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B i o g r a p h y

The Mayflower Ensemble was established to promote and celebrate the peformance of high quality chamber music from diverse genres.  This versatile group is establishing itself as one of the South's most pioneering ensembles.
We are keen to collaborate in projects and to work with composers. Repertoire includes core works such as Brahms, Rachmaninov, Messiaen as well contemporary works and lesson known composers. Programmes are created with duos and trios, as well as guest musicians to perform larger mixed wind and string chamber works. The Mayflower Ensemble has been fortunate to receive support from the John Ireland Charitable Trust and GEMMA Classical Music Trust. 

S a m a n t h a    C a r r a s c o   PIANO

Pianist Samantha Carrasco explores a diverse and flexible repertoire as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. As orchestral pianist with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, highlights have included performing at the BBC Proms and Stravinsky’s Petrushka with live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. With the recently formed Austen Trio, Samantha performed in celebrations of the Jane Austen Bicentenary in 2017 and at Harvard University in 2018.


Samantha studied piano with Yonty Solomon at the Royal College of Music, London. She completed a PhD in 2013 which she studied the music collection of Jane Austen and her family. Samantha is an examiner, trainer, moderator and presenter for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, working nationally and internationally in classical music, diplomas and jazz. Samantha is the Head of Keyboard at Peter Symonds College, Winchester, and is also the piano consultant for King Edward VI School, Southampton. 

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N I c o l a    H e i n r i c h   CELLO

Nicola Heinrich has enjoyed a thriving career in the UK, Germany and the US as a chamber musician, pedagogue and orchestra musician. She teaches cello for Hampshire Music Service, Winchester College, The Pilgrims’ School and University of Southampton.


Concert projects include the world premiere performances of Michael Finnissy’s Chi Mei Ricercari in Taiwan (with the composer at the piano), recordings and performances at the Proms with The Gabrielli Players and world premieres with University of Southampton compositions projects. She plays regularly with Southampton’s Son Orchestra Project, Playlist and groups around the South of England.


Nicola studied at Munich’s Richard Strauss Conservatory with Jan Polasek. She continued her education at Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana, where she studied with Janos Starker. From 1992-1994 she was one of Starker’s teaching assistants. Before moving to the UK in 2007 she held the acting principal position with the Bielefelder Philhamoniker in Germany.

A l i s o n    H u g h e s    CLARINET

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The clarinettist Alison Hughes studied at Leeds University and at the Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany. At the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, she was awarded a PGDip in clarinet performance and a Professional Performance Diploma (PPRNCM) with distinction in chamber music.


Alison continues to enjoy a varied career performing with orchestras including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, ensembles and as a soloist throughout the UK and internationally. She was a founder member of the Manchester-based Fell Clarinet Quartet, which won awards from the Tunnell Trust and Live Music Now. In 2003 Alison moved to Mexico where she worked as Principal Clarinettist with the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and from 2008 to 2009 she worked with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Bass and E flat Clarinet. 


Alongside performing, Alison works as a music therapist, instrumental teacher and music workshop facilitator. She is the Artistic Director of Performing Arts Collaboration South

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