Concert: 17th February 2023

Prior to their concert for MiWK in the Village Hall at 7.30, Sirocco Winds will perform a workshop in West Kilbride Primary School on Friday 17 February from 1.30.

Sirocco Winds are a dynamic and professional wind ensemble comprising of current Masters students or graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Although based in Glasgow, its members come from all over the UK. They were formed in 2012 and pride themselves on being a young, enthusiastic and vibrant group. Sirocco Winds are represented by Classical Musicians Scotland.

Successes for the group include winning the Governors’ Recital Prize for Chamber Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, being invited to perform at the Emerging Artists series at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall and playing live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio Scotland.Although primarily a wind quintet the group also enjoy exploring chamber music for other instrument combinations and have formed a trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon. In this formation they were accepted on to the Live Music Now Scheme for Scotland using their talents for the benefit of those who are otherwise excluded from the joy of experiencing live music.

Individually, members of the group have worked with orchestras and ensembles such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Hebrides Ensemble and Red Note (Scotland’s Contemporary Music Ensemble).The group is versatile and committed to providing quality chamber music for any occasion including a variety of styles from wind quintet standards and rarely performed works, to our own personal arrangements or new commissions. They also enjoy education projects as part of their work as an ensemble, which involves creating new and innovative ways of introducing music to a diverse audience.

Scirocco Winds’ concert programme can be downloaded here.

Matthew Howells, flute, is a Masters graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland after receiving a scholarship in 2012 to study there with Katherine Bryan (Principal, Royal Scottish National Orchestra), Richard Blake (Principal, Scottish Opera) and Janet Richardson (Piccolo, RSNO). Previously, Matthew studied at the University of Manchester and Chetham’s School of Music where he studied with Linda Verrier and Richard Davis (BBC Philharmonic).

Whilst at Chetham’s, Matthew played principal flute in the Chetham’s Symphony Orchestra allowing him to perform at prestigious music venues such as the Bridgewater Hall and Cadogan Hall. He also played in a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for Chetham’s 40th Anniversary Concert. At the end of his final year, he was awarded the Francis Willink Memorial Prize for his flute studies. Whilst in Manchester, Matthew performed Schwertsik’s Instant Music as a concerto soloist with the University Chamber Ensemble and since then, he has performed three further concerti, two at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a premiere of a new work with the Edinburgh Contemporary Ensemble.

Since graduating, Matthew has performed with orchestras across the UK including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, including a tour to India in 2014. Matthew has also appeared as a soloist on BBC’s Songs of Praise in 2015. More recently, he has also taken up a regular teaching position at Erskine Stewart’s Melville School in Edinburgh, alongside private tuition in Glasgow.

Irena Klimach, oboe, graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she received her MMus, having studied with Stephen West, James Horan and Stéphane Rancourt. Prior to this Irena was awarded a 1st Class BMus degree from the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied with Jonathan Small and Jenny Galloway.  Whilst at the RCS Irena won both the Governors’ Solo Recital Prize for Woodwind and the Concerto Competition, as well as receiving critical acclaim in the Glasgow Herald for her solo performance of James MacMillan’s In Angustiis II, which was described as “an emotional arrow straight to the heart”. To end her degree she was delighted to perform the Martinů Oboe Concerto with the RSNO.

Irena has a busy freelance career, regularly playing with the RSNO, BBC SSO, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, and Royal Northern Sinfonia. She also loves working with talented young people and is a member of the social staff on National Children’s Orchestra courses and teaches at Big Noise Govanhill.

Matthew Jansen Giraldo is a Panamanian clarinetist who completed his Masters in Clarinet Performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and his Bachelors degree at the University of the Pacific in California. He received 1st prize in the 2009 Central American Clarinet Competition and 1st prize at the 2018 Chamber Music Recital Prize as part of Trio Arcania. He has premiered and recorded works by composers from Panama, Mexico, Scotland and the United States. Matthew has performed with JOCCA (Joven Orquesta y Coros de Centro America), as a soloist with the Guatemalan National Symphony Orchestra, and was a featured performer along with Danilo Perez and John Patitucci at the 10th Panama Jazz Festival. He currently freelances in the UK, regularly playing with various chamber ensembles, contemporary music projects and orchestras such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Victoria López, bassoon, started learning music at the age of five, taking piano lessons and then studying bassoon for eleven years.  She decided to complete her Higher Education abroad so that she could improve her language skills, so she moved to Cardiff to study her Bachelors in bassoon at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Afterwards she moved straight to Glasgow where she completed a Masters Degree in performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and graduated in July 2017.

During her time in the UK, Victoria has participated in many different concerts and performances:  she took part in numerous symphony orchestra concerts from both institutions, made an appearance with HM Royal Marines’ Band, took part in an Opera tour with Opra Cymru around North Wales, participated in a Side by Side project with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, alongside many other gigs and collaborations with choral societies, musical productions and children’s workshops.

Peter McNeill, french horn, originally from Musselburgh, East Lothian, attended The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Junior Department from 2014 to 2016 before studying at the Conservatoire full time from 2016 with David Flack, Stephanie Jones and Beccy Goldberg.  He has been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, and has benefitted from taking part in masterclasses with Frøydis Ree Wekre, Paul van Zelm, Thomas Hauschild, Erich Penzel, Christian Lampert, and Frank Lloyd.

More recently, Peter furthered his studies on ERASMUS Exchange in Weimar, Germany, in the Hornklasse of Professor Jörg Brückner, and after returning to Scotland, he won the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s prestigious Governors’ Brass Prize. Subsequently, this resulted in invitations to perform solo recitals in the University of Aberdeen 2019/20 concert series, and at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh for the International Festival 2019. This year Peter was awarded student apprenticeship schemes with both the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra – which culminated in a BBC Radio 3 recording as part of SCO Winds, and has now freelanced with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

A keen chamber music player, Peter enjoys playing with both wind quintet and as part of his brass quintet, Solstice Brass, made up of current final year students at the Conservatoire.

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