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The Oxford Concert Party is led by Arne and Isabel, who also lead workshops as a duo. The full group of 6 comprises professional freelance musicians with a huge breadth of national and international experience, covering classical, contemporary, pop, jazz and tango music. Between them, they have played with: orchestras for major West End musicals; pop groups such as Coldplay, Spandau Ballet and Suede; London Mozart Players; Glyndebourne and Welsh National Opera orchestras; major London orchestras such as BBC Symphony Orchestra; chamber orchestras; dance companies such as Matthew Bourne and Ballet Rambert.
In addition, their many and varied skills include tango dancing, writing poetry, creating art, cooking (contributing many of their recipes to The Convivial Cookbook), gardening, coaching and teaching.
Arne Richards (Artistic Director - harpsichord/accordion)
Arne made his highly acclaimed debut at the Wigmore Hall in London, and has since developed a colourful and varied performing profile in many parts of the world. Well known for his exciting and stylish playing, he has recorded regularly for BBC Radio and Television, Channel 4 Television, and has appeared on Italian, German, Mexican, Australian and US networks. An authority on music for healing, his work as a consultant music therapist has taken him to Scandinavia, the Far East and Australia. He is also a qualified hypnoanalyst. ARne’s unique compositions and arrangements for the Oxford Concert Party reflect his great love of world music, particularly Celtic music and the tango.
Isabel Knowland (violin)
Isabel studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Frederick Grinke. During her varied professional career she has played in West End shows, recorded with groups such as Procol Harum, played in many major London orchestras and recorded several trio recitals for the BBC. From OCP’s formation in 1992 to 2008 she managed the group, and has played a major role in developing projects in prisons, schools and residential homes. Brought up in Ireland, her playing reflects her love of its passionate music and energetic dance.
Gregory Warren Wilson (violin)
Gregory is a jack of all trades, known nowadays as a post-modernist renaissance man. He trained at the Royal Ballet School and danced at Covent Garden before studying at the Royal College of Music. He was a member of the Razumovsky Quartet for three years and the London Mozart Players for ten. He now enjoys a wide variety of work, performing and recording classical, contemporary and pop music. He is also a published poet.
Lisanne Melchior (viola)
Lisanne won violin and viola scholarships to the Royal Northern College of Music and later to study in Chicago. Lisanne enjoys different forms of music playing in symphony orchestras, opera orchestras including Glyndebourne and Welsh National, and jazz ensembles. She has a particular love of chamber music and has performed concertos in both England and Germany. Lisanne lives on a smallholding with animals both feathered and woolly and also keeps free-range children.
Trevor Burley (cello)
Trevor hails from Halesowen in the west midlands. At the age of age of eleven, having failed miserably with the trumpet, he fell in love with the cello and later studied at the Welsh College of Music in Cardiff and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Since then his busy freelance career has included playing in thirteen West End shows, performing chamber music at the Purcell Room and working with the rock group “Suede”. He now lives in Oxfordshire with his partner Shelley, with whom he plays 1920’s Palm Court music. He also cooks with gusto, flirts with church organs and is a practising Craniosacral Therapist.
Lucy Hare (double bass)
Lucy is in great demand as a freelance player in London and abroad. She has worked with many of London’s major orchestras, chamber ensembles and recording companies. A traveller, gastronome and dancer at heart, Lucy’s unique percussive playing brings together her wild energy and love of world rhythms and music. Obsessed by the tango she has formed her own tango quintet, Tango Volcano. She has recently acquired a new passion, gardening, and she and Isabel are known to spend many hours over their veg boxes, wine glass in hand, discussing slugs and compost.