Our International Artists

Scroll down for James Barralet’s comments on our Folklassical artists.

Muzsikás – Hungarian folk music ensemble

Mihály Sipos (violin), László Porteleki (violin, koboz, tambura, vocals), Péter Éri (viola, kontra, flutes, mandolin), Dániel Hamar (contrabass, gardon, drum, presenter) After 40 years of an unrivalled career, MUZSIKÁS is the most renowned and popular Hungarian folk music ensemble worldwide and in their home country as well. MUZSIKÁS pioneered the global popularity of Hungarian folk … Read more

Tritonus – Swiss folk music ensemble

For many years Tritonus has been researching Swiss folk music and instruments in use up to 1800. They are constantly on the look out for original and alternative material as a counterbalance to mainstream Swiss folk music. Their 1991 standard work ‹TRITONUS – Alte Volksmusik in der Schweiz› won the ORG (Eastern Swiss Radio and Television) … Read more

James Barralet – Artistic Director/ Cello

James Barralet, cellist, arranger and composer, is Artistic Director of the Whittington International Chamber Music Festival.

Donald Grant – Violin / fiddle

Donald was brought up in the small village of Roybridge in the Highlands of Scotland. When not running around the hills or climbing he could be found playing music of all sorts and it quickly became his life’s passion. He grew up immersed in traditional music as his father was a Gaelic singer and teacher. … Read more

Greg Lawson – Violin/ fiddle

Greg Lawson is a violinist, composer and conductor who has explored music from many genres. He studied violin at the Royal Northern College of Music with Malcolm Layfield and Eligh Goren and in West Berlin with Ilan Gronich. As a classical violinist he has held principal and Leading positions in most of the orchestras in … Read more

Helena Winkelman – Violin/ composer

Helena Winkelman, composer, violinist and artistic leader of the camerata variabile pursues a very diverse and successful musical career. Born 1974 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland into a family of professional interpreters of baroque music, she early developed an interest in improvisation and contemporary music and started to compose at the age of nineteen. After obtaining her teachers and … Read more

Li-wei Qin – Cello

An exclusive Universal Music China Artist, Li-Wei Qin has appeared all over the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician.  After achieving great success at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition where he was awarded the Silver Medal, Li-Wei has since won the First Prize in the prestigious 2001 Naumburg Competition in New York. … Read more

Francis Kefford – Viola

Francis is a Director of the Saronic Chamber Music Festival, a yearly chamber music festival in Greece, and has performed chamber music in many of Europe’s most prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in London. In 2007, Francis premièred ‘Elegie’ – a work for viola and string orchestra by Australia’s pre-eminent composer, Peter … Read more

The Navarra Quartet

Magnus Johnston (violin), Marije Johnston (violin), Sascha Bota (viola), Brian O’Kane (cello) Since its formation in 2002, the Navarra Quartet has built an international reputation as one of the most dynamic and poetic string quartets of today. Selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) from 2006 to 2010, they have been awarded … Read more

The Maxwell Quartet

Colin Scobie (violin), George Smith (violin), Elliott Perks (viola), Duncan Strachan (cello) 1st Prizewinner and Audience Prizewinner at the 9th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition in 2017, and hailed as “brilliantly fresh, unexpected and exhilarating” by The Scottish Herald, and “superb storytelling by four great communicators” by The Strad Magazine, the Maxwell Quartet is now … Read more


The Artistic Director reserves the right to find a substitute for any of these artists should it prove necessary to do so.

Artistic Director James Barralet comments on our Folklassical artists:

With this extraordinary line-up, 2020’s festival promises to be sensational!

In the first two concerts, DONALD GRANT (who treated us to a set of Scottish folk with the Elias Quartet in our 2018 festival) and GREG LAWSON (making a similar impact at Whittington last May) will make a long-anticipated collaboration, drawing on both their classical and folk backgrounds together with the MAXWELL QUARTET (prize-winning Scottish string quartet, also with folk music backgrounds). I will be there too (another classical/ folk enthusiast) with my cello, as will FRANCIS KEFFORD (viola).

For Concerts 3 and 4 the festival is thrilled to welcome the most important Hungarian folk band of the past 50 years. MUZSIKAS will share the two concerts with the international prizewinning NAVARRA STRING QUARTET in programmes that will seamlessly flip from the realms of earthy folk music to the classical quartets of Bartok, his Roumanian Dances, and others, and blur the two genres in a soundscape that, with musicians of this calibre, promises to be something unique and magical.

Concerts 5 and 6 will focus on the folk music of the Alpine region and the wealth of classical music that it inspired. We are delighted to welcome another special band, TRITONUS, a Swiss folk ensemble who “will surprise you with folk music of a completely different kind. With magical shepherd’s calls, wild dances, songs and old texts, TRITONUS bring the old roots to flower again.”

In addition we have two very special guests. HELENA WINKELMAN, Swiss composer and violinist, with a fascinating wealth of knowledge of Alpine folk music and a rich classical music background, brings a unique humour and sensitivity to her blending of folk and contemporary classical styles. LI-WEI QIN, China’s superstar cellist, will join us for the festival’s climax, Schubert’s superlative Quintet in D.