magdalen farm


course tutors

Course leader

Fiona McLean-Buechel BA Mus.Perf., CERT RAM

Fiona is a founder member of NYOS and an alumnus of St Mary's Music School in Edinburgh. On leaving St Mary's she trained at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She has a passion for music in all forms; combining a busy career as a performer with writing creative and collaborative national and international performance projects.

Whilst professor of violin at the Junior Guildhall School of Music she became a pro-active member of the school's external examination and development team. She also lectured and was a professor at Colchester Institute, Goldsmith's College, visiting tutor for National Children's Orchestra and Head of Strings for London Borough of Bexley.

In 2005 Fiona co-founded and was course director for a collaborative venture with the Dartington International Summer School,  the Dartington Plus Summer Youth Strings Programme. She subsequently founded and is Creative Director of SouthWest Camerata and the registered charity JUTPMUSIC whose work was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society for Education and featured as a cover story for ESTA. Her ensembles are frequent performers at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,  record regularly for BBC Devon and make regular concert appearances across the UK.

She has been a visiting professor of violin at Dartington College and Cardiff University, lectured for the European String teachers Association, Cardiff University, South West Sound and U3A. Her string quartet, The Four Seasons String Quartet,  are recording artists featuring regularly in shows for BBC TV.

Fiona  is a specialist Music Adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals. Fiona has recently been appointed Lead Tutor for Strings at Trinity Laban Junior Conservatoire.

Diane Hunka

Diane is a violinist and has been a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra since 1998. She has played principal with all the Irish orchestras and has toured the world with many prestigious ensembles such as the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. In other genres she has performed alongside and recorded with Sir Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, The Corrs, Bono, Shania Twain, Katie Melua and plays in her own gypsy jazz trio. She is currently undertaking an Arts Practice PhD and is the recipient of a scholarship from the Irish Research Council. She is course director of the MA in Classical String Performance in the University of Limerick where she also teaches Dalcroze, Kodaly and improvisation.

Polly Orr-Ewing

Polly is a violinist who has been working with children and music for nearly 20 years. Married with four children, she lives with her family in Somerset where she teaches the violin, piano and classroom music full time in local schools.

After completing a degree in music at Manchester University Polly spent many years living and working in Spain where she was involved in the founding of three music schools in villages where music education was scarce.  During this time she performed regularly with chamber ensembles and orchestras, alongside teaching commitments.

Since moving to Somerset in 2013 Polly has completed the training for a certificate in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. She is a member of the Dorset Chamber orchestra and conducts a local adult choir.

Polly's musical education was greatly influenced by a privately run annual chamber music week in Wales. It was on these camping weeks, which also involved a lot of outdoor activity in the Welsh countryside, that she really developed a passion for playing chamber music, particularly the quartet repertoire.

Polly has been a course tutor at Magdalen Farm Strings since its founding in 2007