We were very sad that our regular leader, Nicola Ihnatowicz, has left us, but she is also a terrific soprano, and we wish her every success as she concentrates on her singing. We are delighted that she joined us as one of the soloists in our November concert, in our performance of Die Walkure Act III in February and in the Verdi Requiem in November. 2020

Past guest leaders have included Catherine Mackintosh, Zsuzsa Berenyi, Anna KirkpatrickThomas Suárez and George Mattar


Our current leader is Christian Halstead, who played the important violin solos in the Missa Solemnis and Scheherazade in our recent concerts.

Christian started learning the violin with his mother at the age of five. He continued his studies with professor Dona Lee Croft at the Royal College of Music, where he won several prizes (including the concerto award for his performance of The Lark Ascending, which he subsequently performed with RCM Sinfonietta in the presence of Lady Ursula Vaughan-Williams). 

Since graduating in 1999, Christian has enjoyed a busy and varied career as a freelance violinist, working with ensembles such as London Mozart Players, St. Paul’s Sinfonia, City Chamber Orchestra, 18th Century Concert Orchestra, Ex Cathedra, and Armonico Consort.

Christian was a founder member of the Southbank Sinfonia in 2002-3; he is also leader of the orchestra for Focus Opera, and was appointed leader of Kent Sinfonia in December 2011.

Passionate about chamber music, Christian has been 1st violin with the Abraxas Ensemble since 2000, 2nd violin with the Billroth Quartet since 2013 and a member of the Haysden Quartet since 2015.