Who we are

Ormonde Ensemble are a London-based wind quintet who are quickly establishing themselves on the UK’s professional music scene, both collectively and individually. They are particularly passionate about seeking out, commissioning, and performing lesser-known and underrepresented works, and their diverse range of musical experiences allows them to explore more familiar wind quintet repertoire with a fresh and engaging approach.

The quintet have a wealth of performance experience, giving numerous recitals at prominent venues in London and around the UK. Ormonde Ensemble also share a strong commitment to outreach and education work. In 2022/23, they were fellows on Wigmore Hall’s acclaimed Chamber Tots training programme, in which they delivered exciting, engaging, and original musical workshops for young children. They have experience leading educational projects in schools, and are looking forward to expanding this work over the coming year, with the support of an RCM Accelerate grant.

Individually, the group’s players have an extensive and varied range of professional experiences. These include playing with many of the UK’s major symphony orchestras, including the LSO, RPO, LPO, Orchestra of the ROH Covent Garden, RLPO, Philharmonia Orchestra, CBSO, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC NOW, Ulster Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. The members have also received further professional training through schemes such as the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts programme and the London Sinfonietta Academy, as well as carrying out outreach and education work around the country with Live Music Now and the RSNO.

Ormonde Ensemble was founded by the group’s members at the beginning of their postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. The group draws upon a wide range of educational backgrounds, with its members having previously studied at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham, and the Royal Northern and Royal Welsh Colleges of Music.


Alec ross


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Alec Ross is a London-based horn player, originally from Glasgow. A recent graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Alec has established a wealth of orchestral and chamber playing experience, performing in prominent concert venues around the UK and in Europe.

He has worked with a number of the UK’s leading symphony orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. Previously, he regularly featured as the Principal Horn of the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, in which he performed under the baton of numerous world-renowned conductors. He is a passionate chamber musician, with experience playing in a variety of wind and brass ensembles, ranging from quintets to dectets, and recently collaborated with the Asaka String Quartet.

As well as performing, Alec is strongly invested in education work, carrying this out through projects with Ormonde Ensemble and individual instrumental tuition. Alec completed his undergraduate degree in Theoretical Physics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Birmingham, before going on to postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where he earned an MA in Performance with Distinction.

Bruce parris


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Bruce Parris completed his Master of Performance degree at the Royal College of Music, where he was a Leverhulme Arts Scholar and was taught by Joost Bosdijk, Martin Field, Emily Hultmark and Andrea de Flammineis. His studies there were supported by an ABRSM Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Award. Bruce was a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Foyle Future Firsts Professional Development Programme for 2022/23 and took part in the Chamber Orchestra of Europe Academy in 2023.

Bruce currently enjoys working as a freelance bassoon and contrabassoon player and has played with numerous orchestras around the country, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera, Ulster Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, London Mozart Players and Britten Sinfonia.

Previously, Bruce was joint-principal bassoon of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 2016, performing at the BBC Proms, Barbican Centre and Symphony Hall. Before studying at the Royal College of Music, he completed a Master’s degree in Physics at the University of Oxford. During his time at university, Bruce played in various ensembles including the Oxford University Orchestra and the Ostro Sextet.

Cara Houghton


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An alumna of both the Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, Cara Houghton is a busy freelance flautist, teacher and writer based between London and Manchester. She enjoys playing a broad range of music, but has a particular interest in commissioning and performing contemporary music and was selected as a London Sinfonietta Academy Musician for 2023.

During her studies, Cara had the privilege of learning with many renowned flautists that have helped her to grow her love for not only the flute, but also the piccolo, alto and bass flutes. She enjoys taking this expertise into her outreach work, developing workshops and interactive concerts for Early Years, Primary and SEND schools to introduce participants to the flute family.

Cara has worked with Students’ Unions for several years, becoming the Chair of Conservatoires UK Student Network for 2021/22 and campaigning for the health and support of students across the country. She won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Writer’s Prize in 2022 and has since been featured on the Gramophone website. Her combined passion for playing, teaching, writing and wellness has resulted in the creation of her new project Happy Practice, which will be launched in Autumn 2023.

Helena mackie


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Helena Mackie is an oboist based between London and Liverpool. She recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Music, where she learned with Chris Cowie and Ian Hardwick, and cor anglais with Patrick Flanaghan and Jane Marshall. She also studied the baroque oboe with Katharina Spreckelsen. Helena is the Principal Oboe of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, a position she was appointed to in September 2023.

She began playing the oboe whilst a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral, and went on to study Music at the University of Cambridge, where she was an instrumental award holder and Principal Oboe in the Cambridge University Orchestra. During her time at Cambridge, she played new compositions by several of her fellow students, and holds a strong interest in contemporary music.

Aside from the oboe, Helena is also a keen singer and held a choral scholarship at Clare College, Cambridge, with whom she can be heard as a soloist on recordings of music by Arvo Pärt and Benjamin Britten on the Harmonia Mundi Label.

Isaac prince


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Originally from a small village in Northamptonshire, Isaac Prince made his solo debut in St. David’s Hall, Cardiff performing Mozart’s Concerto For Basset Clarinet, after winning the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama 2021 Concerto Competition. He has recently graduated with Distinction from the Royal College of Music in London, as an HR Taylor Charitable Trust Scholar. In 2022, Isaac received the Countess of Munster Trust Neil Black Award, becoming the first clarinettist to do so.

Isaac enjoys a variety of freelance engagements, performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and London Mozart Players, among others. He is one of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s MMSF Emerging Artists for 2023/24. Outreach is also at the forefront of Isaac’s musical career, working with Wigmore Learning, Neville Holt Opera, The Sixteen, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Ty Cerdd.

Isaac has played in masterclasses with world-leading clarinettists in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, and the UK. Other recent highlights include performing in the presence of the then-Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at Llwynywermod, and giving recitals at the Hellensmusic, Bloomsbury and Music in Country Churches Festivals