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© 2007-2013 Frances Eustace | Last Update:  April 2013


Hopelessly lost but making good time productions

Biography  

Frances began studying the bassoon as a teenager with Martin Gatt, and after graduating from Surrey University, she won a Countess of Munster Award to study with Roger Birnstingl at the Geneva Conservatoire (Gold medal, Classe de Perfectionnement).

Upon her return to Britain she freelanced, playing with the Halle Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Ballet and giving recitals at The Wigmore Hall, The Purcell Room, the Barbican and St. John's Smith Square.

She fell in love with the sound of "original instruments" when her friend and colleague, Jeremy Ward, lent her his baroque bassoon while he was on holiday and so began her distinguished career in the field of early music. Since 1983 she has performed with all the leading orchestras in London and many in Germany, Belgium and Holland. She has been involved in award winning recordings with Tavener Players, The London Classical Players, Gabrieli Players, Ensemble Sonnerie and was a member of The London Oboe Band. She was a member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from 1989 to 1996 and her solo CD on instruments from 1600 to 1910 (The Finchcocks Collection) is regularly broadcast across the world from the ABC to the BBC.

In 1990 she began studying the viola da gamba with Sarah Cunningham and now plays it also professionally.

In 1995 Frances took some time away from full-time music to qualify as a Dance Movement Therapist and since then has pioneered work in the rehabilitation of young people with Traumatic Brain Injury and also with children with Visual Impairment and Autism.

Since moving to Wessex in 2004 she has returned to music full-time and has broadened her repertoire to include music before 1600, adding playing bagpipes and pipe and tabor to her list of accomplishments. She is a member of The Border Waites and Dove's Figary, a specialist Playford Dance band playing on historical instruments with Stephen Kenyon  (baroque guitar) and Colin Thompson (fiddle and recorder).

In March 2009 Frances was awarded a MA in Medieval Studies from Bristol University and is now studying for a Doctorate on the topic of 'Secular Medieval Carolling'.

She is the 'loud winds tutor' for Cambridge Early Music Summer Schools.

Her fastest marathon time is 3 hours 57 mins. (Amsterdam 1991) and in 1998 she won the Runners World Cup at the Venice Marathon.