THE DE KOONING ENSEMBLE
The De Kooning Ensemble was founded in September 2019 while all the members were studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where they became the recipients of the Ivan Sutton Chamber Music Prize 2021. The ensemble have been coached by outstanding artists such as Oscar Perks, Sarah-Jane Bradley, Caroline Palmer, Carole Presland, Richard Lester, members of the Endellion String Quartet and the Gould Piano Trio.
The ensemble have performed in prestigious venues including The Fidelio Café, All Saints Church, Blackheath, Milton Court Concert Hall and St Bartholomew The Great. The De Kooning Ensemble, being avid educationalists, were awarded a residency at the Centre of Young Musicians Taunton in 2021 and have given multiple masterclasses at Bryanston School in Dorset.
The ensemble strives to make chamber music more prominent in young people’s lives and works with composers to push the boundaries of the chamber music repertoire. Most recently The De Kooning Ensemble commissioned Darius Paymai’s Piano Quartet which was premiered in All Saints Church, Blackheath on 9th July 2021. It is a work that explores “juxtaposition and superposition of simple layers, openness, slowness, breathing, fragility, materiality.”
Jessica Meakin is recognised as a distinguished and accomplished performer. She is currently studying for a Master’s degree with Sasha Rozhdestvensky at the Royal College of Music having previously graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama studying with Bartosz Woroch. Prior to this, she spent two years studying privately in Madrid with renowned pedagogue Sergey Fatkulin, ex-assistant of Zakhar Bron, travelling there every month for lessons. During this period, she was also regularly invited to perform in the Llanes Music Festival in North-West Spain.
Devoted to ensemble playing and a natural leader, Jessica enjoys performing in a variety of settings as a chamber and orchestral musician and has performed in many prestigious venues throughout the UK. She also has extensive experience playing as a pit musician in Roles We’ll Never Play, West End Eurovision and was also the first violinist in new musical ‘Between’ released in 2021. Throughout her studies Jessica has maintained a commitment to music education tutoring primary school children in string playing and working with the National Children’s Orchestra. She is also the violin teacher at the Langley Hall Music Academy.
Jessica is generously loaned a Bernadel violin dated 1844 by Stephen Thomas.
Violist Freya Hicks enjoys a varied freelance performance career. In 2021, she graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with a Masters of Music under Rachel Roberts. Other notable mentors throughout her studies include Gary Pomeroy, Simon Rowland-Jones and Hariolf Schlichtig.
Originally from Cornwall, Freya started the violin at the age of four under the Suzuki Method. She switched to the viola at the age of sixteen, studying with Tim Boulton. Growing up, Freya regularly attended the masterclasses at IMS Prussia Cove. A passionate chamber musician, Freya is a founder member of The De Kooning Ensemble, winners of the Guildhall School's Ivan Sutton Chamber Music Prize 2021, which began at the Guildhall School in September 2019. In a chamber music setting she has received coaching from members of the Heath Quartet, Sacconi Quartet, Dante Quartet, Endellion String Quartet and Gould Piano Trio.
Freya regularly plays with 12 Ensemble, London Contemporary Orchestra and Orion Orchestra. She has performed in many world-class venues including Barbican Hall, Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms, Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Sadler’s Wells, Sage Gateshead, Snape Maltings and Birmingham Symphony Hall.
Freya plays a Christopher Hoing viola dated 1960, kindly on loan to her.
Evie Coplan is a highly versatile cellist. Born in Dorset, she started learning the cello aged five and has received tuition by some of the finest cellists. Evie was a Music Scholar at Bryanston School and subsequently studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with professors Tim Lowe and Tim Gill. Evie has participated in masterclasses with esteemed cellists such as Adrian Brendel, Louise Hopkins, Pierre Doumenge and Natalie Clein.
Evie has worked with prestigious artists such as Sir Mark Elder, Roberto González-Monjas, Nicholas Colon, VOCES8 and Liane Carroll. She has performed in venues including Barbican Hall, Old Royal Naval College, the Fidelio Cafe and Milton Court Concert Hall. Major solo performances have taken place at Poole Lighthouse Concert Hall and St John’s Smith Square and recitals have been given as part of the Poole Arts Association Recital Series and as the Young Artist for the Wessex Festival. Evie also has a passion for contemporary music and has recorded film music at Abbey Road Studios, solo cello tracks for Sadler’s Wells and piano trio music for the National Theatre (London).
Evie plays an 1820s Thomas Kennedy Cello.
Lewis Bell is a sought-after collaborative pianist, musical director, and vocal coach. He is currently studying for a Masters in Musical Direction and Coaching at the Royal Academy of Music, supported by Help Musicians. Prior to his postgraduate studies, Lewis studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he obtained a first-class honours degree studying classical piano under the tutelage of Caroline Palmer.
Lewis has been fortunate enough to have performed in venues including St John's Smith Square and Steinway Hall and has benefited from masterclasses with renowned pianists including Lang Lang, Murray McLachlan and Joanna MacGregor. Lewis has had the opportunity to work with various ensembles and soloists and has received tuition and guidance from the Gould Piano Trio, the Endellion Quartet, Carole Presland, Julius Drake and Samantha Malk. Lewis is a member of The De Kooning Ensemble, winners of the Guildhall School’s Ivan Sutton Prize 2021.
In addition to his classical work, Lewis has worked on many musical theatre productions around the UK including as a Musical Director for National Youth Music Theatre. His theatre credits include: Between (GSMD), The Addams Family (Vivo D'Arte), Timpson the Musical (UK Tour), Henrietta (NYMT Workshop), GROWL (NYMT), Merrily We Roll Along (GSMD), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (BYMT), Loserville (Stafford Gatehouse).