The Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to perform alongside distinguished international artists, as well as exciting young musicians at the start of their careers and the winners of competitions and local music festivals.
The artists below are among those who've appeared recently with the WPO. A full list of soloists since 1948 is available in our archive here.
ERIKA CURBELO — Trumpet
Erika Curbelo studied Classical Trumpet at the Royal College of Music, with a Jane Barker scholarship. In 2019 she was selected for the English National Opera pathway scheme, and shortlisted for the BBC Symphony Orchestra scheme. Erika has played with high quality orchestras for many years, starting at the age of 12 holding the principal seat for the National Children's Orchestra of GB where she also held the Leverhulme Trust Scholarship, and moving on to the National Youth Orchestra of GB for five years, where she performed yearly at the BBC Proms. As well as Classical music, Erika plays Jazz, Pop and Musical Theatre.
Erika performed Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the orchestra in February 2019.
THOMAS ATKINS — Tenor
New Zealand tenor Thomas Atkins is a recent graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and an alumnus of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He has attracted serious attention from the onset of his studies and has been kindly supported by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. This season sees Atkins making company and role debuts as Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) at Opéra de Montpellier and as Rodolfo (La Boheme) with New Zealand Opera. He also returns to Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne Festival, where he was a Jerwood Artist in 2016. On the concert platform he joins Marin Alsop and the London Symphony Orchestra in performances of Bernstein’s Candide.
Concert appearances include performances at the Yakushiji Otobutai in Japan with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder, Tippett - A Child of Our Time, Mozart - Requiem, Dubois - Seven Last Words of Christ, Vaughan Williams - Mass in G Minor, Handel - Messiah, Verdi - Requiem at Walthamstow Town Hall, Mozart - Requiem in Switzerland, Rossini - Stabat Mater and opera galas in Budapest. He has also performed numerous roles At the Royal Opera House.
Atkins was a finalist in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Gold Medal in 2015 and is the recipient of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama award, Sheila Prior Prize, the Phoebe Patrick Award and the Vianden International Summer School Award, all from the 2012 IFAC Australian Singing Competition.
Thomas performed with the orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in March 2019.
SARAH BENNETT — Flute
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. She studied with Michael Cox, Karen Jones and Patricia Morris, and
previously at the Royal Northern College of Music with Richard Davis, Katherine Baker and Joanne Boddington, where she graduated with first-class honours. Her postgraduate studies were very kindly supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Martin Musical Scholarship, Zetland Foundation, Seary Charitable Trust, Simon Fletcher Charitable Trust, the TACT Trust and the Kathleen 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, Oxford Philharmonia. Sarah has played under the baton of many prestigious conductors, including Simon Rattle, Antonio Pappano, Daniel Harding, Gianandrea Noseda, Semyon Bychkov, Vladimir Jurowski, Vasily Petrenko and Mark Elder.
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. Other notable performances include Liebermann’s Flute Concerto with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s D Major Flute Concerto with Chester Chamber Orchestra and Ibert Flute Concerto with the Surrey Mozart Players. In 2012, Sarah won the RNCM Gold Medal Competition, RNCM Concerto Competition and the RNCM Ken Griffin Flute Prize. Sarah’s most recent competition success was winning a Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Scholarship. After auditions, Sarah was selected to be a recital scheme artist for the Countess of Munster Trust.
She was a founding member of the award-winning flute trio ‘Tempest’, whose successes include winning the 2013 Royal Over-Seas League Chamber Music Competition, Second Prize in the 15th International Kuhlau Flute Competition, and winning all the chamber music prizes at the RNCM (Chris Rowland Prize, Trevor Wye Prize, Contemporary Music Award, and Chamber Music Group of the Year 2011). They were selected to be artists for the Manchester Midday Concert Society and the Park Lane Group. They have performed as featured artists at the National Flute Association Convention (Las Vegas), the British Flute Society convention, and have given recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and St Martin-in- the-Fields.
Sarah performed Nielsen's Flute Concerto with the orchestra in June 2018
TIM WALDEN — Cello
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 Dvorak's Cello Concerto with the orchestra in November 2015
AMBER EMSON — Violin
Amber (18) started playing violin at the age of 5 as a pupil of Margaret Norris and later Natasha Boyarsky; in 2009 she joined RAM’s Junior Department. As a student at Chetham’s School of Music 2014-16, she won the school’s Concerto Competition resulting in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with Chetham’s Sinfonia at Manchester Cathedral, and the Catherine Perkins Chamber Music Prize. Between 2016 and 2019 Amber was member of the Royal College of Music's Junior Department. She currently studies violin privately under the tutelage of Maciej Rakowski. In 2019 she actively participated in Mastercourses with Pavel Vernikov, Maurizio Fuks (International Violin Mastercourse Kronberg Academy) and Kolja Blacher (Carl Flesch Akademie Baden-Baden).
Prizes and awards in recent years include 1st prizes at Croydon Music Festival, Kingston upon Thames Festival of the Performing Arts, Springboard Festival in Brighton and Ealing Festival. At the Eastbourne Young Soloist competitions in 2017 and 2018, Amber was awarded the St Cecilia Bequest for the most promising performer under 18. In the same years she won the Concerto Competitions in Hastings International Festival. In May 2018, Amber won the 2nd prize at the X. International Competition for Violin and Viola "Szymon Goldberg" in Meissen. In June 2019 she won 1st prize in the National Round of Germany's "Jugend Musiziert" competition, and one months later she won 1st prize at the International Music Competition Hohenpriessnitz.
A passionate chamber musician, together with her duo partner cellist Willard Carter, Amber won the RCM JD Chamber Music Competition and performed at the Wigmore Hall in June 2017 as part of their annual Young Artists’ showcase concert. She participated in the ‘Mit Musik – Miteinander’ Chamber Music course at Kronberg Academy in September 2018. Since August 2019, she is a full member of LGT Young Soloists, performing with the group in major concert halls worldwide.
During recent years, Amber's musical activities have been supported by generous grants from Awards for Young Musicians, EMI Music Sound Foundation, Gerald Finzi Trust, Rhona Reid Charitable Trust, Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust, The Loveday Charitable Trust, Miss E.B. Wrightson's Charitable Trust, National Youth Arts Trust, The Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust, Kathleen Trust, Spoff's Chamber Music Scholarships and a number of private sponsors; she is a 2017, 2018 and 2019 Junior Scholarship recipient at the Hattori Foundation.
Amber plays on a fine violin by Matthew Taylor from 1806.
Amber performed Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto with the orchestra in October 2019, as a prize-winner of the Worthing Music and Arts Festival