Then back to Kirkwall Cathedral for a late night solo violin performance by the amazing Fenella Humphreys. Around one of the great stalwarts of the repertoire, Bach’s epic Chaconne, her programme was an eye-opener to the versatility of the instrument. She gave airy, sensitive response to Sally Beamish’s Norwegian-inspired Intrada e Fuga, imbued Adrian Sutton’s mercurial Arpeggiare Variations with an amazing lightness of touch, and in Peter Maxwell Davies’ Sonatina for Violin Alone, found a lyrical expressiveness that echoed its compelling narrative quality, rather like a song without words. All three pieces were world premieres....
Ken Walton, The Scotsman
Five Star Review of Bach to the Future premieres at St. Magnus International Festival
(Photograph: Fenella Humphreys at the St. Magnus Festival with
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies following her world premiere performance)
With playing described in the press as ‘alluring’, ‘unforgettable’ and ‘a wonder’, violinist Fenella Humphreys enjoys a busy career combining chamber music and solo work. Performances have taken her around the world to venues including the Wigmore Hall, the South Bank Centre, and the new Helsinki Music Centre. She has broadcast for the BBC, Classic FM, DeutschlandRadio Berlin, West-Deutsche-Rundfunk, ABC Classic FM (Australia) and Korean radio, and performed the Walton Concerto at the composer’s home at the invitation of the Walton Trust in a performance that was recorded by Canadian TV.
Fenella performs widely as soloist. Her first concerto recording, of Christopher Wright’s Violin Concerto for Dutton Epoch with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Martin Yates was released in 2012 to great critical acclaim (“Fenella Humphreys’s 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 Magazine), and was selected as Orchestral CD of the Month in a 5 star review in the 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. Many of these works can be heard on the Trio’s debut CD, which also received 5 stars in the BBC Music Magazine. During 2014/15 Fenella premiered Bach to the Future, a set of 6 new unaccompanied violin works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Gordon Crosse, Sally Beamish, Adrian Sutton, Piers Hellawell and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The project has so far seen performances at Aldeburgh, St. Magnus Festival, Presteigne Festival, Ryedale Festival, The Forge, Manchester University, Queen’s University, Belfast etc. The first of Fenella’s two discs for Champs Hill Records including music from the project will be released in September, with a second to follow during 2016.
Concertmaster of the Deutsche Kammerakademie, Fenella also enjoys guest leading and directing various ensembles in Europe. As a chamber musician, she has collaborated with artists including Alexander Baillie, Adrian Brendel, Pekka Kuusisto 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. Fenella can also 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.
....Violinist Fenella Humphreys responds to its elegiac reflection and technical display at top flight level, offering emotional depth and weight of tone....
Orchestral Choice CD, Five Star Review (both for performance and recording quality), Malcolm Hayes, BBC Music Magazine
Recording of the Wright Concerto with Martin Yates and RSNO for Dutton Epoch