Cathy Mathews – Leader of Havant Symphony Orchestra
Cathy Mathews studied in her native Manchester at what is now the Royal Northern College of Music and also gained a Diploma of the Royal School of Music. Cathy has been a professional orchestral violinist since graduating. She was a member of the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, a 1st violin in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, a member of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra and then a member of the BBC Radio Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra. She has also freelanced extensively in and around London.
Cathy has lived in Hampshire for some years. She teaches the violin and plays in several local orchestras. Cathy became Leader of HSO in March 2001 and quickly made her mark, bringing her considerable expertise to rehearsals and concerts. She has gained the respect and admiration of the players and members of the audience with her sensitive approach and highly musical playing.
In her spare time Cathy enjoys playing chamber music, running an after-school church club for young children and going for walks in the Meon Valley. She has also recently discovered the delights of cruising!
Brian Howells – Leader of Havant Chamber Orchestra
Brian was born in 1944 and began to play the violin at the age of 12. Four years later he joined the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and then studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Leonard Hirsch.
Brian’s professional career began with the New BBC Orchestra in Bristol where he led the Orchestra on many occasions for broadcasts and concerts. He joined the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1969 and two and a half years later moved to the Sinfonietta. He was appointed principal Second Violin of the Sinfonietta in 1975 and appeared as soloist on many occasions. He retired from the permanent staff shortly before the Sinfonietta was disbanded in November 1999. Brian also played with the New London Soloists Ensemble and the London Chamber Players. He now freelances and is still called on to play with BSO and is a regular member of both Kaleidoscope and Southern Pro Musica. He was appointed Leader of HCO in October 1999 and plays with HSO when other commitments allow.
Away from the concert schedule, Brian’s interests have been mainly cars and travel – and more music. However more recently his woodworking projects have taken up an increasing amount of his time. He reports that he is still carving out the cabriole legs (by hand) for the Tennessee tea-tray table he started about a year ago and the two oak dining room chairs are also unfinished owing to the complicated joinery involved which takes up more thinking time than doing! In addition, Brian’s latest project is a Regency Davenport desk which involves his first excursion into the realms of veneering – and this is not the easiest of jobs.