Val Welbanks leads a busy chamber music career in London as the cellist of both the Ligeti Quartet and the Marsyas Trio. She is regularly invited as guest cellist of various chamber groups in the UK and in Canada. Her most recent appearance as a soloist has been with the Torbay Symphony Orchestra (Dvorák and Lutoslawski Cello Concertos). Later in 2016 she will be performing Dvorák with the Orchestre Philharmonique de la Relève de Québec.
With both the Ligeti Quartet and Marsyas Trio, Val has performed throughout the UK, Europe, and Asia. The quartet is currently resident at the universities of Cambridge and Sheffield and is on a two-year scheme with the City Music Foundation. Last year they were St John’s Smith Square Young Artists, and were mentored by the Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall. As specialists of contemporary music, they regularly lead composition workshops in universities throughout the country.
The Marsyas Trio is one of the rare flute-cello-piano ensembles. In addition to presenting music from all eras written for this instrumentation, the trio is active in commissioning new works with the support of Arts Council England and many other foundations. Last May, the trio released the CD, A Triple Portrait; Chamber Music of Elena Firsova, with Meridian Records, which was favourably reviewed and broadcast.
Val has recently completed her PhD on the pedagogy of contemporary music (University of London) under the supervision of composer Roger Redgate, and previously the late cellist Alexander Ivashkin. In 2008, she obtained a Masters in Music Performance at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with distinction from Philip Sheppard’s class. Her passion for cross-disciplinary arts sees her often performing in plays, operas, dance productions, and sound installations.
Welbanks gives a hauntingly memorable performance of the solo cello piece For Slava, capturing powerfully the ecstatic central climax and the timeless quality of the music that surrounds it. Julian Haylock, The Strad, January 2016
[For Slava (2007) for solo cello] is a dramatic and intense work with strong soulful moments and some imaginative writing for cello, all brilliantly realised here by Valerie Welbanks.
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill review, October 2015The long meditative soliloquy that opens the Non troppo lento was beautifully played by cellist Valerie Welbanks. After the snappy pizzicato fourth movement, the finale flowed forwards in great paragraphs.
Tim Homfray, The Strad, June 2014
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