Victoria Simonsen
London-based cellist Victoria Simonsen has been described by The Strad as “a musician of rare quality” and “beautifully sensitive and composed” by The Times. Victoria grew up in Auckland and her early love of music was encouraged by her concert-pianist mother.

In 2002, having won national competitions including the Young Musician of the Year, Victoria departed New Zealand for postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, England, supported generously by Creative NZ and the Patricia Pratt Scholarship. During her time at the Royal Northern College of Music, Victoria studied primarily with Ralph Kirshbaum and Karine Georgian. She achieved distinctions in both performance and composition and in 2006 graduated with the Audience Prize and the Gold Medal, the College’s highest accolade. She later attended the Guildhall School of Music, London, as a Chamber Music Fellow and continued her studies with Julius Berger at the Leopold-Mozart-Zentrum der Universit├Ąt Augsburg, Germany.

In 2005, Victoria was appointed principal cellist with Opera North and then in 2008 she won a position with the renowned Philharmonia Orchestra, whom she had first heard perform live as a young student in Auckland. She has since toured extensively with the Philharmonia throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and South America with some of the world's leading conductors and soloists. She has also given workshops and coached students as part of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Education Department. In 2014 she was invited to be cello tutor for the European Union Youth Orchestra and she performed as principal cellist in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales' Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, including BBC television and radio broadcasts.Victoria enjoys a varied musical life and is fortunate to be frequently called upon for film and television soundtracks and to appear as guest principal with UK orchestras, in addition to solo and chamber music concerts.

A passionate chamber musician, Victoria is regularly invited to the IMS Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music Sessions and for six years she was the cellist of the Barbirolli Quartet. In January 2015 she was appointed cellist of the Rautio Piano Trio. Victoria’s recital highlights have included Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, BBC Proms Composer Portrait, Kronberg Festival Germany, Leeds International Recital Series, Manchester International Cello Festival, and Victoria Concert Hall Singapore. Awards include being selected for a Purcell Room Solo Debut (Park Lane Group) and Countess of Munster’s Recital Soloist; winning the Royal Over-Seas League Strings Competition, Johann-Andreas-Stein-Wettbewerb, Leonard Rose Prize, Barbirolli Cello Prize, the prestigious Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, and an ESU Scholarship to Banff, Canada.

Highlights for the latter half of 2015 included a 15-concert Chamber Music New Zealand tour, a recording project, and concerts at The Forge and King’s Place (London) with the Rautio Piano Trio, an appearance at the BBC Proms as guest principal cellist of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and international tours playing in the London Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

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