Helen Bishop, Principal Bass Clarinet


Born in Wales, Helen Bishop has been a clarinettist with Sinfonia Viva since 2001. Helen studied at the Welsh College of Music and Drama with Michael Saxton as a Junior, and the Royal Academy of Music with Georgina Dobree. She returned to the Welsh College for postgraduate study with Martin Ronchetti before attending the National Centre for Orchestral Studies.

Helen began her career playing principal and bass clarinet in West End musicals before being drawn towards opera and symphony orchestras. She is currently Principal Clarinet with Swansea City Opera and National Chamber Orchestra of Wales, and also plays with Welsh National Opera, English Touring Opera, Grange Park Opera, Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, New London Sinfonia, London Gala Orchestra and City of London Chamber Orchestra.

Helen also specialises in playing the basset horn (the clarinet’s big brother), an instrument she feels is rather underrated. She is currently researching its solo and chamber music repertoire, and hopes to promote a greater awareness of the instrument’s unique qualities and true potential.

Helen’s interest in Welsh clarinet music inspired the composer David Nevens to write a piece for her, “GWYN ap NUDD” for solo E flat clarinet. More recently, a visit to Australia sparked not only an interest in clarinet music by Australian composers but also a taste for red wine by West Australian wine producers.

In her spare time Helen enjoys hill walking with her partner and their two Welsh border collies, not to mention an occasional glass of the afore-mentioned red wine.