Ensemble Cousineau
About us
Helen Leitner - Martina Silvester

It’s pretty difficult to come up with a name for a flute and harp duo that sounds good.

We were “Martina and Helen” for ages, while we wrote lists of names that reduced our husbands to tears of laughter and despair. It was Helen’s brilliant idea to make it all about the harp.

Georges and Georges-Julien Cousineau were the fathers of the modern double-action concert harp. Without them, there wouldn’t even be any flute and harp music: a state of affairs we don’t even want to think about.


After studies in Munich and Paris, Martina continued her training with courses in baroque flute, historical performance and improvisation.

She has worked with distinguished conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Friedrich Haider, Shlomo Mintz, Pavel Klinichev, Markus Poschner and Ariel Zuckermann.

Her main artistic focus is currently chamber music. Her other ensembles include Ensemble Clazzic, a jazz-classical crossover combination of flute, piano, double bass and percussion; regular projects in Israel with Uri Brener, and at home in Germany with pianist Nadine Schuster.

She particularly enjoys creating themed and interdisciplinary programmes. Whatever the style, she hopes to touch and move people through music.

Helen Leitner read English Language & Literature at Oxford in her native England, followed by harp postgraduate study at the Royal College of Music, London.

Between 2007 and 2009, she was Principal Harp with the Niederbayerische Philharmonie in Passau. In a freelance capacity, she has worked with e.g. the Oslo Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Bolshoi Ballet, Staatsoper Nuremberg, Staatsoper Munich, Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt,

Apollo Chamber Players, Ensemble Oktopus, Staatsoper Braunschweig and the Hofer Symphoniker. Her solo and chamber music performances include the World Harp Congress, the blauen Harfentage Munich, Camera Artis, for Bavarian Radio, the  Cheltenham Festival, BBC Radio, St. George’s Bristol, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Blackheath Halls Young Artists’ Series, etc.

Helen is particularly interested in the interrelated subjects of how classical music is communicated, and how musicians build and sustain their careers.  Since 2009, she has represented the French harp firm Camac Harps in this area, working on their sponsorship activities and communications with artists.

Warum Cousineau?