Our People

Adrian Chandler

Artistic Director

Born on Merseyside in 1974, Adrian Chandler is recognised internationally as a leading interpreter of Italian baroque music with an ‘avant-garde approach that would have awed Hendrix’ (The Guardian). His ‘electrifying playing’ and ‘real richness of sound’ (Classical Music) have captivated listeners for over 25 years.

© Eric Richmond

Adrian founded La Serenissima in 1994, whilst a student of Rodney Friend at the Royal College of Music, channelling his love affair with Vivaldi into a lifetime’s mission. With La Serenissima, he has performed a host of recitals, concertos and operas for major festivals including Bruges, Buxton, Cheltenham, Lake District Summer Music, Lichfield, Spitalfields and York, as well as for concerts in Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Malta, Mexico and Spain. His performances have been broadcast by BBC Radio 3, Classic FM, Scala Radio and by radio stations throughout the world.

Adrian has driven La Serenissima’s ambitious and highly acclaimed recording work, creating an extensive catalogue encompassing music by Albinoni, Bach, Brescianello, Caldara, Corelli, Dall’Abaco, Legrenzi, Locatelli, Lotti, Montanari, Navarra, Pisendel, Porta, Sammartini, Scarlatti, Tartini, Telemann, Torelli, Valentini, Vandini, Veracini, Vivaldi and Composer X. These recordings have been widely praised through repeated award nominations, regular focus from specialist and broadsheet press and radio, and frequent rave reviews. He has had the honour of accepting two Gramophone Awards in the ‘Baroque Instrumental’ category for La Serenissima’s albums The French Connection (2010) and The Italian Job (2017).

The Arts and Humanities Research Council awarded Adrian a fellowship at Southampton University to research the development of the North Italian violin concerto 1690 – 1740; this research culminated in the release of the third album in La Serenissima’s North Italian Violin Concerto series. He subsequently held a two-year post at Southampton as Turner Sims Professor. During the 2020 UK lockdown, Adrian edited a Vivaldi violin concerto daily: the campaign reached fans, musicians, scholars and Vivaldi enthusiasts across the globe via social media and will form the basis of a future publication on Vivaldi’s violin method.

Adrian has been guest director/soloist with a range of other groups throughout his career, demonstrating great versatility in working with musicians using both period and modern instruments; for the 2020-21 Season he has been invited to direct projects for Concerto Copenhagen in Denmark and Deutsche Philharmonie Merck in Germany.

© Fatkoala Images
© Fatkoala Images

A lifelong Everton fan, Adrian devised the concept for the album cover of Extra Time which showcased an array of Italian composers’ names emblazoned on his club’s football shirts.


‘Chandler’s wheeling and diving solo violin – all is light and energy …. nothing short of magnificent’ Gramophone


‘an ensemble of unequivocal musical excellence made up of supremely talented players’

‘The Italian Job’ – St George’s Bristol – Bristol Post, November 2016


Our artists encompass a whole range of instrumentalists and singers, some of whom are pictured here. We work with musicians at all stages of their careers which enables us to create vital opportunities for younger artists to form part of a high-calibre team.

Katy Bircher

Image © Eric Richmond
  • Read Bio

    Katy Bircher is a specialist in early flutes, performing repertoire from Dowland to Mahler. She has been playing with La Serenissima since the group’s very early days and has been involved in many exciting projects, including the modern premiere of Vivaldi’s flute concerto ‘Il Gran Mogul’. As a keen educator, Katy teaches students of all ages in a range of settings from primary schools to music colleges and universities.

Elitsa Bogdanova

Image © Eric Richmond
  • Read Bio

    Bulgarian violist Elitsa Bogdanova completed her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is an active freelancer on both modern and period instruments. Elitsa is passionate about performing in intimate chamber settings and has worked with ensembles including the Aurora Orchestra, Camerata Alma Viva, Florilegium, La Nuova Musica, London Contemporary Orchestra, London Handel Orchestra and 12 Ensemble alongside her work for La Serenissima. Elitsa is a member of the Consone Quartet, focused on exploring classical and early romantic repertoire on period instruments. elitsabogdanova.com

Rachel Chaplin

Image © Fatkoala Images
  • Read Bio

    Rachel Chaplin was born in the UK and received her musical training from Cambridge University, the Royal Academy of Music and Leipzig Hochschule für Musik, alongside formative years in the European Union Youth Orchestra and European Union Baroque Orchestra. Inspired by the sounds of the baroque oboe and the invigorating creativity of the early music scene she took up period oboes and has since performed around the world with many of the leading period instrument ensembles. She appears regularly in concert with English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Romantique et Révolutionnaire, Classical Opera Company, The Kings Consort and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, also playing an active role in their education and outreach projects. Her own area of musicological interest is the music of Carl Philip Emanuel Bach, which was the subject of her doctoral thesis. 

Tabea Debus

Image © Andreea Tufescu
  • Read Bio

    Described by The Times as a charismatic virtuoso, Tabea Debus is constantly exploring the horizons of music for recorder and has performed widely in Europe, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and the USA. Highlights include concerts at Wigmore Hall, Brecon Baroque, LFBM and YEMF, and collaborations with La Serenissima, The English Concert, Rachel Podger and Laurence Cummings. Having been Meaker Fellow for 2016-17, 2016 CMF Artist and SJSS Young Artist 2015-16, she was selected by YCAT in May 2018. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune and Early Music Show and released three solo discs, most recently XXIV Fantasie per il Flauto in 2018 tabeadebus.de

Robert Howarth

Image © Benjamin Harte
  • Read Bio

    Robert Howarth read music at the University of York before establishing himself as a keyboard player, director and conductor of early and classical repertoire. Robert has performed with La Serenissima since its early days – his playing features on our first ever recording Per Monsieur Pisendel – and he has co-directed productions including Vivaldi’s operas Catone in Utica and Ottone In Villa. Opera engagements elsewhere include productions for Birmingham Opera Company, Hamburg State Opera, Opera North and Norwegian Opera and he has conducted projects for Irish Baroque Orchestra, The Hallé and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment amongst others. Robert was Music Director for Claire van Kampen’s play Farinelli and the King starring actor Mark Rylance and counter-tenor Iestyn Davies.

James Johnstone

Image © Eric Richmond
  • Read Bio

    The harpsichordist and organist James Johnstone enjoys a varied musical life as continuo player and soloist.  He has performed with most of the UK-based early music ensembles, recorded numerous ensemble discs and is currently recording Bach’s organ works for Metronome. He is Professor of early keyboards at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Simon Munday

Image © Eric Richmond
  • Read Bio

    Simon Munday began his musical career with the Salvation Army. He was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he studied for 4 years. Since leaving in 2000 Simon has established himself in the music profession and can be seen regularly performing with many of the UK’s period and modern orchestras, in studios and London’s West End. Simon’s playing can be found on our popular releases Venice By Night and The Italian Job.

Lynda Sayce

Image © Fatkoala Images
  • Read Bio

    Lynda Sayce is one of Britain’s leading lutenists with more than 100 recordings to her name. She is principal lute with The King’s Consort and Ex Cathedra, and has collaborated with leading historical-informed ensembles such as Le Concert d’Astrée, Les Talens Lyriques and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She also works regularly with modern instrument groups, especially opera companies, and was invited by Sir Simon Rattle to play continuo for the Berlin Philharmonic’s epic staging of Bach’s Matthew Passion which toured Europe and the USA. Also active as a scholar and researcher, Lynda holds a PhD on the history of the theorbo, which is shortly to be published.

Camilla Scarlett

Image © Eric Richmond
  • Read Bio

    Camilla Scarlett was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford and London’s Royal Academy of Music where she held a scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Following a formative year touring with the European Union Baroque Orchestra, Camilla has performed for many of the UK’s leading period instrument orchestras and her violin playing has contributed to bespoke programmes for BBC Radio 3 and 4. A member of La Serenissima since 2009, Camilla is also proud to help run and fundraise for the UK’s most dynamic ensemble of its kind at a very exciting period in its development.

Hilary Summers

Image © Claire Newman Williams
  • Read Bio

    Born in South Wales, contralto Hilary Summers studied at Reading University, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. She has recorded over forty CDs spanning works from the early baroque period to the present day and has sung in most of the major concert halls and opera houses of the world. Her three octave range has excited the attention of many composers and she has sung in numerous world premieres including George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill at the Bastille, Paris; Elliot Carter’s What Next at the Staatsoper, Berlin; Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra in Los Angeles; Peter Eotvos’ Le Balcon at the Aix Festival and Facing Goya and War Work by Michael Nyman.

Vladimir Waltham

Image © Eric Richmond
  • Read Bio

    Vladimir Waltham was born into a family of musicians in the South of France. Passionate about all aspects of music-making, Vladimir divides his time between solo, chamber, orchestral and teaching work on both modern and baroque cello, as well as other early instruments. In 2012 he was chosen by the Jumpstart Jr. Foundation to receive the loan of a beautiful baroque cello by Nicola Gagliano and in 2016 he was a prize-winner at the International Bach Competition Leipzig. Vladimir has played with La Serenissima for several years where he has played continuo and performed a number of sonatas and concertos.

Peter Whelan

Image © Martin Usborne
  • Read Bio

    Irish-born Peter Whelan is a versatile musician, with a diverse repertoire spanning over 400 years. He is in constant demand as a bassoonist, director, chamber musician and teacher. He has been described as a ‘phenomenon on the baroque bassoon’ (Crescendo Magazine, Germany), whose performances feature ‘jaw-dropping dexterous virtuosity’ (Gramophone Magazine). peterwhelan.co.uk

Trustees & Management

Honorary Patron

His Excellency The Italian Ambassador

The Italian Embassy

Board of Trustees

Nathan Burkey (Chairman)

Joanne Hindle
Ben Mazower
Sam Webster


Adrian Chandler (Artistic Director)
Camilla Scarlett (General Manager)

La Serenissima

Company no. 8370390 | Charity no. 1154940
Registered address: Hillside, Bourton-on-the-Hill, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9AH

La Serenissima is a Member of the Association of British Orchestras & a Founder Member of Opera UK.