Band Members

Ben Harlan – clarinet

Max Baillie – violin

Matthew Sharp – cello

Jon Banks – accordion

Iris Pissaride – santouri



Ben HarlanZRI is led by clarinet virtuoso Ben Harlan. After completing his training at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama,  he joined the internationally renowned Jewish music ensemble The Burning Bush. He has also worked as a composer and performer with theatre companies Wonderful Beast and The Little Angel Marionette Theatre. Ben has recorded as a soloist for many film scores and featured as the on-screen clarinettist in Polanski’s The Pianist.


MaxEqually at home on both violin and viola, Max Baillie crosses a diverse spectrum of music and performance mediums including classical, pop, folk, improvisation, electronic music, and dance. He has appeared on stages from Carnegie Hall to Glastonbury Festival and from Mali to Moscow alongside leading artists including vocalist Bobby McFerrin, tabla master Zakir Hussain, and guitarist John Williams. Max plays principal viola in Aurora Orchestra, and along with ZRI his other projects include a duo with Gambian kora (West African harp) player Sura Susso and Notes Inegales, a cross-collaborative improvisation ensemble. Max writes stories, makes films, and graduated with top honours from both Christ’s College, Cambridge (in Political Philosophy) and the UdK in Berlin.


DSC_3454Matthew Sharp has performed at major venues and festivals worldwide as solo cellist, baritone and actor. ‘Virtuoso of the arts’ (The Times), his career encompasses solo performances with the RPO, LPO, RLPO, CBSO, SCO, EUCO, ESO, principal roles for Opera North (Papageno, Pied Piper), ROH2 (Exposure, Pleasure’s Progress), the Young Vic (Wolf and Hero), National Theatre Studio and on film (San Francisco and London film festivals), solo performances at the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals and recordings for Sony, EMI, Decca, Naxos, Somm and Avie. He has given over fifty world premieres – including the title role in Sir John Tavener’s The Fool and Errollyn Wallen’s Cello Concerto – and appeared in recital as cellist and singer at Wigmore Hall, SBC and Salle Gaveau. As writer, composer, performer and director, he collaborates regularly with leading artists from film, theatre and dance. His music theatre works have toured to major festivals in Europe, India, China and the US.


JonJon is an accordionist and specialist in early and Middle Eastern string instruments. As a member of The Burning Bush, The Dufay Collective, The Jocelyn Pook Ensemble and Sirinu, he has recorded, broadcast and toured throughout Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

Other projects include collaborations with Joglaresa, Red Byrd, Al-Asheqeen and the Parvaz Ensemble. He is a regular musical director at the Globe Theatre, records freelance for film and TV, and moonlights as accordionist for the Tivoli Café Band. Jon lectures on Middle Eastern music at Anglia Ruskin University and recent publications include a book, The Instrumental Consort Repertory of the Fifteenth Century, and a chapter on the Renaissance for the forthcoming Cambridge History of Musical Performance.


IrisIris plays the santouri, the Greek island hammer dulcimer. She was born in Cyprus where she studied viola under Ewa Bartmann with a scholarship from the Ministry of Education and Culture. She has written music for the European Union Schools Programme, Comenius, and she teaches and performs Greek and Cypriot music at the KITE workshops in London. Having obtained a degree in Music at Anglia Ruskin she is currently studying Politics, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Cambridge.