Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Margaret Faultless



The violinist Margaret Faultless is one of the OAE’s four leaders and regularly directs the orchestra.

She also plays a significant role in our education programme for young professionals by directing the OAE Academy at the start of the Experience Scheme year.

Why did you decide to play your instrument?

I was seven years old and a family friend (aged eight) had recently taken up the violin and was enjoying it! I was already playing the recorder and piano, but wanted to learn another instrument.

What’s the hardest thing about playing the violin?  

That seems to change each day as I begin my practice – perhaps that’s the hardest thing, the changing nature of one’s relationship with the instrument.

If you had to play only one composer for the rest of your career, who would you choose?

Easy – Bach

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not making music?  

Being outside –  in the garden, walking or, if I had more time, horse riding. And yoga.

Where is your favourite spot on earth?  

The view over the downs as I drive into the village where I live.

What has, so far, been the best year of your life?  


Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with, and why?  

Can I travel in time?  Bach – there are SO many questions I’d love to ask him.

If you had not been a musician, what do you think you would have done instead?  

As a teenager I wondered about law, I dabbled with it at university but I feel very lucky to have had such a varied career in music.

What are the most played tracks on your mp3 player?

The question itself makes me an old person! I don’t have an MP3 player and I think that I listen to music in my head if it’s not live, but I do enjoy jazz and folk music as a real change from the music I play.


Margaret performs music from Monteverdi to the present day, but  is best known as an interpreter of eighteenth-century repertoire and specialist in historical performance practice. For twelve years, she led the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra under Ton Koopman, as concert-master and soloist in their ten-year project to perform and record J.S Bach’s Cantatas.

She is a regular director of the European Union Baroque Orchestra (for whom she is Director of Studies), Philharmonie Merck, and is the Artistic director of Music for Awhile. A passionate chamber musician, she was a member of the London Haydn Quartet for ten years. Margaret also lectures on performance practice, her special interests being leadership before the age of silent conducting and the relationship between notation and the performer.

A graduate of Clare College, Cambridge, she is also Director of Performance Studies at the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge, Artistic Director of the University Collegium Musicum, a Bye-Fellow of Girton College, and Musician in Residence at St John’s College. She is an Honorary Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire and Head of Historical Performance at The Royal Academy of Music.




One Comment

  • Hi,
    I saw you getting off the train last night with violin in hand, as I was waiting to pick up my son, who had just performed Mozart violin concerto No5 at college, I would have liked to have said at the time how much I enjoyed your performance on Saturday, but was not 100% sure it was you.
    My son immediately confirmed that it was you when he got in the car, but the moment was lost.
    We both enjoyed the Haydn and the Beethoven (the strings were so vigorous going as it hammer and tongs and clearly enjoying themselves as much as the audience). My son said it was the best concert he has been to so far (and he has seen Maxim Vengerov a few times).
    You will come across my son next year as he has enrolled at Birmingham where he tells me you work with the students from time to time.

    All the best

    David Stephens Tue Mar 21 2017