Levon Chilingirian was born in Cyprus to Armenian parents. The Chilingirian family emigrated to London in 1960 where Levon studied the violin, later attending the Royal College of Music. His early influences in music were his uncle, the violinist Manoug Parikian, his teacher Hugh Bean, musicologist Hans Keller, and the Amadeus Quartet.
In 1971, Levon founded the Chilingirian Quartet with cellist Philip De Groote. Today, the Quartet is one of the most active and celebrated string quartets on the international scene with tours to over fifty countries on six continents. The Chilingirian Quartet coaches young quartets around the world at festivals, residencies and masterclasses. They have made regular visits to Venezuela to coach chamber music with El Sistema at the invitation of Maestro Antonio Abreu.
Levon also performs regularly as a soloist. He performed the Sinfonia Concertante on the Amadeus soundtrack with Sir Neville Marriner and was invited by Steven Isserlis to lead a performance of the Schubert Quintet to end the millennium’s music at Wigmore Hall. He has been the artistic director and first violin of the Camerata Nordica in Sweden and is also the artistic director of the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival and of the Pharos Festival in Cyprus.
Levon gave the String Master Class for the BBC TV’s Young Musician of the Year. He received the Cobbett Medal and, in January 2000, an OBE in the Queen’s Honours List.
Levon is professor of violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), and the Royal Academy of Music (London). He gives master classes regularly at Longy School of Music (Cambridge, MA), the New England Conservatory (Boston, MA) and the Boston Conservatory of Music.
Susie Mészáros studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School. She has been principal viola with the Camerata Salzburg, as well as a regular chamber music partner of her teacher, violinist Sándor Végh. She made her Wigmore Hall debut as a duo with Yehudi Menuhin in 1977 and performed with Vladimir Spivakov and Arthur Grumiaux. She won the Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League competition and was a string finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year and played with many leading chamber ensembles including the Nash Ensemble.
Susie was leader of the Fitzwilliam Quartet, Prometheus Ensemble and concert master of Kent Opera. She has appeared as soloist on Radio 3 on both violin and viola. Susie is now a member of the world-renowned Chilingirian String Quartet. She has taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School and currently at Purcell School and is a Professor at both RCM and RNCM teaching violin, viola and chamber music.
Susie has performed as a guest principal with major orchestras including the Philharmonia, Britten Sinfonia, London Mozart Players and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Susie has been a juror on the Bordeaux International Quartet competition. As past Gold medallist at the Royal Overseas League, She has been invited to sit as jury member of the competition in 2016.
Jane Hyland started to play the cello at the age of six. Her talent for the instrument became quickly apparent when just a year later she won a prize awarded for the highest mark in a local festival. After gaining a music scholarship to the renowned Bedales School she succeeded in her teens in being awarded a place in the prestigious National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. She went on to win a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where she won many prizes including the Ivor James Prize given by the great English conductor Sir Adrian Boult for a performance of the Cello Concerto by Elgar.
She was much influenced by the playing and teaching of Paul Tortelier and after appearing in a BBC tv masterclass given by him, she went to Paris to study with him and his wife Maude, funded by the Countess of Munster.
On entering the profession she joined the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra becoming the BBC’s youngest ever Principal Cellist. During this time she gave many broadcasts of solo repertoire and played in many chamber ensembles. She also often played with the orchestra as soloist, and appeared with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales at the famous Welsh Eisteddfod in Llangollen performing the Concerto by Dvorak.
She then spent three years as Principal Cellist at the Staatstheater in Kassel, Germany, where she played a wide repertoire of opera, ballet and concerts. She also gave recitals with her husband, who was a conductor at the theatre. On returning to the UK, she was for a few years a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra before deciding to freelance.
Jane has been devoted to teaching from the time that she was a student. She has decided to give more time to this and to playing in small ensembles as this is the repertoire she loves most. She currently holds a position as senior teacher at the Centre for Young Musicians in London.