Talent Development

Jerwood Pit Perfect

Glyndebourne’s development scheme for young professional instrumentalists.

Pit Perfect is our unique programme where young recently graduated professional instrumentalists join the Glyndebourne Sinfonia, gaining their first professional operatic experience.

The players participate on an equal footing with regular players in the Orchestra and are paid for their participation. We offer places to selected instrumentalists each year depending on our repertoire and which positions are available. The programme, now entering its sixth year, extends Glyndebourne’s cornerstone commitment to nurturing young talent from all backgrounds. No other programme in the country offers newly graduated players real-world professional work experience over a concentrated period by putting them straight in at the deep end – the fastest way to learn.

This programme is made possible thanks to the generosity of Jerwood Foundation.

Successful applicants will join the Orchestra for at least one of the autumn productions.

Participants to the scheme will be mentored by a member of the orchestra and receive further opportunities including one to one lessons, the chance to sit in on extra rehearsals/performances. They will also participate in seminars on life in the music profession.

This year there is also an extended programme of paid chamber music performances, including commissions of new works by our Balancing the Score composers, in which all Pit Perfect players will be involved.

A good number of former Pit Perfect players have gone on to receive further professional work with the Glyndebourne Sinfonia.

2023 Jerwood Pit Perfect instrumentalists

Yuliya Ostapchuk – violin

From a young age, Ukrainian violinist Yuliya Ostapchuk was awarded prizes at several international competitions and participated in masterclasses with violinists such as Igor Ozim, Mi-Kyung Lee, Maxim Vengerov. In 2011, Yuliya moved to London to study at the Purcell School of Music and has since performed recitals at Milton Court and Wigmore Hall as well as concerti across Europe.

Yuliya won the Arthur Felsenstein Leaver’s award before joining The Royal Academy of Music in 2017 and later in 2021, went onto her Master’s degree at The Royal College of Music, studying with Itzhak Rashkovsky. During her studies, Yuliya has worked with esteemed conductors, to name a few – Semyon Bychkov, Vasily Petrenko, Charles Dutoit and Marine Alsop.

As an active orchestral player, Yuliya plays with orchestras such as Aurora Orchestra, London Chamber Music Orchestra and has performed internationally in venues including Berlin Konzerthaus and Paris Theatre Du Chatelet. She is also an Associate Fellow of The Alpine Fellowship and a 2022 Benedetti Foundation Ambassador.

Yuliya currently plays on 1775 Storioni violin that is kindly loaned by The Royal College of Music.

Guo Yu – violin

Eriol studied her Masters degree with an entrance scholarship at Royal Academy of Music London, under the mentoring of Prof. Michael Foyle. She is a passionate baroque violinist as well, had learnt with Nicolette Moonen.

Had performed in many renowned venues across Asia and Europe, including Royal Festival hall, Tokyo Opera City, Berlin Konzerthaus and Wigmore Hall. In 2022 Eriol was invited to Encuentro de Santander and Dartington Summer Festival.

She has a wealth of orchestral experience, having played with many orchestras such as London Sinfornietta, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Opera House Symphony Orchestra, etc. As a former member of Asian Youth Orchestra and NYO-China, she has enjoyed working with many renowned conductors such as Bychkov, Ludovic Morlot, James Judd and more. She has been offered a place on the OAE scheme for 2023.

Eriol had received guidances from Yo-yo Ma, Midori, James Ehnes, Bin Huang, Ian Swensen, Liwei Qin and more.

Theo Bently Curtin – cello

Theo Bently Curtin grew up in Totnes in rural South Devon. He studied with Richard May at Wells Cathedral School, where he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in the classes of Christoph Richter and Josephine Knight, graduating in 2022 with first class honours. From September 2023 he will study for his Masters in Orchestral Artistry in association with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with LSO principal cellist Rebecca Gilliver. He is in demand as a soloist, chamber and orchestral player in London and across the UK including freelance work with the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, and has been featured solo on BBC Radio 3 as part of the RAM 200 Pieces bicentenary celebrations. Theo won the RAM Mukle/Cameron cello prize in 2021 performing the Poulenc Cello Sonata, has participated in the Britten-Shostakovich- and Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, and is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Theo plays on a cello by Harry Strong made in 2022. He is indebted to the Loan Fund for Musical Instruments, the Abbado Trust for Young Musicians and the Dulce Haigh Marshall Trust who made the purchase of this instrument possible. Theo is also grateful to the Academy’s Instruments Collection for the continued loan of a fine bow by W.E. Hill & Sons.

Yat Hei Lee – bass

Yat Hei Lee completed his undergraduate study at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2020, and studied with Ms Jiang Xinlai, Yat Hei obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Music with first-class honour graduation. Yat Hei finished his postgraduate in Guildhall School of Music and Drama in Orchestra Artistry Double Bass with distinction. Yat Hei is currently a Junior Fellow at Guildhall School under the tutelage of Luis Cabrera and Marco Behtash.

As an active orchestral musician, Yat Hei has been Guest Principal Double Bassist in BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Yat Hei also played in other orchestras including Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and others. In 2021, Yat Hei was accepted to the LSO String Experience Scheme and worked under Kirill Karabits, Gianandrea Noseda, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Yat Hei was a recipient of the Hong Kong Scholarship for Excellence Scheme and Hong Kong Talent Development Scholarship.

Yijia Cui – bass (Associate)

Yijia Cui began playing the bass at the age of 15 before gaining a scholarship offer to study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire under the tutelage of Thomas Martin and Anthony Alcock. From September to December 2023, Yijia was supported by Help Musicians to pursue a Masters degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, learning from Kevin Rundell.

In recent months, Yijia has been enjoying a busy freelance career working with professional orchestras all over the UK and Ireland.

Yijia is grateful to the Cherubim music trust for the loan of her double bass.

Hazalen Tang – bassoon (Associate)

Hazalen Tang is a Hong Kong-born bassoonist who obtained her Master of Performance (Orchestral Artistry) from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2022. With the support of Margaret B Adams Award, she studied bassoon and contrabassoon under the tutelage of Daniel Jemison, Helen Simons, Richard Ion and Dominic Morgan.

Hazalen worked with Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, London Conducting Academy’s Orchestra and North London Sinfonia.

During her time in GSMD, she also won a position in the Guildhall Wind Soloists group and was selected to play with the London Symphony Orchestra in the BMW Clas- sics concert at Trafalgar Square and Triomphale Gala concert at St Paul’s Cathedral. She was offered a junior fellowship by the school after graduation.

Nick Cowling – Timpani (Associate)

Growing up in Cambridgeshire Nick took full advantage of the opportunities provided by the county music service. He went on to study at the Royal College of Music and then at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Alongside this Nick completed various intern and graduate scheme positions at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Opera North, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and at the Dartington Baroque Festival.

He has appeared as a guest principal with the National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gabrieli Consort, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Longbourgh Festival Opera and the Welsh National Opera. He has also joined as a section player with Opera North, CBSO, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London Concert Orchestra, RPO and a rare but very enjoyable evening on the Dreamgirls UK tour.

Nick has taught locally for several years and also coached the percussion sections of the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire youth orchestras as well as joining the OAE’s education team in schools and with their larger operatic outreach projects.

Glyndebourne’s autumn programme is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Image credits: Pit Perfect 2022, photo by James Bellorini

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