Ever since he was young, Stephen Aiken has dreamed of playing the cello. And so at the age of 18 he made a decision to buy himself one and learnt to play it. He never thought he would take it to a professional level, but he was soon able to overcome that doubt. Within a year of purchasing his cello Stephen was performing on it. He started off playing cello at weddings and soon after he was playing in theatre shows and for artists, such as Natalie Chapman and Anais. One of the highlights of his career was being accepted into the National Youth Orchestra as a cellist in 2012. It was a life-changing experience that tested his abilities, whilst simultaneously helping him to grow.

Stephen’s primary instrument has always been the piano/keyboard. The keyboard was his main instrument while he was studying at The Campus of Performing Arts. It was here that he achieved his BMus Hons in Music Performance. Stephen’s biggest dream when it comes to his musical career is to earn a living from performing, arranging, or doing session work. In addition to this, Stephen would love to get more involved in musical theatre in the future.

When it comes to music, Stephen’s biggest inspiration comes from watching the performances of musicians who are at a higher lever than himself. It encourages him to get behind his instrument and practice in order to improve his own skills. Stephen knows that any musician has the potential to be as good as whoever he or she is watching. All that is needed is hard work, dedication, and practice. Additionally, Stephen says that listening to music that he would love to play himself inspires practice. His biggest advice to any inspiring musician is to remember that what you are capable of is greater than you will ever imagine. “You hold within you the power and potential to become as good a musician as you can comprehend. It may take a lot of hard work, but nothing is impossible”

Stephen has two roles in the scarlet trio; He is the Cellist, and he is also the music arranger. Not all music is written for the combination of instruments that The Scarlet Trio uses. It is Stephen’s job to take songs and translate them into music that can be played by the trio.

Simply put, Ruth Liprini loves making music. It is not something that she has selected as her career, but rather something that allows her to break away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. When it comes to the trio, Ruth is the official flautist and the unofficial financial manager. Ruth began playing the flute when she was 11 years old. It all started when she was in Stellenbosch and she saw someone playing the instrument on stage. She fell in love and knew right away that the flute was the one instrument she had to learn during her life. Out of her desperation to play, Ruth began taping coke bottles together with different amounts of liquid in therm to make a ‘pan-flute’. When Ruth was 12 years old she received her first flute and started her lessons and exams shortly after. Ruth chose to do UNISA exams and stated in grade 3 in 2001. This long road ended in May 2012 when she received her Performer’s Licentiate. In addition to this, Ruth was a part of the East Rand Youth Orchestra from 2001 until 2009, the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra from 2010 until 2013, and she is currently a part of the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra. Ruth has performed in numerous eisteddfods and competitions and she has performed at concerto festivals with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra for 5 years.

Ruth would love to see The Scarlet Trio go from strength to strength in their attempts to touch people with their God-given musical talents. In additional to this, Ruth would love for the trio to develop a reputation not only for their musical excellence, but also their personal touch. It is this personal touch that sets them apart from other trios and brings love and joy into the lives of all who are involved. One of Ruth’s greatest inspirations comes from one of her students. She is underprivileged and comes from a non-musical background, but her passion for music inspires Ruth daily. Ruth explains that her student “practices under very unfavourable conditions, takes over an hour to come for lessons, and has no musical support at home. Despite all this she comes to lessons having practised with a huge smile on her face. Many people think that musical inspiration should come from someone famous or successful. To me,  it is the student who never gives up and who is determined to meet the goals she has set for herself.”

Ruth acknowledges that in the music industry it is important to love what you do. She explains that “no great things in life have ever been accomplished without passion. If you’re not sure if you like your instrument, try a different one! Music should never become a chore. Find your niche, be in classical music, a band, an orchestra, or even a church group, and give 110% to that.

Sarah Green started playing piano when she was 7 years old. However, it was only when she turned 16 that she started taking her playing seriously. In 2008 she began her professional musical career at The University of Witwatersrand. Although this was an exciting new venture, it brought about quite a few changes as she moved from practising a few hours a week to at least 4 hours every day. Sarah has attained her BMus  Honours in Composition and she is currently working towards her accompanist qualification. She is involved in music education, and she teaches piano to a number of students. One of Sarah’s biggest goals in life in to encourage her learners to play in ensembles. In addition to this, she would like to hear some of her original compositions being performed by accomplished musicians.

When it comes to The Scarlet Trio, Sarah is the pianist, administrator and liason. She explains that working with Ruth and Stephen in the trio inspires her to become a better musician. In addition to this, Sarah is influenced and inspired by The Piano Guys. She simply loves their arrangement of contemporary music.  One of the quotes that Sarah likes to live by says: “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, sooths the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from Heaven to the soul.”

Sarah advises any aspiring musician to never give up on their dreams. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how talented you are, what really matters is your dedication, your desire to achieve your goals, and the amount of time you dedicate to practicing.

Sarah admits that one of her biggest joys when playing in the trio comes from seeing the groom’s face as his bride walks down the aisle. She says there is no way to explain the type of joy and love that fills his face. These moments contribute to Sarah’s love for music and they inspire her to be a better player. She says the there is no greater feeling than knowing that The Scarlet Trio is able to contribute to the emotion and happiness of those moments.