Meet the musicians of Southbank Sinfonia

Posted On by

Glyndebourne’s new youth opera, Nothing, is not just giving a platform to talented young singers – amateur instrumentalists will play alongside professional musicians from Southbank Sinfonia in the orchestra pit.

Every year Southbank Sinfonia brings together 33 outstanding players, each supported by a bursary, and gives them first-hand experience of what it takes to be a professional musician. By virtue of their youth, energy and excellence, Southbank Sinfonia players are ideally placed to act as role-models for the younger musicians in Nothing.

Conductor Sian Edwards says: ‘I know from conversations with young instrumentalists that when they sit with professional players they feel an incredible sense of rhythm and definition coming from the professionals, which gives the young players a whole new understanding of the power of the orchestra.’

‘The Southbank players will be eager to share their expertise, and generous in their desire to help the younger players into the music. My role will be to help everyone find their way through a challenging new score so that all the players feel confident together and enjoy the music and the collaboration.’

Meet the musicians of Southbank Sinfonia

Eve Kennedy Leader, 1st violin

Eve Kennedy began playing the violin at seven years old and studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2013.

What’s on your playlist right now?
‘Quite a mixed selection! I often get addicted to particular pieces and songs and can’t stop listening to them for a while. For classical music, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, James Ehnes’ recording of the Korngold Violin Concerto, the Schubert ‘Trout’ Piano Quintet, Mozart ‘Haffner’ Symphony and Sinfonia Concertante, and the Mendelssohn Octet. I also love ABBA, the Jools Holland album The Informer, Billy Joel Vienna, and I have a bit of Ben Folds, Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones.’

Ioana Forna 2nd violin

Romanian violinist Ioana was taught the violin from the age of seven by her mother, and continued her studies at the Sigismund Toduţă School of Music in Cluj. She later came to London to study at the Royal College of Music, graduating with a first class bachelor’s degree.

What do you love about classical music?
“What I love most about classical music and being a musician is the fact that it brings people together. I love being with people and having a relationship through music; it is the best feeling in the world because it brings out other sensations and feelings that in a life without music I think wouldn’t be possible to feel.”

Caleb Sibley viola

Showing an interest in music from an early age, Caleb joined Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester at the age of nine and is currently a postgraduate student at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
“I’m a massive Tottenham Hotspur fan… despite their remarkable ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!”

Zoé Saubat cello

French-born Zoé Saubat obtained her Diplôme d’éducation Musicale from the Conservatoire of Bayonne at the age of fifteen before moving to study at the Conservatoire of Paris, simultaneously achieving a bachelor’s degree in literature at Sorbonne University. She subsequently moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music of London.

What or who inspired you to become a professional musician?
“I fell in love with music from a very young age. The first time I came to a music school I didn’t know any instruments except piano, but the class was full so I had to do something else. The first instrument I saw was the cello: my teacher got me to put my hand on the body of the instrument while she was playing and I could feel the vibrations of the instrument in my whole body. I instantly decided to do this for the rest of my life.”

Jack Maran Hewetson double bass

Jack was born in London and moved to Cambridge when young, discovering classical music at relatively a late age and beginning double bass lessons when 16. He was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music where he performed under conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Trevor Pinnock and Semyon Bychkov.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
“I am a fully qualified bike mechanic. Bikes have always been a hobby and a couple of years ago I decided to train as a mechanic.”

Alice Thompson flute

Alice has recently returned from the Netherlands where she spent three years studying for her Master of Music at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. She had earlier completed a bachelor’s degree and the TCM Trust’s Silver Medal Award at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

What do you love about classical music?
“I love the fact that because of music I have met people from all over the world. Even if we do not speak the same language we can communicate through the music we play. I love the fact that music is so versatile and can express absolutely everything, even some emotions that we might find difficult to put into words.”

Mireia Gonzalez Ricart oboe

Born in Valencia, Mireia started playing the oboe at the age of eight at the Conservatori Professional de Música José Manuel Izquierdo of Catarroja before moving to London, graduating in 2015 with a Master of Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

What’s on your playlist right now?
“On my playlist there are a lot of soundtracks from films such as Pearl Harbour, Gladiator, The Da Vinci Code and Pirates of the Caribbean by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt, and Disney’s The Lion King. I also have pop, bachata, swing and classical music like Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4, Chopin ‘s Tristesse, Mozart’s Clarinet and Bassoon Concertos and Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.”

Luke Tucker bassoon

Luke was born in Somerset and attended the junior department of the Royal College of Music (RCM), and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He continued his studies at the RCM and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he graduated with a master’s in Orchestral Artistry.

What’s on your playlist right now?
“Quite the collection! Flicking through my recently played list, we have some Louis Armstrong, Joni Mitchell, Guy Barker, Coldplay, Henry Purcell, Earth Wind and Fire and a slightly worrying amount of ABBA…”

Adam Howcroft horn

Originally from Bridlington, East Yorkshire, Adam attended Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester until 2007 and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
“I play bass in an electro-pop band…”

Etty Wake trumpet

Born in London, Etty started learning the violin aged three, and took up the trumpet at the age of eight. She later began learning the cello and was accepted into the Royal College of Music junior department at the age of 13, studying both cello and trumpet. Her trumpet studies continued with a Bachelor of Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, graduating in June 2015.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
“I’m a keen sailor – I learnt to sail in Aldeburgh, Suffolk but have been very fortunate more recently to have enjoyed racing in a Sigma 33 yacht off the west coast of Scotland. It’s a big dream of mine to complete a transatlantic voyage at some point.”

Nothing is performed at Glyndebourne on 25, 26 and 27 February 2016. To find out more about Southbank Sinfonia, visit

This work is only possible thanks to the donations of our generous supporters. Donate today and double your impact – all donations to Nothing will be matched by the MariaMarina Foundation, meaning every £1 you donate is worth £2.