Our Soloists

Ildikó Allen

Ildikó read music at Birmingham University and completed her MMus at Trinity College of Music. At TCM, she was awarded the Wilfred Greenhouse Alt Prize in Oratorio for her performance in Haydn’s Nelson Mass under the direction of Sir Charles Mackerras and Second Prize in the TCM Association Soloists’ Competition. She was also a finalist in the London Handel Singing Competition.

Concert engagements have included Bach St Matthew Passion with the Kings Consort broadcast live on Spanish Radio, Buxtehude Membra Jesu Nostri with Retrospect Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall. Ildikó also has extensive experience in performing contemporary repertoire. She has sung 1st Soprano in Brian Ferneyhough’s Missa Brevis live on Radio 3, has given the London Premiere of Gabriel Jackson Laudate Pueri and performed Anna Meredith Fly–by–Night with the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Operatic engagements have recently included the title role of Puteri Saadong in the UK premiere of Opera Puteri Saadong at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill and Grilletta in Haydn Lo Speziale with Retrospect Ensemble. She also created the role of Cécile in Nicola LeFanu’s Light Passing for BBC Radio 3 and sang Belinda Dido and Aeneas with the Marésienne Consort.

Ildikó also works as a consort and session singer appearing with groups such as the BBC Singers, The Sixteen, Cardinall’s Musick, London Voices, RSVP Voices and Metro Voices. She has also recorded solos for ITV dramas Northanger Abbey and Miss Marple.

Andrew Ashwin

Andrew studied Music at the University of Birmingham, then post-graduate singing at the Royal College of Music, graduating with Distinction. He continued his opera studies at the Flemish Opera Studio in Belgium and the Zurich Opera Studio, before spending one year singing many baritone roles as a young artist at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. During his international solo operatic career, highlights included the title role in the Austrian premiere of Britten’s Owen Wingrave in Vienna, Mercutio in Opera Ireland’s Roméo et Juliette, Maximillian in Vlaamse Opera’s Candide, the title role in Lismore Music Festival’s Don Giovanni, Junius in Frankfurt Opera’s The Rape of Lucretia and Danilo in La Veuve Joyeuse, Montpellier.

His has sung numerous concerts and recitals across the UK, Europe, and further afield, including Mexico City, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The songs of Schubert, Schumann, Vaughan Williams and Finzi have made up concert programmes on many occasions. He recently recorded the role of Pontius Pilate in Bach’s St John Passion, released on the Chandos label. He has sung the bass/baritone solos in much of the choral repertoire, particular highlights including Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem in Basel Cathedral, Handel’s Jephtha in Oslo and Krakow (a live radio broadcast), and Mozart’s Requiem at the Barbican, London.

As a singing teacher and vocal coach, Andrew is in increasing demand. He was recently admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music (FRSM), with Distinction, one of only a handful of singing teachers to achieve such an award. He is a voice teacher at the world-leading Royal Academy of Music Junior Department in London, Head of Singing at Repton School and a vocal tutor at Nottingham University, as well as running a thriving private studio in Leicestershire.

Andrew is vocal consultant with Crouch End Festival Chorus in London, and he has adjudicated the post-graduate opera competition at the Birmingham Conservatoire. He also travels the world as an examiner for the ABRSM.

Andrew lives with his wife and daughters in Leicestershire, and is an Ironman triathlete and model-railway enthusiast.

Jacqueline Martens

Jacqueline Martens is a second year Masters student at the Mozarteum Universität, Salzburg, studying with Professor Esther Hoppe. She studied at the Royal College of Music, London, with Maciej Rakowski and Ani Schnarch and received her Bachelor in Music Performance (Honours) degree with a first class in July 2017.

Jacqueline started learning the violin at the age of five after moving to the U.K. from South Africa. She attended Chetham’s School of Music from the age of fourteen to study with Jan Repko and during her time there she won Chandos Young Musician of the Year 2012.  In 2013 Jacqueline played in the Leeds International Concert Series, and in July of that year appeared alongside Leon McCawley, Mikhail Nemtsov and two Chetham’s students at Wigmore Hall, London. In September 2013 she played Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 1 with the Chandos Symphony Orchestra and in June 2016 the Dvořák Violin Concerto with the Sinfonia of Birmingham. In April 2014 she took part in a sold out concert in the Royal Albert Hall, ‘Celebrating Jon Lord’, in which she played the solo violin part in his Durham Concerto with the band Deep Purple.

In June 2014 Jacqueline performed a recital at the Elgar Museum and also led the Royal College of Music Philharmonic Orchestra. She was invited to take part in the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival with her piano trio to represent the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the Royal College of Music in July of that year. Since the start of 2015 she has led the RCM Philharmonic Orchestra twice more under the baton of Martin André and Peter Stark.

In 2016 she attended the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and toured Europe with the European Union Youth Orchestra of which she was a member in 2016 and 2017, and since July 2016 has been an extra first violinist in the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In April 2017 she embarked on a recital tour of South Africa with South African Pianist Sulayman Human, performing 9 concerts around the country. Jacqueline is currently working full time as a first violinist with the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg on a year long contract whilst completing her Masters degree.

Jacqueline plays an early 18th Century Guersan violin made in Paris.