Born in Ithaca, New York to German parents, Helene Pohl spent her childhood on both sides of the Atlantic and began her musical studies at age four. After attending the Musikhochschule in Cologne she continued her studies with members of the Cleveland Quartet at the Eastman School of Music and at Indiana University with Josef Gingold.
She toured internationally as first violinist of the San Francisco based Fidelio String Quartet 1988-1993 and joined the New Zealand String Quartet as first violinist in February 1994. She has also performed concertos with the Vector Wellington Orchestra and Auckland Chamber Orchestra, solo recitals at the Taupo and NZ International Arts Festivals and teaches violin and chamber music at Victoria University.
Born in Auckland, New Zealander Gillian Ansell made her concerto debut as violinist with the Auckland Symphonia (Auckland Philharmonia) at 16 years of age. She was awarded an Associated Board Scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London where she won several prizes on violin and viola.
She took up a German Academic Exchange DAAD scholarship at the Musikhochschule in Cologne with Igor Ozim and the Amadeus Quartet. After working professionally in London for three years she returned to New Zealand in 1987 to become a founding member of the New Zealand String Quartet. In the 2008 New Year's Honours list she became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).