellawell and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, was a huge success, garnering performances at acclaimed UK venues including Aldeburgh, St. Magnus Festival, Presteigne Festival, Ryedale Festival, The Forge, Manchester University, Queen’s University Belfast. The series has now been recorded over two CDs for Champs Hill Records. The first of these discs, released in August 2015, was picked by BBC Music Magazine as October’s Instrumental disc of the month, and described as “a radiant recording” with “golden precision and effortless virtuosity” (Five Stars, The Scotsman). The second CD received the same accolade in January 2017’s issue of BBC Music Magazine, was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine in February 2017, and received the BBC Music Magazine’s 2018 Instrumental Award.

Fenella’s eagerly-awaited new disc with acclaimed pianist Nicola Eimer, described as “hugely rewarding” by The Guardian, was released on Stone Records in February 2019. Described on BBC Radio 3’s Record Review as “an absolutely exquisite album”, So Many Stars features an eclectic mix of sonatinas by Lennox Berkeley, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Jean Francaix, Gordon Crosse, William Alwyn and Jean Sibelius.

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, and can be found playing Tango in duo and larger ensembles with the great Uruguayan bandoneonist, Hector Ulises Passarella.

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. She has taken part in masterclasses with musicians including Thomas Brandis, Lorand Fenyves, Anthony Marwood, Thomas Riebl and Krzysztof Penderecki.

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

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Reviews —

Fenella Humphreys' performance is a wonder.

International Record Review

Fenella Humphreys captures the music’s wistful cantabile to perfection, producing a golden tone in all registers with the utmost sensitivity to where every phrase is moving.

The Strad

Violinist Fenella Humphreys responds to its elegiac reflection and technical display at top flight level, offering emotional depth and weight of tone.

BBC Music Magazine, Orchestral Choice CD, Five Star Review

[Humphreys'] performance of the Bach is among the finest on record.

American Record Review

She shapes the music with skill, and sometimes with humour... her double-stops are impeccable, and there is complete confidence in the rapid changes of character. [...] An enjoyable and accomplished CD.

BBC Music Magazine, 5 Stars and Instrumental Choice CD

Humphreys's utter absorption and delight in all three shines forth at every turn... strong-toned, easy fluidity and immaculate technique. Both volumes will be making frequent returns to my stereo.

Charlotte Gardner - Editor's Choice, Gramophone Magazine (Bach to the Future Vol. 2)

Selected Discography —

So Many Stars: Sonatinas for Violin and Piano (Stone Records)

...a whole universe of emotion, brilliantly captured by the violinist Fenella Humphreys and pianist Nicola Eimer [...] a hugely rewarding new recording.

The Guardian

Bach 2 the Future Vol. 2 (Champs Hill)

Humphreys's utter absorption and delight in all three shines forth at every turn.

Gramophone Magazine, Editor's Choice. Winner of BBC Music Magazine Award 2018 (Instrumental)

Bach 2 the Future (Champs Hill)

She shapes the music with skill... her double stops are impeccable. [...] An enjoyable and accomplished CD.

BBC Music Magazine, Instrumental CD Choice October 2015, 5 stars,

Christopher Wright: Violin Concerto / RSNO (Dutton)

Violinist Fenella Humphreys responds to its elegiac reflection and technical display at top flight level, offering emotional depth and weight of tone

BBC Music Magazine, October 2012, Orchestral Choice and Five Star Review

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