‘A fascinatingly-detailed account of how a love affair with the mandolin became a love affair with Italy as well. It shows the lengths to which an excellent musician will go to become an even better one.’

Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

The mandolin lesson
A journey of self-discovery in Italy

The Author

‘utterly delightful...quite brilliantly played...’
Musical Opinion

Frances Taylor is Britain’s leading exponent of the Italian school of mandolin playing. She studied under the internationally acclaimed virtuoso mandolinist Ugo Orlandi at the Conservatoire of Padua (1994–98), and is the first and only British person so far to do so.

In 1992 she gained a Masters degree in Music from London University which, it is believed, was the first degree to be awarded in Britain with mandolin performance as an integral part of the assessment.

For more than 30 years Frances has worked tirelessly promoting the mandolin by giving concerts throughout Britain. She has played in high profile venues such London’s South Bank and St James’ Piccadilly as well as working with prestigious orchestras such as the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet Orchestra (1990–2008) and the Joensuu Symphony Orchestra (1986). She has also worked abroad, performing in France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Finland. Currently she is working on her Georgian Mandolin Project, exploring music in the environment it was written for, which was inaugurated at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011.

A passionate teacher of the mandolin, Frances runs workshops throughout England and Scotland. Recent workshops have included collaborations with members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Welsh Baroque Orchestra and The Orchestra of Scottish Opera (2010–16). In 2002 she created a unique and special Mandolin Project in London to introduce young people to the mandolin and in which instruments are loaned out to pupils. In 2007 she was tutor for the European Guitar and Mandolin Youth Orchestra in Ferrara, Italy, and at home she has acted as a specialist examiner for the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Frances has appeared on the Artsworld Channel (now Sky Arts), BBC local radio and featured in countless press articles at both local and national level. Her CD Italian Mandolin Sonatas received enthusiastic praise in Musical Opinion and was highlighted as Natalie Wheen’s Classic Discovery on Classic FM radio. Her mandolin has been heard on TV adverts and in archive recordings made at the Royal Opera House. In January 2014 she featured in a short film entitled Serenade on Channel 4. Part of the Random Acts series it showed an alternative interpretation of the famous Mozart aria, ‘Deh vieni’, from Don Giovanni.

Frances has always enjoyed writing and she spent a short time as a trainee journalist between school and studying music. For many years she has written professionally, reviewing music and books, for various specialist publications such as Classical Music and Music Teacher. Her first book, The Mandolin Lesson, a memoir about visiting Italy for mandolin lessons, was published by Matador in March 2014.