What made you decide to play the flute?
I knew after playing beginner recorder at primary school that I wanted to learn another woodwind instrument. The music teachers at school gave us a choice between flute and clarinet, I was more drawn to the flute and not looked back since!
How long have you been playing the flute?
Since I was 9.... So 19 years!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not playing the flute?
I'm a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan and love to go to a salsa or swing dance class when I have time! I am a very enthusiastic, but not especially skilled student - but have fun all the same!
Where did you study?
Chetham's School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music
What's your favourite thing about playing in a chamber group?
I love the interaction on and off stage. We have to rehearse hard to get the music really tight and together for a performance - but it's the level of trust that we build with one another during that time that allows us to be so free and spontaneous on stage. We're all always looking for a way to make the others smile and I know that if I play something differently the others will follow with me and vice versa. It means we're always kept on our toes and each performance is fresh!
What is your favourite piece to play with Tempest?
I love playing Niederau by Gary Carpenter - the whole work but particularly the last movement! It was the first commission we had written for us and I never get tired of it. It has everything - slow music, fast music, lyricism, attack, groove and a tonne of virtuosity!
More about Helen...
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, London Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera Orchestra, Opera North Orchestra, John Wilson Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Multi-Story Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru, Welsh National Opera Orchestra, Royal Ballet Sinfonia (extras list), European Union Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of GB.
Musical Theatre Credits:
An American in Paris (west end) - flute/piccolo/alto flute chair holder, The King & I (west end) - flute/piccolo chair holder, Evita (Regents Park Open Air Theatre) - flute/piccolo chair holder, Les Miserables UK Tour - deputy, Wicked UK Tour - deputy, Phantom of the Opera UK Tour - deputy, Sound of Music (Leicester Curve) - deputy.
Awards and Scholarships:
Concordia Artist, Park Lane Group Artist, ABRSM scholarship for postgraduate study, Countess of Munster Postgraduate Award, Musicians Benevolent Trust Postgraduate Award, Harriet Cohen Award Winner, RNCM Gold Medal Winner, RNCM Concerto Competition Winner, RNCM Woodwind Soloist Competition Winner, British Flute Society Performance Plus Competition Winner, Royal Overseas League Competition Finalist, BBC Young Musician of the Year Woodwind Finalist 2006
Senior Lecturer (flute) at Leeds Conservatoire