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Feargus Hetherington—biography

Biography

Abridged / Extended

Feargus Hetherington has developed a wide-ranging career as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, soloist and teacher. He also arranges music and presents musical workshops and seminars. Feargus studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Cleveland Institute of Music, USA, and performs as both a violinist and violist.

Feargus is an associate teacher of violin, viola and chamber music at the Music Centre of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. In the summer, he takes part in the SwensenMusicHouse seminars in the USA, working with violinist and conductor Joseph Swensen. He currently performs with the Kentigern Quartet and works regularly with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Feargus enjoys successful collaborations with outstanding pianists at home and overseas, and has given recitals in the UK, Germany, Poland and New York City. His recitals in 2014, with Benjamin Powell, of the Brahms Viola Sonatas were met with critical acclaim - praising the ‘thoughtful and intelligent interpretation…virtuosic technique and shrewd musical artistry.’ (The Herald).

An experienced violin soloist, Feargus' performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor (Heisenberg Ensemble/Gillian Craig), was described as 'a performance of passion and wholehearted endeavour' (Dundee Courier). In 2017 he premièred the Violin Concerto by Tom David Wilson (St Andrews Chamber Orchestra/Bede Williams). He has a particular interest in the Elgar Violin Concerto with invitations to perform it in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Feargus regularly gives unaccompanied recitals and has recorded and performed for BBC radio and television. As a member of Wiltshire-based ensemble Auriga, he has recorded string sextets by Brahms and Strauss, and his CD recording A Highland Ballad with pianist Mira Opalińska was released in 2012 to critical acclaim. He worked on the acclaimed new Shetlandic opera Hirda by fiddler/composer Chris Stout and composer Gareth Williams.

Feargus performs on a violin by Neil Kristóf Értz, made in 2007, after Stradivari c.1715, and has been featured in the Strad magazine (July 2014) discussing the instrument. He works with fine bows by Andreas Grütter (Amsterdam). Feargus has in the past been generously supported by the Musicians Benevolent Fund and Creative Scotland and was a recipient of the John Ireland Prize.

Feargus Hetherington has developed a wide-ranging career as a chamber musician, orchestral musician, soloist and teacher. He also presents musical workshops and seminars, arranges music and is also an accomplished violist. Feargus studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Cleveland Institute of Music, USA, and has worked with some of today’s great performers such as Joseph Swensen, James Buswell, David Russell, violist Roger Chase and members of the Endellion and Cleveland Quartets.

Feargus is an associate teacher of violin, viola and chamber music at the Music Centre of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. In the summer, he takes part in the SwensenMusicHouse seminars in the USA, working with violinist and conductor Joseph Swensen. He currently performs with the Kentigern Quartet. Feargus is a former member of the Live Music Now scheme, founded by Yehudi Menuhin.

Feargus has worked with many orchestras and ensembles including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He enjoys successful collaborations with pianists including Olga Gorelik, Geoffrey Tanti, Edward Cohen, Jonathan Cohen, Mira Opalińska, Julia Lynch and Steven Beck, and has given recitals in Germany, Poland and New York City.

As a soloist, Feargus has performed concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruch, Brahms, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Elgar and in 2013 and 2014 he played the Elgar Violin Concerto with both the New Edinburgh Orchestra and Glasgow Sinfonia. His recent performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor (Heisenberg Ensemble/Gillian Craig), was described as 'a performance of passion and wholehearted endeavour' (Dundee Courier). In 2017 he premièred the Violin Concerto by Tom David Wilson (St Andrews Chamber Orchestra/Bede Williams).

Feargus regularly gives unaccompanied recitals featuring works by J.S Bach, Eugène Ysaÿe, Edward McGuire, Stuart MacRae and Iain Matheson. He recorded ‘Ness by Gareth Williams for the Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland, and has recorded and performed for BBC Radio 3, BBC Scotland, BBC Ulster and Polish Television. He can be heard with Classical Accordionist Paul Chamberlain, on the artist’s CD release Accordion Sensations in the Piazzolla/Gubaidulina Le Grande Tango. As a member of Wiltshire-based ensemble Auriga, he has recorded string sextets by Brahms and Richard Strauss, and his CD recording A Highland Ballad with pianist Mira Opalińska was released in 2012 to critical acclaim.

His work as solo violinist for Opera Bohemia in chamber-scale productions of operas by Puccini, Verdi, Bizet and Tchaikovsky has proved meaningful and uplifting. Feargus premiered a new duo work by composer Douglas Whates, entitled Non-lieux Ties, and has recently worked on the acclaimed new Shetlandic opera Hirda by fiddler/composer Chris Stout and composer Gareth Williams. He performed Rant by Edward McGuire for the composer's 65th birthday concerts.

Other collaborations include Meall a' Bhuiridh (Hill of the Bellowing) by Barry Reid, and Blair Douglas' An Aifreann Ghàidhlig (Gaelic Mass). Feargus researches deeply the scores he performs, and has composed stylistically appropriate cadenzas to Mozart’s Violin Concerti. His interests extend to the art of transcription, improvisation, and the study of harmony and temperaments, working with the composer William Lovelady. Feargus also writes programme notes for concert repertoire. He has collaborated with poet Aidan McEoin combining violin playing and the spoken word, collaborated with outstanding Scottish fiddlers such as Adam Sutherland, Chris Stout and Patsy Reid and improvised on the albums of numerous popular and jazz artists. As a young musician, Feargus, and friends Martin and Peter Little were finalists in the National Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Musican Competition 1994 with their swing trio Confiture, sharing the stage with renowned saxophonist, Don Rendell.

Very active as a curator/programmer, Feargus has developed recital programmes in both Mackintosh Queens Cross, Glasgow, and the city's iota gallery, reaching new audiences. He has participated in the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at the Juilliard School, given by musicians including Itzhak Perlman and Monica Huggett.

Feargus performs on a violin by Neil Kristóf Értz, made in 2007, after Stradivari c.1715, and has been featured in the Strad magazine (July 2014) discussing the instrument. He works with fine bows by Andreas Grütter (Amsterdam). Feargus has in the past been generously supported by the Musicians Benevolent Fund and Creative Scotland and was a recipient of the John Ireland Prize.

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