Meet the LPO Junior Artists 2018
We are excited to be working with eight talented young musicians on the LPO Junior Artists scheme from Autumn 2017 to Summer 2018.
Sehyogue, 16, began learning percussion at local high school with weekly 30 minute lessons. From this year, a government music scholarship is supporting her studies with Paul Patrick, David Hext and Sophie Hastings at Chetham’s School of Music, alongside studying Music, English and Biology A Level. Sehyogue has played with various orchestras and ensembles (national and local) and given solo concerts. In August 2017 she played with the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble alongside the New York based band Bang On A Can, as part of the BBC Proms. Especially passionate about inclusion and diversity in music, Sehyogue works with community music charities and is involved with the South West Open Youth Orchestra, soon to become the National Open Youth Orchestra, a disabled-led orchestra. Studying percussion at music college is Sehyogue’s aim and she is looking forward to meeting other like-minded musicians and for the opportunities that next year will bring. Ultimately, her ambition is to combine orchestral playing with education and community work – bringing music to everyone!
Uma is a 16-year-old violist based in London. She is currently studying at St Paul’s Girls’ School and attends the Royal College of Music Junior Department. Uma participates in a variety of musical activities including being a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Chineke! Junior Orchestra and acts as a mentor to younger students in the National Children’s Orchestra. Uma was born in Texas, but her mother is South Indian and her father is American. Her experiences with her mother’s culture have highlighted the underrepresentation of musicians from her background in orchestras across the world. In the future, Uma hopes to use her knowledge of classical music to help young children with learning disabilities and actively dismantle the stigmas that surround classical music, in the hope of encouraging more young people to become involved.
William is violinist currently studying with Susanne Henwood, head of strings at Wellington College, where he attends school. William plays for the National Youth Orchestra and is also leader of the South London Youth Orchestra. For William, there has always been an insignificant number of black musicians in classical music, and he feels that by being a part of this programme, he will help to inspire other classical musicians from underrepresented backgrounds. It is William’s dream to become a conductor in the future, as conducting is something he has enjoyed doing for many years and would love to pursue it as a career.
Elodie began violin lessons at the age of 5 and currently studies at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department. She attended Chetham’s School of Music for five years and was a winner of the junior concerto competition aged 13. Elodie has Caribbean heritage and is a member of Chineke! Orchestra which promotes diversity in classical music. A talented ensemble musician, performances have taken her to the House of Lords, the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room. Elodie is a violinist in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and has performed at venues including Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall. She hopes to continue her musical studies at one of the leading conservatoires.
Rianna is 16 and studies flute and alto saxophone, as a joint first-study at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. She also attends Alleyn’s School, in Dulwich, where she is a music scholar and participates in a gospel choir and a saxophone ensemble, as well as the school Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra, where she is the principal flautist. Rianna has performed with the National Childrens’ Orchestras of Great Britain, the South London Youth Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Royal College of Music and both, the Chineke! Orchestra and the Kuumba Youth Orchestra, aiming to increase the musical skills of instrumentalists of an ethnic minority.
Rianna’s current goal musically is to become a professional performer, either as a jazz saxophonist, playing her own arrangements, or as an orchestral flautist. Starting music at a very tender age, Rianna had always wondered why she was not accompanied with a similar background and as a British-Black Caribbean individual, with parents of Jamaican descent, she feels that it is necessary for everyone to be able to express themselves musically. She believes that having herself, and others like herself, with a love of music on the programme, is a fantastic idea.
Nolitha studies viola at the Centre for Young Musicians thanks to a Music and Dance Scheme award. Nolitha is of Nigerian and Swiss descent and attends her local state school (Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham) and has always been very aware that people of her background are under-represented both in orchestras and their audiences. In recent years Nolitha has been involved in some exciting, sometimes unconventional, projects including Animate Orchestra and the Young Orchestra for London (conducted by Sir Simon Rattle). She is also a member of the Trinity Laban Youth Forum. This year Nolitha joined the London Schools’ Symphony Orchestra, performing at the Barbican and touring Germany. This inspired her to set her sights on becoming a professional orchestral musician. She hopes being an LPO Junior Artist will enable her to inspire others from different backgrounds to become involved in classical music.
Meera plays the violin and currently study with John Crawford. She is studying A level music at school alongside English, German and Maths and enjoys taking part in various musical ensembles at school, with a particular interest in chamber music. Outside of school Meera is part of the 'Harrow Young Musicians' Phillharmonic orchestra, the National Youth String Orchestra, and has recently become part of the Chineke! Junior orchestra for instrumentalists of underrepresented backgrounds in classical music.
Meera is Indian, of Gujarati origin, and feels that finding others of the same background in the Western classical music profession is an extreme rarity. She hopes that being part of this programme will help to provide a confidence for musicians from underrepresented backgrounds to follow their passion despite being a minority, as hopefully in the future the musicians will consist of a much more comprehensive range of people. Although not entirely sure what her future path will be,Meera is set on studying Music at university.
Alongside performing Meera isa keen composer, and hopes to take this further in the future.
Shona Beecham (Associate LPO Junior Artist)
Shona was inspired to play the violin after hearing the CAN Childrens’ Orchestra at the age of six. She started learning the violin at the age of seven. Currently, Shona studies violin at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. The limited number of classical musicians of African and Caribbean heritage makes Shona a suitable candidate for the LPO Junior Artist programme.
Shona was a Leverhulme Scholar with the National Children’s Orchestra’s Under-13 Orchestra. She is currently a member of Chineke! Junior Orchestra and also Kuumba Youth Orchestra, which have given her opportunities to play at Royal Festival Hall, Fairfield Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Barbican. In 2016 Shona won first prize at the Kingston, Ealing and Richmond Festivals, and is presently Richmond Young Instrumentalist of the Year.
Shona has enjoyed giving recitals, and has also performed at various events including fundraising for the National Autistic Society and at an event raising money for school computers for children in Ghana. In future, Shona would like to continue performing, raising money for charities and would love to encourage and inspire other children to enjoy the world of classical music.
LPO Junior Artists alumni 2016/17
The 2017/18 LPO Junior Artists Programme is generously funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation with additional support from The London Stock Exchange Group Foundation, The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust, Kirby Laing Foundation, the UK Friends of the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Foundation and donors to the Chairman’s Appeal at the LPO’s 2017 Gala Dinner.