Originally from the Lake District in Cumbria, Jo Ashcroft graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2008 with a BMus(Hons) and a PGDip in performance. Jo enjoys a varied career as a freelance performer, community musician and teacher. She plays regularly across the UK as a chamber musician in various ensembles. Jo is heavily involved in education and community music.
Since graduating Jo has delivered workshops with Live Music Now all over the UK and in Abu Dhabi, and has worked for Perth Concert Hall, NYCoS, Drake Music Scotland and RCS. Jo currently holds teaching positions at the Stewart's Melville Schools in Edinburgh and MuBu Zone in Helensburgh, as well as teaching at Big Noise Raploch.
In her spare time Jo loves playing and watching sport of almost any variety! She is a keen cricketer and plays for the women's team at Stirling County Cricket Club.
Ysla is from Fife and started learning violin at the age of 8. She quickly developed a passion for music and went on to study at the RSAMD with Edwin Paling and Jerre Gibson. Shortly after graduating, Ysla took a job in Portugal as a tutti violinist in Orquestra Do Norte, Amarante where she lived out her dream of playing in an orchestra abroad. After four years, the draw of Scotland was too much and she moved back home and started teaching violin in Falkirk council.
Ysla freelances with Scottish Ballet, regularly works on education projects with Scottish Opera; tutors violin for Mull Music Makers; teaches musicianship for NYCoS and regularly plays in various string quartets. She joined Big Noise in 2009 as a musician and has been a senior musician since 2013.
Laura was accepted into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Junior programme when she was 12 before going onto study BMus (Hons) in Performance at the RCS in Violin and Viola. After graduation, she then freelanced for a year with most of Scotland's professional orchestras, as well as teaching with Musicworks and NYCOS before moving down south to begin working with the Liverpool Philharmonic's learning department. She was Lead String Musician on the El Sistema-inspired "In Harmony Liverpool" programme and was also lead musicianship coach with the Philharmonic Youth Choirs and 2nd violin coach with Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, as well as continuing to freelance around the North-West of England.
After 7 years in Liverpool Laura returned home to join the Big Noise family in Summer 2017.