Kirsty Jones - Musician (Upper Strings)
Kirsty moved from rural France to join the Big Noise team in Dundee. She has played violin professionally in South Africa, France and Wales. As a violin teacher Kirsty was part of a team working with children in townships in South Africa. In Kenya she worked with a cellist to take music to children in remote villages. Whilst living in Wales Kirsty enjoyed teaching at the Junior department of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Loving working as part of a community Kirsty was also employed as a children's worker, working in Pontypridd. She led toddler groups, children's groups, after-school clubs and youth groups. Kirsty has 2 children, 3 goats, 5 hens, 2 guinea pigs, a cat and a rabbit.
Jess Long - Musician (Upper Strings)
Jess started the viola aged 10 after falling in love with its sound. After moving to Scotland to study for an academic degree and finding she spent more time playing the viola than writing essays, she decided to pursue her passion at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she gained a PGDip. in viola performance studying with Jane Atkins.
Since then she has been teaching in a wide range of different settings including schools, her own private teaching and the community. She also freelances for groups across Scotland and enjoys playing chamber music. She believes music can really make a difference to life and she loves sharing her enthusiasm for string instruments!
Jess lives in the Fife countryside with her husband, her young son and their cat (who tolerates being chased around better than he tolerates the sound of her practising!) She is really excited to re-join the Big Noise Douglas team after her maternity leave.
Rebecca Minio-Paluello - Musician (Upper Strings)
Born in Germany, Rebecca started learning the violin in England and then continued to move back and forth between those countries, attending the Royal College of Music Junior Department in London and C.P.E. Bach Gymnasium, a music secondary school in Berlin, after which she moved back to the U.K., studying with Nick Miller, then Krysia Osostowicz and David Takeno while at Cambridge University, before moving back again to Germany to study with Helge Slaatto in Münster. Then at short notice, she broke the pattern and moved to Bethlehem, Palestine, teaching at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music for three years. Now she's back in the U.K., but new to Scotland, and curious to get to know Dundee! As a passionate music educator, Rebecca is committed to teasing out potential and sharing the transformative experience of music-making. She has recently been a Teaching Artist with the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers project in Palestine, was a MusAid Fellow at the El Sistema programme in El Salvador, and is currently completing a Colourstrings Certification.
Lorenzo Sanchez-Perez - Musician (Upper Strings)
Lorenzo is from Madrid (Spain) and he started playing the violin when he was 5 years old. He was a member of the Youth Orchestra and Choir of Comunidad de Madrid, and he was offered a scholarship and the opportunity to perform in some projects with Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid. He started his undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Madrid, finishing his degree in the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Córdoba. During this time, he was freelancing with numerous orchestras all over Spain.
He studied for his Masters degree at ArtEZ hogeschool voor de kunsten in Zwolle (in the Netherlands). He owes his love of music and teaching to his two favourite violin teachers, David Martínez and Sarah Kapustin.
Lorenzo has performed in venues all over Europe, and is extremely happy to be part team and to share his passion for music with the young people and community at Big Noise Douglas. He believes that music is for everybody, and important for a child's personal development.
Melanie O'Brien - Musician (Upper Strings)
Originally from Carnoustie, Melanie started to learn violin in P4 at primary school, but not always willingly. Enjoying activities and opportunities in music at senior school, she decided rather late to pursue a career in music, studying in Edinburgh and Trinity London with John Crawford and Detlef Hahn. Melanie enjoyed a wide variety of work freelancing, orchestral and television work, whilst teaching in various schools and at the Centre for Young Musicians in west London. Accepting a role with The Menuhin Foundation in Bermuda in 2000, she spent eight years there teaching strings at schools across the island and supporting community music of all types before returning happily to Scotland. With a real love for teaching young learners, Melanie is thrilled to be working at Big Noise in Douglas and looks forward to helping the programme to grow.
In her spare time, she enjoys digging around in the garden and has an ambition to own a campervan.
Ana Lúcia Arigoni de Souza - Musician (Lower Strings)
Brazilian cellist Ana Lúcia Arigoni de Souza was introduced to the cello at the age of 14, after years of playing the piano and the flute. She graduated in cello performance from the Hochschule for Künste Bremen, Germany, and holds a Master's degree from Royal Academy of Music in London. Ana enjoys all aspects of music making, particularly chamber and orchestral playing, and has been involved in outreach programs in her native Brazil, Germany and the UK throughout her musical life. She truly believes in the power of music as a tool for social change and is very excited to have joined the Big Noise team in Douglas in August 2019. Ana is also a keen baroque cellist, an avid sushi eater, an amateur potter, a cat lover and is slightly obsessed with stately homes and antiques.
Lowri Preston - Musician (Lower Strings)
Welsh cellist Lowri studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Karine Georgian and Gregor Horsch. She continued her studies at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf and Orchesterzentrum NRW in Dortmund. During her Masters in Orchestral performance she received tuition from principal cellists from the top orchestras in Germany and Austria and worked for one season with the Göttinger Symphonie Orchestra. She also toured Germany with Philharmonie der Nationen playing at all of the major German music festivals.
Since returning to the UK Lowri has gained a wide variety of performance experience including extra work with orchestras, TV and session work, theatre productions, playing on cruises and arena tours with artists such as Hans Zimmer. Lowri is also a qualified high school music teacher and did supply teaching in primary, secondary and SEN schools across London along side her freelance work.
She moved to Fife in 2018 and now has a young daughter who keeps her very busy! She is really happy to be joining the Douglas team.
Hannah Curteis - Musicianship
Hannah Curteis, originally from St. Andrews, Fife, started playing piano at the age of 7 and soon after began writing her own songs. At 15 she went to study piano, singing and composition at St. Mary's Music School, Edinburgh. At 21 she graduated with a first in music from Kings College, London.
During her time at university she visited Nicaragua (Central America) for three months where she worked with a small community organization called Women in Action in an impoverished neighbourhood of the capital city, Managua. This experience had a huge impact on her, and after graduating in 2003, Hannah, went back to Nicaragua, planning to stay for one or two years ... in the end she stayed for 15.
After spending six years working as an investigative journalist writing about political and social issues in Nicaragua, she was presented with the opportunity to develop a music education programme working with impoverished children in the northern city of Esteli. As a result, in 2012 and with the support of a private foundation, Hannah was part of the team that founded Sones Segovianos, a music and arts after school programme.
Also during her time in Nicaragua, Hannah worked with the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture on an extensive collection of Nicaraguan folk music titled "El Legado Musical de Felipe Urrutia y Sus Cachorros" which was published in 2018.
Hannah still writes and performs her own songs using the stage name Clara Curteis. In 2019 she launched her first album "Yo Naci de Mujer."
In 2018, Hannah returned to her native Scotland with her two daughters and began private music tuition. She is thrilled to now be part of the team at Big Noise Douglas.