Ariella Strings is run by husband and wife team, Cheryl Agnew-Bass and John Bass who are both experienced, conservatoire trained professional musicians.
Ariella Strings has now performed at over 1000 weddings and is known as the best “crossover” wedding string quartet in the country.
Cheryl studied violin with Yossi Zivoni at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. After graduating she worked overseas for 6 years in a full time professional orchestra. Since returning to England,Cheryl has freelanced with professional orchestras across the UK and in Europe. Cheryl is the manager and co-ordinator of Ariella Strings and is also the main violinist in the group. Running and playing in Ariella Strings is a full time job which Cheryl juggles with looking after her family and menagerie of animals!
John studied viola with John White and Stephen Shingles at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has played with various professional orchestras throughout the United Kingdom and internationally, as well as performing in chamber ensembles. John’s special interests are arranging music for chamber groups and conducting. He is in charge of the music arranging for the different groups and has his own company, “Music and Strings”. A fun fact about John is that he recently played a “Party Musician” in the Tim Burton movie “Alice in Wonderland” with Jonny Depp heading the cast.
Caroline Mitchell – Violin
Caroline studied violin at Chethams and Royal Northern College of Music before spending a few years at Boston Conservatoire, also playing principal in many of the Boston orchestras.
Luckily for us she returned to the UK and married our cellist Chris, settling in Milton Keynes. She loves playing at weddings and is ‘encouraging’ her 2 young sons to practice piano, violin and cello.
Eluned Pritchard – Violin
Eluned grew up in Wales and went on to study violin at the Royal Academy of Music with Howard Davis. After she graduated she studied with Mauricio Fuks in Bloomington, Indiana.
She is currently enjoying a mix of freelancing and teaching violin and viola. She has played in many symphony and chamber orchestras including Britten Sinfonia, London Chamber Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, London Philharmonic, Brighton Philharmonic.
Catriona Lightfoot – Viola/ Violin
Catriona Lightfoot a native of Cork Ireland enjoys a varied musical career in the UK and Europe performing with many prestigious orchestras and ensembles including the BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
She has always had a passion for chamber music and is a lover of folk music. Catriona is an experienced session musician having recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Angel Studios, Eastcote Studios, Alice’s Loft and many more. Aside from music Catriona loves doing fun activities with her young son, chatting, gardening and walking in beautiful places.
Chris Mansell – ‘Cello
Chris studied Cello at Trinity College of Music, London and has since enjoyed a varied musical career from English National Ballet to D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and West End shows including Phantom of the Opera, My Fair Lady and numerous Sondheim musicals.
He enjoys time with his two young sons, especially flying kites and cycling.”
David read Music at Manchester University where he studied the cello with Bernard Gregor-Smith of the Lindsay Quartet. Following a post-graduate course at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he has followed a varied career; his orchestral work has included the London Festival Orchestra, the New Queen’s Hall Orchestra and Manchester Camerata.
Pop work includes a U.K tour with Blur and recording with Edwyn Collins. David also teaches the cello at Highgate School and UCS School in Hampstead. When not teaching, or playing the cello, David enjoys pottering in the garden or attending to the whims of his cat, Lottie!
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