Strings

Introducing the string players of the London Symphony Orchestra.

First Violins
Second Violins
Violas
Cellos
Double Basses

 

First Violins

Roman Simovic

Roman Simovic: Leader
Member since 2010, Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, Playing a Stradivarius violin kindly loaned by Jonathan Moulds

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Roman Simovic’s virtuosity and musicality have taken him throughout all continents, performing on many of the world’s leading stages including the Carnegie Hall, Mariinsky Hall St Petersburg and Grand Opera House Tel-Aviv. As soloist, he has appeared with world-leading orchestras and conductors.

Roman has been awarded prizes at numerous international competitions, among which are Premio Rodolfo Lipizer, Sion-Valais, Yampolsky Violin Competition and the Henryk Wieniawksi Violin Competition, placing him among the foremost violinists of his generation. A sought-after artist, he has been invited and continues to perform at various distinguished festivals.

Roman has released a comprehensive list of recordings, most notably two CDs directing the LSO String Ensemble for LSO Live, and Tchaikovsky and Glazunov concertos with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra, as well as a CD of complete Paganini caprices for violin solo.

Roman plays a 1709 Antonio Stradivari violin, generously given to him on loan by Jonathan Moulds.

   
Carmine Lauri

Carmine Lauri: Co-Leader
Member since 1997, Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, Chair endowed in loving memory of the conductor Yuri Ahronovitch by his wife, Tami

'My uncle, who played the violin as an amateur and lived next door to us, used to come and play the violin in my house and at the age of two I used to imitate him playing with just a pair of wooden spoons. That's how it started. I played my first concert with the LSO in September 1993 after finishing my studies at RAM and became a member in 1997. I became the Co-Leader in 2001.'

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Maltese violinist Carmine Lauri started playing the violin at the age of four and at 17 was awarded the ABRSM scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maurice Hasson. Carmine has performed worldwide as a soloist and leads various orchestras, including the LSO. He is also the Concertmaster of the Oxford Philharmonic and the Guest Leader of the Malta Philharmonic. He features in numerous movie scores, including Star Wars and Harry Potter and is often the featured violin soloist in various films.

Carmine has performed concertos with orchestras including the LSO, London Philharmonic, both the Czech Philharmonic and Czech State Philharmonic Brno, Oxford Philharmonic and Armenian State Symphony Orchestra conducted by numerous renowned conductors. He was bestowed an ARAM and FRAM (Royal Academy of Music). He is a member of the National Order of Merit and is the recipient of the Gold Medal for Arts 2015. He performs on a violin made by Nicholas Lupot, ca 1768.

 
Clare Duckworth

Clare Duckworth: Sub-Principal
Member since 2014

‘I knew from being a teenager that the sound and repertoire of the symphony orchestra was my greatest love and set off to music college with that career in mind. I remember how glamorous I found the LSO, as well as their coveted branded luggage tags for instrument cases. I was embarrassingly excited when I joined and got my own!’

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Clare Duckworth studied with Richard Deakin at the Junior School of the RNCM and Mateja Marinkovic and Hugh Bean at the Royal Academy of Music. Having been lucky to receive fantastic training in the National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and European Union Youth Orchestra, all of which she led, Clare went on to hold jobs with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the London Philharmonic (Co-Principal Second Violin) and the Royal Philharmonic (Principal First Violin) before joining the LSO as Sub-Principal First Violin in 2014. 

She has coached the violin sections of the NYO, the EUYO and London’s RAM, RCM and GSMD, and served for three years as one of the LSO’s Vice Chairs. When not performing, Clare can usually be found in a book shop, art gallery or up a hill, either at home or (with a bit of luck) abroad.

 
Ginette Decuyper

Ginette Decuyper
Member since 1994

‘When I was a teenager, my best friend presented me with my first LSO record, The Empire Strikes Back by composer John Williams. From the first bar, I was so bowled over, I just knew that I had to become part of that orchestra one day!’

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Born in Belgium, Ginette Decuyper studied the violin at the Royal Conservatory of Liège and graduated from the Queen Elisabeth Musical Chapel in Brussels, before going to Indiana University to complete her formation under the guidance of Professor Josef Gingold. She is a prize winner of several international competitions, including Geneva and Lisbon. She regularly coaches youth orchestras at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence. She became a director of the Arch Sinfonia in 2015.

 
Laura Dixon

Laura Dixon
Member since 2018

‘I started the violin aged nine and always loved playing in my local orchestras. Occasionally I would go to watch concerts at the Barbican Centre which was an amazing experience. It’s great to now be performing at this venue regularly as a member of the LSO!'

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Born in Surrey, Laura Dixon started the violin at the age of nine, and several years later began lessons at the junior department of the Royal College of Music. She went on to complete her undergraduate studies at the RCM as a foundation scholar, studying with Rodney Friend and Yossi Zivoni.

Laura has recorded, broadcast and toured with many of the leading UK orchestras including the LSO, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and Aurora Orchestra among others, as well as doing session work recording scores for film, television and commercials. Laura has performed as a Guest Principal with various ensembles, including live BBC Radio 3 and BBC 4 television broadcasts at the BBC Proms. She joined the First Violin section of the LSO in 2018.

 
Gerald Gregory

Gerald Gregory
Member since 2013

‘Having seen an orchestra playing on TV, I fashioned a ‘violin’ from my two favourite toys – a small guitar and the cue from a mini snooker table. After this improvised noise went on for some months, my parents finally succumbed and purchased a real violin, although the sound probably changed very little!’

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Hailing from South Tyneside, Gerald Gregory studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006, the Northern Sinfonia in 2009 and the LSO in 2013.

He has performed solo recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the UK, Ireland, Austria, Canada, Netherlands, France and Germany. In more recent years, his spare time is largely taken up with spending time with his son and the endless quest for chess mastery!

 
Maxine Kwok

Maxine Kwok
Member since 2001, LSO Orchestra Committee Member

'My family are huge Star Wars fans, so I was aware of the famous soundtrack from an early age. I like to think it was my destiny to aim high and play in the same orchestra as the recordings I loved as a child. Being part of the Abbey Road recordings for the prequels, conducted by John Williams, brought this home. An unforgettable experience!'

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Maxine Kwok began her professional orchestral career touring America with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields whilst an undergraduate at the Royal Academy of Music. She successfully auditioned for the LSO String Experience scheme and became a permanent member of the First Violin section after graduating with an ARAM and first class honours degree. 

Maxine can be seen on YouTube in duo concerts and masterclasses filmed at LSO St Luke’s, and also on the LSO Play app. Maxine is keen on sharing her musical experiences with the younger generation and has enjoyed coaching the National Children’s Orchestra of GB and the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra in Aix-en-Provence. She has written articles for and been interviewed by Classic FM, the Violin Channel, the Strad, Musical Orbit and Bachtrack among others. Maxine has also recently enjoyed hosting and presenting shows for Scala Radio and BBC Radio 3. In 2010 she was invited to contribute a chapter to Tom Hoover's book Soundtrack Nation, which explores all aspects of the film recording industry.

 
William Melvin

William Melvin
Member since 2014

'My mum got me into music. I was on the LSO String Experience scheme, then a job opened up so I went for it!’

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Born in 1988, William Melvin graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2011 and 2012, having studied with Marianne Thorsen and Erich Gruenberg. During his time at RAM, William was a prize winner in the Wolfe Wolfinson competition and the Winifred Small Violin Prize, and toured with the RAM soloists, RAM Symphony and Julliard orchestras. He participated in masterclasses with world renowned violinists such as Thomas Brandis, Peter Schoeman and Maxim Vengerov.

As the Leader of the Bernadel Quartet, William has performed in all the major UK chamber music halls including Wigmore Hall, Colston Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Kings Place. He has participated on prestigious courses and masterclasses such as IMS Prussia Cove, West Cork Chamber music festival and Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme. He has appeared as soloist in St Johns' Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall and LSO St Luke’s performing Mozart’s Violin Concerto in G, Mendelssohn E minor Concerto, Brahms’ Double Concerto and Saint-Saëns Concerto in B minor.

 
Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt
Member since 1988

‘Coming from a family of professional musicians, we always knew that the LSO was the best. So joining was my aim from a very early age! With its fast working pace, coupled with the camaraderie and brilliance of the members, one can never be bored due to the diversity of work. Plus we see the world!’

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Claire Parfitt was born in Cardiff to professional musicians. After a short spell at Wells Cathedral School, Claire returned to Belfast (where the family were living) to resume her lessons with her father. At 16, after reaching the inaugural 1978 Young Musician of the Year String Finals, she went to the Royal Academy of Music, a pupil of Sidney Griller. Awarded a Belgian Government Scholarship to the Brussels Conservatoire for three years, whilst studying with Lola Bobesco, Claire achieved two Premier Prix and a Diplôme Superieur in both violin and chamber music. On return to the UK, she freelanced with the major orchestras, before accepting a First Violin membership in 1988 as one of then eight LSO women! Times have changed, but the ethos and spirit remains constant. Claire was awarded an ARAM in 2016.

 
Elizabeth Pigram

Elizabeth Pigram
Member since 1988

'My mother was an amateur pianist (in fact she won a competition and performed a short concerto with the LSO as a child), hence I began with the piano. The violin was offered in school and by 13, playing Rachmaninoff Symphony No 2 with the Hampshire Youth Orchestra, I had resolved that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.'

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Elizabeth Pigram (born Greaves) was the ninth woman to join the LSO in 1988, and the first ever to be appointed to the Second Violin section (number four chair). She has been an R&F First Violin for the last 30 years, during which time she enjoyed a three-year term on the LSO Board. She is also Leader of the Apollo Chamber Orchestra, with whom she has played many concertos and solos over the years, and is a regular member of the Roman River Festival based in East Anglia, where she lives with her husband and three children. Liz is a frequent and enthusiastic participant in LSO Discovery projects of all kinds.

 
Laurent Quénelle

Laurent Quénelle
Member since 1997, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

I started the violin at age three as I was obsessed with it. Luckily there was a Suzuki method teacher nearby... I do remember the day I first saw Star Wars in Paris. I asked about that trumpet player and I swore I would play in the LSO one day!’

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Laurent Quénelle has studied in France, the US and London. He is a graduate of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and a postgraduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. His main teachers were Beata Halska, Pierre Doukan, Dénes Zsigmondy and David Takeno. He is the founder of European Camerata and has played chamber music with Vladimir Ashkenazy, Viktoria Mullova and the Nash Ensemble.

 
Harriet Rayfield

Harriet Rayfield
Member since 1995, LSO Board Member and Orchestra Committee Member (Vice-Chair)

I was fortunate enough to be one of the first LSO String Experience graduates in the 1990s, taken from the Royal Academy initially to ‘experience’ some real rehearsals and concerts with the LSO. I had a wonderful time and was asked if I’d audition for the vacancy in the Second Violin section that year. The rest is history…’

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Having begun the violin at the age of seven, Harriet Rayfield boarded at the Purcell School of Music from age twelve and progressed as a scholar to the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with the late Howard Davis (Alberni Quartet). Whilst there she formed the Hellier String Quartet, which remained together for eight years. She won many of the Academy’s violin and chamber competitions and later the quartet studied for four months in Banff, Canada, before they returned as quartet in residence at Aldeburgh.

Harriet has freelanced for all the major ensembles and orchestras in the UK, becoming a member of the LSO in 1995. She is extremely grateful to be playing on the LSO Endowment Trust’s Rugieri violin.

 
Sylvain Vasseur

Sylvain Vasseur
Member since 1992

I always wanted to play the violin in an orchestra right from early childhood…’

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Sylvain Vasseur joined the European Union Youth Orchestra in 1978, playing with Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel and Herbert von Karajan, after studies in native France. He successively joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also freelanced regularly with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe over the years. Sylvain joined the LSO in 1992.

 
Rhys Watkins

Rhys Watkins
Member since 2009

My first violin teacher’s daughter was a member of the LSO Violin section. She suggested I did an audition and I actually ended up getting her job after she left!’

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Welsh violinist Rhys Watkins has an established career as a soloist, recitalist and orchestral Leader. Rhys graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2005 and became a member of the First Violin section of the LSO in 2009. He has since enjoyed performing in most of the world’s major concert halls and has represented the Orchestra by giving recitals in embassies in Beijing, Tokyo, New York and Madrid.

Rhys has been a finalist and prize-winner in several major international competitions including the Jeunesses Musicales International Violin Competition (Belgrade) and the Paganini International Violin Competition (Moscow). Rhys is a member of the award-winning Artea String Quartet with whom he has performed at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and BBC Proms. The Artea Quartet have made numerous live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and have recorded several CDs of the Mendelssohn and Schubert quartets under the Champs Hill label to great critical acclaim.

 

Second Violins

David Alberman

David Alberman, Principal
Member since 1998, LSO Board Member and Orchestra Comittee Member (Chair)

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Born in London, David Alberman received his LRAM diploma from the Royal Academy of Music at 16. After playing with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the LSO, he became a Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. A long-standing interest in contemporary music led him in 1986 to join the internationally renowned Arditti Quartet, with whom he took part in the world premieres of more than 200 works, and made a number of recordings which won prizes internationally. In 1995 he formed a duo with pianist Rolf Hind, and, in 1998, became Principal Second Violin of the LSO.

David enjoys coaching, has appeared as Guest Concertmaster for the LSO, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Bayrischer Rundfunkorchester, and as soloist with the Orchestre de Lille, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, among others.

   
Julián Gil Rodríguez

Julián Gil Rodríguez, Principal
Member since 2013

I come from a big musical family and grew up between rehearsals and instruments. When I was five years old I started playing percussion, then switched six years later to the violin. And here we are!’

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A violinist from Bogotá, Colombia, Julián Gil Rodríguez has held positions in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Spain, and since 2013 is a proud member of the LSO, with whom he has had the pleasure of travelling the world making music. Julián tremendously enjoys the popular music scene which has led him to perform in London venues such as Ronnie Scott’s and Jazz Café. In his free time he can be found on his bike trying to keep up with his friends.

 
Thomas Norris

Thomas Norris, Co-Principal
Member since 1998

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Thomas Norris graduated from London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1994, and went on to study in Banff, Canada before joining the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra as Principal Second Violin. Since returning to London, Tom has been a violinist of the LSO.

Tom has collaborated with countless musicians, ranging from the Schubert Ensemble to Roger Daltrey and The Who. He has recorded with Nanci Griffith, Elvis Costello and Andrea Bocelli, and formed the Puertas Quartet, whose debut CD was critics’ choice in the Strad magazine. He has collaborated with Manu Delago and Living Room in London.

Tom is a member of the Puertas Quartet, formed in 2009, which was critics’ choice in the Strad magazine for its recording of music by Ravel and Tchaikovsky. Tom is also a singer, songwriter and composer, writing for TV and film. He released his debut album, Edge Of The World, in 2009.

 
Sarah Quinn

Sarah Quinn, Sub-Principal
Member since 1998

I was lucky enough to be awarded a place on the LSO String Experience scheme while studying at the Royal College of Music. I had always wanted to join an orchestra and from the first moment of my first rehearsal I knew it had to be the LSO!’

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Born in Dublin, Sarah Quinn began playing the violin at the age of eight. Keen to pursue a career in music, she moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music, where she was the recipient of many awards and prizes. Whilst a student at the RCM, Sarah was awarded a place on the LSO String Experience scheme. Sarah joined the LSO in 1998 having graduated from the RCM with distinction.

In addition to her busy schedule at the LSO, Sarah is in demand as a teacher and regularly tutors at the RCM, RAM and GSMD. She has also worked extensively with youth orchestras and is passionate about working with young musicians. Sarah is regularly involved with all aspects of LSO Discovery, working in schools and in the community. Sarah has also served as a Director on the Board of the LSO.

 
Miya Vaisanen

Miya Väisänen
Member since 2005

Music was around me from day one. My father was Principal Second Violin in the orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and my mother teaches the violin and viola. I have two younger brothers who are also both professional musicians.’

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Miya Väisänen was born in London and started learning the violin at the age of three. She was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music where her teacher was Sheila Nelson. As a teenager she took additional lessons with Jean-Jacques Kantorow in Holland and then went on to complete her undergraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying with György Pauk and Diana Cummings.

After graduation, Miya moved to Berlin where she continued her studies with Ilan Gronich. She subsequently completed two years as a member of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic under the guidance of Christian Stadelmann and Rainer Sonne. After trialling successfully with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Miya was offered a job in the Second Violin section of the LSO, moving up to the number four seat a year later. 

 
David Ballesteros

David Ballesteros
Member since 2000

‘A long time ago I was asked last minute to join a string quartet touring in Spain. The cellist was Tim Hugh, who was Principal Cello of the LSO for many years. He told me I should audition for the LSO so I did!’

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David Ballesteros is Co-Leader at bandArt chamber orchestra, Guest Concertmaster in orchestras in the UK and Spain and coach at the Verbier Junior Festival Orchestra. He manages and participates in social integration projects in hospitals, prisons as well as with marginalised people or those with special needs. As a soloist he has played in Europe, the US, China and Korea. In 2009 he premiered Jose Brito's Violin Concerto with the Paris Sinfonietta. A keen chamber musician and founder of Ensemble Hespérides, he also collaborates with Lisarco Danza and Danzalab.

He has been a professor at the Simon Bolivar Orchestra (Venezuela), Barrios Orquestados (Canary Islands), New World Symphony Orchestra (US), Catalonian Youth and Spanish National Youth Orchestras and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, among other institutions. Born in the Canary Islands, he studied violin with Oscar Hernández, Franco Gulli and Josef Gingold, chamber music with Bernard Greenhouse and orchestral conducting with Karl Roskott.

 
Matthew Gardner

Matthew Gardner
Member since 1996, LSO Board Member and Orchestra Committee Member

‘LSO recordings with Previn and of the Star Wars soundtracks were a part of my childhood. I was drawn to the power of the Orchestra’s sound, and it always seemed like such a classy outfit. When I decided I wanted to be a violinist, I wanted to be an orchestral violinist, and the LSO was always my aspiration.’

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Matthew Gardner began learning the violin at the age of five in Leamington Spa, at the insistence of his mother. He became rather good, so at the age of twelve began lessons at the junior Royal College of Music with Esther Boda Katona, moving to the senior Royal College as a scholar, studying with Itzhak Rashkovsky.

Whilst at the RCM, he won numerous awards and prizes and in his final year won a place on the LSO String Experience scheme, which led to him getting a position in the Second Violin section. Matthew has been closely involved in the LSO Discovery programme for over 20 years, and is in his thirteenth year as a member of the LSO Board and Committee. When not playing with the Orchestra, Matthew can be found in the gym trying to defy the ageing process.

 
Naoko Keatley

Naoko Keatley
Member since 2014

‘I started playing piano aged two in Japan, and when I moved to Australia at the age of four started learning the violin using the Suzuki method.’

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Naoko Keatley made her debut performance as soloist with the Sydney Youth Orchestra at the age of eight, and has since performed in venues around the world, including Wigmore Hall, Sydney Opera House and Queen Elizabeth Hall. She joined the LSO in 2014, having been in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for five years before that, and also has a busy freelance career in London. Naoko lives with her husband Niall, also in the LSO, and their two-year-old daughter.

 
Alix Lagasse

Alix Lagasse
Member since 2019, Professor at the Royal College of Music Junior Department

‘I started the violin at the age of three with the Suzuki method, following in the footsteps of my elder sister. My violin teacher tells me he would put me on top of the living room table during my lessons in order not to break his back while teaching me as I was so small! My first violin was a well put together biscuit box with a ruler as the fingerboard, and a wooden spatula as my bow!’

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Born in Antwerp in 1991, Alix Lagasse graduated from the Artist Diploma Course at the Royal College of Music with Itzhak Rashkovsky in 2017, after completing her Masters degree there. She was awarded the Worshipful Musicians Company Silver Medal for her outstanding musical achievements and her ongoing dedication to the RCM. Alix has won several prizes in international competitions. She became a laureate in the Lions European Musical Competition and won first prize in the Belgian Dexia Classics Competition. With her duo partner Maria Tarasewicz, Alix continues to gives recitals across the UK and the continent.

 
Belinda McFarlane

Belinda McFarlane
Member since 1991

'At primary school it was announced that if anyone would like to learn an instrument they should go to the library at lunchtime – so I did. I was asked if I would like to play a cello or a violin. I walked half a mile to school, so lazily chose the violin. I loved it from the very first lesson.'

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From Adelaide, South Australia, Belinda McFarlane came to London as Leader of the Australian Youth Orchestra for the BBC Proms. She liked it so much, she stayed – and continued further studies with Emanuel Hurwitz and Carmel Kaine. After a period of freelancing and busking, Belinda joined the Second Violin section of the LSO.

A passionate advocate of the power of communication through music, Belinda has led workshops for LSO Discovery and with her piano trio fiorini (named after her Fiorini violin) around the world, and returns frequently to Australia to direct orchestras and training workshops for the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra. Belinda was a member of the Board at one time in the position of Vice-Chair. She now serves on the LSO Discovery Advisory Committee. For many years Belinda was married to LSO Trumpet, the late Nigel Gomm.

 
Iwona Muszynska

Iwona Muszynska
Member since 2008

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Iwona Maria Muszynska arrived in London ready to become the best Baroque violinist the Guildhall School of Music & Drama has ever produced, but later she was seduced by the LSO. While her interest in historical performance practice is as strong as ever, the LSO remains Iwona’s main source of joy and employment. Known for being famously reclusive and often absent from Europe, she doesn’t exist on any social media therefore it isn’t certain if she exists at all. 

 
Csilla Pogany

Csilla Pogany
Member since 2019

 
Andrew Pollock

Andrew Pollock
Member since 1984

'The first time I played in a full-sized symphony orchestra was with the Manchester Schools Orchestra aged ten, and it was a revelatory experience. I'll never forget the excitement of being an integral part of such amazing music – Così Fan Tutte Overture and Smetana's Vltava in that first rehearsal.'

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Born in Manchester, Andrew Pollock's first experience of violin playing was in group lessons at school, aged seven. He read Geography at Clare College, Cambridge, spending much of his time there playing in orchestras and chamber ensembles, before going on to study violin with Emanuel Hurwitz and at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies, where he had spells as Leader and Principal Second, and chamber music coaching from the Amadeus Quartet. After further lessons from Jack Rothstein, Michel Schwalbé and Barry Griffiths he freelanced with many UK orchestras and first played with the LSO in 1983, becoming an associate member in 1984 and a full member in 1985. Between 1988 and 1997 he served as a Director on the LSO Board. He teaches extensively, having been Head of Strings at The King's School, Canterbury for 22 years, and enjoys working with students of all ages. Andrew plays on a violin by Paolo Antonio Testore, Milan, 1730.

 
Paul Robson

Paul Robson
Member since 1991

Although keen to play the trumpet, at twelve years old I volunteered to take up the violin due to a shortage of violinists in the school orchestra!’

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Paul Robson was born in Sunderland and at 16 was chosen to play with the National Youth Orchestra and later gained a BA (Hons) in Music at Lancaster University, before taking a postgraduate course at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. After two years teaching the violin in schools, he took lessons with Nicholas Roth and joined the Roth String Quartet. The Quartet appeared regularly on BBC Radio 3 and at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room. They gained prizes at the Portsmouth String Quartet competition and the European Broadcasting Union competition, Salzburg, as well as receiving coaching from Peter Schidlof and William Pleeth.

Paul was also a successful freelancer and was appointed Principal Second of the London Mozart Players before joining the Second Violin section of the LSO. He has appeared in many folk festivals with his wife Tina and son Sam. Paul's interests include cycling, gardening, DIY, playing folk fiddle, good food and model railways.

 
Louise Shackelton

Louise Shackelton
Member since 2001

I started to play the violin at age seven. After I moved with my parents to the US when I was eleven, I always wanted to come back to live and play in the UK. The LSO was always my dream job.’

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Louise Shackelton joined the LSO in 2001, after seven years as Co-Principal Second Violin with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle. She was a Board member of the LSO from 2003–07. Louise is passionate about the power of music to lift spirits and bring people together, and has been involved in music education with both the LSO and the CBSO, teaching and performing in innovative music education programmes in inner city schools. Louise gained degrees in music from Northwestern University, Chicago, and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

 

Violas

Edward Vanderspar

Edward Vanderspar, Principal
Member since 1991

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Edward Vanderspar is Principal Viola of the LSO and also enjoys a busy career as a chamber musician and soloist. He has a wide concerto repertoire and has given performances and solo recitals all over the world. He is also a frequent Guest Principal with orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, World Orchestra for Peace, London Chamber Orchestra and London Sinfonietta.

Edward is in great demand as a teacher, and has given masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music &Drama, Heidelberg University, Hochschule Karlsruhe and Beijing Conservatoire. He studied in London with Nannie Jamieson and Helen Dowling, and in Switzerland with Max Rostal and Rudolf Barshai.

   
Gillianne Haddow

Gillianne Haddow, Co-Principal
Member since 1999

As a post-graduate student at the Royal Academy in 1995, I was selected for the LSO String Experience scheme. From that moment on, I knew that if I were to be in an orchestra, it would have to be the LSO. I was so startled by the incredible standard of the players, their dedication to the music and the variety of work which the Orchestra undertakes.’

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Gillianne Haddow joined the LSO just in time to record on her first day: the soundtrack to The Phantom Menace. For several years she combined her position within the Orchestra with that of Principal Viola in the acclaimed Scottish Ensemble, often performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Clio Gould. While in Scotland, Gillianne attracted solo commissions from composers such as Edward Maguire and Sally Beamish, performed with the Hebrides Ensemble and appeared as Guest Principal Viola with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Gillianne has appeared as Guest Principal Viola with the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, London Mozart Players and, in 2012, was invited to perform the role of Sancho Panza from Strauss’ Don Quixote with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on their UK tour. Gillianne plays on an 1812 Italian Rivolta viola, lent to her by the LSO.

 
Malcolm Johnston

Malcolm Johnston, Sub-Principal
Member since 1996

'As both of my parents were classical musicians, I was deeply immersed in music from a very early age. Growing up in Aberdeen I remember attending the many concerts given by the LSO there as part of their Shell LSO Tour. I had never heard such energy and commitment. This was the moment when the LSO became part of my life.’

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Malcolm Johnston earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and continued his post-graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

In 1992 Malcolm became violist with the Amernet String Quartet in the USA, with whom he played for four years. The quartet won numerous major awards, including the Gold Medal at the 1992 Tokyo International Chamber Music Competition. More recently he has worked as guest violist with the Leopold String Trio at the Edinburgh Festival and the Snape Proms and also participated in the Chamber Music Series at the Wigmore Hall with the LPO Chamber Players.

 
Germán Clavijo

Germán Clavijo
Member since 2009, LSO Orchestra Committee Member, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

‘I was introduced to much music as a child, not only classical, but also tango and a lot of folk music. I think by the age of twelve it was very clear in my mind that music was my greatest passion in life.’

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Born in Argentina, Germán Clavijo trained with Ljerko Spiller in Buenos Aires and subsequently at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Jack Glickman and Rachel Podger.

As a chamber musician he has studied with David Takeno and members of the Vellinger, Takacs, Melos and Amadeus Quartet. He has also attended masterclasses at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. Germán was awarded the Dorothy Adams Prize and the Deutsche Bank Pyramyd Award, among others, and has participated in several chamber music festivals.

He has recorded for Classic FM and the BBC (UK) and for Radio Nacional and TVE (Spain). He has worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Opera House and the Ensemble Modern. Germán was Principal Viola of the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and Artistic Director of the Ensemble Instrumental de Granada.

 
Steve Doman

Steve Doman
Member since 2018

'I first played with the LSO as part of the String Experience scheme when I was at college. After that, I was a regular freelance player for a few years before joining as a member of the Viola section in 2018.'

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Steve Doman was a prize winner at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition 2016. He has performed as Guest Principal Viola with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and English National Ballet. He is an experienced chamber musician and has given concerts at the Bath, Cheltenham and Schleswig Holstein international music festivals.

Steve has a passion for education work and has worked with LSO Discovery since 2008. Originally from Bath, Steve was a music scholar at Wells Cathedral School before studying at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Academy of Music. He also pursued further studies in Finland and the US. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors and is passionate about all aspects of nature... almost as passionate as he is about food.

 
Carol Ella

Carol Ella
Member since 2018

'My class in primary school took a test to determine the ‘musical ones’. There was a prize of violin lessons. I recall listening to the cassette in fear, trying to figure out how many notes were in whichever chord. I’m pretty sure I copied my friend Roddy’s answers. Sorry Roddy, and thanks!'

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Carol Ella is from Wick in the far north of Scotland. She studied at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, before winning full scholarships to study at the Royal College of Music in London with Simon Rowland-Jones. Carol took part in the LSO’s String Experience scheme, and was awarded the Promis Award for outstanding participation. She went on to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra for ten years, before joining the LSO in 2018.

 
Lander Echevarría

Lander Echevarría
Member since 2008

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Lander Echevarría studied at academies in Spain, the UK and the Netherlands. He started at the Oviedo Music College, Spain, where he was instructed on the violin by Yuri Nashuskin, and on chamber music by Tchiala Kvernadze (former teacher at the Tchaikovsky Music Academy of Moscow). In that period he frequently performed as a soloist with the chamber orchestra Arche.

From 1998 he studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Felix Andrievsky, before going on to study in the Netherlands. At the Utrecht Music Academy he studied violin with Keiko Wataya and at the Sweelinck Music Academy of Amsterdam he studied viola with Nabuco Imai. He subsequently accepted an offer to teach at the music college of San Sebastián, and is now a member of the LSO.

 
Anna Bastow

Anna Bastow
Member since 2011

‘I first discovered my love of music aged five when my family moved next door to a violin teacher. I remember spending a lot of time sitting on the doorstep listening to the violin lessons next door until I was allowed to start learning myself.’

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Anna Bastow grew up in East Yorkshire where she started learning the violin aged seven. She concurrently studied music at Manchester University and violin and viola at the Royal Northern College of Music. She then continued her viola studies with Predrag Katanic in Linz, Austria. Soon after graduating, she spent five years as Co-Principal Viola of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra before joining the LSO in 2011.

 
Julia ORiordan

Julia O'Riordan
Member since 2014

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Hailing from Cork, Ireland, Julia O’Riordan moved to London in 2003 to study at the Royal Academy of Music under the tutelage of Maurice Hasson and Matthew Souter.

She went on to join the Tippett Quartet, with whom she recorded for Naxos, Signum, and Dutton Epoch to critical acclaim. As a chamber musician, Julia has performed at the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Kings Place, The Sage, Bridgewater Hall and at the BBC Proms, as well as in Japan, Mexico and throughout Europe. She has also performed in many BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, including In Tune. Julia has had the great pleasure of collaborating with performers including Ashley Wass, Julian Bliss and Simon Crawford-Philips and the privilege of working with Peter Maxwell-Davies, Anthony Payne and Hugh Wood.

Julia has worked as Guest Principal and Co-Principal with orchestras including the Royal Opera House, English Chamber Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

 
Sofia Silva

Sofia Silva Sousa
Member since 2020

‘I started learning music aged six in my hometown’s music school. What a journey it has been, and still there is more to learn, discover and share! I guess that hard work and passion for music have brought me here. But equally important was finding in the viola a voice of my own, a way of connecting with others and myself.’ 

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Sofia Silva Sousa is a Portuguese viola player. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the Royal Academy of Music (2018) where she studied with James Sleigh and Martin Outram, and a Master's degree from the Royal College of Music (2020), having studied with Nathan Braude. She has been an Artist in Residence at the Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel since 2018, under the guidance of Miguel da Silva, where she is the recipient of a generous scholarship from an anonymous donor.

Sofia performed her solo debut concerto with the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra in 2016, and the Orquestra Gulbenkian in 2018, after being awarded Prémio Maestro Silva Pereira (Portuguese Young Musician of the Year). Sofia is a member of the Tejo String Quartet, who will start an apprenticeship in 2020 at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris. Sofia became a Member of the LSO in 2020.

 
Robert Turner

Robert Turner
Member since 1994

‘One day when I was about eight years old, in assembly at my state primary school, the headteacher announced that there was going to be a violin teacher coming in once a week, and asked if anyone wanted to learn the violin. Although I was rather shy, I found myself putting my hand up and became a member of a class of eight or so budding violinists. The teacher was inspirational and I was hooked!’

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Robert Turner joined the LSO in 1994 having held positions in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, but his connection with the Orchestra goes back to his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music where his teacher was Alexander Taylor, a former Principal Viola. Before that he read classics at Oxford. Sharing the pleasure of music and music-making is very important to him and he takes an active part in the work of LSO Discovery, working with children, young adults and older adults of all abilities. He is one of the mentors of the LSO String Experience scheme and also teaches at the Royal College of Music.

 

Cellos

Rebecca Gilliver

Rebecca Gilliver, Principal
Member since 2001, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

‘As a very stubborn four-year-old, I heard a cello in a Dorset schools concert and left determined that that was what I was going to do. Pestering took about three years, but late one night I was called downstairs and there stood my godfather who’d bought me a cello. I had a go right away, dressed in slippers and pyjamas!’

View the Dorset Cello Classes website

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Rebecca Gilliver studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and Royal Northern College of Music where her teachers included Melissa Phelps, Moray Welsh and Ralph Kirshbaum. She also spent a year studying mostly contemporary music in Basel with Thomas Demenga. Originally joining the LSO as Co-Principal in 2001, Rebecca became Principal in 2009. She has played as Guest Principal with orchestras all over the world, including with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, New Sinfonietta Amsterdam and the World Orchestra for Peace.

Rebecca has played extensively as a recitalist including at the Wigmore and Carnegie Weill Hall. As a chamber musician Rebecca has played and recorded with major artists such as the Nash Ensemble and is a regular participant at the renowned IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music, (playing in their Wigmore Hall concert to a socially distanced audience this October!) A professor at the Guildhall, Rebecca has also given classes at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College amongst others. She runs her own cello course, The Dorset Cello Classes, and is a regular coach at Alpinekammermusik and the Aboyne Cello Festival.

 
Minat Lyons

Minat Lyons, Co-Principal
Member since 2007

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Minat Lyons joined the LSO in 2007, whilst still an undergraduate at the Royal College of Music. She graduated from the RCM in 2009, having been awarded the Ivor James, Helen Just, Wills Gordan, Thelma Reiss, Stuart Knussen and Anna Shuttleworth prizes, and an Amaryllis Fleming scholarship. Minat won the fifth Antonio Janigro International Violoncello Competition, has been awarded scholarships by the Philharmonia Orchestra/Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, the English Speaking Union, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and was lent an Amati cello by the Balmain Charitable Trust.

Minat is a passionate chamber musician and has also been a regular Guest Principal with ensembles including the Aurora Orchestra and European Camerata. In addition to her performing career, Minat is a dedicated teacher, and has taught at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, Britten Pears Arts and the Royal Academy of Music. 

 
Alastair Blayden

Alastair Blayden, Sub-Principal
Member since 1997, Professor at the Royal College of Music

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Alastair Blayden enjoys a musical life that is as wide as it is varied. Since studying at the Royal College of Music where he was a scholar with William Pleeth, he has performed or recorded music ranging from Haydn’s Quartets (Dante Quartet) to John Williams’ sound track for Star Wars, and has performed extensively as a member of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

He also regularly broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 with the Dante Quartet. As a student he was privileged to have studied chamber music with the Amadeus Quartet and the Borodin Quartet in collaboration with Rostropovich.

 
Jennie Brown

Jennifer Brown
Member since 1982

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Jennifer Brown was born in London into a family of eminent musicians. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music where she won many prizes. Following in the family’s footsteps, Jennie became a member of the orchestra of the Royal Opera House aged 21 and was appointed Sub-Principal the following year. After five years, Jennie moved to her current position as cellist in the LSO, working with some of the world’s finest soloists and conductors. Jennie has travelled extensively in Japan with her string quartet.

As a member of the Tzigane Piano Trio, Jennie has recorded the complete piano trio works by Cécile Chaminade. Jennie has been appointed an honorary Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for distinction in the profession.

 
Noël Bradshaw

Noël Bradshaw
Member since 1982

‘I took up cello entirely by mistake! When asked at school if I wanted to play an instrument, I responded, having just seen a trombonist on TV, that I would like to play a ‘blowing instrument’. Thinking I had said ‘bowing instrument’, my music teacher suggested cello. She was a somewhat fierce woman and I didn’t dare correct her!’

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After a childhood of family music making, which fostered a love of ensemble playing, Noël Bradshaw went on to study the cello with Tony Pleeth, William Pleeth and Stephan Popov. While working as an extra with the LSO, he was offered the opportunity to study with Anner Bylsma in Amsterdam. At that time, Tony Pleeth and Anner Bylsma were at the forefront of the historically informed performance movement, especially in Baroque and Classical music; so it was natural that Noël should gravitate to this world, which he did, playing with the Academy of Ancient Music, London Classical Players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. However, in 1982 Noël had the opportunity of joining the LSO, an opportunity that was too good to miss, and he has remained a member ever since.

 
Eve-Marie Caravassilis

Eve-Marie Caravassilis
Member since 2013

‘When I was a chamber musician, I would spend my evenings with friends watching movies and listening to the soundtracks. When one of them told me about the LSO auditions, knowing I had been a huge admirer for years, my first thought was that I couldn't dream of it. But I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't give it a try…’

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‘Particularly dexterous and expressive cello playing’ (Classica Répertoire). French-Guadeloupean-Greek cellist Eve-Marie Caravassilis became a member of the LSO in 2013, following seven years with the acclaimed French ensemble and BBC New Generation Artists Quatuor PSOPHOS, collaborating with renowned artists as Alina Ibragimova, Imogen Cooper, Renaud & Gautier Capucon, and the Ebene Quartet. She regularly performs as Guest Principal with numerous orchestras, including the English National Opera and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Eve-Marie studied with Philippe Muller at the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris and Jens Peter Maintz at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, obtaining the highest distinctions for her Master and KonzertExam recitals. During her studies, she took part in masterclasses with Mstislav Rostropovitch, Yo-Yo Ma, David Geringas and Jerome Pernoo.

She plays an anonymous French 19th-century cello, generously entrusted to her by the Fonds Instrumental Francais.

 
Daniel Gardner

Daniel Gardner
Member since 2009

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Daniel Gardner began playing the cello at the age of six, and by the time he was eleven he had a won a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Music Junior Department studying with Joan Dickson and Margaret Moncrieff. During his time at the RCMJD Daniel was successful in many competitions including gaining first prize in the Gordon Turner memorial prize. Daniel went on to study at the senior department of the RCM with Steven Doane, winning first prize in many cello and chamber music prizes. After studying in the US and Manchester, Daniel joined the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and later made the move to London as number four cello with the Philharmonia Orchestra, before becoming a Member of the LSO.

 
Amanda Truelove

Amanda Truelove
Member since 2007, Professor at the Royal College of Music

‘I auditioned for the LSO after studying in Germany and thereafter played as a freelance player with the LSO for 20 years before becoming a member. Having hugely enjoyed the musical variety that freelance playing enabled, it became a suitable time to find depth of involvement in the LSO.’

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Amanda Truelove demonstrates a wide range of musical interests and has been a member of the LSO for many years. She studied extensively with Johannes Goritzki and Joan Dickson and also took classes with Jacqueline du Pre, Pierre Fournier and Bruno Guiranna. As a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician she made London debuts at the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room and for many years enjoyed a busy concert diary in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. Amanda is a highly respected teacher with a class of students at the Royal College of Music where she is a Professor. Amanda speaks fluent Swedish and has three sons.

 
Laure Le Dantec

Laure Le Dantec
Member since 2019

‘I started playing the cello at the age of eight in Paris. After a few years studying in Amsterdam and Berlin I feel very fortunate to be in this wonderful city and Orchestra!'

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Laure Le Dantec was seven when she started playing the cello. After studying with Marc Coppey and Raphael Pidoux at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, she began studies at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 16. There, she spent five years learning with Jéröme Pernoo and passed her Masters Diploma with the highest distinction.

Already very interested in symphonic repertoire, Laure moved to Amsterdam to be part of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Academy for the 2014/15 season, and the year after travelled to Berlin, where she performed with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra for one year. During this time, she continued her studies and started a second Masters course at the Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule with Troels Svane.

Laure is also passionate about chamber music and plays in ensembles of all sorts with the Camerata RCO, formed by players in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and performing in festivals in Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, Russia, Colombia, Canada and even Hawaii.

 

Double Basses

Colin Paris

Colin Paris, Co-Principal
Member since 1988, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

I have always been interested in many genres of music. My father was a double bass player and a member of the orchestra at the Covent Garden Opera House. He encouraged me to play an instrument from a young age and was very supportive throughout my career.’

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Colin Paris studied with Thomas Martin at the Guildhall School of Music. Since graduating, he has held positions with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra and Sub-Principal with the English National Opera Orchestra. Colin joined the LSO in September 1988 and was subsequently appointed Co-Principal in June 1991. As well as being a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, he has given masterclasses in Sardinia, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and the US. Colin has performed and recorded various chamber music concerts with other Principals of the LSO and is invited to play as Guest Principal with other major London and regional orchestras.

 
Patrick Laurence

Patrick Laurence
Member since 1982

'I’m not the first professional musician in my family. Therefore music just seemed the natural path to follow. Fortunately for me that path led to the LSO! For that, I’m extremely grateful.'

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Patrick Laurence was born in London in 1958 and was brought up in London and Essex. He studied at the Royal College of Music before joining the orchestra of the English National Opera in 1979. In 1982 he joined the LSO. Patrick is married, and has two sons and one grandson.

 
Matthew Gibson

Matthew Gibson
Member since 1992

'Coming from such an incredibly musical family, it was inevitable that I would play a musical instrument. But which one? My piano teacher fell asleep on the stool next to me in every lesson. My cello teacher uttered the words 'you are a terrible cellist'. It was when my bass teacher came out with 'and I also work at the signalling box at Shrewsbury Station' that I knew I was on to something … The rest was easy.'

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Matthew Gibson studied double bass at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Kevin Rundel and Tom Martin. He started playing with the LSO in 1990 and was offered a job in the Double Bass section in 1992.

A large part of Matthew's time with the Orchestra is spent working for LSO Discovery. This has involved working with children, students and adults of all ages, people with disabilities in the community and a good deal of education work abroad when the orchestra has been on tour.

He regularly coaches the bass sections of the Royal College and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

 
Tom Goodman

Tom Goodman
Member since 2001, Professor at the Royal Academy of Music

‘I started the bass with Haringey music service aged eleven and moved to the Royal College of Music Junior Department when I was twelve to study cello and bass. I’d always wanted to join the LSO having been a crazy Star Wars fan as a child.’

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Tom Goodman studied at the Royal Northern College of Music where he was the recipient of numerous awards. Shortly after graduating he joined the LSO in 2001. Tom is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music and is highly sought after as a teacher. He helped to establish the Bass Department at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and also taught at Chetham's School of Music.

Chamber music is also a huge passion and most recently Tom played with the Nash Ensemble live on BBC Radio 3 at the Wigmore Hall and also with London Sinfonietta. During 2011, Tom briefly accepted Section Principal Double Bass with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and regularly enjoys being invited to play Guest Principal Bass with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC NOW, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia, Aurora and John Wilson.

 
Joe Melvin

Joe Melvin
Member since 2014

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Joe Melvin was born in London and started playing the double bass at the age of nine. He went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music before becoming a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 2013. A year later he joined the LSO. Joe has worked with many orchestras both in the UK and abroad, and has performed in prestigious concert halls all over the world. He is also a keen chamber musician and enjoys coaching at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Joe plays on a William Tarr bass from 1854.

 
Jani Pensola, LSO double bass

Jani Pensola
Member since 2009

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Jani Pensola, also known as the ‘Funky Finn’, is equally at home in the fields of classical, jazz and tango. The double bass has taken Jani to almost every corner of the world, ending up in London.

Jani has already achieved a prodigious reputation being a member the LSO Double Bass section as well as delving deeper into the mysteries of solo double bass, contemporary and chamber music.

When Jani is not spending time with the bass, you might find him experimenting in South London’s curry houses with the hope of an extreme dining experience, and he is also English enough to understand what good bitter means every now and then.

 
José Moreira

José Moreira
Member since 2019, Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

The LSO has, for a long time, been my dream orchestra. It all started when I discovered Rinat Ibragimov for the first time and found out he was Principal of the LSO. I was accepted onto the LSO String Experience scheme in 2016 and started to freelance with them. In 2018 I applied for a position and here I am, a dream come true.’

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Born in 1995, José Moreira started playing the bass at the age of twelve with Alexandre Samardjiev and later with Manuel Rêgo. José moved to London in 2015 to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Luis Cabrera and Rinat Ibragimov, where he completed his bachelor degree in 2017. During the 2017/18 season, he became a member of the academy of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. José got his position in the Double Bass section of the LSO in April 2019. During his career, he has played with orchestras such as the Royal Opera House, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra and Orquestra XXI.