Gillian Townsend

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About Gillian

I have been teaching and freelancing for 36 years, playing for orchestras, quartets and ensembles. LTCL; ALCM; Post Grad Dip NCOS
Public liability insurance of £10 million

I began playing the Viola aged almost 14 when a fabulous free Music scheme was under way at my local school. This inspired me to go on to study the Viola in Newcastle with Robin Benefield, during which I was given the opportunity to play alongside members of the Royal Northern Sinfonia. I moved to London to study with Fred Riddle (Principal Viola, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) whilst studying with The National Centre for Orchestral Studies for my Postgraduate Diploma (Passed with a Distinction for my thesis on authenticity in Baroque performance). I have freelanced with London Orchestras through Julian Morgensterns Agency and played for events and recordings including Spring Harvest, Green Belt and for songwriters Graham Kendrick, Chris Rolinson, John Pantry and Dave Fellingham. I have also played for theatre productions in London, the North East and Kent. I currently play Viola with Asaph Ensemble, Adoramus Orchestra, All Souls Orchestra and the Dove English Orchestra. I began teaching Violin and Viola at Chistlehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in 1985. I currently teach Singing, Piano, Violin and Viola in schools and privately in Kent. Throughout my career I have prioritised encouraging children in their lifetime love of Music, in order to achieve this I have continued my professional development through undertaking many courses and have recently trained to become a Music Examiner. As a songwriter I have published songs for Kings Pre Preparatory School where I worked as Singing Teacher and Class Music Teacher; and for the musical 'Bridesong'. I am a member of The Association of Teachers of Singing (AOTOS) and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM).

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Classical, Christmas, Contemporary Christian, Traditional church music, Baroque, Classical crossover, Contemporary classical, Film / TV music, Musical theatre, Opera, Early music, 1920s era music, 1930s era music, 1940s era music, 1950s era music, 1960s era music, 1970s era music, 1980s era music, 1990s era music, Folk, Traditional English folk, Traditional Irish folk, Traditional Scottish folk, Gypsy jazz, Easy listening, Light music, Acoustic, Covers, Argentinian, French music, German music, Italian music, Russian music, Electro-Swing, Pop rock
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Event types:
Wedding, Wedding proposal, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Hotel / Restaurant event, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Recording session, Theatre / Show, Cruise, Birthday party, Christmas party
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Other skills:
Instrumental teaching, Theory teaching, Singing teaching, Examiner, Songwriter
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Gillian's Song list

An example of a playlist for a Wedding Drinks Reception:
Somewhere only we know
It must be love
All of me
A thousand years
Can't help falling in love with you
I'm Yours
Rather be
This will be an everlasting love
Michael Jackson medley
Star ships
Get a good feeling
Bitter sweet symphony
Hey Soul Sister
Shape of you
Chasing Cars
I say a little prayer for you
Stop this flame
Dance Monkey
Blinding lights
Best part of HER
Bridge over troubled water
Moves like Jagger
Bad habits
Mamma Mia
The Greatest Showman medley
Light Classical:
Allegretto (Haydn)
Air on the G string (Bach)
Arioso (Bach)
Air (Handel)
Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)
Ave Maria (Schubert)
Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Chanson de Matin (Elgar)
Jupiter (from The Planets) (Holst)
Adagio (Khachaturian)
Serenade (Cassado)
La Cinquantaine (Gabriel-Marie)
Largo (Dvorak)
Largo (Vivaldi)
Meditation (Massenet)
Nessun Dorma (Puccini)
Prelude from Te Deum (Charpentier)
Oh! Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini)
Jesu Joy of Mans desiring (Bach)
Pavane (Faure)
Rondeau (Mouret)
Rondeau (Purcell)
Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
Palladio (Jenkyns)
Musical Theatre:
All I ask of you (Phantom)
I could have danced all night (My Fair Lady)
Cheek to Cheek (Top Hat)
For Me and My Gal (Me and My Gal)
Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz)
To Life (Fiddler on the Roof)
Somewhere out there (An American Tail)
Sunrise Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof)
Sabbath Prayer (Fiddler on the Roof)
If I were a rich man (Fiddler on the Roof)
Bring him home (Les Miserables)
Medley from The Greatest Showman
The Hills are Alive (Sound of Music)
Chim Chiminee (Mary Poppins)
Ashokan Farewell (Ungar)
Can you feel the love tonight (The Lion King)
All of me (John Legend)
Can't help falling in love (Elvis Presley)
Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
Eleanor Rigby (Beetles)
Halo (Beyonce)
The greatest day (Take That)
Titanium (Guetta)
The Prayer (Sager and Foster)
Hey Soul Sister (Monahan)
Get a good feeling (Flo Rider)
Bad Habits (Ed Sheeran)
Michael Jackson Medley (arr Stirling)
Paradise (Coldplay)
Aint no sunshine (Withers)
Come on Eileen (Dexys Midnight Runners)
This will be an everlasting love (Natalie Cole)
I'm yours (Jason Mraz)
She (Elvis Costello)
Bittersweet symphony (Verve)
Senorita (Cabello and Mendez)
Happy (Ferrell Williams)
I say a little prayer for you (Aretha Franklin)
It must be love (Madness)
You are the reason (Calum Scott)
Perfect (Ed Sheeran)
Photograph (Ed Sheeran)
Shape of you (Ed Sheeran)
Somewhere only we know (Lily Allen)
Starships (Nicki Minaj)
Moves like Jagger (Maroon 5)
Bridge over troubled water (Simon and Garfunkle)
Best Part H.E.R
L-O-V-E (Nat King Cole)
Blinding Lights (The WeekNd)
Dance Monkey (Tones and I)
Stop this flame (Celeste)
Mamma Mia (Abba)
Beautiful (Linda Perry)
Reach for the stars (S Club 7)
The Tide is High (Holt, Barrett, Evans, Padley and Godfrey)
What can I do (The Corrs)
In My Life (Beetles)
A Time for us (Love theme)
We've only just begun (Carpenters)
Highland Cathedral
Danny Boy (Irish Air)
Misty (Garner)
The girl from Ipanema (Jobim)
One note samba (Jobim)
Autumn leaves (Kosma)
Minor Swing (Reinhardt)
Cossack Dance (Kraemer)
Take Five (Desmond)
Drowsy Maggie (Irish Reel)
Tam Lin (Celtic)
Suerte Negra (Argentinian Tango)
Swing in Minor (Hot Club Tune)
Rose Room (Hickman)
Take Five (Desmond)
Libertango (Piazzolla)
Amazing Grace
Ten Thousand Reasons (Matt Redman)
Oh Happy Day (Hughes)
Sing Hosanna (Trad)
Still (Hillsong)
Lord of the Dance (Carter)
Nearer my God to Thee (Lowell Mason)
Strength will rise (Everlasting God)
Sacred Songs:
A Clare Benediction (Rutter)
Lord of all hopefulness (Irish arr Bullard)
The Lord bless you and keep you (Rutter)
Customer questions

What do your clients love most about your performances?

My clients love most about my performances is firstly that I tailor make my songs to suit their special occasion, and secondly they are wowed by electric violin.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

In orchestras I have played at : The Royal Albert Hall, Henry Wood Hall, BBC Maida Vale, St John Smith Square, Purcell Room (South Bank Centre), Brompton Oratory, Bloomsbury Theatre, De La Warr Pavilion, Winter Gardens (Eastbourne), Sheldonian Theatre (Oxford)

Which artists have you been most influenced by?


What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

Played in an orchestra for Her Majesty the Queen. Played in an orchestra appearing on The One Show.

Do you have different line-up options?

My line up is as follows: Electric violin. I also can offer violin or viola.

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

I will always try to be flexible to help ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible. If the timings change slightly in the run up to the event just let me know.

How much time do you need to set up?

I usually allow up to one hour before the performance time. As soon as my PA is set up I can provide a short free playlist before the live performance if required.

Can I pick the pieces you play from the set list?

Yes of course.

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

Yes, I bring my electric violin, computer and amp.

Can you learn specific pieces before the event?

If a song isn't included in my song list there may be a chance I already know it. If there is a special song you'd like me to arrange and learn I am happy to do that for you.

Gillian's Prices

Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£65
Up to 1 hour£200
Up to 2 hours£300
Up to 3 hours£500
Wedding ceremony
This includes music before the service begins, music during the signing of the register, and music as guests leave.
Wedding Ceremony and Drinks Reception
This includes music before the service begins, music during the signing of the register, and music as guests leave. One hour of music for the drinks reception.


Skype Consultation and 3 New Songs Learned
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5 out of 5
5 verified reviews
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Gillian's Reviews

From Encore customers:

Jenna R
1 year ago
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5 out of 5

Gillian was absolutely brilliant, I would highly recommend for any wedding. We had Gillian play as I walked down the aisle and she was fantastic, we are so glad we found her!

Reply from Gillian
1 year ago

Dear Jenna, It was a real joy to play for your wedding, thank you so much for asking me. You looked beautiful and the venue was fabulous!

Sue S
1 year ago
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5 out of 5

You were amazing and really made our day special. Everyone was amazed by you.

Reply from Gillian
1 year ago

Thank you so much Sue, it was a real joy to play for you. Such a beautiful wedding!

From other customers:

Stan A
1 year ago, for a Funeral / Memorial service in Hawkhurst
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5 out of 5

Gill Hayward was a member of Hawkhurst Baptist Church for several years and during the pandemic she blessed us each week with words from the scriptures accompanied by wisdom and experience from God`s Word. She not only spoke (by zoom) but, each week would sing with her own accompaniment leading us with her beautiful voice. We were sad when circumstance caused her to leave our fellowship. Unfortunately my wife died on the 30th november 2021 and we arranged a Thanksgiving Service on the 22nd December, 2021 and sought a pianist to lead the Service and Gill was approached and graciously accepted. With a full church Gill lead the music and everyone was thrilled and blessed. She is truly a lady of musical talent and is greatly missed. Our loss is somebody else`s gain.

Marius M
6 years ago, for a Wedding in Ticehurst
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5 out of 5

Hope all is well - we wanted to get back in touch to say thank you for playing at our wedding, we really loved it and it was exactly what we had in mind. Thanks so much, we're happy to complete a review if you have a page or link somewhere. We have also attached a picture of you which we thought you might want! All the best, James & Marius

Read all 5 reviews