Madeleine Mitchell

Madeleine Louise Mitchell MMus, ARCM, GRSM, FRSA is a British violinist who has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in over forty countries.[1] She has a wide repertoire and is particularly known for commissioning and premiering new works.

Madeleine Mitchell
Background information
GenresClassical music
Years active1985present
LabelsDivine Art, Naxos, NMC Records, Signum Records, Somm, Meridian
Associated actsFires of London
Michael Nyman Band

Mitchell is a professor at the Royal College of Music, Artistic Director of the Red Violin festival[2] and Director of the London Chamber Ensemble[3] She was also a member of The Fires of London and the Michael Nyman Band.



Mitchell was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music[4] from the age of 12 to 18, studying with Bertha Stevens (violin) and Aida Lovell (piano). Mitchell's secondary education was at Hornchurch Grammar School.[4]

As an Open Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, Mitchell won the Tagore Gold Medal[3] in 1978, graduating with First Class Honours,[4] winning the 1st prize for GRSM and prizes for violin, chamber music and orchestral leadership, with repertoire lessons from Hugh Bean.

As Fulbright/ITT Fellow Mitchell gained a master's degree in New York at the Eastman and Juilliard schools studying with Sylvia Rosenberg, working as her graduate assistant, Donald Weilerstein and Dorothy DeLay. Mitchell was awarded a Fellowship to the Aspen Festival 1980-82. She recalls that DeLay was "kind, perceptive and inspiring" teacher and that the "late night lessons in Aspen… were some of the best".[5][3]

Performing career

Mitchell won the Worshipful Company of Musicians Maisie Lewis Young Artist Award in 1984,[6] resulting in her debut at the Purcell Room at London's South Bank Centre, with further recitals there as Park Lane Group Young Artist 1985 and as winner of the Kirckman Concert Society recital award 1986, when she commissioned her first work, Fantasia by Brian Elias. Mitchell served from 1985-1987 as the violinist/violist member of Peter Maxwell Davies's performing group, The Fires of London.[7] In 1992, she was a member of the Michael Nyman Band; she performed on the recording; The Michael Nyman Songbook and appeared in Volker Schlöndorff's concert film.

Mitchell was one of the artists representing Britain in both the festival UKinNY with a recital at Lincoln Center [8] and for the centenary of Entente Cordiale with France. She has given recitals at Sydney Opera House, Seoul Center for the Arts and Hong Kong. Mitchell has played at many international and most of the major British festivals and frequently performs in London. She was invited by Norbert Brainin to perform with him for his 80th birthday concert at Wigmore Hall in 2003.[9] Mitchell performed a solo recital at the Wigmore Hall in March 2015 accompanied by Nigel Clayton.[10] Other artists with whom she has collaborated include Paul Watkins, Joanna MacGregor, Craig Ogden and Roger Chase. Her recitals have frequently been broadcast by BBC, S4C, ABC and Bayersicher Rundfunk.

Mitchell has performed a wide repertoire of concertos with major orchestras including the St Petersburg Philharmonic (2009),[11] Czech and Polish Radio Symphony, Wurttemberg and Munich Chamber, the Royal Philharmonic, Welsh Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra de Bahia Brazil, Malaga Symphony of Spain and for the BBC [12]

Mitchell is the Director of the London Chamber Ensemble. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2000 [13]


Mitchell has been a Professor at the Royal College of Music since 1994 and was a member of the RCM Council, elected by the professors 2013-16. Mitchell's students have won the Making Music prize and Park Lane Young Artists' Awards.[3] Mitchell instigated Performance Seminars as the Graduate Pathway Leader for Solo/Ensemble students 2000-2011. She frequently chairs examination panels and mentors students in the Centre for Performance Science.[14]

Red Violin Festival

Mitchell is the Artistic Director of the Red Violin which has taken place in 1997 and 2007 in Cardiff. The eclectic international festival celebrates the fiddle across the arts, the title inspired by Le Violin Rouge paintings and covers "all things violin, including classical, fiddling, Indian and jazz use of the instrument"[15] and was enthusiastically received by the media.[16] Mitchell interviewed the Festival's Founder Patron, Lord Menuhin in 1997 for the BBC.[17]

The October 2007 Red Violin festival included two world premieres performances by Mitchell with percussion group Ensemble Bash and the launch of her CD 'Violin Songs' featuring Elizabeth Watts.[18] as well as showing of the Red Violin film.

Commissions and Premieres

Mitchell is noted for commissioning new music and premiering works in a range of styles, often written for her as gifts.

Mitchell recorded Michael Nyman's work 'On The Fiddle', written for her in 1993, and two works written for her by James MacMillan - Kiss on Word (1994) and A Different World (1995) as part of her album In Sunlight: Pieces for Madeleine Mitchell NMC D098 of music written for her by Brian Elias, Stuart Jones, Stephen Montague, Nigel Osborne, Anthony Powers, and John Woolrich with pianist Andrew Ball in 2005 [19]

Mitchell had a violin concerto written for her by Piers Hellawell - Quadruple Elegy in The Time of Freedom, which she premiered with the Ulster Orchestra and gave the London premiere at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1992 with the City of London Orchestra. She received an Arts Council England Award to commission and premiere a unique 'concerto' she devised for violin with voices by Jonathan Harvey, Thierry Pecou and Roxanna Panufnik.[20] She received a further award for her 3-year collaboration 'FiddleSticks' with Ensemble Bash to commission and perform new works for solo violin and percussion by Anne Dudley, Tarik O'Regan and Stuart Jones as companion pieces to Lou Harrison Violin Concerto with Percussion Orchestra, which they performed without conductor, including Symphony Hall International Series and recorded.[21]

She premiered the Violin Concerto written for her by Guto Pryderi Puw, 'Soft Stillness' in 2014 with Orchestra of the Swan and recorded the work live with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2017, included on her album Violin Muse [22] with works written for Mitchell by David Matthews, Sadie Harrison, Michael Nyman and Geoffrey Poole together with premiere recordings of works by Judith Weir and Michael Berkeley.

Major festivals in which she has been invited include ISCM World Music Days Warsaw, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Articulacouns (Brazil), Vale of Glamorgan Festival (4 times) and the BBC Proms[23]


Year Album title Works(Composer) Label Disc Reference
1993 Essential Michael Nyman (with the Michael Nyman Band) Works by Michael Nyman Decca
2003 British Treasures (with Andrew Ball) SOMM SOMMCD031
2004 Frank Bridge Quartet, Quintet
  • String quartet in Bb (previously unpublished)
  • Viola Quintet

premiere recordings

Meridian CDE 84525
2004 Johann Nepomuk Hummel Violin Sonatas Meridian CDE 84439
2004 Quiet Music (with Joanna MacGregor) Messiaen Louange a l'immortalité de Jésus (violin & piano) SoundCircus
2005 In Sunlight: Pieces for Madeleine Mitchell (with Andrew Ball) NMC NMC D098
2007 Alwyn: Chamber Music and Songs (with
  • Roger Chase
  • Andrew Ball
  • Lucy Wilding / Bridge String Quartet
  • Jeremy Huw WiIliams
  • Iain Burnside)
  • Rhapsody for Piano Quartet
  • Sonata Impromptu for Violin and Viola
  • Two Songs for Voice, Violin and Piano
  • Sonatina for Violin and Piano
  • Three Winter Poems for String Quartet

(all by William Alwyn)

Naxos 8.570340
2007 FiddleSticks (with ensemble bash)
  • Concerto for the Violin with Percussion Orchestra (Lou Harrison)
  • Vermilion Rhapsody (Anne Dudley)
  • Fragments from a Gradual Process (Tarik O'Regan)
  • Gharnati (Stuart Jones)
  • Mopti Street (Simon Limbrick)
  • Kumpo (Trad Senegalese arr ensemble bash)
Signum Classics SIGCD111
2007 Violin Songs (with Andrew Ball and Elizabeth Watts) Divine Art dda25063
2008 Howard Blake: Music for Piano and Strings (with Howard Blake, piano)
  • Violin Sonata Op. 586
  • Penillion for violin and piano Op. 571
  • Jazz Dances for violin and piano Op. 520a

(all by Howard Blake)

Naxos 8.572083
2010 Messiaen (with

Gramophone Magazine recommended recording.

SoundCircus / Warner Classics & Jazz 2564 68393-2 (re-issue of 1994 Collins Classics)
2011 Wendy Hiscocks Violin works and chamber music Symposium SYMPCD1389
2012 Associated Board Royal Schools of Music Violin Syllabus 2012-15 Items on the demonstration CDs accompanying the volumes of exam pieces. ABRSM
2013 Alpha and Omega (with Cappella Nova) Domine non secundum peccata nostra (James MacMillan) BBC Music Magazine Choral CD of the Month March 2014 Linn Records CKD439
2017 Violin Muse (with BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Edwin Outwater, Nigel Clayton, piano and Cerys Jones, violin) Divine Art dda25160


  1. "Celebrity recital by 'one of Britain's liveliest musical forces'", Times of Malta, 13 April 2007, retrieved 2011-07-29
  2. ""
  3. "Madeleine Mitchell", Royal College of Music Website; Professors|Strings|Profile, accessed 5 June 2016
  4. Who's Who (UK) 2015 Edition; "MITCHELL, Madeleine Louise"
  5. The Strad Magazine, September 2002
  6. ""
  7. Holland, Bernhard (1985) "Music: Fires of London", The New York Times, December 2, 1985, retrieved 2011-07-29
  8. ""
  9. ""
  10. "" Lisa Peacock Presents Thursday Lunchtime Showcases; accessed 12 June 2016
  11. ""
  12. ""
  13. ""
  14. ""
  15. Cora Cooper (7 March 2007) "K-State Today, 7 March 2012: Noted violinist Madeleine Mitchell to perform March 12"; accessed 5 June 2016
  16. "Media Coverage of 1997 Red Violin Festival"; accessed 5 June 2016
  17. YouTube "Madeleine Mitchell violin & Menuhin, Red Violin Festival"; accessed 5 June 2016
  18. "Red Violin/Ffidil Goch"; accessed 5 June 2016
  19. ""
  20. ""
  21. ""
  22. ""
  23. '"
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