Mikhail Nemtsov cellist and owner of a Stradivari copy by Robin Aitchison

MIKHAIL NEMTSOV is Principal Cello with the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra. He plays a copy of the Marquis de Corberon Stradivari cello made by Robin Aitchison in 2016.  As a soloist Misha has performed all over the world.  Recent highlights include performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Porto Symphony Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, the RNCM Chamber Orchestra, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and London Festival Orchestra.

Misha was  the recipient of the Pierre Fournier Award in 2011 and as well as this he has been a Silver Medal winner from the Rostropovich Memorial International Competition, the Muriel Taylor Scholarship, Silver Medal of The Worshipful Company of Musicians, Gold Medal of the Royal Northern College of Music and twice recipient of MBF Guilhermina Suggia Gift.

Misha and his sister Elena form the Nemtsov duo, who are winners of the Swedish International Duo Competition.

Mikhail Nemtsov playing Saint-Saëns’ Allegro Appassionato on his copy of the Marquis de Corberon Stradivarius cello by Robin Aitchison

Stephen Orton, owner of a Robin Aitchison cello

STEPHEN ORTON  the cellist of the Chilingirian Quartet and was principal cellist in the Academy of St Martin in the Fields from 1985 to 2020.  He plays a copy of a c.1740 Montagnana cello made by Robin Aitchison in 2001.  Stephen was born in Ripon, Yorkshire, and studied with William Pleeth at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has been principal cello with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the City of London Sinfonia and was also a member of the Delme Quartet for ten years. He has acted as guest principal cello with the London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia.  In 1985 Stephen became principal cello with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and has played concertos with the orchestra. He was also a member of the Academy Chamber Ensemble, touring internationally and making numerous recordings. Stephen became cellist of the Chilingirian Quartet following the retirement of Philip de Groote in 2013.

He decided to leave the Academy of St Martin in December 2020 in order to devote more time to encouraging young students and coaching chamber groups.


Click here for an interview with Stephen Orton

Gillian Thoday, cellist

GILLIAN THODAY teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music, Chethams School of Music and the Guildhall School of Music Junior Department. She brings to her teaching the benefits of her years of study – with Florence Hooton at the Royal Academy of Music and in Germany with Andre Navarra, one of the greatest cellists and pedagogues of his day – together with the fruits of her own extensive experience as a performer and teacher. Her approach combines a strong emphasis on technical schooling with a recognition of the need always to nurture the individual voice of the student. She aims to give them the technical, musical and organisational skills for the student to ultimately become independent. Many of her students have won awards over the years and are themselves now active members of the music profession.

Gillian’s performing career has included solo appearances at all the major recital venues in London and TV and radio broadcasts for the BBC. She has given first performances of works commissioned by her and has worked extensively with chamber ensembles in the contemporary field, with radio broadcasts, CD recordings and tours in England, Europe and the USA. In the orchestral field she has worked with most of the major orchestras in London and as a guest principal and studio player.  Amongst other fine instruments, she owns a Guadagnini copy by Robin Aitchison.

Matthew Sharp

MATTHEW SHARP  is a renowned cellist, baritone, and actor.  He plays a copy of  the c.1735 Montagnana cello played by his mentor, Boris Pergamenschikow pictured here, which Robin made in 2013.  Matthew studied the cello at the Köln Musikhochschule with Boris Pergamenschikow and has performed at major venues and festivals worldwide. He has appeared with the RPO, LPO, RLPO, CBSO, EUCO, Manchester Camerata and Ural Philharmonic, given solo performances at the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals, recorded for Sony, Naxos and Avie, given over fifty world premieres, appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall, SBC and Salle Gaveau, and broadcast widely on TV and Radio.

As chamber musician, he has performed with the Amphion, Heath, Sacconi, Vertavo and Villiers quartets, Ensemble Epomeo and the Galliard Ensemble, with members of Brooklyn Rider, Grammy-nominated A Far Cry and Ensemble 360 and with, amongst others, Nicola Benedetti, David Le Page, Nicholas Daniel, Martin Fröst, Craig Ogden, Ksenija Sidorova, Katya Apekisheva, Dominic Harlan, Leslie Howard, Stephen Kovacevich, Viv Mclean and Johan Ullen.   To hear Matthew play his cello, visit the Video Gallery.

Matthew Sharp playing the Adagio from Hans Gál’s Concertino for Cello and Strings on his copy of the ex-Pergamenschikow Montagnana cello by Robin Aitchison

Christopher Murray cellist, owner of a Robin Aitchison cello

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY  As cellist of the Heath String Quartet Christopher Murray has a busy performing schedule that takes him around the world.  In 2016 the quartet won the Gramophone Chamber Award for their recording of the complete string quartets of Sir Michael Tippett, and in May 2013 became the first ensemble in fifteen years to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award.

Solo highlights include performing alongside Piers Lane and Brett Dean as part of the composer’s Wigmore Hall Celebration, appearances at Aldeburgh Festival and performances as principal cello of Manchester Camerata.

Christopher gives regular solo recitals in the UK and is currently mid-way through an exciting series exploring baroque masterpieces for cello and harpsichord.  He plays a willow backed copy of the Marquis de Corberon cello made by Robin Aitchison in 2014.

Heath Quartet concert dates:

Yvonne-Marie Parsons, who plays a Guadagnini copy by Robin Aitchison

YVONNE-MARIE PARSONS  Yvonne’s diverse musical career as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician has taken her around the globe. She plays with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, OSJ, City of London Sinfonia, English National Ballet, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, BBCNOW, RPCO, the Gabrieli Consort, and was principal cello with Longborough Festival Opera for 2 years. She enjoys wonderful chamber music including the Vale Piano Trio and Auriga Ensemble, London Concertante and Mezin Trio, and has performed cello concertos with orchestras across the world from the UK to Australia including with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow.

Her first show was the spectacular The Lord of the Rings at Drury Lane and in London’s west end she has played on Matilda, Les Misérables, The Wizard of Oz, Betty Blue Eyes, Oliver, Passion, Porgy and Bess, Carousel, The Woman in White. She was the cellist for The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary Tour spanning 2012 and the UK tour of Ghost The Musical until early 2014. As a composer, her varied works have been performed around the world.  She plays a copy of a Milan period Guadagnini made for her by Robin Aitchison in 2012,

Urska Horvat cellist, owner of a Robin Aitchison cello

URŠKA HORVAT is an award-winning chamber, solo and orchestral musician.  She finished her Postgraduate Artist Diploma in 2016 with Distinction and Director’s Prize for Excellence in Strings at Trinity Laban Conservatoire with the internationally renowned cellist David Cohen.

Her numerous competition successes include 1st prize at the Music Club of London Competition 2017, 1st prize at the Soloists’ Competition 2016 and 1st prize at the Vera Kantrovitch Bach Competition 2015.

Urška has performed at venues including the Wigmore Hall, St. Martin in the Fields, St. James’s Piccadilly, Cadogan Hall, King’s Place and St. John’s Smith Square and she has been invited as a soloist and a chamber musician to participate in international festivals such as  Trondheim (Norway) Davos (Switzerland) Seeklang Hergiswil (Switzerland) and “I Giardini della Filarmonica” (Rome).

She is proud to be a Concordia Foundation Artist and a part of Live Music Now supported by Yehudi Menuhin.  She plays a copy of the ex-Pergamenschikow Montagnana made by Robin Aitchison in 2019.

Urska Horvat concert dates: 

Helena Svigelj cellist


Helena Švigelj is a Slovenian cellist based in London. A passionate chamber and orchestral musician, she is principal cellist of the Dorset Opera Festival Orchestra, and performs with Tchaikovsky Camerata, English National Ballet, Bernardi Music Group, and Ensemble 23. She performs in a piano trio with Sasha Grynyuk (piano) and Yuri Zhislin (violin) and in Duo Furioso, a cello duo with cellist Urška Horvat with whom she works for Live Music Now.

She completed her Postgraduate Artist Diploma with Distinction at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in the class of David Cohen. Prior to Postgraduate studies, Helena studied at Academy of Ljubljana for her Bachelor’s degree and at the Royal Conservatory of Mons in Belgium for her Master in Performance degree.

As a soloist she has performed with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra de chambre de Wallonie, Orchestra of the Royal Conservatory of Mons, and Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra. She has won multiple prizes including the Trinity Laban Soloist Competition 2018, Silver Medal of the Worshipful Musicians Company, John Thompson String Ensemble Prize, 1st Prize at CAVATINA Intercollegiate Chamber Music Competition, 1st prize at the Vera Kantrovich Bach competition.

Helena plays a copy of a c.1735 Montagnana cello made by luthier Robin Aitchison made for her in 2021.

Eva Richards cellist, owner of a Robin Aitchison cello

EVA RICHARDS graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2018, where she studied with Nicholas Trygstad. She is currently pursuing her MA in Cello Performance with Anthony Arnone at the University of Iowa. Eva teaches cello and coaches chamber music at the University of Iowa and has also given masterclasses and recitals at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Mississippi. She has performed in the Wigmore Hall and has premiered works in Manchester, Iowa, and the Midwest Composers’ Symposium in Cincinnati. As a soloist, Eva has recently performed concertos with the Laganside Sinfonia and the Ulster Orchestra in the final of the Flax Trust Music Awards.

Eva plays a Montagnana copy made by Robin Aitchison in 2019.

Josephine Horder

JOSEPHINE HORDER studied in London, Salzburg and Düsseldorf. Her career in chamber music has included many performances at the Wigmore Hall, and the South Bank as well as numerous recordings for radio. She is a committed and highly respected cello teacher.

With her husband Paul Barritt she runs a successful and popular series of chamber concerts in and around Tring, Hertfordshire. In 2015 she graduated after a 4-year training as a Feldenkrais Method practitioner and runs specialist Feldenkrais workshops for musicians, whether professionals, amateurs or students.

Jo plays an enlarged copy of a Milan period Guadagnini cello c1755 made by Robin in 2012, pictured here.

John Catlow

JOHN CATLOW  trained as a cellist at the Royal Manchester College of Music (predecessor of the RNCM).  He then embarked on a long and varied orchestral career with the LSO, the Hallé Orchestra as co-principal cello and, for eleven years as Principal Cello with the ENO.   John has been retired for eleven years but is still very active both playing and conducting two choirs.

He plays a copy of the Marquis de Corberon Stradivari made for him by Robin in 2012.  ‘Robin’s cello has given great momentum to my enthusiasm.  I play this splendid Strad model every day and always wish that I had had it during my professional career.’


Samara Ginsberg is establishing herself as one of the most versatile cellists of her generation. She works predominantly as a chamber musician with several established ensembles. She is the founder, arranger and artistic director of the Jukebox String Quartet, an ensemble specialising in virtuoso rock covers.

In addition to this, she is co-principal cello of the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity, works as a session musician for the Chamber Orchestra of London, and tours the world with comedy string quartet Graffiti Classics.

She is a regular contributor to Classical Music, Music Teacher and The Strad magazines.

She plays a copy of a Milan period Guadagnini cello c.1755 made for her by Robin Aitchison in 2016, pictured here.

Cello Education:

Oliver Mansfield cellist

OLIVER MANSFIELD studied with Alison Moncrieff-Kelly at the East Sussex Academy of Music, who helped him gain a full scholarship to study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.  Upon graduating Oliver was awarded with the Principal’s Prize.  He then went onto study privately with renowned cellist Sue Lowe who has hugely influenced his pedagogic approach.

Establishing himself as a leading figure in cello pedagogy for young people, Oliver shares his engaging and thought out approach with aspiring cellists through individual lessons, workshops, courses and compositions.  Oliver regularly organises events for cellists including Go Cello! a national cello festival set in Greenwich and Cello Club events for the London Cello Society.  He loves teaching Cello, Musicianship, Ensemble and Chamber Music at Junior Trinity.

His own playing ranges from solo recitals given around the UK to freelance orchestral work such as being guest principal of the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra. Oliver plays a copy of the Marquis de Corberon cello made by Robin Aitchison in 2007 and a Thomas Grünke bow from the Aitchison & Mnatzaganian Bow Exhibition.