Brecknock Sinfonia/Leader

Leader: Laurence Kempton

Laurence Kempton studied the violin with Maurice Hasson at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He left to join the English String Orchestra where he worked with many great musicians, including Yehudi Menuhin, his childhood hero. He later joined the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and had wonderful experiences playing at the Proms and enjoying many international tours before becoming a member of the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera.

As a soloist he has performed many concertos, including those of Mendelssohn, Bruch, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, as well as numerous recitals. He is particularly fond of the salon music of Elgar and Kreisler and has just recorded his first CD.

When not teaching or practicing, or being baffled by his sons' homework, he tries to find time to indulge in his passion for distance running, really enjoying the opportunity it affords to explore the great outdoors.

Principal Cello: Sonia Hammond

Sonia Hammond currently lives near Hay-on-Wye.  As a student at the Birmingham School of Music (now the Birmingham Conservatoire) she gained a BA first class Honours degree in Music together with a handful of diplomas, all with distinction.   This was followed by postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London.   While still in Birmingham Sonia was invited to play for the Eurythmy School in Botton Village, North Yorkshire.   Thus began an enduring association with Camphill communities.   This has generated many and varied chamber music performances.

Since moving to the Welsh Borders in 2006 Sonia has given recitals with pianists Roger Nichols, James Joseph and John Madden.   She is the Castalia String Quartet's cellist, and also Principal Cellist of both the Brecknock Sinfonia and St Woollos Players.   She is also a key member of Radnor Improvisers.   Previous improv work has included workshops in the Mayor's office in Timbuktu and at Gwernyfedd High School. Sonia recorded her first solo CD, Bach's Suite No 1 for Solo Cello, in March 2014. In the autumn she and Charlie Beresford recorded an album of improvisations entitled 'Science of Snow' which has recently been released to good reviews.