Alison Wells

Alison Wells recently returned to the UK after many years in the United States, where she was on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Peabody Institute. Before that she taught at Trinity College of Music and The Purcell School in London and on the specialist music scheme at Wells. A graduate of Cambridge University, the Royal Academy of Music, and Yale University, she studied with Ralph Kirshbaum, David Strange and Aldo Parisot. She made her South Bank recital debut in 1989, supported by the Maisie Lewis Charitable Trust. Ms Wells was a founder member of the Pirasti Trio, performing throughout the UK, Europe and the USA, and recording for ASV. In the summers she participates in festivals in the USA, returning to the Heifetz International Institute for many years, and, more recently, to the Madeline Island and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festivals. She is passionate about teaching and the physiology of cello playing and has been involved with many technique workshops, including annual contributions to the Aria International Festival. Former pupils have been winners at competitions internationally and hold positions in orchestras across the world.

Ms Wells is an advocate for increasing access to musical training. She was involved with several inner city initiatives in Baltimore and served as Chair of the Board of TUBA: The Uganda-Baltimore Alliance, providing mentorship to a brass band project in rural Uganda.

Ruth Phillips

Alongside her rich and diverse career as a concert cellist and teacher, Ruth is internationally sought after as a performance coach and meditation teacher, helping people who suffer from tension, stage fright or lack of focus overcome the physical and mental strains of the music profession. In addition to her certification as a Mindfulness Meditation teacher , Ruth is also a trained therapist, holding a Masters’ degree in Voice Movement Therapy. She has been attending yoga classes with Peter Blackaby for the past 30 years, and has completed three modules of the Non-Violent-Communication training. Her interest in the natural functioning of the body has inspired her to work closely with Alexander Technique, Qi Gong, Body Mapping and Feldenkrais practitioners, and her musical experience includes not only classical music but folk, Indian and African traditions.

You can read more about Ruth’s work at her website:


Dale Culliford

Dale Culliford is a cellist, chamber musician, cello teacher, and Alexander teacher. She has worked with many of Britain’s top orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, the Philharmonia and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 1997 Dale joined the Hallé Orchestra where she is sub-principal cellist.

Alongside her busy orchestral schedule she teaches cello privately with a range of students, from youngsters through to adults. Dale also works with many graduates and students in music colleges who are preparing for auditions or performances. Her training as an Alexander teacher has been invaluable in forming her ethos as a cello teacher and her approach to life, work and cello playing.

Her love of playing chamber music led her to create two popular concert series in the beautiful Peak District at Spring Bank Arts, New Mills and for Bakewell Town Hall.

Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir

Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir comes from Reykjavik, Iceland, but left home young to study at the Juilliard School in New York and later in Germany. She currently enjoys a happy mix of performing and teaching from her base in Amsterdam and has been fortunate enough to make her living over the years mostly from playing chamber music. She was a founding member of the Miami String Quartet, principal viola of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the violist of the Chilingirian String Quartet for several years. She is now a member of the The Brunsvik String Trio, the Erard Ensemble and the London-based Endymion Ensemble. Lately she increasingly turns her attention to teaching; has previously been on the faculty of The Trinity College of Music and the Royal College of Music in London and The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. She is currently professor at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and has been the viola professor at the International Masterclass in Apeldoorn since 2005. Ásdís is very interested in all things related to good body use in order to help herself and her students play the viola more efficiently. She has followed a teacher-training course for the Alexander Technique, Body Mapping and practises various types of yoga and meditation.