Caroline Waters was born in Jersey and began violin lessons at the age of 7. With the help of a musical benefactor, Caroline continued her studies from the age of 14 in Manchester at Chetham’s School of Music. Continuing at the Royal Northern College of Music, she studied with Richard Deakin; throughout her time in Manchester she enjoyed opportunities to lead orchestras and perform chamber music.
Since moving to Bedfordshire Caroline has divided her time between performance work and teaching violin and viola. She performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician (with The Element String Quartet and Trio) and also regularly plays with a number of orchestras, leading Bedford Sinfonia and Bedfordshire Symphony Orchestra.
Caroline has also enjoyed working with the London-based, King’s Chamber Orchestra; she has played on tours in Italy, Germany, France and the Channel Islands. As well as enjoying a wide range of musical styles, Caroline has a love of improvisation in Christian worship. She plays on a specially commissioned violin made for her in 2002 by Tomáš Pilaŕ.
Jan Kaznowski started the violin at the age of eleven with Alexander Kirk, a peripatetic teacher who had been a founder member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Jan later studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Warsaw Conservatoire. He studied anthropology at Queens’ College, Cambridge, before becoming a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the orchestras of English and Welsh National Opera. Jan led the Bedford Sinfonia for more than twenty years.
Jan is now head of the string faculty for Bedfordshire Music, teaching the violin and viola and is the director of the county chamber music course. He also leads a quartet which has a repertoire that includes quartets by all of the major 19th and 20th century composers. He regularly appears as a soloist, having performed concertos by Dvorak, Beethoven, Elgar, Mozart, Saint-Saëns Mendelssohn and Bruch as well as Berlioz’s 'Harold in Italy' and the Brahms double concerto.
John Shayler’s musical life began with violin lessons at Bedford School with Helena Langford. While studying sociology at Sussex University, he had part-time lessons at the Guildhall School of Music with Joan Spencer, who persuaded him to do a postgraduate year full-time.
His association with Bedfordshire Youth Music began in 1968, when he led the then new County Youth Orchestra for a while, before becoming tutor of the violins. After his studies at the Guildhall the then new Music Advisor, Michael Rose, offered him a violin teaching job with the Authority, and after a year, John became Head of String Instrument Teaching, a post he held until his early retirement in 2002.
John co-founded Bedfordshire Youth Opera in 1980 as Musical Director. Recent performances have included The Magic Flute, Carmen, and Sweeny Todd. As well as his association with Bedfordshire, John has been a member of the Management Committee and Council of the European String Teachers’ Association for many years, and was appointed Chair of Council in December 2012.