Symphonia Emphylos means a family ensemble. The first three members of this family, John (flute), Sarah (oboe) and Millicent (harpsichord) Francis, need no introduction, as together they form the Sylvan Trio and are also members of the London Harpsichord Ensemble and in this medium have played for many years throughout Great Britain and in almost every country in Europe. All won open scholarships to the Royal College of Music. Miss Hannah Francis (harp), on joining them as the fourth member of the ensemble, showered new musical honours on an already estimable musical family.
Jack Brymer was born in South Shields, Co. Durham and studied at London University. After war service with the RAF, he returned to his interrupted career as school master until 1947 when he became Principal Clarinet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham, a post he occupied for sixteen years. During this time he extended his activities to chamber music and was a founder member of several well-known ensembles. Jack Brymer is often seen and heard on television and radio and is now one of the two principal clarinettists of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is Director of the well-known London Wind Soloists and a professor at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall.
Rapidly becoming very well-known in this country, the Assmann Quartet ranks amongst the best known string quartets in Europe. They have an unusual and extensive repertoire and have made countless radio and gramophone recordings. In 1969 they were requested to perform at the World Festival of Music and at the Athens Festival and they appear repeatedly at the most important musical centres in Europe. The quartet are particularly noted for their performances of the late Beethoven quartets and they have given many first performances of works by famous composers.
Founded in London in 1963, the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble, a unique group of virtuoso instrumentalists (two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba) and the only brass quintet working together in a full-time capacity, is a pioneer in the rebirth of brass chamber music. The ensemble has toured widely and received unanimous acclamation. They are young modern musicians who not only take considerable interest in contemporary compositions but have also done a great deal of research into early music and its performance. Three of the players studied at the Royal College of Music and one at the Guildhall School of Music.