With only 12 members, we are all soloists.



We are full-time professionals, senior students at the Royal Northern College of Music and amateur players of the highest standard.



Our director, Steven Wilkie, is a violinist with a national reputation and is senior tutor in violin at the RNCM. We perform standing in a semi-circle. This deepens communication between us and truly connects us with our audience.



One of our aims is to support young players and composers in their transition from conservatoire to professional career. We do this by giving them high quality performance opportunities, alongside inspirational players who have many years of professional experience to share. 


In 2021/22 we shall give six concerts; three in Manchester (Didsbury) and three in Wilmslow

the lindow ensemble

“Leading up to the first rehearsal I felt apprehensive at the thought of playing in a room filled with experienced string players. However, I quickly felt at ease as their professionalism, support and feedback gave me the confidence and insight to perform at their level.” (Anthony Jones, RNCM postgraduate student in viola)

“The discipline, vision and musicianship required for any professional performance are immense challenges. Whilst college opportunities lie in wait for every student, the chance to join professional musicians in their natural environment is invaluable.” (Vicci Wardman, RNCM senior tutor in viola)



Born and bred in Edinburgh, Steven Wilkie is one of the country's busiest violinists. A prize winning student of Yossi Zivoni at the RNCM, he has played with many leading orchestras including the Halle, RLPO, RPO, BBC Philharmonic, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the John Wilson Orchestra.


His solo appearances include the Bach Double (with Yossi Zivoni), Mendelssohn, Bruch, Brahms, Beethoven, Dvorak, Barber and Prokofiev concerti. In 2004 he made his European concerto debut in Lucerne.


He is the leader of the Manchester Concert Orchestra and a founder member of the Sinfonia of London.


As a chamber musician Steven has performed throughout the UK and is leader of Sinfonia UK Collective. This ensemble recently toured Canada with great success.


Steven is an examiner for the ABRSM and senior tutor in violin at the RNCM. Former students are to be found in many orchestras including the current leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.


Steven plays a Nicola Gagliano violin of 1765.




Anthony Banks began his musical education in Sheffield before entering the Royal Northern College of Music Manchester, to study with Benedict Holland and Malcolm Layfield .


Since graduating, Anthony has established himself as a leading freelance violinist performing regularly as a member of Manchester Camerata, a principal player with the Orchestra of Opera North and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Halle Orchestra.


He has toured extensively with the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra and with both the D’Oyly Carte and Carl Rosa Opera Companies.

Anthony’s touring schedule has included concerts throughout Europe, Japan and also in Australia, where the Manchester Camerata were Orchestra in Residence at the Barossa Festival.

He continues to enjoy frequent forays into the world of Pop Music, Television and Musicals, working with such diverse artists as the Bootleg Beatles, the  Moody Blues, Stevie Wonder, Russ Abbott, Anton & Erin and performing in the West End  production of My Fair Lady and in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast .

Recent highlights have included semi-staged  performances throughout the UK of Wagner’s Ring Cycle with Opera North.

Anthony is a keen chamber musician and much sought after violin teacher in the North West.



Vicci Wardman has held Principal Viola positions with the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras and was for many years Principal Viola of the John Wilson Orchestra.


Whilst a member of the Philharmonia, Vicci appeared several times a a soloist. As a freelance musician, she has been guest Principal Viola many times with other UK orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic and the Halle Orchestra.


Currently a member of the Pixels Ensemble, Vicci has enjoyed a long career in chamber music. She was a founder member of the Sorrel Quartet, whose various recordings and performances received numerous awards both in the UK and internationally.


Vicci later joined the Eroica Quartet, whose interest in authentic performance led to many concerts and masterclasses both at home and abroad. She has appeared as a regular guest chamber musician with the Allegri Quartet, Psappha and the Nash Ensemble.

Vicci is also busy as a session musician, performing on many TV, film and pop soundtracks. She has appeared as soloist on film scores by various illustrious film composers including James Newton Howard, James Horner, Thomas Newman, Steven Price and Ennio Morricone.


As a viola teacher, Vicci has been a senior tutor at the Royal Northern College of music for 18 years, and taught for several years at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. She also has a private practice in Greater Manchester.  


Deidre Bencsik

Deirdre studied at the Guildhall School of Music with Leonard Stehn and Raphael Wallfisch and later with Robert Gardener in Aspen, Colorado. She has played with many of the country’s leading orchestras and was a member of the Usher Piano Trio for more than 15 years. During this time, she also qualified as a Music Therapist and worked part-time in the Mental Health sector with autistic and disabled children in her local special needs school.

Deirdre has also appeared as a soloist, performing the Concertos of: C.P.E Bach, Saint-Saens, Haydn, Elgar, Martinu and Kabalevsky, Tchaikowsky’s “Rococo” Variations, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, the Brahms Double Concerto, Kurt Nystedt’s “Stabat Mater” for solo cello and choir and an arrangement made especially for her of Clara Schuman’s “Romances” for cello and orchestra. 

Deirdre has enjoyed innovative collaborations, including the “Past Lives” Project: performing new compositions alongside archive film footage collected from the public. She is also a member of the band ‘Be’ which created a unique soundscape for the “The Hive” at the Milan Expo. Combining science, art and music, ‘Be’ perform with a live stream of 40,000 bees and have performed at numerous UK festivals (including Glastonbury), in “The Hive” (now residing at Kew Gardens) and given live performances on BBC Radio 6.

As principal cello of Sinfonia Viva, Deirdre currently enjoys the variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts as well as the education and outreach work in the community, bringing her Music Therapy experience to the various special needs projects with young people in SEN schools. Deirdre also enjoys teaching the cello privately and in the Music Department of Nottingham University.


Multi-instrumentalist Roberto Carillo performs on double bass, guitar and viola da gamba.


Born in Tenerife, he started his musical studies at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Santa Cruz. After graduating on the guitar, he studied the double bass and composition while playing in the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife.


He subsequently studied the double bass at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. In 1992, Roberto joined the Royal Northern Sinfonia as Principal No. 2 Double Bass. Whilst in Newcastle, he was a member of several chamber groups, as bass soloist, viola da gamba and as a guitarist.


Subsequent appearances led to playing guitar concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and other professional, amateur and youth orchestras with tours to Germany, France, Switzerland and Spain.


Roberto has also played Guest Principal Double Bass with the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra National de France in Paris, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish, Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, touring in South America, Europe, the Middle and Far East.


In September 2001, Roberto became Principal Double Bass of the Hallé Orchestra where he stayed for 17 years. He has been double bass professor at the Royal Northern College of Music and gives masterclasses in Spain, Poland and the UK. Roberto currently teaches double bass, viola da gamba and chamber music at Chetham's School of Music. He coaches with the National Youth Orchestra, NYO Inspire, Aldeburgh Music and the Halle Youth Orchestra.


He is a regular contributor to the Tring Chamber Music series, gave a performance of Tubin's Double Bass Concerto in Poland and a recital for solo double bass in Manchester University’s concert series.


Very active in chamber music, Roberto has just returned from Australia where he performed in the prestigious Australian Festival of Chamber music in Queensland.

The Ensemble is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, registered with the Charity Commission.

Our objectives are:


  • to advance the arts and culture for the benefit of the public in Greater Manchester and Cheshire

  • to advance education for the benefit of current students and recent alumni of the Royal Northern College of Music and other institutions of higher musical education.


The Board has three Charity Trustees: John Phillips (chair); Michael Sambrook; Adrienne Spilsbury