Lizzie Ball set to entertain at Buxton

Lizzie Ball credit Andy StaplesLizzie Ball has a rebellious streak that refuses to allow her to conform to the stereotypical image we have of a classical musician.

She hates nothing more than to be pigeonholed as a performer and loves to bend the rules by mixing musical genres on stage.

So it was inevitable that the internationally-renowned violinist and vocalist would create her own production company to allow her to do just that.

Classical Kicks is a collective of world-class musicians who perform innovative, energetic classical fusion.

“We are passionate about mixing classical music with jazz, pop, rock, folk and sometimes even rap to create our own unique concert programmes performed by classical musicians who have a feel and desire to perform within other styles and vibes.

“I have always believed that music should not be placed in boxes. I am someone who improvises and can jump into any genre,” said the 34-year-old musician.

“That idea can be a bit frowned upon and there are those that say it is dumbing down the quality but I don’t agree. I want Classical Kicks to turn the heads of those that think classical music is ‘boring’ and get them to think quite the opposite.”

Lizzie was born and brought up in Hathersage in a household with a wide-range of musical tastes.

Her father Chris Ball was an accomplished jazz pianist and she grew up listening to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Herbie Hancock. But despite the ever-present piano Lizzie chose the violin after hearing one being placed on the radio when she was just seven.

A few years later her mother took her to see Nigel Kennedy play in Sheffield and she was gripped.

“I remember thinking that this guy with the crazy hair was amazing. He became my role model there and then.”

Fifteen years later when her career was flourishing Lizzie met Kennedy and they became friends with him eventually asking her to become the leader of his Orchestra of Life – a role she has relished and of which she is very proud.

Lizzie studied for her A Levels at Lady Manners School in Bakewell and then went on to Cambridge University to read music, followed by post graduate studies at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music.

“I think what was important for me in those early years is that no-one pushed me into anything. My parents didn’t force me they were very relaxed, but nonetheless I always got straight on with my music and flourished in my own way. It was like a natural fit and just became part of my life,” she said.

She says she is grateful that she didn’t get sent to a music school as a youngster and pays particular tribute to her violin teacher Nina Martin and the late Richard Barnes who was her music teacher at Lady Manners.

“He was amazing and inspiring. He gave me confidence and believed in me through and through.”

Lizzie will be performing at the Buxton Festival alongside the James Pearson Trio with The Great American Songbook, a journey through the music of Gershwin, Porter, Arlen and Berlin on July 16 and A Tribute To George Shearing and Stephane Grappelli on July 17. Both are in the Pavilion Café at 9pm.

She is also bringing her own Classical Kicks Arts Festival to Nether Hall, Hathersage on July 18 and 19.