Lorraine McAslan - Violin
International soloist, chamber musician and professor Junior Academy, Royal Academy of Music
Initially Lorraine was privately trained in London from the age of 13 with Royal Academy of Music Professor, David Martin. During this time she won numerous prizes and scholarships, including the gold medal at the Royal Overseas competition, second place at the Kocian Violin competition in Czechoslovakia and ‘Best British’ at the Glasgow International competition for junior violinists. Lorraine McAslan was heard at seventeen by Isaac Stern, who described her as ”uniquely gifted” and on whose recommendation went to study with the legendary Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School under a scholarship with the Royal Society of Arts. During her time there she also studied in Aspen and Banff summer schools having lessons with artists including Fenyves, Guilli, Weilerstein and Perlman.
Since then she has shared the concert platform with many of Britain’s greatest orchestras, including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Royal Philharmonic, Halle, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Liverpool, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and English Chamber Orchestra, and with distinguished international conductors including Andrew Davis, Raymond Leppard, Jerzy Maksymuik, Libor Pesek, the late Alexander Gibson and Jukka Pekka Saraste. Her European debut with the Bern Symphony Orchestra under Eliahu Inbal was broadcast live on Swiss Radio.
She has performed regularly on BBC Radio 3 and her TV appearances have included performances with BBC Welsh and BBC Scottish Orchestras and on BBC 2's Music in Camera series. She made the premiere broadcast of the violin concerto of the British composer Lionel Sainsbury with the BBC Concert Orchestra and conductor Barry Wordsworth. Lorraine has had duo partnerships with John Blakely, Nigel Clayton, John Lenehan and Michael Dussek, performing extensively in recital at the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, King’s Place and throughout the U.K. and at Festivals including Aldeburgh, Bath, Cheltenham, Harrogate and Three Choirs.
In addition to an extensive mainstream repertoire, she has performed and recorded the concerti of Howard Blake, Lionel Sainsbury, William Alwyn and York Bowen. Internationally she has performed extensively as a member of the English Chamber Orchestra throughout Europe, America, and as soloist in Canada and Japan. She has also performed with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and with the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra for the Sultan of Oman. Lorraine started her recording career in 1985 with an acclaimed disc of the Elgar and Walton violin and piano sonatas for ASV which the Gramophone Magazine described as ‘a beautiful record’.
Since then she has recorded over 30 recordings for ASV, Collins, Naxos and Dutton Epoch which include concerti by Mozart, Hoffman and sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saens, Martinu, Janacek, Holst, Bridge and Britten. Her critically acclaimed recording of the Britten violin concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra, conductor Steuart Bedford, was released in 1990. (‘amongst the very best recordings I have heard’ Gramophone).
Her interest in neglected British composers has led her to record several discs for the Dutton Epoch series including works by Kenneth Leighton, Arthur Benjamin, Granville Bantok, Dorothy Howell, Benjamin Dale and two discs by Rebecca Clarke. Lorraine's recording of the York Bowen Concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by the late Vernon Handley was released in 2006, her performance of which was described as ‘shading her ecstatic cantabile with portamentos reminiscent of Heifetz’ by the BBC Music Magazine. Her interpretation of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor violin concerto and Julius Harrison’s Bredon Hill with the London Philharmonic was released by Nimbus in 2008.
Lorraine was the leader of the Maggini String Quartet 2006-2008 during which time she continued to champion British music by recording the quartets of Lennox Berkeley, William Alwyn, and Peter Maxwell Davies for Naxos. Spanning from 2009 she has recorded, to critical acclaim, for the Dutton Epoch label, concerti by Richard Arnell, Guirne Creith, Thomas Pitfield, William Alwyn, Arthur Benjamin, Havergal Brian, Hayden Wood and Lionel Sainsbury with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra respectively. In 2014 she recorded two virtuoso works of Charles Martin Loeffler with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Johannes Wildner conducting.
Since 2011-14, Lorraine was a member of the piano quintet, London Soloist Ensemble with John Lenehan and Karine Georgian, Sarah Jane Bradley and Anthony Pike. The BBC Music Magazine wrote - ‘[the] performances are exceptional – a collective and individual display of how to deliver chamber music at world-class level’.
Lorraine is currently the leading soloist in the London Octave, performing regularly at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square. Her latest recording in 2017 is of Walton and Bliss concerti with BBC Concert Orchestra, conductor Martin Yates. The BBC Music Magazine wrote ‘McAslan’s contribution is state-of-the-art…..her response to the solo parts of Heifetz satisfying technical demands is as fine as her bombproof tuning and warm not over- sumptuous tone and expression.’ The Gramophone described her as ‘impressively secure and stylish’ following on to say ‘McAslan and Yates do Bliss’s abundantly communicative inspiration absolutely proud in a judiciously prepared reading…….plaudits for this most rewarding issue.’
Lorraine has been teaching at the Junior Royal Academy since 1998. She was awarded Honorary Associate in 2007. In that time she has extensively taught violinists of ages ranging from 10-18, preparing students for grade exams, diplomas, auditions, competitions and concert performances. She has also coached adult performers in chamber music and university students as a consultant. She has been a guest examiner at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and a guest jury member at several competitions.
The Strad called her “One of the most distinguished British violinists of her generation”
Listen to Lorraine's numerous recordings on Spotify
HIgh Barnet, London