The chart-topping pop stars making classical strings the star of the show

14 December 2021, 18:03 | Updated: 14 December 2021, 18:07

Clean Bandit at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball
Clean Bandit at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball. Picture: Alamy

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Clean Bandit lit up London’s O2 Arena with their chart-topping, classical music-influenced electropop set.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Founded in 2008, Clean Bandit are a British electronic music group who incorporate classical pieces by composers such as Mozart and Shostakovich into their music.

The group performed live at The O2 Arena for Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball, put on by Classic FM’s sister station on 11 December, and their performance brought the violin and cello to the centre of the stage for the 16,000 fans watching on.

An all-female trio of musicians fronted Clean Bandit’s JBB performance; Kirsten Joy on vocals, Grace Chatto on cello, and Stephanie Benedetti on violin. Founding members, brothers, Luke and Jack Patterson, stood further back on the stage playing synth and drums.

Watch their opening number below.

Read more: A comprehensive musical analysis of Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’

The Trio: who are the members of Clean Bandit?

Grace Chatto is a founding member of the electronic music band, and has performed with the group since 2008.

Prior to Clean Bandit achieving chart-topping success, Grace studied cello at the Royal Academy of Music before going on to read modern languages at the University of Cambridge, where she met her future bandmates.

Read more: Royal Academy graduate, Sir Elton John, says it’s ‘tragic’ music education is dwindling

After graduating, Grace took up a job teaching cello at a school, and describes these years after leaving Cambridge as “really difficult”.

“[The band] lived in one tiny room and Jack built a bed that was high up so we could live underneath it in the day, with all our keyboards and mini studio.

“We did all kinds of random jobs to try to make ends meet, because we really wanted to make our career as musicians.”

Just a few years later, the band released ‘Rather Be’, their chart-topping single which debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and it’s safe to say that the cellist has now well and truly ‘made it’!

The trio’s violinist is Stephanie Benedetti, the sister of star Scottish violinist, Nicola Benedetti.

Stephanie has been performing with the electronic group since 2016, and is a graduate of the Royal College of Music.

As well as touring with the group, Stephanie regularly plays with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Oxford Philharmonic, and in 2012, she performed as part of a string quartet at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony.

Other violinists who tour with Clean Bandit include Braimah Kanneh-Mason, who has had his own share of the spotlight as a member of the musical family, the Kanneh-Masons.

The band have collaborated with multiple vocalists, such as Anne-Marie, Demi Lovato, Zara Larsson and Jess Glynne.

On stage with the band at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball 2021 was touring vocalist Kirsten Joy, an English singer-songwriter who has been touring with the band since 2016.

Kirsten, a graduate of the Academy of Contemporary Music, first rose to prominence as a competitor on the 2012 inaugural series of the singing talent contest The Voice UK.

Live musicians to the front

As more and more bands opt for synths and midis to produce their preferred soundscape on stage, it was great to see two live instrumentalists take centre stage for this performance.

Grace and Stephanie weren’t the only two musicians who found themselves in a starring role at the Jingle Bell Ball.

Artists such as Jax Jones performed with a live tenor saxophonist, and Justin Bieber’s set featured multiple live electric guitar solos.