Robin and Emma Versteeg founded Cairngorm Music in the summer of 2016. Moving with their two young sons to the village of Dulnain Bridge represents the realisation of a long-held dream – to live and work in a very special part of the Scottish Highlands which they know and love, and which is an inspirational place to make music and to teach. As highly experienced classical musicians they combine varied performing activities with a passionate approach to working with young people.
Robin was born and brought up in Edinburgh, and read music at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a first class BMus degree and studying piano with Audrey Innes and Richard Beauchamp. Moving to London as a postgraduate, Robin studied on the highly regarded piano accompaniment course at the Royal Academy of Music, also obtaining an LRAM in instrumental teaching. Whilst at the Academy, Robin was taught by Michael Dussek, Malcolm Martineau and Graeme Humphrey, and was awarded one of the prestigious Musicians Benevolent Fund prizes for accompanists. Since returning to Scotland in 2006, Robin has developed a varied career as pianist, teacher, conductor and church musician.
Choral music has played a central role in Robin’s working life over the past decade. He is a former musical director of Eastwood Choral Society, Cumbernauld Choir and Cunninghame Choir, and in addition to conducting numerous works from the main canon of sacred choral music, he has become known for his innovative approach to concert programming and has shown a notable commitment to contemporary music in performances of large-scale pieces by composers such as Bob Chilcott, Peter Maxwell Davies, Karl Jenkins and Will Todd. He directed the world premiere of Maciej Granat’s Requiem in Ayrshire in May 2015. Robin is Organist and Choirmaster at Old High church in Inverness.
Also in demand as a writer, Robin has authored programme notes for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra.
Described as having a “vivid, vibrant timbre” and “a balance of freshness and charm” (Scotsman, 2012), and a “meltingly beautiful voice” (Bachtrack, 2014) soprano Emma Versteeg is forging a reputation as an artist of quality, equally at home in repertoire from baroque to contemporary. Emma read music at Edinburgh University, where she studied singing with Eric von Ibler. In 2007 she completed a postgraduate concert-singing course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, following which she continued to study with Pat McMahon. Emma has taken also taken part in masterclasses across the UK, working with musicians including Lorna Anderson, Julius Drake, Richard Jackson, Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray and Linda Ormiston.
Emma has performed regularly as soloist for choirs, choral societies and opera companies, as well as being ensemble member for Cappella Nova and Ludus Baroque, and guest soloist with Scottish Voices. Emma has also sung as guest chorus member with groups such as the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Sixteen, and under conductors including John Axelrod, Harry Christophers, Sir Andrew Davis, Lutz Köhler and Ilan Volkov.
Emma has also become increasingly at home in contemporary repertoire, with recent performances including the UK premiere of Lori Laitman’s Fathers with chamber trio, Vocali3e. Other performances include Pacific Pathways by Graham Hair with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
As a member of Vocali3e – an ensemble for flute, voice and piano, co-founded with Robin and flautist Louise Burnet – Emma has recently commissioned, and performed in the world premiere of a new work A Lassie’s Love, composed by Jennifer Margaret Barker and supported by Creative Scotland. Further supported by Made in Scotland, Vocali3e performed the work across the USA in October, including venues in New York and Philadelphia.
Emma has performed as an artist with Live Music Now Scotland since 2009 performing at venues, festivals, schools and care homes across the country and including two Emerging Artists song recitals at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Emma also features on the 2015 Delphian release Luminate in celebration of the 30th anniversary of LMNS, performing songs by William Sweeney with pianist Maryam Sherhan.