Nichola Blakey grew up in Manchester, where she was a member of the Hallé Youth Orchestra under Ed Gardener, and came to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. Since then she has been freelance, playing with many renowned orchestras and ensembles around the country, including City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and historical groups such as the Brook Street Band and Fiori Musicali. Further orchestral experience includes The Amadeus Orchestra, Britten-Pears Symphony Orchestra and many orchestras and chamber groups at the Royal Academy of Music. She has worked under directors such as William Christie, Laurence Cummings, Sir John Eliot Gardener, Trevor Pinnock and Rachael Podger, and conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Mark Elder, Edward Gardener and Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Nichola’s Baroque training includes an European Union Baroque Orchestra audition course (2007), The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Experience scheme (2006-7), a 90% bursary for the Dartington International Summer School Baroque Orchestra July 2006, provided by Ernest Rainer, and a bursary for the 2007 course from the summer school and the Wingate Foundation. She also took part in projects at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Her recording experience includes Handel’s Messiah with the Dunedin Consort, released in 2006 on Linn records, the soundtrack to a short film by Pistachio Pictures Ltd. “One Hundredth of a Second” screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2006 and a BBC Radio1 broadcast with the London Breakbeat Orchestra in 2007.
Nichola is a member of Ensemble Burletta who have recently recorded works by Hans Gál and the historical instrument quartet, the Kertesz String Quartet, who have released two discs of quartets by Veit, an underrated 19th century Bohemian composer, both on the Toccata label.
She loves working with amateur musicians and also coaches at the NLMS (The New London Music Society) summer school. She is also a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique, which influences her approach to playing, teaching and life in general.