ULSO has had the privilege of working alongside world-class soloists such as Nicola Benedetti, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Michael Collins, and Tom Poster.

Autumn Concert 2021

Weber - Clarinet Concerto No.2

Oliver Janes

Principal Clarinet of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Oliver JanesOliver, who was born and brought up in Manchester, took up the clarinet at the age of 15 in 2008. For ten years before that he had studied the violin but had decided it wasn’t the instrument for him. His grandfather, John Fuest, had played clarinet with the CBSO and convinced Oliver to give the instrument a go. The rest is history!

After two years of lessons with his grandfather, Oliver went to Chethams School of Music to study with Rosa Campos-Fernandez. He followed this with four years at the Royal Academy of Music with Mark van de Wiel. After graduation Oliver freelanced with some of the London orchestras before joining the CBSO as Principal Clarinet in December 2014, describing the months since that as ‘the time of my life’. He singles out the Beethoven Cycle in Bonn and Birmingham with Andris Nelsons as a memory he’ll never forget.

Outside of the CBSO, Oliver enjoys watching sports in general, playing tennis and cricket and balancing all that physical activity with a love of ‘cooking and eating lots of nice food!’

Winter Concert 2022

Strauss - Horn Concerto No.1

Alexei Watkins

ULSO Concerto Competition Winner 2019

Alexei WatkinsAlexei Watkins graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with First Class Honours in July 2017 and a Master of Arts Degree with Distinction in September 2018. During his time at the Academy, amongst other accolades, he was awarded the Dennis Brain Prize.

As a soloist, Alexei has given recitals at venues including St John’s Smith Square, the Buxton International Festival, Blackheath Halls, the Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival, Hampton Court Palace and Southwark Cathedral. Other recent solo engagements include Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto in Surbiton and Ealing as well as Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto in Guildford. Alexei has also performed the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings both in the UK and abroad. In 2019 Alexei won the University of London Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and is looking forward to performing Strauss’ 1st Horn Concerto with the orchestra in 2022.

He is a keen orchestral player and has played Principal Horn with English National Opera, Glyndebourne Touring Orchestra and RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. He also regularly plays with orchestras across the UK such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia. Alexei’s playing can also be heard on various Film and television soundtracks including the upcoming James Bond Film, “No Time To Die”.

Alexei particularly enjoys playing chamber music and has performed with the Nash Ensemble and London Winds at the Wigmore Hall and the Bath Mozartfest amongst others. Whilst at the Academy, Alexei won the Worshipful Company of Musicians Brass Ensemble Prize with his Brass Quintet and was a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for Five years. In April 2015 he recorded Mozart’s Gran Partita with the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble and Strauss’ Wind Serenades with Aldeburgh Winds, both for Linn Records.

Spring Concert 2022

Mahler - Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Camilla Harris

Camilla HarrisBritish Soprano, Camilla, is a recent graduate of Royal Academy Opera where she studied with Raymond Connell and Jonathan Papp. She was awarded the Regency Award at graduation for “distinguished studentship”, the Tom Hammond Opera Prize, Kendal Prize, John McAslan Prize and was a Bicentenary Scholar, through which she recorded a programme based on the theme ‘Songs of Love and Longing’ with world-renowned independent recording label Linn Records. She is a Britten Pears Young Artist, a member of RAM’s ‘Song Circle’ and is supported by the Josephine Baker Trust and was a Countess of Munster Musical Trust Derek Butler award holder. She was recently selected to represent the UK in the finals of the Vincerò World Singing Competition in Naples. She holds a Masters of Performance (Distinction) from Royal College of Music and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Durham University, where she studied Music. Her formative years were spent as a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral.

Camilla will join Garsington Opera’s Alvarez Young Artist programme for their 2022 season, covering the role of Fiordiligi and performing as a member of the chorus. Recent roles include Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro for HGO, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Helena in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Comtesse in Massenet’s Chérubin and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Royal Academy Opera), Suzanne in Offenbach’s Robinson Crusoe and 1st Bridesmaid in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro directed by Sir Thomas Allen (Royal College of Music International Opera School).

Camilla has performed as a soloist in Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square and Royal Festival Hall among others. Recent solo highlights include finalist in Royal Academy of Music’s Bicentenary Prize at Wigmore Hall, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy (Royal Festival Hall) and Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate (HM Tower of London) and prizewinner in the Mozart Singing Competition. Camilla was a chorus member for the Glyndebourne Festival 2019.

Spring Concert 2022

Mahler - Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Michael Lafferty

Michael LaffertyBritish Baritone, Michael Lafferty, is a dynamic artist, praised for the “melting warmth” of his voice, and “demonstrable affection and involvement” of his performances. (Opera Today - Hurn Court Opera recital, Salisbury Arts Centre, Nov ‘19). He currently studies on the Opera School at Guildhall School of Music and Drama under the tutelage of David Pollard, where he is generously supported by The Behrens Foundation, The Drake Calleja Trust and Countess of Munster Musical Trust. Prior to his studies at Guildhall, Michael studied at Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, graduating with a first-class honours Bachelor degree in 2018.

He has had success in numerous competitions, with highlights including First prizes at the AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Competition 2021, Freda Parry Foundation Competition 2017 and the Guildhall English Song Prize 2021. Other successes include reaching the finals of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards 2021, Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards 2020 and second prize at the Hurn Court Opera Competition 2018. Michael’s Operatic stage debut was in 2018 as Tarquinius for Trinity Laban’s The Rape of Lucretia. Since then, Michael has performed the roles of Dr.Falke (Die Fledermaus), Pausanias (Une Éducation Manquée) and Masetto (Don Giovanni), as well as scenes from Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro), Albert Herring (Sid) and Die Zauberflöte (Papageno). Michael is currently preparing the roles of Prince Andrei (Prokofiev, War and Peace), Fritz (Korngold, Die Tote Stadt) and revisiting Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) for Guildhall Opera School scenes performances in November.

Recent performances include Schumann’s ‘Requiem für Mignon’ as a soloist under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner for Salzurger Festpiele 2021, Mozart Requiem for Battersea Choral Society and guest soloist for Prenzlau Opera Gala, Berlin, conducted by John Axelrod. Other engagements include Guglielmo (cover) for Nevill Holt Opera's production of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte for the 2019 Season.

Midsummer Concert 2022

Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D

Tom Aldren

Tom Aldren Thomas Aldren performs regularly as a principal violinist with many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Bournemouth, BBC Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras, and chamber orchestras such as the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, and Manchester Camerata. His activity as a chamber musician has included performances alongside Lawrence Power, Anthony Marwood, Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Valeriy Sokolov and Adrian Brendel, with live performances on BBC Radio 3 and concerts at King’s Place and the Wigmore Hall. He has performed many of the major violin concerti, including those by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Mozart and Bach.

Tom grew up in Buckinghamshire and started playing the violin at the age of six. He went on to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in Music from King’s College London, and then completed a Master’s with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in 2015, during which time he was the winner of numerous competitions including the Winifred Small Violin Prize and the York International Chamber Music Festival Competition. After a final year of study at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, he embarked on an exciting international career as a concert violinist, combining orchestral and solo playing with his passion for chamber music. He has performed with Burt Bacharach, Quincy Jones, Martha Argerich, Dizzee Rascal, and many other of the best-known artists in music today across a huge range of genres.

Tom was a member of ULSO from 2011-13, and is delighted to be returning as a soloist once again after performing the Stravinsky Violin Concerto with the orchestra in 2016. He plays a violin by Antonio Gragnani made in Livorno, 1779.

Winter Concert 2023

Rachmaninoff - Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Mihai Ritivoiu

Mihai Ritivoiu Born in Bucharest, the London-based Romanian pianist Mihai Ritivoiu is a laureate of numerous national and international competitions, most notably the George Enescu International Competition.

Mihai leads an international career performing solo and chamber music recitals in Europe and Asia, and has played concertos with the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and MDR Leipzig, and with conductors such as Joshua Weilerstein, Robert Trevino, Michael Collins, Cristian Mandeal, Christian Badea and Horia Andreescu. He has been invited to play at prestigious festivals, including Young Euro Classic in Berlin and the Enescu Festival in Bucharest, and has performed in halls such as the Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Studio Ernest Ansermet Geneva, the Radio Hall and the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest.

He appeared live multiple times on BBC Radio 3’s programme ‘In Tune’, and his performances have been broadcast by Radio Romania Muzical, Radio Television Suisse and Medici TV. His debut album released under the label Genuin with major solo works by Franck, Enescu and Liszt has been praised as “beautifully recorded, handsomely played - a solo recital to cherish” (The Arts Desk).

A graduate with the highest honours from the National University of Music in Bucharest and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, Mihai studied with Professors Viniciu Moroianu and Joan Havill. He took part in masterclasses with Dmitri Bashkirov, Dominique Merlet, Emmanuel Ax, Richard Goode, Jean-Claude Pennetier and has been mentored by Valentin Gheorghiu and Christopher Elton.

In addition to his solo recitals and concerto appearances, Mihai is passionate about chamber music. Throughout the years he has played with such distinguished musicians as Corina Belcea, Antoine Lederlin, Roland Pidoux, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Bernhard Naoki Hedenborg and Oleg Kogan. He has been part of a successful duo, for several years, with the cellist Yoanna Prodanova. Together, they recorded an album of works for cello and piano by Fauré, Janacek and Chopin which was released by Linn Records in 2020 and is available on all major streaming platforms.

Mihai became a City Music Foundation artist in 2016. He has also received generous support from the Liliana and Peter Ilica Foundation for the Endowment of the Arts, Erbiceanu Cultural Foundation and Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation.

Spring Concert 2023

Tomasi - Trombone Concerto

Adam Thomas

ULSO Concerto Competition Winner 2022

Adam Thomas Adam Thomas is a Trombonist, Composer and Arranger. Currently, Adam is a Master’s student studying trombone at the Royal College of Music in London with Lindsay Shilling, Byron Fulcher, and Richard Edwards.

Previously, he studied both Classical and Jazz trombone at the University of North Texas(UNT) with Tony Baker and Nick Finzer. Since arriving in London, Adam has performed with Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, and University of London Symphony Orchestra and Imperial College Big Band. He has also performed at private parties, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, off-West End musical and the Starlight Big Band. Previously, Adam has attended Eastern Music Festival, Brevard Jazz Music Festival, Music Academy International, and the Georgia trombone Summit.

Adam’s love for all genres of music led him to pursue all opportunities beginning in the 6th grade. As a High School Student he studied under Dr. Mark Foster and Dr. Brandon Slocumb. He participated in Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame’s Saturday classes and The Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra as well as State of Alabama’s All-State ensembles in Jazz, Orchestra, and Band. He was selected for the NAfME 2014 All-National Jazz band and the NAfME 2016 All-National Orchestra. At the UNT, Adam earned two undergraduate degrees in four years, a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies and a Bachelor of Music in Performance. While at UNT, Adam made the most of his opportunities as a member of many ensembles including Latin Jazz band, the 2 O’clock Lab band, UNT Concert Orchestra, UNT Opera, UNT U-Tubes and UNT Trombone Consortium. Highlights of Adam’s time at UNT include being part of the North Texas Trombone Consortium that won the 2021 Emory Remington Trombone Choir Competition and the UTubes that won the 2021 Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble.

As a Composer and Arranger Adam’s work has been played at UNT by the UTubes Jazz Trombone ensemble. Adam has compiled eight of his original songs and created his first album, Walkin Thru.

Spring Concert 2024

Debussy - Première Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra

Lucia Porcedda

ULSO Concerto Competition Winner 2022

Lucia Porcedda Italian clarinettist Lucia Porcedda has won prizes at national and international competitions, including the YAMAHA Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship. She played with London Philarmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Philarmonic Concert Orchestra and Knussen Chamber Orchestra.

Having graduating with honours from the conservatoire of Cagliari (Italy), she then studied with Alessandro Carbonare in Rome and Paul Meyer in Paris. Over the years, she has participated in master-classes around the world with prominent musicians including Romain Guyot, Nicolas Baldeyrou, Calogero Palermo, Herman Stefansson, Florent Héau, Michel Lethiec and Andrew Marriner. Concert engagements have included performances in concert halls in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden and Netherlands.

In 2022, she completed her Master degree with Distinctions at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Christopher Richards, Timothy Lines, Benjamin Mellefont, Chi-Yu Mo and Laurent Ben Slimane. Lucia has always cultivated a great passion for chamber music, which has led her to collaborate with many musicians. In Italy, she formed the Duo Sardo with the pianist Federico Battista Melis, with whom she regularly plays in several music festivals throughout Europe. In London, she is part of the Ambra quintet (woodwind quintet) and the Zora Trio (violin, clarinet and piano trio). Furthermore she periodically collaborates with the Association “Dimensione Danza” creating and performing different musicians-dancers performances. This collaboration allows her to deepen an innovative aspect of musical research that enthuses her: the relationship between sound and movement.

Recently, she has became passionate about contemporary music thanks to her collaborations with the Ensemble 2e2m in Paris and living composers in London.

She is currently clarinetist at Southbank Sinfonia while she regularly performs as principal clarinet with Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra and University of London Symphony Orchestra.

Spring Concert 2024

Daisy Noton

ULSO Concerto Competition Winner 2023

Daisy Noton Daisy studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Karen Jones and was a BBC Young Musician Woodwind Finalist 2020. She has won many international and national competitions, including First Prize in the Alexander & Buono International Flute Competition 2021.

She has performed as a soloist with the London Mozart Players, Bexhill Sinfonietta, Sussex Concert Orchestra and has performed at numerous venues in the UK including Glyndebourne, St James’ Piccadilly and St John’s Smith Square, London. She played principal flute in the Academy Symphony Orchestra conducted by Semyon Bychkov. In 2021 she was principal flute of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and in 2018 was principal flute of the International Composer’s Festival Orchestra.