Scottish violinist and saxophonist Hilary Michael studied with Richard Deakin (violin) and Martin Speake (sax) at the Royal Academy of Music, London, from where she graduated in 2006 with a 1st class BMus (Hons). She then returned to the Academy for a 2-year Postgraduate Diploma in Historical Performance, studying the Baroque violin with Pavlo Beznosiuk.
Whilst at the RAM she won the Mica Comberti Bach Prize, performed Mendelssohn’s Concerto in D minor for Violin and Strings with the Becket Ensemble and David Watkin, led the RAM Baroque Ensemble and was the winner of the 2008 Early Music Prize. During this time Hilary was also the first ever lead alto of the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra, having previously been the lead alto of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland and, for many years, the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra. She also worked alongside Richard Michael and the late Will Michael for the Wigmore Hall Jazz Education programme, tutoring on weekend courses at Wigmore Hall and schools workshops all over London. In addition she gave workshops for Yamaha on Jazz playing for string instruments.
For the past 14 years Hilary has enjoyed a busy freelance career performing and recording all over the world with groups such as the Academy of Ancient Music, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestre Romantique et Revolutionnaire, the Avison Ensemble, the Gabrieli Consort and Players, La Serenissima and the Edinburgh–based Dunedin Consort. She is also the Leader/Director of The Kellie Consort, a group set up by Tom Wilkinson to give music students and recent graduates experience in period instrument performance.
Whilst the majority of her professional performances have been in the early music domain Hilary has continued to work in Jazz education, most notably as the strings tutor on the Richard Michael Summer Jazz Course for the past 20 years. She is a regular visiting tutor to the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, has taught on improvisation workshops for Making Music and is currently the woodwind tutor for “Mistakes Are Cool”; the Glasgow Schools Jazz Orchestra, for the 7th year running.
For the past 5 years Hilary has been a chamber music coach at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh (where she was formerly a pupil for 3 years) with a focus on Historical Performance Practice. She also runs the Early Music Group, combining improvisation in 17th and 18th Century styles with exploring repertoire from that period with varied instrumentation. Hilary is also part of the Jazz Faculty and teaches Jazz violin and Jazz Aural to the senior students.
She lives in Edinburgh with her husband, 2 daughters and a cat.