Xander Croft

Violinist

In 2011 Xander received a Music and Dance scheme Scholarship to study violin and piano at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music. Initially under the tutelage of Ulla Benz, he began studying with Steven Wilkie in 2013 and continues with him to the present day. Xander won the Caerwys Young Musician of the Year competition in both 2014 and 2015, before going on to win the Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland Young Musician of the year competition in 2016. He has been awarded the Ian McPherson prize, the Rohi Gazder prize for violin, and the Rotary prize for performance by the JRNCM, and was awarded a Robinson bursary by the Future Talent Organisation.

In 2017 Xander was awarded the Albert and Eugene Trust Scholarship to attend the RNCM. He has taken part in a number of masterclasses with some of the country’s leading musicians, including Tasmin Little, Leland Chen, Pavel Fischer, and Margaret Faultless. A keen chamber musician, Xander is a member of the Freeman String Quartet. After forming in October 2017, the group went on to win the RNCM Nossek Prize for chamber music three months later, before being invited to perform in the RNCM Chamber Festival. The group has given recitals across the UK and became the first ‘Quartet in residence’ at the South Downs International Summer Music Festival in 2018.

As an orchestral musician Xander has performed in prestigious venues such as the Berlin Konzerthaus, Bridgewater Hall, and Szczecin Philharmonic Hall. He led both the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and the JRNCM Symphony Orchestra who awarded him the Haydn Davies and Jeff Lloyd Blaenwr awards. In 2016 Xander was successful in gaining a place in the International Lutosławski Orchestra. Through his association with the Future Talent Organisation, Xander was mentored by the former leader of the Hallé Orchestra, Lyn Fletcher.

Xander plays a fine Italian violin made by Mathias Albani in 1702 which is kindly loaned to him by the RNCM, and a W.E. Hill & Sons bow from the collection of Dr Andrew Winter.

Alinka Rowe

Violist

Alinka is a young violist, currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Juan-Miguel Hernandez. She has performed in several public masterclasses for distinguished musicians including Zimmermann, Power, Schlichtig and Rachel Roberts (Alinka’s principal teacher for several years).

Alinka has performed in chamber music festivals across Europe including Swaledale Festival, Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival and Musique à Marsac. She has also attended the prestigious masterclasses at the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, playing for eminent musicians including Ferenc Rados, and was subsequently invited to IMS Open Chamber Music sessions. As a chamber musician, Alinka was a member of the award- winning Mizuta String Trio which performed at venues including St John’s Smith Square, the Holywell music room in Oxford and on BBC Radio 3.

She looks forward to performing at Wigmore Hall and King’s Place in the coming year in programmes of chamber music with cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.