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Iona Brown

Principal, 1st Violin


The Voigt Chair

Iona received her early musical education in Leicestershire where she was a member of the Leicestershire Schools Youth Orchestras for seven years. She won a scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music under Christopher Rowland, Lydia Mordkovitch and Wen Zhou Li. During her studies she won three major violin prizes and also several awards for chamber music with the Laurel Piano Trio, fostering a passion for chamber music that has since come to fruition.

Whilst in Manchester she helped found Psappha with whom she appeared live on Radio 3 and in various series nationwide. She was also a member of Manchester Camerata performing regularly with their Chamber Ensemble and as soloist in Bach’s Concerto for 2 Violins. Iona joined Northern Sinfonia in 1995 where she is now a principal first violin.

She has featured as soloist, leader and chamber musician over recent years. She also performs regularly with the Da Vinci String Quartet and has appeared alongside many eminent musicians most notably Bruno Pasquier, Jean-Bernard Pommier and Maurice Bourgue. She has also performed chamber music with Lars Vogt. In 2003 Iona was awarded an Arts Council grant for a sabbatical in Paris where she studied with Jean-Jacques Kantorow.

She has also managed to find time to further her freelance career guesting as a principal player with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and guest principal second with the Hallé Orchestra. Iona has appeared as guest leader and soloist with Orchestra North-East. Recent performances include the Barber Violin Concerto and the Lark Ascending. Iona has also appeared as soloist in Bruch Violin Concerto with the Charnwood Orchestra and has performed the Mendelssohn with the Cobweb, Tynedale and New Tyneside orchestras. Iona has formed a duo partnership with Cellist Nick Byrne, with whom she has performed a series of recitals, and Brahms double concerto throughout the North-East and further afield.

Iona is also extremely dedicated to music education, and was invited to adjudicate the preliminary rounds of Young Musician of the Year in Manchester in 2017 and 2015 . As well as private teaching, Iona is a principal tutor at the Centre for Advanced Training at Sage Gateshead, teaches for Durham University and has recently been appointed Head of Strings at Newcastle University.