Leo Byrne has been our conductor since 1983. His conducting style is direct and engaging, and he is comfortable with all genres of music, from Rameau to Reggae. In rehearsals he is encouraging, witty, and charismatic. One of his favourite sayings is:
“If you’re going to make a mistake, make it a big one!”
He’s also an accomplished violin soloist. Here’s a recent TV appearance:
Born in 1951, Leo started the piano at seven, the cornet at nine and violin at eleven. At fourteen he had his first private violin lesson from Eugene Genin MBE and within two years was a member of the National Youth Orchestra. While in the orchestra Leo was taught by Hugh Maguire of the Allegri String Quartet and later privately by Clifford Knowles of the Royal Northern College of Music. Leo was co-leader of the Cambridge University Music Club Chamber Orchestra.
In 1990, after gaining an LRAM (Violin Performer) at the Royal Academy of Music, he left teaching to work full-time as a violin maker. He today performs using a brand-new Guarneri del Gesu violin (made by Ian Highfield of Buxton) and a bow he made himself.