l-r: Sarah Roberts, Daniel Hammersley, Sophie Appleton and James Slater

Formed in 2017, the Frankland Quartet’s musical identity is embedded in the North East of England. Long-time colleagues in Royal Northern Sinfonia, the region’s professional chamber orchestra, all four of its members base their careers in the North East, and a deep commitment to the cultural life of the area lies at the heart of the Quartet’s work, inspired by its landscape, its history and communities. 

The Frankland Quartet’s music-making is dedicated to an equal marriage of past and present, and a desire to look beyond the standard repertoire, championing composers from outside the traditional canon, including female composers and underrepresented groups. They are also committed to the voices of the North East, and work regularly with the region’s leading composers.  

Their first concerts focused on Beethoven and Haydn, including performances on BBC Radio 3 as part of the Free Thinking Festival 2018. Recent projects have included Howard Skempton’s Tendrils at The Cluny, Newcastle as part of the CoMA Festival of New Music for All 2020, Egidija Medekšaite Megh Malhar and Anna Meredith Songs for the M8 at The Globe, Newcastle, and Tippett String Quartet no.2 for Sage Gateshead’s lockdown broadcasts. Other appearances have included Berwick, Corbridge and Allendale. 

In 2019 The Frankland Quartet became Quartet-in-Residence at Durham University, leading workshops and coaching for the university’s student ensembles, performing student compositions, and giving recitals for the university’s Musicon concert series, most recently of Ravel, Tippett and Medekšaite in April 2021. 

In June 2021, the quartet worked with MishMash Productions to devise theatrical settings for quartet works suitable for children and first time listeners and future plans for 2021 involve commissioning projects for four North East composers. 

Sophie Appleton

Sophie’s love of chamber music began at a young age with her childhood quartet and developed playing in the Denis East string quartet in her twenties and later in the Bloomsbury Piano Trio. She has had a varied career – working in contemporary music as part of the successful group Kurbis and as an orchestral musician playing in London with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Academy of St Martins in the Field and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House amongst many others. She is now a member of the Royal Northern Sinfonia and lives in Durham with her husband, composer James Weeks, with whom she is currently collaborating on a piece to be with EXAUDI vocal ensemble later in the year.

Sarah Roberts

Sarah is an in-demand and celebrated chamber musician whose career has taken her around the world. Whilst studying at the RNCM she won the Philip Newman prize and the Terrence Weill Chamber music prize. She is involved with contemporary music, recently leading the ‘Next Wave 2’ CD released by NMC. Sarah has balanced her varied orchestral career with being a long time member of the first violin section of the Royal Northern Sinfonia. She lives in Allendale with her husband and children.

James Slater

James is much sought after as a chamber musician, working regularly with established and new ensembles across the country. He acts as guest principal viola with leading orchestras including RSNO, BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, as well as playing regularly with the John Wilson Orchestra, Sinfonia of London and Orchestra Revolutionaire et Romantique. Hailing from the south west of England, James lives in Gateshead with his family and is a member of Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Daniel Hammersley

Daniel was formerly a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and now lives in Tynemouth where he enjoys surfing as well as practising his cello. He balances his position as Principal Cello No. 2 of Royal Northern Sinfonia with appearances in orchestras up and down the country as well as recent engagements as guest principal with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.