Fiona Frank musical biography
I was born in London in 1961 & grew up in green & leafy Hale, Cheshire. I attended Altrincham Girls' Grammar School which had a very healthy music department, & kept me very busy in various musical ensembles, vocal & otherwise.
A late starter, I took violin lessons from the age of 11 years, returning to lessons later on with various performers:- Louise Latham of the Arensky Trio & Sub principal of the BBC Northern Philharmonic Orchestra, Lydia Mordkovitch (favourite pupil of David Oistrakh), Roger Huckle - leader of the Emerald Ensemble now Bristol Ensemble, & Frances Mason of the Rasumovsky Quartet & Dartington Trio. I was also a keen member of the Trafford Youth Orchestra, & the first girl to join the church choir in Bowdon, where I took the RSCM badges and loved the choral repertoire.
Whilst doing my art foundation course in Manchester in 1980, I was honoured to be selected to join Horse & Bamboo theatre company under the directorship of Bob Frith, which was based in an old cotton mill in Irwell Vale. There, I worked closely with Composer/Musician/Poet Keith Bray & Gill Pearson of Caravanserai, & did much improvisation including Sprechstimme.
Although I chose to take a degree in Fine Art Painting, my passion & love for music never left me. I continued to play chamber music, perform & listen to radio 3. In fact I preferred to paint at home & go into college to play chamber music with some rather wonderful local musicians.
As a trained artist, I taught painting & drawing, whilst practising as a painter for many years in Bristol. Meanwhile, my lifelong involvement & passion for music co-existed in the form of violin playing, chamber music & some orchestral playing in the New Bristol Sinfonia under James Lowe.
Music & Art have sat side by side throughout my life - essentially speaking the same language of colour & light, of form & composition, rhythm & texture - sharing the same vocabulary and essence.
Nature permeates all aspects of my art & music, & is my teacher & inspirer.
This respect for Nature in all her guises is also lived out through my organic vegan lifestyle since the 1980s - the compassionate way - leaving the lightest footprints on our beautiful planet.
My focus switched dramatically from painting to composing, when under the spell of my new surroundings in the Wye Valley. I was moved by the ambience & profound peace & connection to Nature here. My need to paint was diffused by the everyday stunning beauty of my new environment. Everything I see is a painting!
I started composing music after setting some of my own poems to music at the end of 2010. Since then I have written extensively for strings (chamber & orchestral) as well as for full orchestra and choral pieces. I have always found inspiration in Nature.
I write in a largely tonal and accessible style in the modern 'classical' idiom with extra harmonic colours and rhythmical excitement. All of my premieres (most particularly my violin solo performance of "Nature in the Ruins" 2015 at Tintern Abbey and the string quartet "Reveries on a River Journey" as part of the Sacred Site & Sound Festival 2014, and the "Llandenny Rhapsody" -for violin, viola, & strings- in 2012) have been well received.
For the premiere of my "Autumn Suite" for strings, please see the separate page.