Revolutionary Drawing Room

Adrian Butterfield  violin
Kathryn Parry violin
Rachel Stott viola
Ruth Alford

Founded in 1990, the Revolutionary Drawing Room combines a historical approach to interpretation with a commitment to lively and communicative performances.  The ensemble gives convincing readings of less well-known works as well as revealing fascinating detail and colour in the familiar Viennese classics.  They have performed at international festivals in Stuttgart and Potsdam, toured Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Canada and taken part in NFMS and Early Music Network touring schemes.  They have held a residency at Southampton University and at the English Haydn Festival and have performed at the Leeds International Schubert Conference.  The ensemble works regularly with Rachel Brown, flute, Colin Lawson, clarinet, Alastair Mitchell, bassoon, Roger Montgomery, horn and Geoffrey Govier, fortepiano.

The RDR recorded eight CDs of Boccherini and Donizetti quartets for CPO which received glowing reviews worldwide.  Stanley Sadie selected the Boccherini Quartets Op 39 and Op 41 amongst his ‘Critics’ Choice’ and two of the Boccherini Quartets Op 58 were chosen by Columns Classics to feature in a film for Dutch television. They have also made several specially-recorded programmes for BBC Radio 3 including works by Storace as well as the Mendelssohn Octet.  In 2009 they gave a number of performances of Mendelssohn’s Octet as well as one of Ludwig Spohr’s Double Quartets in an anniversary programme also including a Haydn quartet in Cardiff, Tilford and for the Hendon Music Club.  Performances in 2010/11 included the chamber version of Chopin’s piano concertos with Geoffrey Govier for the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands – using their Pleyel piano which once belonged to Chopin – and concerts with Colin Lawson of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and Hummel Clarinet Quartet, as well as a programme including Mozart and Stamitz flute quartets at the Gregynog Festival.  In November 2011 they played Donizetti at the Tage alter Musik in Herne and the Brahms and Fuchs Clarinet Quintets at the Royal College of Music in London.   In 2012 they recorded and performed Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson to mark the anniversary of the death of Mozart’s clarinettist, Anton Stadler, and gave concerts at the London Handel Festival Winter Series, in Cork and Warwick as well as the Conway Hall in London.

2014 concert dates

Thursday 13 March, Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, 7.30pm – programme to include Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson

Saturday 15 March, National Centre for Early Music, York, 3.00pm – quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Vanhal and Dittersdorf

Sunday 16 March, Teesside Music Society, St. Bernadette’s Church, Nunthorpe, 7.45pm – quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Vanhal and Dittersdorf

2013 concert dates

Thursday 19 September, Royal College of Music, London, 1.05pm – programme to include Ludwig Spohr Octet Op.32

Thursday 7 February, London Handel Festival Winter Series, St George’s Hanover Square, London, 7pm

Saturday 23 February, All Saints Concert Series, East Sheen, London

Friday 22 February, Tilford Bach Society

Thursday 14 February, 1.00pm, Imperial College, London SW7

2012 concert dates

Friday 30 November, 7.30pm, Leamington Music
Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa

Thursday 18 October, Royal College of Music, London
Launch of CD of Mozart Clarinet Quintet at Clarinet Classics birthday party

13 May, Conway Hall Sunday Concerts
Dedicated to Prince Lobkovitz: Haydn Op.77/1, Op.77/2, Beethoven Op.18/3

1 March, CIT Cork School of Music
Programme includes Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson

22 February, Friends of the LHF Winter Series
Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson, and clarinet quintet movement fragments
by Mozart in completions by Robert Levin, with quartets by Haydn and Mozart


2011 concert dates

13 November, Tage Alter Musik Herne
Quartets by Donizetti and Schubert

6 November, Lumen United Reformed Church, 88 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RS
Quartets by Donizetti and Schubert

4 November, Royal College of Music Brahms Festival
To include clarinet quintets by Fuchs and Brahms with Colin Lawson

30 June, Gregynog Festival
A programme to include Mozart Flute Quartets in the Georgian town of Montgomery

Tuesday 8 March, Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park, near Guildford, Surrey (two performances)
with Geoffrey Govier, piano
Chopin Piano Concerto no.1 (chamber version), Chopin Berceuse in D flat Op.57 and Mozart Quartet K.465 “Dissonance”

Saturday 5 March, Cossington Concerts, Somerset
with Colin Lawson (clarinet)
Haydn and Mozart quartets, and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet

Adrian Butterfield is a violinist, director and conductor who specialises in performing music from 1600-1900 on period instruments. He is Musical Director of the Tilford Bach Society and Associate Musical Director of the London Handel Festival. He directs the London Handel Orchestra and Players and is increasingly invited as a guest soloist and director in Europe and Canada.  The London Handel Players perform regularly at the Wigmore Hall and at festivals throughout Europe and in Canada. They have recorded Handel’s Op.2 and Op.5 trio sonatas and a “Handel at Home” disc (Somm). Adrian’s solo recordings include CPE Bach sonatas (ATMA), Handel’s Violin Sonatas (Somm) and Leclair’s 1st Book of sonatas (Naxos).  He works regularly with the Southbank Sinfonia, is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music in London, gives masterclasses in Europe and North America and teaches on the Aestas Musica Baroque Course in Croatia.

Highlights of the 2010-11 season include conducting Bach’s B minor Mass at the Tilford Bach Festival, recording Leclair’s Book 2 sonatas in London and Bach Suites in Toronto, organising a ‘Chandos’ day of events at Canons Park in north London in the London Handel Festival, directing the Handel Players at the Wigmore Hall and at the Göttingen Handel Festival and directing the Croatian Baroque Orchestra in Zagreb as well as giving a solo recital in Montreal.

Adrian is married to the period-instrument flautist and recorder player Rachel Brown and they have one daughter.

Kathryn Parry read music at Selwyn College, Cambridge and studied the violin with Howard Davis at the Royal Academy of Music where she won several prizes for chamber music and was awarded the prestigious Dip RAM for ensemble playing.  She has performed chamber music in recitals for music clubs and festivals worldwide, as well as playing with several London orchestras, including the Academy of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, London Mozart Players and City of London Sinfonia. Kathryn was a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, then joined the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and for eight years lived in Edinburgh with her husband and three children. She has appeared as leader of the Edinburgh Quartet, and the Scottish-based Quartet Dom, and is a frequent guest of the Hebrides Ensemble and Britten Sinfonia. Kathryn works regularly with several period instrument ensembles, including La Serenissima, London Handel Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She plays a violin by Andrea Guarneri dated 1672.

Rachel Stott read music at Churchill College, Cambridge and subsequently undertook postgraduate studies in viola at the GSMD. She has since pursued a career as both composer and viola player and has performed across the UK and Europe with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Hanover Band, New Music Players and other contemporary music groups.

Her works have been performed at major London venues, at the Spitalfields, Greenwich, Cheltenham and Swaledale festivals in the UK, and abroad in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and Slovenia. She has produced a CD, Airborne, of contemporary song which includes two of her own song cycles and features her playing on the viola and viola d’amore. In 2001 she wrote the series Harmony and Invention for BBC Radio 3 and the following year was commissioned by Yorkshire Arts to compose one of four ‘Yorkshire Quartets’ for the Fitzwilliam String Quartet. In 2003 she was Composer-in-Residence at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, which led to a number of works inspired by observation of medical procedures. In 2004 she composed a children’s opera,The Cuckoo Tree, based on the book by Joan Aiken, which was premiered in July at the Frome Festival. She has recently completed a second string quartet, The Enchanted Lyre for the Dante String Quartet.

Ruth Alford has established herself as a well-respected chamber musician and continuo-cellist with many ensembles and chamber groups in London. She graduated from Manchester University with an honours degree in music and the Proctor Gregg Performance Award after studying cello there with Bernard Gregor-Smith and the Lindsay Quartet. Further studies followed at the Royal Academy of Music in London with David Strange, Amadeus Quartet, Sidney Griller, Jenny Ward-Clarke and also William Pleeth, whilst gaining performing experience in a wide variety of musical genres ranging from solo recitals to jazz and music theatre.

Indeed, Ruth still thrives on a broad musical diet from Baroque to Contemporary as well as sharing her enthusiasm for music through various educational outlets. She performs and records widely throughout Europe, the Far East and America as a principal player and continuo-cellist with the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment as well as chamber ensembles including Brandenburg Consort, The Music Collection, Fiori Musicali, Florilegium, Configure8 and the Revolutionary Drawing Room.

Please contact us for a fully updated biography for concert programmes


Beethoven, the reluctant pupil?

A new series of three quartet programmes from the Revolutionary Drawing Room

Beethoven started taking lessons in composition with Haydn in November 1792 shortly after Haydn’s return from his first visit to London and these continued for about a year. The relationship wasn’t always a smooth one but in later life Beethoven acknowledged the debt he owed to his famous predecessor.

1.     Dedicated to Prince Lobkovitz
Haydn Op.77 No.1, Op.77 No.2, Beethoven Op.18 No.3

Both Haydn and Beethoven enjoyed the patronage of Prince Lobkovitz, Haydn for what proved to be his final completed quartets and Beethoven for his first set. Both sets were written at the same time and it is fascinating to compare the older composer’s final mastery with his former pupil’s striking confidence.

2.     The Fugal Connection
Haydn Op.20 No.5, Mozart K.387, Beethoven Op.59 No.3

Beethoven wrote out the fugue of Mozart’s K.387 when writing his Op.18 quartets, probably in preparation for the exhilarating fugue he wrote as the finale to Op.59 No.3 and both composers learned from the fugal finales of Haydn’s Op.20 set.

3.     Tribute to Haydn
Beethoven Op.95, Haydn Op.20 No.1, Beethoven Op.74

Beethoven was unwilling to acknowledge his debt to his teacher, Haydn, as a young man but wrote these two quartets just after Haydn’s death, finally acknowledging that debt. Beethoven wrote out the slow movement of 20/1 in the 1790s and the parallels between that movement and his own A flat major slow movement of Op.74 are very strong.

Chopin anniversary programmes with Geoffrey Govier


Mozart Quartet in C major K465 (‘The Dissonance’)
Chopin Berceuse Op.57 in D flat major
Chopin Concerto no. 1 in E minor Op.11 (arr. for piano, string quartet & double bass)


Cherubini String Quartet No.3 in D minor
Schumann Piano Quintet in E flat major Op.44
Chopin Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor Op.21 (arr. for piano, string quartet & double bass) 32′

Programme 2 performed on 1 November 2010 and Programme 1 on 8 March 2010 at the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park near Guildford, using the Pleyel piano of the period in the Collection, believed to have belonged to Chopin himself

Mozart in Mannheim with Rachel Brown, flute

Quartets and flute quartets by Mozart, Cannabich, Wendling, Toeschi

Mendelssohn Octet and Spohr Double Quartet

Haydn Quartet in D major op. 64 No. 5 ‘The Lark’
Spohr Double Quartet No. 1 in D minor Op.65
Mendelssohn Octet in E flat major Op.20

Schubert String Quintet

Boccherini Op.33
Beethoven Op.95
Schubert String Quintet in C major

The Fugal Connection

A programme of quartets:

Haydn Op.20/5
Mozart K.387
Beethoven Op.59/3

Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Colin Lawson

Haydn Quartet Op.50/1
Mozart’s ’Dissonance’ Quartet
or Weber Clarinet Quintet
Mozart Clarinet Quintet

With Colin Lawson, basset clarinet

to mark the anniversary of the death of Mozart’s clarinettist, Anton Stadler, in 2012


Mozart: Clarinet Quintet
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet

Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A K.581
with quintet fragments K.581a, K580b, K516c in completions by Robert Levin and Franz Beyer

with Colin Lawson (basset clarinet/clarinet in C) and Michael Harris (basset horn)

Clarinet Classics CC0068, released December 2012

“…an interpretation of distinction. Mozart’s ‘unplumbed melancholy underlying even his brightest and most vivacious moments’ (WJ Turner) strikes a chord with Lawson and the Revolutionary Drawing Room. He draws from his basset (copy of a period model, as are the other clarinets used here) a woody tone of subtly varied hues, balanced with strings equally sensitive to the composer’s skill in texturing.”  Gramophone, March 2013

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