BRUNCH BITE: September 8
Born in Sheffield, raised in rural Derbyshire, and based in London, Lizzie is a violinist, vocalist, concert producer and founder of Classical Kicks Productions. A prolific performer, Lizzie has been on the international stage for two decades. Lizzie was awarded an Honorary Masters from The University of Derby in 2018 in recognition of her innovative, creative approach to classical music. Shortly after this Lizzie was chosen as one of the UK’s most inspirational females in a list of 50 outstanding UK women making an impact, in a feature run by Daily Mail.
Lizzie grew up in the village of Hathersage, Derbyshire, and attended her local comprehensive school Lady Manners School in Bakewell in the Peak District. Music played a big part in her early life. Her mother had wide-ranging musical tastes and her father was an accomplished jazz pianist. At the age of seven Lizzie heard a violin being played on the radio and decided in that moment that the violin was the instrument she wanted to play. At the age of 10 her mother took her to see a concert by the violinist Nigel Kennedy, she was memorably blown away by his totally unorthodox approach to classical music, even at that young age there was something about this approach that truly resonated with her. Lizzie became leader of the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra and after achieving top-grade A Levels, gained a place at St John’s College, Cambridge, to read Music where she became principal of the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra and an Instrumental Scholar. She undertook postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, where she studied under the master violinists Yossi Zivoni and David Takeno.
Despite her rigorous classical training, Lizzie has always been passionate about performing all styles of music since she was a young girl, and in her mid-twenties starting adding vocals to her performance. Lizzie created and founded Classical Kicks in 2012 in an ongoing mission is to bring classical music to a wider audience in accessible, diverse venues and contexts. The residency in the upstairs venue at Ronnie Scott’s , has included everything from string quartets to beat boxing flute players and East End female rappers, and has also given performances in festivals, schools and churches from a newly commissioned young-persons show to a electronic music meets classical instruments collaboration with Bestival Founder Rob da Bank: all presented with a classical twist. In November 2019 Lizzie curated and performed a headline event at Ronnie Scott’s Main House with world renowned choir, The Sixteen and Director Harry Christophers together with pianist James Pearson , accordionist Martynas Levickis, and rapper Isatta Sheriff.
Lizzie’s Classical Kicks Productions have recently extended to innovative performances that deliver immersive audio-visual impact. Her co-creation with fellow female creative, Producer , Writer and Director Emily Blacksell (whose CV includes work with Sir Paul McCartney and Sally Greene to name but a few) Corrido: A Ballad for the Brave is an immersive audio-visual journey about the life and times of Frida Kahlo and her contemporaries, featuring Lizzie’s own compositions alongside Mexican and classical music pieces, paired with originally created animated film and video design -all in a unique collaboration an extraordinary team of creatives and musicians. The premiere of Corrido was in association with the V and A Museum’s acclaimed 2018 exhibition of Frida’s own personal items and clothing, named ‘Making Her Self Up’.
Another recent production in October 2019 is a reframing of Schoenberg’s classical masterpiece, Verklarte Nacht, in collaboration with artist Joseph Fairweather-Hole, and Lithuanian chamber orchestra ‘Mikroorkestra’. In this project, Joseph created 2 animated films which unfold in real time in response to the pieces emotional narrative of love, loss, and shame, and projection was done by immersing the orchestra inside the see through projection material in a darkly lit concert hall to create the fullest audience impact. Her current chamber music production is a show she created about Chanel and Stravinsky with visual projections, featuring Serbian accordionist and long time collaborator of Lizzie’s, Milos Milivojevic. As a collaborative artist Lizzie also enjoys frequent concerts and projects with her Classical Kicks soul mates and exceptional musicians, cellist Gabriella Swallow, UK jazz legend James Pearson and his trio, violist Meghan Cassidy, percussionist James Turner and rapper Isatta Sheriff.
Alongside her own projects, Lizzie has a busy international freelance career as a solo performer/orchestra leader and session musician. Highlights of her work as a featured solo violinist includes Jeff Beck (featured solo violinist and vocalist -US wide arena tour and Crossroads Festival 2013 Madison Square Garden) , Brian Wilson (featured solo violinist and vocalist on a US wide tour) , and with Grammy-award winning choir New York Polyphony. The press wrote “Lizzie Ball lit the place on fire with one of her solos” (San Francisco Chronicle). The US Rolling Stone Magazine wrote “the audience seemed mesmerised by the entire thing, especially when young violinist Lizzie Ball took a solo, and channeled Mary Ford’s Vocals on Les Paul’s How high the Moon”.
Recent highlights of Lizzie’s orchestra leading work includes with Hugh Jackman (European Stadium Tour 2019), Ariana Grande (BBC Live film with Ariana Grande), Liam Gallagher (MTV Unplugged Live in Hull 2019) Lizzie was concertmaster of Nigel Kennedy’s handpicked ‘Orchestra of Life’ between 2010-2018. Highlights included duet concertos with Nigel, a new recording of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons with members of Massive Attack, and leading the 2013 BBC Palestine Prom with the Palestine Strings, the first time in history a Palestinian group were invited to perform.
Lizzie also frequently works in the session orchestras contracted by Isobel Griffiths Ltd and Music Creation Ltd in London’s Abbey Road and Air Studios, for numerous recordings for film, tv, and commercial pop artists. Recent highlights of this work include Captain Marvel, Terminator Genysis, Robbie Williams Christmas album, and Liam Gallagher highly acclaimed 2019 album release Why me Why Not.
Lizzie is passionate about outreach projects and has given hundreds of workshops for various orchestras and projects over the years, involving visits to a wide range of establishments from private boarding schools to Pupil Referral Units, and loves working with young people. More recently Lizzie has been working locally with the brilliant Sheffield Music Hub on a number of projects, including an original commission for a piece for Electric violin and orchestra called ‘The Lone Star’ in partnership with Hugh Sykes Charitable Trust. This piece was composed by Andy Smith together with the children of 6 schools of over 200 children in the Sheffield are in who all also participated in the concert premiere of the piece in December 2017 in Sheffield Cathedral. Lizzie has also become Ambassador for PRISMA, a charity founded by her colleague Morgan Szymanski to help children in need in Mexico by providing arts workshops to rural underdeveloped areas of Mexico. So far the project has reached over 15,000 children in just two years of existence.
Currently and since 2018, Lizzie has been regularly director of the previously mentioned Mikroorkestra-a young exceptionally talented group based in Vilnius, founded by accordion virtuoso, Martynas Levickis. Lizzie has been leaving her mark on Lithuania where these recent performances reached multiple national press interest. This treasured collaboration with Lithuanian-born internationally known accordion superstar Martynas Levickis (who released his debut album on Decca in the UK in 2013), and ‘Mikrookestra’, frequently receives overwhelming standing ovations, memorably after Lizzie appeared as her favourite trinity of violin soloist, orchestra director, and vocal soloist, in St. Catherine’s Church in Vilnius, a former prison for POW’s in World War Two. Earlier before lockdown in 2020, Lizzie with recently featured as special guest artist in an Arena Tour of Lithuania with Martynas and the orchestra, performing to audiences of over 20,000 in Martynas’ spectacular audio-visual production ‘Cinema Live’.