We are fortunate, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and the funds we have raised, to be able to offer the Belsize Baroque Leader Scholarship scheme. It is an important part of our aim to give young professional players specialising in historically-informed performance the chance to lead an orchestra, work with a wide range of musicians who include committed amateurs, and get added experience of solo performance under our range of directors.
Our award-winners have commented that they feel this gives them significant experience ourside their specialist musical training, and that they value the ‘family’ atmosphere of an orchestra comprised of a broad spectrum of skills and backgrounds. From the orchestra’s viewpoint, we are fortunate to have such talented young musicians to work with.
Applying for a scholarship
The next scholarship award will be in 2022. Masters students of the baroque violin, or those who have completed their masters degree within the past three years, are eligible to apply. Click here for full details of the 2021 application process; for further information contact us here.
Current and Previous Award Holders
Rebecca Bell is a recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, where she received her Masters with Distinction, and was awarded a DipRAM Prize for outstanding performance in the final recital. Rebecca enjoys a wide variety of work with both modern and baroque ensembles, which have included the Royal Northern Sinfonia and the LSO, and is thrilled to have recently successfully auditioned for work as an extra with the Hallé and the Gabrieli Consort. She is regularly invited to guest lead ensembles at festivals and concert series across the UK, and very much enjoys the opportunities for creative input that this brings. As an in-demand chamber musician, Rebecca performs regularly with her award winning quartet, The Bell Quartet, as well as being a founding member of The Nuevo Tango Quintet, with whom she has given sell out concerts across London, featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ with Sean Rafferty, and performed in the final of the Royal Overseas League Competition in 2020.
Last year, Rebecca was awarded the prestigious Enlightenment Scholarship to continue her studies at the RAM, undertaking a Professional Diploma in baroque violin with Pavlo Beznosiuk and Rachel Podger. In spite of the pandemic, she had the opportunity to participate in some exciting projects at the Academy, including the renowned Bach Cantata series, and was chosen to lead some of the projects and to perform obbligato parts in live-streamed performances alongside guest directors such as Rachel Podger and Laurence Cummings. Rebecca is delighted to have been selected as this year’s Belsize Baroque Scholar, and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with the orchestra and its directors.
Outside of her musical endeavours, Rebecca enjoys crochet, vegan doughnuts and life by the sea in Brighton where she lives with her partner Rhys and young daughter Rosalie.
Marguerite Wassermann is a student at the Royal Academy of Music where she studies violin in the Historical Performance department, and holds the scholarship of the Enlightenment. She is completing a Master’s thesis on ornamentation and instrumentation between 1580 and 1620. Marguerite has played with chamber groups across London, including at Michael’s Highgate, St Anne’s Kew, St John’s Smith Square, and St Martin- in-the-Fields. She has recently been appointed an Emerging Artist by orchestral ensemble, La Serenissima. Marguerite is Artistic Director of the chamber group Judith Collective, who are curating an upcoming festival of historical women composers including stagings of cantatas by Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre. Marguerite read music at Oxford University where she also directed the student early music ensemble The Bate Players, who ran a complete cycle of Georg Muffat’s Concerti Grossi at The Holywell Music Room and Keble Chapel.
Previous recipient of Belsize Leadership Bursary, violinist Ada Maria Witczyk was born in Poland and was awarded Belsize Baroque Scholarship to lead the orchestra during 2017/2018 season.
Ada made her solo orchestral debut at the age of eleven with the Odeon Orchestra. Since then she has performed in such venues as Buckingham Palace, the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Centre, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Cadogan Hall and Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, amongst others.
She has taken part in concerts with Gabrieli Consort & Players, WOB, The English Concert and Florilegium.
She has won several prizes in international violin competitions, including first prize at the Baroque Competition in Gorzów Wielkopolski Honourable Mention at the Polish Forum of Young Instrumentalists, 3rd prize during The Rising Stars Grand Prix — International Music Competition in Berlin.
Ada completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Royal College of Music, studying violin with Itzhak Rashkovsky and Michal Cwizewicz and Baroque violin with Catherine Martin. Thanks to an Anthony Edward Brookes Award Ada is currently in her second year of a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music studying with Levon Chilingirian and Simon Standage.
Thanks to the Belsize Baroque Scholarship I got the chance to perform with some of the best UK leaders and gained lots of confidence as a musician. The ensemble is made of the kindest people who love music with all their hearts and I also made some friends for life.
You can visit my website www.adawitczyk.com to be always up to date with all my upcoming events.
Alice Poppleton held a Belsize Baroque Orchestra Bursary in 2018/19. She writes:
Belsize Baroque was a fantastic bridge between my time as a student and entering the early music scene, helping me feel connected and on track with my goal of becoming a professional musician. During my time with this welcoming and supportive ensemble, I enjoyed exploring unfamiliar and challenging repertoire, further developing my leadership skills, and receiving guidance and coaching from the hugely inspiring guest leaders.
I am currently enjoying a portfolio career combining performing with education work. Some recent highlights include performing with period ensembles such as La Nuova Musica, Music for Awhile, Instruments of Time and Truth, Canzona, The Oxford Bach Soloists and Eboracum Baroque. I am currently on the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Experience Scheme, performing in education videos and filmed concerts. Building on this filming experience, I recently devised and presented a video series for Brighton Early Music Festival. I am currently enjoying touring a digital show with Hold the Drama, a group where we deliver non-verbal shows that use music to tell the story and start discussions about mental health. Working in collaboration with the Ingram Hill Foundation, I have launched Thinking Music, an initiative which connects universities and rural primary schools to make music together. The results from this pilot year at The University of Bristol are incredibly promising and I am looking forward to building on this momentum. I am incredibly grateful to Belsize Baroque for their support and friendship over the years.
Our leader scholar in 2016/17 was Kate Agostino:
My time leading Belsize Baroque was a highlight in my career! Not only did we perform exciting repertoire, but the other members of the orchestra were extremely kind and professional. I couldn’t believe I was surrounded by so many people who were at the top of their fields of work — doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., and yet all such wonderful musicians and a welcoming atmosphere at every rehearsal. The scholarship gave me a great opportunity to develop my skills as a leader and performer. Since leading Belsize Baroque, I have gone on to perform in many early music ensembles, record in studio sessions for Hollywood films, and teach violin to many wonderful students. I am forever grateful to have been awarded the Leadership Scholarship and will always look back on my time with Belsize Baroque fondly.