Theodor Küng — Violin
Theodor was born in Hong Kong, raised in the Swiss mountains, and has lived in the UK since 2009. When not performing with his fellow Cardinals or in his position as No. 3 Violin II with English National Ballet, he can be found touring Europe and the Middle East with United Strings of Europe and working with some of the UK's finest orchestras — including the Royal Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Welsh National Opera, and the City of Birmingham Symphony. He's been featured as a soloist with the Ensemble Eroica, the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra, and the Silk Street Sinfonia, and in 2015 founded the Ansermet Ensemble — a chamber group dedicated to musical education and championing the works of young contemporary composers. Theodor is also an experienced teacher and collaborates regularly with the Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra (since 2013) as Principal Guest Leader and Strings Coach, as well as leading educational workshops for children in Switzerland. He performs on an 1865 Italian violin by Giuseppe Baldantoni.
Nationality: Swiss / British
Alma Mater: Cambridge University / Royal Academy of Music, London
Fun facts: Is quite good with a bow and arrow / Has a sailing & scuba diving license
More info at www.theodorkung.com
Mary Brace — Violin
Mary Brace hails from Sydney, Australia. After receiving a Bachelor in performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music she pursued her studies in mainland Europe, first in Vienna and then in Geneva where she completed two Master degrees in violin performance and pedagogy. Over the last ten years, she's performed regularly with orchestras in Australia, Austria and Switzerland, the Sydney Sinfonia, Klangvereinigung Wien, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Verbier Festival Orchestra among others. Having recently moved to the UK, Mary continues to perform with various ensembles in Switzerland and now freelances in and around London with such orchestras as the Belmont Ensemble and Orchestra Nova.
Aside from orchestral playing, Mary is also greatly interested in combining music with other disciplines; In 2017 she co-produced the play Kreutzer vs. Kreutzer by Laura Wade with the Geneva English Drama Society and in 2018 plans are underway for a series of yoga workshops using music to explore the relationship between breath and movement.
Nationality: Australian / British
Alma Mater: Sydney Conservatorium of Music / University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna / Geneva University of Music
Fun facts: Is a trained fitness instructor / Can do a handstand and sing at the same time
Jill Valentine — Viola
Jill is a native of Columbus, Ohio. Now residing in London, she performs regularly with some of the country's most respected orchestras — including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. She enjoys freelance work throughout the UK and has recorded for BBC Radio 3, Naxos and Swiss Radio. A dedicated passion for new music has led her to collaborate with contemporary ensembles in London, Birmingham and the United States. She is an associate with Play for Progress, an organization that facilitates cultural exchange and music tuition for refugee teens. Before coming to London in 2016, Jill was an active performer and teacher whilst studying in Houston, Texas, receiving her BM (2014), and MM (2016), at Rice University with Ivo-Jan van der Werff. In Houston Jill regularly performed with Da Camera Houston, Symphony of Southeast Texas, and Mercury Ensemble. During her studies she received the silver medal at the 2013 United States MTNA National Chamber Music Competition as part of the Azure Quartet. Jill has spent the past several summers at Verbier Festival, Lucerne Festival, Schleswig-Holstein, Spoleto, and Aspen, among others.
Alma Mater: Rice University, Houston
Fun facts: Ruthlessly competitive when it comes to board games / Goes nuts for weird contemporary music
Raphael Lang — Cello
Raphael Lang was born in Paris to American and Austrian parents. He now lives in the UK where he performs regularly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and Britten Sinfonia. His various chamber music ensembles have brought him as far afield as Russia, the Baltic, and the United States, and 2018-19 marks Raphael’s first season as Sub-Principal Cello with BBC NOW. Other projects for the coming year include touring the Middle East as part of United Strings of Europe and concerts with the internationally acclaimed Vivo Piano Trio.
Raphael’s training began at the National Regional Conservatoire of Paris. He then moved to London to attend the Royal Academy of Music under David Strange and Mats Lidström, where his accolades included the May Mukle prize, the David Martin/Florence Hooton prize, and Wolfe Wolfinsohn prize. Supplementing his studies were multiple stints with the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the European Union Youth Orchestra, as well as a year as a member of the LSO Strings Experience Scheme.
Nationality: French / USA
Alma Mater: Royal Academy of Music, London
Fun facts: Can recite all of Woody Allen's films by heart / Is the only Cardinal member who owns a vehicle, making him our de facto chauffeur