Eleanor Harrison, Baroque Violinist

Originally from Norfolk, Eleanor was first taught the violin by Elizabeth Holbrook and from an early age was a soloist at the Cromer and Norwich Festivals and the youngest recipient of the Saxton Memorial Prize. She was a music scholar at Norwich High School, a member of the National Children’s Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra. Eleanor graduated from the Royal College of Music where she studied with Yossi Zivoni and first discovered baroque violin with Adrian Butterfield. She won the Century Fund Award in the Early Music Festival with ensemble ‘La Follia’, played on BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’ and gave a recital at the Handel House Museum in the ‘Genius of the Violin Festival’.

Eleanor was awarded a postgraduate scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she graduated with distinction on baroque and classical violin, having studied with Nicolette Moonen and Simon Standage. She was leader and soloist with the Baroque Orchestra and Becket Ensemble and was awarded the RAM Friends Prize for chamber music for two consecutive years. She also held a Leverhulme Junior Fellowship for a year with her ensemble, ‘Four Temperaments’, the first early music group to do so at the Academy. Eleanor has since performed many times on BBC Radio 3: as a soloist in a live broadcast from Brixton Prison Chapel for ‘A Bach Christmas’, as a chamber musician on ‘In Tune’ and as part of broadcasts at the BBC Proms with ensembles such as the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. 

Eleanor has given concerts as a chamber and orchestral musician throughout the UK and Europe including at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the Festival of Saintes, France, in Croatia, Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Slovenia. She has performed in venues including Buckingham Palace, the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall with the OAE, Florilegium, Gabrieli Consort, Hanover Band, London Handel Orchestra, Ex Cathedra and Collegium Musicum 90. She currently freelances with many of these orchestras as well as L'Avventura London, London Early Opera, the Purcell Orchestra, the Lovekyn Consort and the Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen with whom she has made several recordings. She also regularly leads the baroque performances of Ensemble Orquesta, directed by Marcio da Silva from Brazil.

As a soloist Eleanor has been invited to give recitals by promoters including Music for Galway, Totnes Music Society, Concerts in the West and Brighton Early Music festival and has performed at beautiful venues such as Snape Maltings, Norwich Cathedral, and Farnham Castle. Eleanor has played in theatres across the UK with English Touring Opera, as a leader for ‘Coram Boy’ with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company and productions of ‘Dido and Aeneas’ and ‘Stabat Mater’ with Opera in Space. In Christmas 2016 she performed in 'All the Angels' at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse directed by Jonathan Munby, a highlight of her career so far.

Eleanor also founded the Gandolpho Players who perform baroque masterpieces on single strings. They have appeared at the Wokingham Early Music Festival and play for choirs and theatre productions across the UK. They are an evolution of the original duo 'Gandolpho' which Eleanor formed with the harpsichordist David Wright. Eleanor and David first collaborated at the Royal College of Music and were selected as young artists for Brighton Early Music Festival's scheme Bremf Live!, filling their programmes with the extraordinary and wild music of Heinrich von Biber, whose patron was the Archbishop Maximillian Gandolpho.

Eleanor is grateful for all the inspiration and guidance from the wonderful musicians she has worked with so far. This includes masterclasses with Andrew Manze, Catherine Mackintosh, Libby Wallfisch, Laurence Cummings and Alison Bury and being directed by William Christie, Monica Huggett, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Sir Roger Norrington.

BBC Radio 3 'In Tune'
with the Harmonious Society of Tickle Fiddle Gentlemen
Regensburg Early Music Festival with the Harmonious Society of Tickle Fiddle Gentlemen
London Early Opera

Photography: Dougal Waters

BBC Radio 3 'In Tune' with L'Avventura London