Nina, Emily and Anna began playing music together in 2003, made their joint Wigmore Hall debut in 2004 and their BBC proms debut in 2005. There was a period of several years where they barely spent a week apart, sharing rooms at the Purcell School in various combinations, learning French together (whilst expanding their vocabulary of expletives in as many languages as possible), and playing in various youth orchestras in their holidays (including for three years in the National Youth Orchestra). Despite the teenage trials and tribulations of Nina’s recycling obsession, Anna’s snufkin alarm clock (and her ability to ALWAYS win the ‘crescendo game’), and Emily’s beautiful but incessant rubato in trio rehearsals, they have remained firm friends and are so excited to be able to play together again and perform for you!
Nina Ashton has recently been appointed principal bassoon of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and has also performed as first bassoon in the London Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. She has played frequently with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and has also performed with the Bavarian State Opera and Royal Opera House (London). She has been principal of the International Mahler Orchestra since 2009, was co-principal of the European Union Youth Orchestra in 2013 and principal of the National Youth Orchestra in 2007 (where she received the Bulgin Medal for her contribution to the orchestra).
Nina has played at the Wigmore Hall on numerous occasions, and has also performed in chamber ensembles at multiple other prestigious London venues (including Buckingham Palace), in Prague, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich (alongside Dag Jensen and Françoix Leleux) and live on the radio in Budapest, Brussels and at the BBC Proms.
She has premiered a bassoon concerto, written for her by her brother, Kim, as well as a number of his other works, in venues in Germany, UK and Sweden.
She has studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich with Dag Jensen and Gernot Friedrich; the Royal College of Music with Joost Bosdijk, Sarah Burnett and Andrea de Flammineis; Clare College, Cambridge University; and the Purcell School of Music.
When not destroying bassoon reeds, she enjoys cycling across Europe, celebrating veganism, and getting up to mischief with her little nephew.
Anna Hashimoto made her London concerto debut at the age of fifteen playing Weber with the English Chamber Orchestra at Barbican Centre. She has since been invited regularly as a soloist with the orchestra, most recently in Norfolk in the presence of HRH Prince Charles. She was the winner of the International Clarinet Competitions in Kortrijk (Belgium) in 2010, in Carlino (Italy) in 2009, and the Young Clarinettists Competition in Tokyo in 2003.
Anna has performed in major venues in the UK, Europe, USA, Mexico and Japan, including South Bank Centre and Wigmore Hall in London, Dvorak Hall in Prague and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. She has played concertos with orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Filharmonie Hradec Kralove, Japan Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, Nagoya Philharmonic, and the Chamber Orchestra of the NHK Symphony. She has been broadcast on NHK TV and FM, FM Tokyo, ABC Radio and BBC Radio 3, including BBC Radio3’s ‘In Tune’, NHK-FM’s ‘Best of Classic’ and NHK TV’s ‘Classic Club’ (joint recital with Michael Collins). Anna’s debut solo album ‘A Touch of France’ has had very favourable reviews in UK, USA and Japan. She released her second solo album, ‘A Touch of Anna’ in 2014.
Anna studied at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music with Charles Hine, the Purcell School and Royal Academy of Music with the world–renowned soloist Michael Collins. There she was awarded a full Associated Board Scholarship and numerous prizes including the Leverhulme Scholarship, Buffet Crampon Clarinet Prize, and Regency Award on graduation. She was awarded a Meaker Fellowship in 2011, and became an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014. Since 2012 her ensemble ‘Atéa Quintet’ have been Associate Ensemble in Residence at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where they regularly perform and coach chamber music. In 2014 the quintet also became Quintet in Residence at The Purcell School.
As a soloist Anna has worked with conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Paul Watkins, Myung-Whun Chung and Jan Latham-Koenig. She has performed chamber music collaborations with artists such as Michael Collins, Leon McCawley and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and string quartets such as Endellion, Alberny, Ciurlonis, Kodaly and Prazak Quartets. As a keen orchestral player she has been guest principal with the UK’s leading orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, and Philharmonia, and she is a clarinet tutor at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Having started her musical journey as a cellist at the Purcell School of Music in Hertfordshire, Emily switched to oboe at the age of 10 to study with Melanie Ragge. She was a woodwind finalist in the 2006 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, and won the Senior Concerto Competition at Purcell, performing Martinu Concerto at Watford Colosseum. Since then she has performed numerous times at Wigmore Hall, and as Principal Oboe of National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in all the main symphony halls in the UK. She did her Bachelors degree at the Royal Academy of
Music where she also studied with Celia Nicklin, Tess Miller and Jill Crowther. In recent years, Emily has played in the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and Zermatt Festival orchestras, and performed concertos in LSO St Luke’s, Cambridge and Leipzig, Germany. Having completed her Masters degree studying with Nick Deutsch in Leipzig,
Emily now lives in Köln. She has played with the Gürzenich Orchester in Köln, as well as Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, Thüringer Symphoniker and the Symphony Orchestra of India.
Emily has been offered a trial for principal oboe in ‘the London Symphony Orchestra’.
FALCON Concerts 2017 These concerts were set up to provide a showcase and performance opportunity for talented young professionals, many of whom are ex-pupils from the Purcell School, and as a way of raising much needed funds for both FALCON and St Andrew’s Church. What is FALCON? FALCON (Facilitating Arts and Literature for the Children of Norfolk) exists to provide opportunities for children and young people to engage with creativity in all its. Its goal is to make a valued contribution to the creative and learning environment of all children and young people in North Norfolk (Mission Statement 2014). How We Began FALCON originated in 2012, organising a festival fun day of art activities and storytelling, to try to raise funds for Holt Hall, a residential and field study Centre in North Norfolk. A second festival followed in 2013 at Gresham’s School in Holt, encompassing an equally wide range of artistic activities including dance, science made fun, drawing, painting, calligraphy, story-telling, shadow puppets, reading, doodle-pots, song writing, drawing and creative writing.
The focus is now increasingly on working closely with schools and other like-minded organisations to help support their current curriculum demands and objectives.
In the four years since its establishment, FALCON has delivered creative events and initiatives in 33 schools, 9 libraries, as well as, working with a wide range of experienced local artists, staging events such as: A Day of Rainbow Surprises at Holt Children’s Centre; story-telling & den-building at Holkham Hall; drawing workshops at Holt Primary School as part of the Holt Festival; and supporting a Halloween event at Holt Community Centre. This last year we have developed and run a large, ambitious project involving 5 local Primary Schools, with workshops in art, poetry and music, art and poetry competitions, exhibitions of the children’s art in libraries and St Andrews Church, with a chamber orchestra delivering in-school introductory workshops and a concert for 250 children and 190 adults, all centred around Saint-Saens ‘Carnival of the Animals’.
We enjoy co-operating with organisations that have similar aims and objectives, for instance we have a close working relationship with the Norfolk Library Service supporting the annual Summer Reading Challenge, as well as running events linked to National Poetry Day Future Projects We continue to work alongside Norfolk Primary Schools to encourage creative learning, to develop understanding of the importance of imagination, and to try to offer differing experiences of the arts. This year we have organised a series of in-school workshops leading to an inter-school poetry Slam at Sheringham Little Theatre, and are developing a project with Holt Primary leading to an exhibition of 3 dimensional angels in St Andrews Church during Holt Festival week.
We hope, in the future, to focus further on helping to raise children’s aspirations. How is FALCON funded? To help raise funds for the projects FALCON organises, we arrange quarterly concerts, kindly hosted by the St Andrews Church. This last year we also received generous funding from The Arts Council of England, Holt Festival and the Norfolk Arts Fund, along with sponsorship and support, from local businesses and organisations such as Pointens Estate Agents, Holt Rotary Club, Kings and Barnhams, Thaxters and Watsons Estate Agents.