The Duo

The Chapel Hill Duo, violinist Jaya Hanley and Cellist Sarah James. Headshot in field of yellow flowers.
The Chapel Hill Duo. Violinist Jaya Hanley (left) and Cellist Sarah James (right).

The Chapel Hill Duo’s music goes beyond the boundaries of genre and challenges the ‘classical’ Violin and Cello stereotypes. With years of experience performing Pop, Jazz, Classical, Film and Folk music, and a firm grounding in the perfection of Classical virtuosity, they explore the limits of what is possible with just two musicians, a Violin and a Cello.

Although the Duo are loosely based in the East Midlands, U.K., they spend much of their time touring and playing for hundreds of events across the country. Be it a Concert, Wedding, Corporate event, Party or Primary School assembly, Sarah and Jaya love performing and approach all of their engagements with equal enthusiasm.

The Duo’s own intricately detailed covers and arrangements are internationally renowned, selling thousands of copies of sheet music a year. Whether they are tackling the latest top 40 chart hits, epic film-scores or old classics, Sarah and Jaya undertake each new challenge with the same energy and commitment. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide enjoy watching and listening to the Duo perform live and online every year. They have released four albums to date as well as numerous singles of their most popular covers.

As a Duo, Jaya and Sarah have performed in numerous world-class venues including Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the Green Note London, the Bath & Brighton Komedias, Brighton Pavilion, Europe House London and the National Piping Centre of Scotland. They have also had the pleasure of recording for, and playing live on, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Lincolnshire, among others.

In 2011 Violinist Jaya Hanley and Cellist Sarah James met at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. In 2015 the Duo graduated with 1st Class Honours Performance Degrees in their respective instruments, but they came away with so much more than just a qualification. In November the following year Jaya and Sarah got engaged on top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh – when they find the time, they might actually get around to planning their own wedding!

Say hello!

Jaya Hanley – Violin

Jaya Hanley playing his violin with the sun behind in partial silhouette. Violinist in the Chapel Hill Duo.

Jaya was inspired to take up the violin at the age of four when he danced the night away at a family friend’s Wedding Ceilidh. After that early exposure to traditional music his education went in a more classical direction, with teaching from world-class violinists including Andrew Sherwood, Gina MacCormack, Boris Brovtsyn and Clare Thomspon…

Sarah James – Cello

Sarah James of the Chapel Hill Duo poses with her cello in a field.

Sarah was an incredibly musical child who couldn’t be kept away from any musical instrument she came across. As a teenager, she trained in the Cello, Violin, Piano, Jazz saxophone and voice to a high standard, as well as dabbling in Double-Bass, Guitar, Clarinet, Flute… and anything else she could get her hands on! In 2011 Sarah began studying…