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Fiona Cross

A picture of Fiona Cross, Principal Clarinet of Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra


Fiona’s first professional work was with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the impressive Roger Norrington. Her debut as a solo performer was in 1986 playing Weber’s Concerto No. 2 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey at the Barbican Hall. In 1988 Fiona won the LPO Pioneer award for the best young performer and the ‘reward’ was to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto at the Royal Festival Hall. She has worked with conductors of the stature of Leonard Slatkin, Tamás Vásáry, Mark Elder, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding and Ricardo Chailly. She speaks of Mark Elder’s respectfulness and wonderful musicianship and adds that he is an ex-Bryanstonian; Chailly is ‘exciting, wonderful and a perfectionist’; Harding is ‘incredibly intelligent and his beats are wonderfully clear’ and she speaks glowingly of Haitink’s amazing inspiration. She has toured with the Vanburg String Quartet and the broadcast of their performance of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor was a revelation. Fiona’s tone and intonation was impeccable and her articulation admirable. The warmth that she brought to this piece was quite incredible. To date she has only made one commercial recording, that of Robert Simpson’s Quintet for clarinet, bass clarinet and string trio (Hyperion CDA 66626) coupled with the String Quartets Nos. 14 and 15. In this, she plays the bass clarinet and, again, her clarity and musicianship are second to none. She has given recitals with the pianist Kathryn Page at Wigmore Hall and twice in the Purcell Room and has performed with both the Coull and Alberni String Quartets at music festivals. At least six composers have written especially for her including Diana Burrell with Bright Herald of the Morning and Gary Carpenter with his Sonata.


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