Alissa Firsova (WPO President)
Alissa is a British-Russian pianist, composer and conductor. She studied piano and composition at the Purcell School, followed by the Royal Academy of Music, where she recently completed the postgraduate conducting course under Colin Metters. In Oct 2013, Alissa had her triple-debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in Cadogan Hall, directing Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto, and conducting her own Serenade for Strings, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations and David Matthews’ 4th Symphony.
As a pianist Alissa gave her Wigmore Hall and Proms debuts in 2009 and has appeared in Dartington, Cheltenham, Presteigne, Messiaen at Southbank, Fuerstensaal Classix and Seattle festivals. She has also performed at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, as well as in numerous venues throughout France, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the USA. After winning the BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer competition in 2001, Alissa received numerous commissions including a Bach transcription for the 2010 Proms festival.
Alissa performed Schumann Piano Concerto in A Minor with the orchestra in March 2016 and Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini in November 2017.
Alexandra Lomeiko began violin lessons in 1996 in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2006, Alexandra moved to London to study at the Purcell School of Music. She commenced her postgraduate studies in September 2014 at the Royal College of Music where she is a Lark Scholar supported by a Leverhulme grant and by a Countess of Munster Musical Trust award.
Alexandra has performed in venues including Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican Hall and Wigmore Hall. A laureate of many competitions, Alexandra is an avid freelance chamber musician and is also a founding member of the Alluto Trio which regularly performs across the UK and abroad. As an orchestral musician Alexandra is a member of the Russian Virtuosi of Europe, casual performer for the Oxford Philomusica and the London Symphony Orchestra with whom she collaborates through her placement on the LSO String Scheme.
Alexandra performed Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major with the orchestra in March 2017.
Andrew Knights is well known to audiences in the South of England having appeared over 100 times as a soloist with his former orchestra, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta. He studied at the Royal College of Music, and subsequently in Paris at the Berlin Philharmonic Academy with a scholarship from the Karajan Foundation. Andrew’s professional career has seen him playing with the Berlin Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Lyon Opera and BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as distinguished service as Principal Oboe of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Bournemouth Sinfonietta. He played all the major oboe solos while a member of the Sinfonietta, and most recently recorded the Mozart Oboe Concerto for Guild Records. He has won many prizes for his oboe playing, notably in the Prague International Oboe competition and the Leeds International Instrumental Platform. He has been invited as a soloist to play in France, Germany and Italy as well as in many South American countries.
Andrew performed the Strauss Oboe concerto with the orchestra in November 2016.
Laura van der Heijden (former WPO President)
At the age of 15, cellist Laura was awarded the title of BBC Young Musician 2012, performing Walton’s Cello Concerto with Kirill Karabits and the Northern Sinfonia at The Sage, Gateshead. Shortly before winning the title, Laura performed the Elgar cello concerto with WPO. We were honoured to provide her first experience of performing with an orchestra.
Born in England in 1997 as the youngest daughter of a Dutch father and a Swiss mother, Laura’s musical studies started on recorder at the age of four. After learning with Marina Logie on cello, Laura had gained ABRSM grade 8 distinctions on both cello and piano by the age of ten.
Recently Laura gave her debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and with Sinfonia Cymru in Shostakvich’s Cello Concerto. She also performed the Elgar concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of World War I anniversary concerts, with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and with the London Mozart Players who recently named her “Young Artist in Residence”. Laura is currently studying music at St. John’s College Cambridge.
Laura performed the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto with the orchestra in 2015, and the Elgar cello concerto in 2012.
Soh-Yon Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1989 and started playing the violin at the age of four. She studied at the Royal College of Music, the Alberta College Conservatory of Music, the Glenn Gould Professional School, Toronto, and The Yehudi Menuhin School.
Soh-Yon has performed across the world in venues including the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv Opera House, Israel and Seoul Arts Centre, Korea, and, in the UK, has made solo and chamber music appearances at the Wigmore Hall, the Sage Gateshead, Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, the Barbican Centre, and the Abbey Road Studios. Soh-Yon has performed with orchestras including the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscovia Chamber Orchestra, European Union Chamber Orchestra, and Teatro Colon Orchestra of Buenos Aires. She won the RCM Concerto Competition and performed Elgar Violin Concerto with the RCM Symphony Orchestra.
Soh-Yon is a new appointed first violinist of the Alke Quartet (www.alkequartetcom).
Soh-Yon has performed with the orchestra twice; Vaughan Williams, 'The Lark Ascending' and Saint-Saens, 'Introduction et rondo capriccioso' in October 2015 and the Tchaikovsky Violin concerto in March 2015.
Timothy Walden studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and subsequently has held posts of Principal Cello of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Nationale de Capitole du Toulouse, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He was appointed Principal of the Philharmonia Orchestra in 2010.
He has worked with conductors such as Neeme Jarvi, Sir Georg Solti, Valery Gergiev, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Pierre Boulez, Ricardo Muti and Kurt Masur. As a soloist Timothy has performed and recorded extensively for disc and radio with all the major orchestras throughout the UK and abroad covering all the major cello repertoire.
Tim performed the Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor with the orchestra in November 2015.
Peter Snipp Trained as an Opera Singer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has appeared with Opera Factory, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North, National Opera de Paris, New Israeli Opera. He has performed in numerous operas and as a session singer for a wide variety of film scores and artist albums.
Peter performed with the orchestra singing a variety of Christmas classics at the hugely popular 2016 Christmas concert.
Rosanna Ter-Berg graduated in 2011 from Trinity Laban, with Distinction in her Masters in Performance degree. Prior to Trinity, Rosanna was at the University of Leeds, and spent a year at the Strasbourg Conservatoire as part of her degree.
Rosanna was selected as an artist for the Park Lane Group and the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme. She was selected for the Manchester Midday Concerts Society and the London Sinfonietta Academy 2012, conducted by Elgar Howarth and she performed with the London Sinfonietta in last year’s proms. Rosanna’s numerous awards include first places in the ESO Young Soloist Competition and the Harold Clarke Competition and the top prize at the British Flute Society’s Young Artist Competition.
Rosanna performed the Mozart Flute concerto No. 2 with the orchestra in June 2015.
Brendan Connellan is 13 years old, and goes to school locally in Burgess Hill. He began to play the piano at the age of 5 and the French Horn at the age of 6. Progressing quickly with his first horn teacher, Trevor Denyer, he was accepted into the National Children’s Orchestra at 8 years old and gained a high distinction for Grade 8 at the age of 10. He has currently played with NCO for five years, three of which were fully funded by a Leverhulme Trust Scholarship. In December 2015 he was also given the Liz Rorison Award.
At the age of 10 he was offered a place at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, partly funded by an ABRSM Junior Scholarship, and now studies horn there under Sue Dent. In February 2016 he won the Barbara Boissard Junior Concerto Competition, and shortly afterwards gained a high distinction for Grade 8 piano. Brendan hopes to become a professional orchestral and solo horn player in the future.
Sarah Bennett is Second Flute with The Hallé orchestra in Manchester. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a distinction, and the prestigious DipRAM award. Her postgraduate studies were very kindly supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Sarah has played Guest Principal with Northern Ballet, Royal Northern Sinfonia and BBC National Orchestra of Wales and also freelances with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, English National Ballet, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Scottish Opera, Opera North, and Oxford Philharmonia.
Sarah joined Catrin Finch to give performances of William Matthias's Flute and Harp Concerto Melos with Sinfonia Cymru on a tour of Wales. She was chosen to record Richard Rodney Bennett’s The Great Gatsby ballet for a studio recording with Northern Ballet, which included movements from his Flute Concerto. She was a founding member of the award winning flute trio 'Tempest'. They were selected to be artists for the Manchester Midday Concert Society and the Park Lane Group. They have given recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and St.Martin-in-the-Fields.
Sarah performed the Nielsen Flute Concert with the orchestra in June 2018.