Our biographies

Dirk Van Loon - Violin

Dirk Van Loon – Violin

Born and bred in Belgium, Dirk studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and joined the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra in 1978. He was also leader of the Antwerp Chamber Orchestra for many years. In 1985, he moved to Cardiff to join the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He also performed with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He moved to Aberdeenshire in 1996 to take up a teaching post. He now performs regularly with local ensembles: the Aberdeen Sinfonietta and the Aberdeen Chamber Orchestra. He leads the Grampian Sinfonia. Dirk is a keen photographer and enjoys walking his dogs in his spare time.

Jean Fletcher - Violin


Jean comes from a highly musical family; born in Yorkshire, she studied at the RCM in London with Hugh Bean and Frederick Grinke. After leading the Heller Quartet in Bermuda, she was principal violinist of the Ulster Orchestra for several years. Soon after moving to Scotland, she became leader of the AberdeenChamber Orchestra and principal of the 2nd violins of the AberdeenSinfonietta. Jean is also an outstanding viola player. In her free time, she enjoys looking after her "Large Black" pigs.

Shelagh Reid - Viola


Shelagh studied violin and recorder at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). She returned to her native Aberdeenshire to take up a teaching post with Aberdeen CityCouncil. Shelagh, a founder member of the Dee String Quartet, now teaches violin and viola at Albyn School and has recently trained to become a Suzuki Violin Teacher. In the past, she was an active member of The European String TeachersAssociation and also enjoyed working with the Aberdeen and North East of Scotland Music Festival. Shelagh was a founder member of Apollo’s Banquet, where she played Baroque violin and recorder. She is currently a member of Aberdeen Sinfonietta and, when not playing, spends time volunteering for local charities and hill walking

Hilary Cromar - Cello


Hilary, from Aberdeen, studied cello and piano at The RoyalScottish Academy of Music and Drama (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Then followed 3 years playing in the Kurorchester Bad Wiessee, Germany and the Stadttheater Orchester, St. Pölten, Austria and another 3 teaching music in Shetland. Hilary, a founder member of the Dee String Quartet, now teaches cello in Aberdeen and enjoys performing with many local orchestras and ensembles, including the Aberdeen Sinfonietta. In her free time Hilary enjoys hill walking and playing tennis.