Born in Fiji, Fiona attended St Mary’s Music School, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Utrecht School for the Arts in Holland.
There she stayed for 20 years working with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Radio Chamber Orchestra and also as a broadcast journalist with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, presenting and producing a wide variety of radio programmes and public discussions.
Fiona was a board member for Musicians without Borders and worked for many years as a volunteer in Bosnia working at the Pavarotti Centre and establishing the Mostar Sinfonietta.
Fiona is highly motivated by socially responsible causes and likes to make a difference in her work so was delighted to return to Scotland in 2014 with her family to work with Sistema Scotland.
Elanor Gunn was born in North Wales and began playing the violin aged 6. She moved to Scotland to study violin at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with William Chandler and Ruth Crouch. Elanor loves learning new languages and spent a year on exchange in Germany during her degree. Since graduating she has very much enjoyed playing professionally in orchestras and chamber groups, including as first violinist of the Astrid Quartet.
Elanor was lucky enough to be leader of both the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and then National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, which included a tour to China! The amazing experiences she had in youth orchestra have led her to be passionate about providing those experiences for the next generation. At university, Elanor studied El Sistema in Venezuela and thought it sounded like a brilliant way for children to learn music – so she was delighted to get a job for Sistema Scotland! Elanor has also worked for the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and Live Music Now, tutoring and delivering workshops to young people.
Jessica studied music at Bristol University, McGill University Montreal and the Royal Northern College of Music before moving to Glasgow in 2005 as a freelance cellist and teacher.
She has since maintained a combination of freelance orchestral playing with the BBC SSO, the RSNO and Scottish Ballet with teaching at Big Noise, in schools, and on orchestral courses for young musicians and adults. Jessica plays in the Kentigern String Quartet and forms one half of violin and cello duo The Classical Folk, performing both classical and traditional Scottish music. She has appeared at Celtic Connections, including most recently in the acclaimed orchestral performance of Martyn Bennett's iconic album, GRIT.
Having benefitted from many years playing in a wonderful youth orchestra whilst growing up in Nottingham, Jessica loves the emphasis at Big Noise on orchestral playing. She was privileged and thrilled to experience the scale of Venezuelan music making first hand on a recent learning visit to observe El Sistema teaching in Caracas. Jessica joined Big Noise on a permanent basis in 2014 as a musician at the Govanhill centre and has enjoyed getting to know their very diverse local community, and in particular working with the young cellists and bassists and the parents ensemble.
Marian studied cello at the RSAMD and completed her studies at the Royal College of Music with Christopher Bunting. She moved to Parma, Italy to play in the Opera Orchestra before returning to Glasgow to concentrate on teaching and performing. In 2001 she left her post to focus on her caring responsibilities and maintains an interest in disability issues.
Marian is a native of Govanhill and is delighted that she has been able to return to her roots in Glasgow’s most diverse community.
Jen has post of Curriculum Specialist for Early Years in Sistema Scotland with responsibilities across all the centres and works from the Govanhill Centre.
Violinist Jen Nicholson is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She spent twelve years in Palermo, Italy with the Teatro Massimo opera orchestra. Qualified to work in the Kodaly method with pre-school and early years children. Jennifer has been active in education with the National Youth Choir of Scotland and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. She was one of the founding team of Big Noise Raploch in Stirling.
Born in Maracay, Venezuela, Manuel grew up in a family of musicians, and developed his violin playing through El Sistema. He is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music in Maracaibo, “Jose Luis Paz” and has played in the Zulia Symphony Orchestra and Maracaibo Symphony Orchestra. Involved in teaching for El Sistema, he brings the social approach to music direct from the source to Govanhill. Manuel is also a journalism graduate from Zulia University and has specialised in audio-visual production, teaching at Cecilio Acosta Catholic University. He has a diploma in higher education and recently completed postgraduate studies in the sociosemiotics of culture and communication.
Juliana Radke da Silva
Juliana was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil into a poor, deprived part of the city. She started the cello at 19 years old at a time when she was a troubled person, finding something to pour her life into instead of partying and destroying her life. After a period of study in Austria, She went to University in Portugal and subsequently completed a Master's degree in baroque cello.
In 2009, Juliana started working for Sistema Portugal. She enjoys working with children who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to learn an instrument; particularly to try to give them the joy she has found in music and especially the cello.
Simon Rawson started to play the violin aged eleven and later took up the viola as a second instrument. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music and afterwards joined the English Chamber Orchestra as a viola player and later freelanced with most of London’s orchestras.
He spent almost 25 years in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and over the course of his career has worked with many of the world’s finest conductors and soloists. Simon loves teaching and has been a busy teacher for over 30 years.
Emily studied cello with Robert Irvine in Glasgow and with Robert Cohen in Lugano, Switzerland. She returned to Scotland and began an active freelance career playing with Scottish Chamber Orchestra and RSNO, and became member of the Alba Quartet. Emily is fascinated in the question “How do we learn?” and in 2011 became a qualified Clean Language facilitator.
Emily is currently in her fourth and final year of studying to become a Feldenkrais practitioner. Feldenkrais is a method which enables people to lean to move with more ease and to fulfill their human potential. Emily has given workshops using Music, Metaphor and Movement in schools and at Leeds Metropolitan University.