Born in London, Robert showed an early interest in classical music and
started violin lessons at the age of seven with Colin Verrall, a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Later studies took him to the Guildhall School and Centre for Young Musicians where he also took up the viola. He decided to specialise on that instrument and entered the Royal College of Music where his main teacher was Frederick Riddle. Whilst at the College he won an Exhibition Scholarship and prizes for viola and chamber music.
After a period of freelancing in London he joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1977 as an Associate Member, becoming a Full Member three years later and Sub-Principal Viola in 1995.
Apart from his long career in the LPO he has played in many chamber
music groups, including the Park Lane Sextet which delved into the
more rarely heard pieces of the repertoire giving some first performances,
BBC broadcasts and concerts in major London venues and music clubs around the country. He took part in the first London Philharmonic chamber ensemble concert in 1992.
Katharine Leek was born in England and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. She was a member of the European Community Youth Orchestra and then worked for a year as solo violist in Music Projects London, whilst playing co-principal viola in the Peterborough String Orchestra. She undertook further study with Bruno Giuranna at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and, in the three years she lived there, worked as principal viola with both the Ensemble Oriol, Berlin, and the European Community Chamber Orchestra. She has been a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra since 1991.
Susanne was born in Germany and started to play the violin at an early age, taught by her father, and played chamber music with her six sisters and brothers. She later went on to play the viola and studied with Guenther Kehr. She became a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Germany and won several prizes in chamber music. After studying with Rainer Moog in Cologne and Hatto Beyerle in Hannover, Susanne studied at the Mozart Academy in Krakow. Following this, she gained a scholarship from the Richard Wagner Society.
In 1997 Susanne took a position with the Bochumer Symphoniker and joined the Aurora Quartet, but moved to England in 2001 to become Sub-Principal Viola with the Northern Sinfonia. Susanne joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005 and also takes an active part in chamber music.
Born in Verona, Benedetto began his musical education on guitar with his father - a rock guitarist. He then began to learn the violin aged 14, converting to the viola when he was 17. Benedetto studied at the Reggio Emilia Conservatoire and in Cremona with Wim Janssen, gaining his diploma from the Mantova Conservatoire.
Prior to joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2000, Benedetto worked as a freelance musician with the major London orchestras, as well as spending two years playing with the Balanescu Quartet. He still has diverse interests in various musical styles, dating back to his early musical education. This interest sees him frequently performing in eclectic concerts, such as with the London Philharmonic Orchestra's Renga Ensemble, which specialises in musical development working with musicians from outside the classical tradition.
Born into a family of musicians in Jerusalem, Emmanuella Reiter-Bootiman began her musical studies with her father. After lessons in violin and piano at the Conservatoire National de Région de Nice, France, Emmanuella switched to viola and in 2001 entered the class of Kim Kashkashian at the New England Conservatory in Boston, USA. There she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, and served for three years as teaching assistant to Kim Kashkashian.
Emmanuella has participated in many festivals worldwide and has performed with artists such as Ida Haendel and Peter Frankl. Emmanuella frequently performs solo and chamber music in France, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and the United States. Her passion for teaching has led her to writing: “Karen Tuttle’s Heritage: The Theory and Practice of Co-ordination”, a technique to help coordinate physical and musical gestures.
Emmanuella was appointed in the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008 and is the Director of the Jigsaw Players Chamber Music Series in Wimbledon, a monthly concert series. Since September 2009 Emmanuella has been teaching at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Laura Vallejo graduated in 1999 in Spain. Four times recipient of a scholarship from the Spanish government, she obtained a Master of Music degree from Yale University in 2001 where she studied viola with Jesse Levine and chamber music with the Tokyo String Quartet. She also received a Professional Studies Diploma in 2003 from the Cleveland Institute of Music under Professor Robert Vernon. Laura has been invited to participate in numerous music festivals including Tanglewood, Spoletto and the National Orchestral Institute USA. She joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004 and serves regularly as guest principal viola with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Navarra in Spain. Laura has also collaborated with the Orquesta sinfonica de Barcelona and the Aarhus Symfoniorkester and has been a viola coach with youth orchestras in Spain and a teacher at "Joaquin Maya" school of Music.
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