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Violin

We offer exceptional violin 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. The violin is a popular choice, and the main instrument of our principal! Find out more about our violin teachers below:

Seila Tammisola with her violin, smiling

Seila Tammisola

Head of Violin/Viola

Seila Tammisola started playing the violin at the age of 3 in East Helsinki Music Institute with Géza Szilvay, the originator of the Colourstrings Method. In this way, Seila gathered first-hand experience of the method, playing in the teacher training courses around Europe and later leading The Helsinki Strings, Géza’s internationally famous youth orchestra. (You can also hear Seila’s voice as a child on the Finnish versions of TA and TI TI-recordings!)

Seila studied violin at The Junior Sibelius Academy from 1992 and ‘only’ 17 years later graduated with a BMus from there in 2009 with the highest possible marks.  She came to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Dram and graduated with an MPerf in 2009, having studied violin with Prof Krzysztof Smietana and classical improvisation with Dr David Dolan.

Seila loves chamber music and has performed in the biggest festivals in Finland (Kuhmo,Savonlinna and Turku) as well as touring around Europe and Japan. She spent an unforgettable year studying in a historical castle of Edsberg’s Chamber Music Institute, Stockholm and later on the master classes of European Chamber Music Academy with distinguished professors including Hatto Beyerle (Alban Berg Quartet), Rainer Küssmaul and members of the Juilliard Quartet. With her prize-winning string quartet Seila has made the premiere recordings of Melartin String Quartets No.2 & 4, Ralf Gothoni’s arr. of Hugo Wolf’s Italianisces Liederbuch as well as a Finnish National Radio YLE broadcast of Bartok’s 2nd String Quartet.

As an orchestral player Seila has freelanced with The Helsinki Philharmonic and Tapiola Sinfonietta in Finland, lead the 2nd violin sections of festival orchestras in Encuentro de Santander and Kioto International and is performing with many freelance orchestras in London.  In 2012 she worked with Southbank Sinfonia, leading the orchestra at the Cheltenham Festival, and played as a soloist and in chamber music together with young artists from The Royal Opera House.

Seila also likes improvising and anything unconventional.  Her latest project took her on stage at The National Theatre and The Duchess Theatre, playing Alan Bennett’s Hymn.  Currently, Seila is studying the Laban Method for dancers and wants to learn more about the ancient tradition of storytelling.

Seila has been teaching at the North London Colourstrings Centre and Conservatoire since 2010.

Adriana Cristea holding her instrument smiling at the camera

Adriana Cristea

Born in Romania to a musical family, Adriana Cristea grew up surrounded by music. She started violin lessons at age five under her parents' guidance and developed a love for the violin that led to a music career. She performed publicly for the first time at six and from then, began practising regularly. Two years later, she began participating in competitions, frequently winning prizes.

Since then, Adriana has given numerous solo concerts and recitals in Europe and the Middle East, in venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Albert Hall and St.Martin-in-the-Fields. She is the founder of Romania With Love, Journey with Bach, Fiddler with Musical Passport and Springtime Fairytales recital projects, promoted in the UK and online. In 2022, she launched two audio-visual projects: a continuation of Fiddler With Musical Passport dedicated to worldwide national anthems, and Twelve Thoughts, dedicated to Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with her own backing track orchestra and graphically-designed images.

Adriana is an avid violin and music teacher, keen to share her love of music with those who want to diiscover this world. She joined the Conservatoire Kindergarten Department in 2022 and will soon start teaching Colourstrings violin as well.

Ana Popescu-Deutsch playing her violin in concert dress, smiling at the camera

Ana-Elisabeta Popescu-Deutsch

Ana Popescu Deutsch was born in Satu Mare- Romania, and started singing before she could talk properly.  Whilst on her way to a concert with a family friend aged 5 and a half, she was humming a tune in the car.  Little did she know that by the end of the evening, Ana would become the pupil of Olivia Papa, her first violin teacher and passenger in the front seat that night.

Olivia’s lessons were made up of a healthy balance between playing the violin and petting one of her numerous cats.

She furthered her studies at the George Enescu Music High School in Bucharest, and in 2002 met her future mentor Alecu Leseanu.  He regarded the human voice as the epitome of musicality which lined up with Ana’s childhood passion.

Whilst accumulating prizes at national and international competitions, Ana sang in two children choirs, recording 6 CDs with the “Bim Bam”.

In 2010, she became part of the European Union Youth Orchestra, touring both Europe and America and sharing music on stages such as the Konzerthaus, Berlin and New York’s Carnegie Hall alongside renowned musicians Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman to name a few.  Meeting people from all around Europe also inspired Ana to study abroad.

From 2011-2017 she got a place at the Royal Academy of Music completing both her undergraduate and master's degrees.  Her love of ensemble playing drew her to apply for the Southbank Sinfonia, receiving a one-year fellowship and making invaluable friendships on the way.

Sharing the wonderful gift of music has always been at the core of her being, and becoming part of the Colourstrings family has been one of the happiest moments of her career.  The passion and dedication of all the teaching staff have created a tight knit community, where each member inspires the other, growing simultaneously with their pupils.  Who could ask for more?

Any Mason smiling at the camera

Andy Mason

He started to play the violin at around the age of 8 following a large-scale listening test in his primary school, which resulting in just 3 children being offered the opportunity to learn, initially as a small group. Over time this gave him the opportunity to join local schools string ensembles, and later audition for the city-wide Birmingham schools’ full orchestras where he found his love for music, courtesy of some truly inspirational conductors and the various soloists they performed with.

Initially planning to study acoustic engineering at university, he decided to forgo the offered places following the very claustrophobic experience visiting a couple of anechoic chambers, and instead took a year out and auditioned for music college, leading to all his musical forays that have since followed.

In line with how he began playing the violin he now also teaches, he helped introduce the Colourstrings programme at a school in Kings Cross giving a similar opportunity to all Year 3 children to learn violin or ‘cello.

He has a passion for films, cuisine, and more recently musical theatre following his own son's professional West End endeavours.

Anna Caban smiling at the camera against a white background

Anna Caban

Anna Caban was born in Poland, in a small town called Szczytno, surrounded by beautiful lakes and forests. She started violin at seven, fell in love with her instrument and hasn’t been able to stop playing since!  Musical explorations brought her first to Katowice in southern Poland, where she finished her Bachelor’s Degree at the Karol Szymanowski Academy and then even further, to London. There she finished a Master’s Degree in Orchestral Artistry at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Since 2014 she has been living in London, working as a freelance musician and teacher, including playing in orchestras and chamber groups like Aurora Orchestra, Opera North and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.  She loves exploring different musical genres, from classical to tango, folk and popular music. 

As much as performing, Anna loves teaching and sharing her passion for music. She has been a violin and viola teacher at The North London Conservatoire since 2017.  She also works for the Music Masters charity and regularly as a tutor for The National Children’s Orchestra.  

In her free time, Anna loves to read, watch movies, cook, hike, explore London’s rivers and canals in her inflatable kayak, practise yoga and climb rocks!

Barbara Dziewiecka-Data holding her violin

Barbara Dziewiecka-Data

Violinist Barbara Dziewięcka-Data performs a broad variety of musical styles from classical to Latin. Born in Poland, she graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Royal College of Music in London.  She is a winner of numerous competitions for both solo and chamber music.

Barbara has performed in many of the most renowned concert venues around the world, -Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls, the Barbican Hall in the UK, the Berlin Philharmonie and Cologne Philharmonie in Germany, and many more.

Since 2010, she has worked regularly with Nigel Kennedy as a co-leader of his “Orchestra of Life” as well as individually, including various recordings and festivals that include the BBC Proms.  She also plays regularly with the BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Mozart Players and others.

Perhaps Barbara’s true passion is Latin music and she is a solo violinist in a Latin-American ensemble, Classico Latino, with whom she regularly travels to perform in Colombia, including at the Teatro Colon in Bogota.  She has been on all major Colombian TV and radio stations and recorded an album in the legendary Egrem Studios in Havana, Cuba.

Privately,  Barbara’s interests are musical also and she enjoys opera, Latin dance such as salsa and tango, but also travelling, Latin American history, Spanish and yoga. She loves cats and sunshine.

Barbara Toth smiling with her violin

Barbara Toth

Barbara Toth was born in 1996 in Hungary, in Makó. She started violin at seven and within a year, was playing in concerts and chamber ensembles. Another year later, she would lead the youth string orchestra and in 2010, received an award from The Margit Istók Foundation for her musical activities.

At fourteen, Barbara studied at the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music, where tutors included Teréz Pichner, Erika Tóth and Géza Kapás and one of the greatest Masters of chamber music, Zoltán Fejérvári.

Barbara’s first degree was from the University of Music and Dance in Cologne, where she studied with Professor Michael Vaiman. She gave many concerts in the region as member of the Junge Philharmonie Cologne. She went on to study with György Pauk at the Royal Academy of Music. In addition to solo and chamber concerts, she gave lectures about the Kodály method, represented European culture. Having earned her Master’s from the RAM, she began teaching violin to different age groups.

In addition to teaching, Barbara she continues to perform, keeping open to opportunities and new challenges. Since her stay in London, Barbara has become a member of many orchestras and is also the Summer Academy Director of the Altalena Music Festival in Hungary.

Clare Thompson in formal dress smiling at the camera against a dark background

Clare Thompson

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Since leaving the Philharmonia Orchestra, where she was Sub-Leader for over a decade, Clare Thompson has become one of London’s most sought after violin teachers.  A long-standing professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, she also teaches at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music.  Passionate about training young people, she has been a regular tutor for the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain since 2004 and was recently made an Interim Trustee.

She has given masterclasses in Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus under the auspices of the prestigious I, Culture Orchestra, the premier orchestra for Eastern European young musicians, with whom she has been a tutor since 2012.  In 2015 she was invited to Bayreuth to tutor the Bayreuth Young Artists’ Festival Orchestra.

Clare is regularly invited to tutor in all of the London music colleges and is keen to pass on her wealth of knowledge and orchestral experience.  She is generally sought after as teacher and audition mentor by many young musicians embarking on their careers.  She also has a burgeoning private studio in North London, teaching across the syllabuses.  Her students range from age 7-18 with notable examination and conservatoire entrance successes.

Clare, herself, was a prize-winning student at the Royal Academy of Music where she studied with Carmel Kaine.  Scholarships enabled her to complete her postgraduate studies in Germany with Wolfgang Marschner.  On her return, she was soon appointed to the Principal 2nd chair of the English Chamber Orchestra, performing with such artists as Barenboim and Zukerman.  She performed with the English Chamber Orchestra as a soloist both in the concert hall and recording studio.  During that ten year period, she also appeared as guest leader with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Ulster Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Thames Chamber Orchestra and principal positions with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestra amongst others. 

She has led the Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall, performed with many of the world’s great conductors (Muti, Maazel, Salonen and Ashkenazy to name but a few), and is now regularly invited to lead and co-lead British orchestras including, most recently, working extensively as Co-Leader of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Andris Nelsons.

Clare has also enjoyed an active chamber music career, performing, recording and broadcasting with such ensembles as Prometheus, Cirrus and Serenata. She has played chamber music with Rostropovich and is a featured soloist on a CD of Vivaldi violin concertos with Pinchas Zukerman. She also continues to work in the studio recording film scores, including The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and The Hobbit.

Clare was recently made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in recognition of her services to music.

Craig Jarvis holding his violin, smiling

Craig Jarvis

Craig Jarvis devotes a major part of his time to teaching and educational projects.  He has been teaching Violin and coaching chamber groups at The North London Conservatoire since 2021 after attending courses online with Géza Szilvay.  He graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire after studying with James Coles and Clive Lander. He worked around the Midlands as an orchestral player but primarily as leader with The Spencer String Quartet.

He then moved to Portugal and joined Orchestra Do Norte, with a sub-principal position taking part in extensive tours of Portugal and Spain and performing solo parts in Bach and Vivaldi concertos.  The orchestra was also involved in a large educational scheme.

Having moved back to London, Craig now enjoys a diverse freelance career playing with various orchestras and ensembles, with tours to Asia and touring shows.  He runs the Lydian String Quartet, which is committed to a continuous programme of cancer fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.

In his spare time, he can be found in the waves of North Devon, surfing or tricking with his kites. He is joined in that by his partner Gosia Kuznicki, who also teaches at the NLC.

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Deborah Harris

Deborah Harris is a professional violinist who studied at Trinity College of Music, Goldsmiths’ College and privately.  She has taught since she was seventeen.  Deborah has gained numerous violin scholarships and music places for students in the past and many Distinctions in the higher grades.  She recently began to specialise, out of a feeling of necessity, in remedial teaching for children who had been taken into the school  late, usually as older siblings of younger Colourstrings students and who had suffered poor teaching or had some disability that prevented easy playing.

In helping to reconstruct these older children’s technique in a bearable way, that did not require the usually accepted model of ‘open strings for six months’, she found great satisfaction.  Inculcating a positive attitude and perseverance, she was able to help students overcome such disadvantages as extreme hypermobility, extreme tension and many other issues caused by poor teaching.  Seeing the students turn from being unhappy and unfulfilled individuals whose potential was threatened never to be fulfilled, to confident players with sound technique performing musically to the level they wished, was tremendously gratifying.  Several of these students gained secondary and sixth form music scholarships, as well as Distinctions at Grade 8 level.

Deborah took the role of Head of Violin/Viola from 1995-2023, when she handed this responsibility to the wonderful Seila Tammisola, a former student of Geza Szilvay himself.

Read more on our principal page.

Diana Cummings playing her violin in concert dress

Diana Cummings

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Diana Cummings is one of the most distinguished violinists in Great Britain, well known as chamber musician, soloist, orchestral leader and teacher. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music, then in Rome and New York. She was a prize winner in the International Competition “Nicolo Paganini” and the International Violin Competition “A. Curci”.

Diana has performed nationally and internationally both as recitalist and concerto soloist, and as the leader of the Cummings String Trio and the English String Quartet. From 1995 -2007 the English String Quartet was the ensemble in residence at the London Festival of Chamber Music. In all these capacities she has broadcast frequently and made many recordings for major labels.  

She has played amongst others with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English Chamber Orchestra, Philomusica of London and the London Bach Orchestra.  During 1975–1985 she was leader and soloist of the Northern Chamber Orchestra, and she has been the leader of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra since 1978.  Diana is in continuous demand as orchestral leader, guest leading many of this country’s major symphony and chamber orchestras.

Diana is a Fellow and Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, and a Professor at Trinity College of Music. As part of her work at the Royal Academy of Music she is the Specialist for the LRAM Teaching Diploma. She also adjudicates at festivals and competitions internationally.  She has been teaching at the North London Conservatoire since 2013.

Eleanor Bartlett

Eleanor graduated with a first class music degree from the University of Durham before continuing her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she completed a Masters degree in music performance.

She then undertook her Colourstrings training with Geza Szilvay and David Vinden, and has also studied with early years music specialist Nikhil Dally.

She has been teaching in the Kindergarten department at NLC since 2011, where she enjoys reconnecting with her inner child.  She has also taught in the violin department where she still occasionally covers lessons.  You might also see her occasionally in the musicianship department, Saturday Flying School, coaching orchestras and chamber groups and compering at concerts.

When she’s not teaching she enjoys a diverse career as freelance violinist, guesting with various orchestras and ensembles around London and further afield.  If she had any spare time, she’d enjoy spending it doing yoga and baking. 

Eleanor Ryan holding her instrument smiling

Eleanor Ryan

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Eleanor is a violinist, educator and academic researcher from Wellington, New Zealand.  She holds an MMus with Distinction in performance from the Royal Northern College of Music (2004) and an MPhil with distinction in Arts, Creativity and Education from the University of Cambridge (2020).

Eleanor performed for many years with professional orchestras in the UK including the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and Hallé Orchestra.  She taught for nearly ten years at Chetham’s in Manchester until 2009 and became Principal Violin with the Ibis Ensemble, the resident ensemble at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, where she was an Assistant Professor of Strings from 2009-2018.  She has collaborated in performance and composition with British-Trinidadian musician/poet Anthony Joseph, Saxophonist Jason Yarde, Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra and experimental film collective NEUF.

Eleanor is the Music Director of the British theatre company Oyster Creatives and enjoys being an actor-musician in the original plays the company develops.  She is currently completing her doctoral thesis in Education at the University of Cambridge and also works part-time as Lecturer in Performance Studies at the University of Manchester.

Éva Babják-Garai holding her instrument, smiling at the camera in black and white

Éva Babják-Garai

Éva started playing the violin in Beregszász, Ukraine when she was six years old. It soon became clear that she wanted to be a musician and she continued her studies first in Békéscsaba, then at the Béla Bartók Faculty of Arts of the University of Szeged, Hungary,under the wings of Dr. Márta Gévayné Janurik and Ferenc Szecsődi. 

She firstly qualified as a violin teacher and two years later obtained her Master's Degree as a violinist.    She participated in various master classes (Kapás, Perényi and Denisova).

During her university years, she began teaching and was also a member of several orchestras.   She currently lives in London with her husband, little daughter and 4 year old son.  She is  an avid visitor to London's classical concerts and she says that one of the most defining moments of her life was seeing and hearing Maxim Vengerov play, live.  Éva joined the NLC in September 2022.

Gosia Kuznicki holding her instrument smiling at the camera in concert dress, black and white

Gosia Kuznicki

Violin Teaching & Concert Management, Orchestra Tours, and External Events

Gosia Kuznicki was born in the UK to Polish parents and has travelled all around the world as an educator in search of the best Kodály methodology specialists and Colourstrings practice to expand her as a musician and teacher.  She is a Violin, Viola and Kodály musicianship teacher as well as a chamber music and orchestral coach at the North London Conservatoire.

Having specialised in the Kodály method, she has taught at the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and is involved in other organisations that aim to help musicians, some alongside Viktoria Grigorieva and striving to bring music to as many young people as possible.  This includes being invited to teach on the Jersey International Masterclasses and Pro Corda Chamber Music courses.

Gosia is a leader of several chamber groups and symphony orchestras in London.  She has played and broadcast in the UK and has recorded for several artists, including a CD ‘Celebrating Jon Lord: Live at the Royal Albert Hall’.

In her spare time she has learnt how to surf on the waves of Saunton Sands in North Devon with her partner Craig Jarvis, who also teaches at the North London Conservatoire.  As an avid fan of Kundalini yoga, she frequently attends yoga retreats in sunnier plains!

Janos Gazsi wearing a bow-tie at a formal event

Janos Gazsi

Janos Gazsi was born in Budapest in Hungary, where he started his violin career at the very tender age of four. He attended the Bela Bartok Conservatoire and at the age of 14 won the Hungarian Koncz Janos Violin Competition. He then went on to study as a violinist at the Hungarian Franz Liszt (Liszt Ferenc) University of Music.

Janos has been teaching for 12 years in The North London Conservatoire and he continues to perform with a jazz trio in various locations for events and festivals.

He has been married for thirteen years and has two children (ages 12 and 6). He enjoys spending time and travelling with his family.

In Janos’ spare time he collects string instruments and he has attended various instrument exhibitions all around the world. Janos also enjoys attending classical music concerts: his favourite violinist is Maxim Vengerov.

Janos enjoys seeking new talent and passing on his love and knowledge of music to his students.

João Carneiro

Kasia Franczak smiling at her violin, wearing concert dress

Katarzyna (Kasia) Franczak

Kasia Franczak is a dedicated violin teacher, possessing a rich musical background and experience, coupled with a deep love for art and music education.  She studied with John Crawford and Jan Schmolck at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, graduating with a Master of Music degree with Distinction.  She continues to develop her skills through a Research Degree at Trinity.  Through a commitment to innovative teaching methods and ongoing research, she aims to inspire a lifelong love for music in the next generation.

Kasia feels fortunate to have been able to enrich her passion for teaching through herinvolvement with the Benedetti Foundation, where she had the privilege of being mentored by some of the most inspiring and dedicated music educators across the globe.  As a ‘Teaching Ambassador’ for the Foundation, she has had the chance to foster a culture of excellence in her profession.

Kasia is fascinated by the beauty of a child’s mind and their individual personalities.  While teaching, she often finds herself reflecting on her own childhood experiences, one of which was during her very first audition for a music school, where she decided to sit under the grand piano and start a hide-and-seek game with the panel.  Needless to say, the audition didn’t quite go as planned!

Outside her professional engagements, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing and rope climbing. 

Madlena Georgieva holding her instrument smiling at the camera

Madlena Georgieva

Madlena's passion for music began as a child in Bulgaria, where her mother (folk singer and conductor) introduced her to the enchanting rhythms of Bulgarian songs. She often took her to music festivals and by four, she was learning the violin, captivated by its deep tones and her teacher's curly hair!

Her home was always filled with diverse music – from choral and classical to blues and swing. She especially loved emotional pieces with powerful build-ups, like Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky violin concertos and would dream of playing them on stage. Her older sister's violin skills inspired her to practise harder, but her preference was playing in ensembles and orchestras. The magic of music for her was sharing feelings and moods with other children, without words. (This very phenomenon recently inspired her to obtain a second Master’s degree, in Philosophy.)

Her dedication to music led to a Master’s in Violin Performance and Teaching from Sofia's National Music Academy. Most recently, she has collaborated with well-known orchestras like the Hastings Philharmonic, London Arts Orchestra and Phaedra Ensemble (to name a few) and explored collaborations with other art forms, drawing inspiration from the visual arts.

Beyond music, she cherishes theatre, reads philosophy, loves picnics, enjoys comedy nights and practises yoga. She is always excited about travelling and discovering new cultures and types of cuisine. Music is her heart's language and through it, she continues to explore and express the colourful tapestry of life.

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