Deirdre Bencsik I started the cello at Primary School in Northampton through the brilliant Music Service there. My teacher, William Boughton, later became a conductor and we crossed paths again in his own Orchestra many years later! I then studied with Christopher Bunting, at the Guildhall School of Music with Leonard Stehn and Raphael Wallfisch and with Robert Gardener in Aspen, Colorado - where my cello temporarily ended up in the wrong State! I then joined the Perry String Quartet, who performed regular concerts and radio broadcasts across the Midlands and as a freelance cellist, played with some of the UK’s leading orchestras - driving around the entire length of the country in my faithful Mini Traveller. I also played in the Cello Quartet “Quatrocelli” and Cello Octet “Red Barn Cellos” – (who needs violins or violas?!) and for 16 years enjoyed making music with good friends in the Usher Piano Trio, exploring the full range of repertoire for this genre. During this time, I qualified as a Music Therapist and consequently worked part-time in the Mental Health sector and with autistic and disabled children in my local Special Needs School. I joined “Sinfonia Viva” in 1983 and have enjoyed the variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts, collaborations with living composers, animateurs, dancers and creative artists, as well as the education and outreach work in the community, working with adults and children. This work is incredibly rewarding, and I feel privileged to be able to use my Music Therapy experience in the various special needs projects with Sinfonia Viva. I have also appeared as a soloist, performing the Concertos of: C.P.E Bach, Saint-Saens, Haydn, Elgar, Martinu and Kabalevsky, Tchaikowsky’s “Rococo” Variations, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, the Brahms Double Concerto and Krut Nystedt’s “Stabat Mater” for solo Cello and Choir. I enjoy innovative collaborations, including the “Past Lives” Project: performing new compositions alongside archive film footage and I am a member of the band ‘Be’ which created a unique soundscape for Wolfgang Buttress’s UK Pavilion “The Hive” at the World Expo in Milan. Combining science, art and music, ‘Be’ perform with a live stream of 40,000 bees – something of a World first for both species! ‘Be’ have since performed at numerous UK festivals (including Glastonbury), in “The Hive” – (now residing at Kew Gardens) and live performances on BBC Radio 6. Any spare time I have is spent teaching, looking after my teenage son, eccentric husband and thousands of bees in the numerous hives at the bottom of our garden.