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(shortened from Violoncello - meaning small large violin)

We offer exceptional 'cello tuition from experienced teachers fully trained in the Colourstrings-Kodály approach. Our teachers provide high quality instruction to students of all ages and abilities, helping to develop musical skills and a passion for music in a fun and creative way. Find out more about our 'cello teachers below.

Marina Comas Castineira holding her cello outdoors, smiling

Marina Comas Castineira

Head of 'Cello/Bass

Marina was born in sunny Barcelona; however, she began her musical studies in Mexico City, where her family lived for a number of years.  Music was an important part of family life and she was always surrounded by it as a child, one of her earliest memories being listening to her dad practise the piano.  Later, he would often surprise her with recordings of the masters of the cello and this instilled a lifelong passion for the instrument and its emotional power.

As a teenager, having played for the legendary Hungarian-American cellist János Starker, he invited her to join his cello programme at Indiana University.  There, she was a pupil of Helga Winold and Emilio Colón.  Having received the prestigious Pau Casals scholarship she then went on to study with the distinguished soloist Lynn Harrell at Rice University in Houston, graduating with a Master’s degree in 2005.  

Marina has appeared as a soloist on many occasions, making her debut with orchestra at the age of fifteen with the Yekaterinburg Chamber Orchestra.  She has played concertos with the Barcelona Sinfonietta and Camerata XXI and at present enjoys a freelance career both as a chamber and orchestral musician, having played in orchestras such as the Orquestra del Palau de les Arts (Valencia), the Orquestra del Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona) and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.  Her favourite musical activity is playing chamber music with friends and she is lucky to have a pianist (and composer) living at home with whom she can play concerts!

Having discovered Colourstrings, which has radically influenced her teaching philosophy, Marina began teaching at The North London Conservatoire in 2012, and she took up the role of Head of Cello/Bass in 2023.  She is enjoying discovering London and loves country walks, learning about art and literature, and travelling.

Agnieszka Teodorowska holding her cello in concert dress, smiling

Agnieszka Teodorowska

Agnieszka Teodorowska is a professional cellist who studied music in a comprehensive music school from the age of seven.  She completed a Master's Degree in Cello Performance at the Łódź Music Academy in Poland and an Artist’s Diploma in Cello Performance at the Royal College of Music, London.

Agnieszka is very passionate about her teaching and mentoring role: she actively engages in various art forms, including dance and theatre, and systematically studies alternative ways of teaching performing and its psychology.  She recently completed the PGCert in Teaching Performance at the Guildhall School of Music, is finalising Dalcroze and Kodály Professional Certificates and has been exploring the Feldenkrais Approach as learning through movement for the last two years.

Ana Victoria Marinkova playing the cello, smiling, at a concert

Ana Victoria Marin Mora (Marinkova)

Born in Jerez and based in London, Ana Victoria is a Spanish cellist who travels the globe and strives to deepen human understanding through her musical stage presence and teaching. 

After her BMus in Madrid with Suzana Stefanovic, a former student of the famous Jànos Starker, she continued studying privately in Paris with Gary Hoffman. She gained her MA at the Royal Academy of Music in 2021 in London, studying with the cellist of the Doric Quartet, John Myerscough.

Ana has travelled the world to participate in orchestral festivals and is currently working in some projects where she plays both classical and jazz music (including some of her own arrangements for chamber music) at important events.  She is excited that she is launching her own company to this end!

Ana Victoria has been a cello teacher at the North London Conservatoire since 2021 and also teaches at St. Alban’s City School, having also numerous private students in London.  As a chamber musician, she is a member of the Taycan Piano Quartet and her work also extends to television: she has participated in many recordings for famous shows in Spain.

Currently, she plays a cello made in England in 1770 by Richard Duke.

Cameron Smith smiling at the camera

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith is a freelance cellist with a busy career in an around London. A graduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Cameron studied cello under the tutelage of Joely Koos. Upon receiving his Bachelor of Music with Honours he continued his studies under the guidance of Tim Gill.

Cameron has performed in some of the country's most prestigious venues as both a chamber and orchestral musician, with his work being aired on radio and TV. Recent performances include concerts with both the London Concert and BBC Concert Orchestras.

Ellie Douglas smiling at the camera outside a country pub

Ellie Douglas

Vice-Principal (Financial & General)

Ellie went to Hornsey School for Girls in North London and started learning the cello with Gordon Pringle at the age of 6.  She attended the Youth Music Centre (YMC) with Kay and Emmanuel Hurwitz and was a member of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain (NCO), the Haringey Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra (HYMSO) and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) before joining the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) to learn with Robert Max.

Ellie read Music at New College, Oxford where she played with five different orchestras and a variety of chamber groups, managed the Oxford University Philharmonia Orchestra, worked as a classroom assistant in a primary school once a week and went to French lessons in her spare time.  She graduated in 2002 and worked in a variety of roles in orchestral management with orchestras including the English Chamber Orchestra (ECO), Philharmonia and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE).  She set up and managed the Young Janacek European youth orchestra and ran the Montepulciano Festival in Italy in her spare time. 

Ellie moved to Santiago de Chile to take up the role of Orchestral Manager of the Opera House Orchestra at the Teatro Municipal until 2009 when she moved back to London to take up the role of Manager of Stringers in London.  Ellie has been working at the NLC since early 2015, where she is Vice-Principal and she teaches the cello two evenings a week.  

Ellie is married to trombonist and sackbut player Miguel Tantos (who recently played at the King's Coronation) and they live in London with two children (both Colourstrings students!). 

Emma Cornet smiling at the camera

Emma Cornet

Having enjoyed a rich musical upbringing, Emma was very excited when she stumbled across the Kodály and Colourstrings approaches.  She recognised that the way it integrates aural and notation skills simultaneously was a very effective and engaging way to learn music.  Emma went on to study further, visiting both Finland and Hungary to deepen her knowledge and understanding.

Emma has taught at the North London Conservatoire for nearly 20 years, starting first in Kindergarten and then going on to teach the cello, musicianship and ensembles.  She also teaches at Gallions Primary School in Beckton, where every child has Kodaly musicianship lessons and learns a stringed instrument.  

Emma manages to play and sing occasionally with various singer/songwriters but is mostly kept busy by her own children.  In her spare time she loves going to concerts, camping and paddle-boarding.

Erika Szabó

Erika Szabó first involvement in music started in kindergarten in Budapest, Hungary, where her musical talent was recognised by her music teacher. Lessons with a cellist who engendered in her a love of cello began. Erika has always loved how musicians can communicate without words, which makes her feel part of a special world. 

Her first degree achieved, Erika spent years in the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in Hungary; she eventually felt the urge to explore another lifestyle and left her comfort zone 

Erika Szabo smiling on the water

for the QE2 ocean liner for a while. Here, she found a drive to help young children gain self-esteem and to reach their potential and studying again, achieved another Bachelor’s Degree as a Pre-School teacher in Hungary, then a Montessori Diploma in London. She has worked in nurseries now for over ten years.

Her first degree achieved, Erika spent years in the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in Hungary; she eventually felt the urge to explore another lifestyle and left her comfort zone for the QE2 ocean liner for a while. Here, she found a drive to help young children gain self-esteem and to reach their potential and studying again, achieved another Bachelor’s Degree as a Pre-School teacher in Hungary, then a Montessori Diploma in London. She has worked in nurseries now for over ten years.

Music has always been prominent and more recently, through Colourstrings, she has returned to cello teaching, whose atmosphere and contribution to her life she had missed. Her favourite thing about teaching is supporting and showing children how much they are capable of, as well as their facial expressions when they feel proud of their achievements and enjoyment in being part of this special world.

Evva Mizerska holding her cello smiling at the camera

Evva Mizerska

Named “rising star” by The Strad magazine, Evva Mizerska is an award-winning cellist, recitalist and chamber musician. She has appeared as a soloist or recitalist in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, the Purcell Room (Queen Elizabeth Hall), St George’s Bristol among others in the UK; other performances include duo or trio recitals in Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Germany, Italy and Poland as well as live broadcasts for the BBC3 and the Polish Radio. She records for Toccara Classics, Naxos and Dux.

Evva was born in Poland and studied in Warsaw (F. Chopin Academy of Music) and London (Trinity College of Music). She is a laureate of a few notable competitions and awards, including the 1st Prize in the Leon Janacek Chamber duos competition in Brno.

In her teaching, Evva likes to work with students of various ages and loves seeing how her young students develop into mature cellists; she loves playing duets with them as well, when time allows! In her spare time Evva likes to go for long walks, read, cook and watch crime films.

Katri Patel holding her cello, smiling

Katri Patel

Katri Patel was born in Kuopio, Finland and started playing the cello at the age of eight. It was at this time that she had her first experience with the Colourstrings teaching method, when she attended a summer music course near her hometown in Finland and had her first cello lessons with Csaba Szilvay himself, the originator of the Colourstrings ‘Cello Method.

Katri went on to study at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, from where she graduated with a Master’s Degree and a Cello Diploma in 1996. Since then, she has played with many orchestras both in Finland and in the UK including the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Britten Sinfonia.

Katri enjoys playing chamber music, going to the opera, travelling in Europe with her husband and eating out.

Kinga Gaborjani-Szabo smiling at the camera holding one of her instruments

Kinga Gáborjáni

Kinga Gáborjáni, originally from Hungary, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She performs with many British orchestras, with whom she has toured all over the world.    Since 2008, she has played with the English Baroque Soloists under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, for whom she is currently Principal Cellist and gamba player.

She has taught at the North London Conservatoire since 2011. She is passionate about teaching, passing on the joy of music and she also works as a mindset coach, helping fellow musicians cope with performance anxiety as well as non-performers develop in confidence.   Kinga could also be spotted playing at the King's Coronation.

Laura Forbes smiling at the camera

Laura Forbes

Senior Vice-Principal (Instrumental)

Laura studied the cello at Trinity College of Music, London, gaining the Barbirolli prizes for String Playing and Quartet Playing. She then worked freelance and performed widely in various orchestras and chamber ensembles, with which she toured the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Spain. 

Playing the cello has been a lifelong passion but in 2002 she attended her first Colourstrings International Summer School.  She joined the North London Conservatoire five days later and has never looked back.  She was head of the cello department for many years and is now one of the Vice-Principals of the school!

The combination of Kodály Musicianship and child-friendly material made a huge impact and the success of her teaching in those early years led to complete conviction in the Colourstrings Method and the wish to devote herself to furthering its development in the UK.  Even now, the musicality and level of technical skill shown by young Colourstrings-trained instrumentalists never ceases to amaze her.

Laura loves to travel, from European city breaks to African safaris. She enjoys life in London with trips to the theatre, cinema, parks and restaurants while keeping plenty of time at home to groom her remarkably furry cats!

Libby Kelly with a very wide smile in the woods

Libby Kelly

Libby was drawn to the cello from her earliest years. Her father had a wonderful cello with a lion's head scroll that she was fascinated by, and she started playing it when it was much too big for her. She plays it to this day, and it is the most wonderful thing she has ever owned. 

Libby plays chamber music with friends, with the Highgate Strings and in Normandy, with French friends, at Tapis Vert. She also plays in her local orchestra. She has a particular liking for Prokofiev’s string quartets but has adored playing Beethoven piano trios with her siblings: she comes from a musical family and both her daughters have been through the Colourstrings programme as a violinist and a cellist. They both still play. 

Libby studied with Joan Dickson at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and with Gwyneth George and Alexander Volkov. She loves teaching the cello, finding it wonderfully rewarding. She particularly likes to see and hear children learning to love playing the instrument and making progress week by week.

Pál Banda

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Penny Driver smiling at the camera on a hike

Penny Driver

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Penny is a dedicated and well-known teacher, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral cellist. She was Co-Principal of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and performs all over the world with the London Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Penny teaches at Wells Cathedral School, where she attracts students internationally. Many of them go on to win scholarships to major conservatoires in London, Europe and USA. She was for many years Professor of Cello at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and also gives Performance Classes at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as adjudicating and examining. She is on the faculty of Altalena Summer Academy in Budapest.

Penny believes that developing a shared interpretation in chamber music is one of the best ways for students to learn how to turn instrumental skills into expressive performances. Chamber coaching is a part of her work at Wells and here in north London she co-directs con spirito chamber music Sundays (

Penny studied the cello with Ralph Kirshbaum while at Cambridge University and as a postgraduate at the Royal Northern College of Music. She then studied with Marc Johnson, cellist of the Vermeer Quartet in the USA and with legendary Russian teacher Natalia Shakhovskaya in Moscow.

Penny loves mountains, especially Alps. A few years ago, she and her husband walked across the French Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean carrying a two-person tent which weighed 820g!

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