Guest Soloists 

Aisha Syed Castro, violin


“Virtuoso”- Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania, Frankfurt Neue Presse in Germany, Time Out Magazine and The National in the UAE, Correo Braziliense in Brazil, Lokal-Nachrichten in Bern, Switzerland

"deeply gifted artist" - Ft. Lauderdale Connex in Florida

"one of the youngest and most talented ambassadors of the violin in the world" – Live Out Loud Magazine in Los Angeles, California

Aisha became the first latina to attend the child prodigy Yehudi Menuhin School in England where she also studied at the Royal College of Music with a full scholarship by the Soirée d'Or committee. She has performed all around the world as a soloist in places such as the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Palace of the Grand Duques in Vilnius, the Palacio de Linares in Madrid, the Fontainebleu Palace in Fontainebleu, the National Philharmonic Hall in Vilnius, the headquarters of the Organisation of American States in Washington DC, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Kauffman Hall in New York, the Clairmont Hall in Tel‐Aviv, among many other prestigious venues. 


She has also performed as a soloist in many festivals including the Gaida Contemporary Music Festival, where she gave the world premiere of the Alguirdas Martinaitits violin concerto (which he dedicated to her) at the National Philarmonic Hall with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra in Vilnius, as well as the Fontainebleu Summer Music Festival, by personal invitation of its Artistic Director Phillipe Entremont. She has performed as a soloist with several orchestras, perhaps most notably the National Theater of Brazil Symphony Orchestra and the Dominican Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with numerous conductors including James Brooks, Claudio Cohen, Carlos Piantini, Phillip Entremont, José Antonio Molina, Alvaro Manzano and Mstlav Rostropovich. An accomplished musician, Aisha has won numerous prizes including three Premio soberano Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as Classical Artist Abroad and the Game Changer Award by the Keep Walking worldwide campaign in 2014.


In 2014 she was made the youngest ever Honorary Professor of the Arts Faculty at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo which was founded in 1538 being the first University of the Americas. In May 2015 she became, along with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, an Ambassador for LEALA, founded to promote the Spanish language and Latin American culture across the United States. In 2010 she co-founded in the Dominican Republic the Music for Life Foundation seeking to bring classical music to those who cannot access it.


The violins she performs on are the extraordinary 1690 "Stephens” Stradivarius and an Antonius Pelizon both kindly provided by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins. Aisha is currently on her Fantasy Tour, performing in Europe, Latin America, the United States and the Middle East throughout the 2015/16 season. Aisha is a devout Christian and dedicates all her performances to God.

Oliver Poole, piano


Oliver believes in making the world a better place through music. Whether it be a world premiere, entertaining millions live on TV or a performance of the iconic Goldberg Variations, he delivers what cannot be taught: the finest inner musicality, intuition of a natural composer and an electrifying drive. He has performed both solo & with orchestra at venues & festivals around the world & has been described as having an electrifying stage presence, charisma, talent for communication & improvisation that makes him a performer of unique entertaining talent. He is a visionary on a mission, a charismatic leader, embracing everyone into the majestic world of sound with his poise, artistry and improvised interaction with audiences. 

He first performed with the NYO aged eight, became the subject of numerous press features & live broadcasts aged fifteen, toured Siberia & founded the British registered charity Siberian Appeal at seventeen, was hailed the 21st century Anton Rubinstein after his extraordinary centenary revival of the Russian giant's 3rd piano concerto with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic at nineteen & has since performed at venues, festivals & with orchestras including the Royal Albert Hall, Tuscan Sun Festival, Festival Del Sole, Serenata Festival, Al Bustan Festival, Henley Festival, LPO, City of London Festival, GSO, Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, London 2012, Royal Festival Hall, EU Culture Week, Cadogan Hall, for the British Royal Family, for various charities including UNESCO, Children in Need, UN World Food Programme, Teenage Cancer Trust, DownsideUp Foundation, HemiHelp, Starlight, Desire Tree Foundation, Siberian Appeal, UNICEF, has composed for award-winning plays, pop stars, global TV campaigns, world-renowned visual artists, international charities & initiatives, frequently holds talks & workshops for educational institutions, pioneers world-firsts in music technology and recently exclusively performed for the global launch of Haig Club by David Beckham.


"A True Master Of His Instrument" - 
"Oliver Poole Le Magnifique" - 

Francisco Jimeno, violin 

Francisco completed his Masters Degree in music performance under the guidance on Mayumi Fujikawa and followed classes with Manuel Puig, Michael Thomas, Christopher Blezien, Vasko Vassilev and Yossi Zivoni, among others. He has been awarded in solo and chamber music competitions.

His interest in chamber music made him to lead several ensembles, with performances in venues such as St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Wigmore Hall. He participated in master-classes with members of the Wihan String Quartet, the Danish String Quartet and the Carducci Quartet.

He is passionate about contemporary music. His collaboration with David Bozzo has as a result a violin concerto, premiered in London in March 2015, a CD with the pieces for solo violin of this Catalan composer and pieces for violin and piano, already edited. He also enjoys with the music of the Argentinian composer Claudia Montero.

He is developing a freelance career in London. He has been leading some orchestras, played with members of relevant ensembles and in the most important venues. Actually, he is the leader of the London City Orchestra.

Francisco has a Degree in Humanities from the Universitat Jaume I, where he was formerly a lecturer in Spanish Contemporary History. He is now enrolled in further Doctorate studies in Spanish Contemporary History.


Pierre Frapier, violin

Born in France, Pierre Frapier gained his final diploma (first prize) at Montpellier Conservatoire at the age of 15. He has been a pupil of Constantin Bogdanas, (Enesco quartet, assistant professor at Paris Conservatoire) and Rodika Bogdanas. In 2008 he entered the Superior Musical Institute (IMEP) in Namur, Belgium, studying in Marc Danel’s class.


In 2010 he entered the Royal College of Music in London as a Foundation Scholar holder studying with the internationally known pedagogue, Prof. Itzhak Rashkovsky. He has attended masterclasses with Ivry Gitlis, Silvia Marcovicci, Hagai Shaham, Renato Zanettovich, Ani Schnarch and has performed in many different venues around the world, such as Opéra comedie de Montpellier, Théatre de Nancy, Auditorium de Flaine, France; Kuhmo Arts Center, Finland; Teatro Braluz, Italy; Piotr Stoliarsky School Audtorium, Ukraine; Tel-Aviv Opera House, Israel; Studzinsky Hall, US; and Cadogan Hall foyer and other venues in the UK.


Semi-finalist of the 2013 Rodolfo Lipizer and the 2014 Henri Marteau violin competitions, he has been awarded another scholarship and award from RCM to pursue his master studies with Prof. Itzhak Rashkovsky. He currently plays a Jacob Fendt violin c. 1830.

Alicia García-Arroba Muñoz, viola

Born in 1988 in Madrid (Spain), Alicia began playing viola aged 8 at the Conservatory of Music Arturo Soria with Silvia Villamor. In 2007 she completed her studies with the highest qualifications in viola and chamber music. The same year she started her undergraduate at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid with Alan Kovacs, Josep Puchades and Luis Llácer. Last year she finished her Master of Music in orchestra performance in Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Krzysztof Chorzelski. She also took master classes with musicians such as Paul Coletti, Gina Warnik, Thomas Riebl, Pedrac Katanic and Tatjana Masurenko among others.


At 13 she began to participate in various youth Orchestras. From 2006 was a member of the Youth Orchestra of the Community of Madrid, participating in numerous concerts and academic activities including tours around Mexico, El Salvador, Vietnam, Russia, France and Spain. From 2010 she combined her studies playing in professional orchestras like ORCAM (Symphony Orchestra of Madrid) and being part of the musical “Les Miserables”. Last year she had the opportunity of playing with the LSO as part as a collaboration with the GSMD.


Alicia is also a keen chamber musician; co-founder of the Scorrevole Ensemble, she has played live with them for the RNE (National Radio of Spain).

Adrian Somogyi, clarinet

Adrian Somogyi, 26, was born and raised in Hungary. In 2005 he joined the Ernst von Dohnanyi Conservatory of Music, Veszprem, studying under Peter Molnar and Csaba Klenyán. He then continued his studies at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, where he studied with Gabor Mihaltz and Istvan Varga. In 2013 Adrian gained a Masters in Orchestral Performance from the Royal College of Music. Currently he is completing his Artist Diploma with Timothy Lines, Barnaby Robson, Richard Hosford, Colin Lawson and Janet Hilton in the RCM.


Adrian is a dedicated chamber musician. His wide experience includes many performances with the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra. In 2012, Adrian played the Prokofiev Quintet at the Festival Hall, as part of the LPO’s Prokofiev Festival. As an active member of the Cataleya Quintet, Adrian had the opportunity to perform in exciting venues i.e. the Elgar Room of the Royal Albert Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre and at the Boconnoc Estate, Cornwall. Adrian also has played the Hans Gal Clarinet Quintet at the Schwerin Music Festival, Germany.


In 2014 February Adrian has performed as a soloist with the RCM Symphony Orchestra in the Arco di vento by Ivan Fedele.

Zoé Saubat, cello 

Studying at London’s RCM, Zoé regularly leads the cello section of their Philharmonic Orchestra, String Band and Symphonic Orchestra. After obtaining her Diplôme d’éducation Musicale with Honours from Bayonne Conservatoire aged fifteen, Zoé studied under Romain Garioud and Hélène Dautry at the Paris Conservatoire. She graduated con lauda in June 2011, winning First Prize at the UFAM competition in Paris.


Zoé is passionate about contemporary music and its composition, having worked with composers Philippe Hersant and Edith Canat de Chizy. She also took part in a contemporary dance creation, ‘La Follia’, touring all of France with Compagnie Chantier. As a comitted chamber musician, Zoé created the Kliho duo with pianist Laïla Barnat. The two young musicians have performed in France, Denmark and London in various masterclasses and festivals.

Nazrin Rashidova, violin 

Soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral director, Nazrin Rashidova’s musical acumen is creating a unique place for her in the music world.


The Azerbaijani-born, British violin virtuoso made her solo debut at the age of 3 in Baku and was awarded a Gold Medal by the Cairo Opera House for an exceptional violin recital three years later. And establishing FeMusa in 2008 – Britain’s first female chamber orchestra in 60 years, is merely the latest string to an already accomplished bow.


Nazrin was accepted to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 15 where the previous principal said she was “one of the most talented musicians to have walked through its doors in 40 years.” She studied with Professors Gruenberg, Andrievsky and Mordkovitch. A prizewinner of several international competitions, she has performed in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and in Japan. She has also played for Royalty and other dignitaries. 

Nazrin’s debut CD released on the Naxos label in June 2013 was successful launched at the Wigmore Hall to critical acclaim. Her second CD of Azerbaijani works arranged for violin and guitar is to be launched in King’s Place in March 2014.

   Affiliated Conductors

Gerardo Gozzi

Gerardo Gozzi was born in Brescia, Italy, in 1988. He studied clarinet, saxophone, composition and choral conducting at Conservatorio Luca Marenzio in Brescia. He continued Composition with Maestro Azio Corghi at Fondazione Romano Romanini in Brescia and Accademia Chigiana in Siena, where he earned the Merit Diploma in summer 2011.


Gerardo earned a Masters in Composition at the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied Composition under the guidance of Dai Fujikura and Conducting as a Second Study with Natalia Luis-Bassa. His studies at the RCM were generously supported by the Leverhulme Postgraduate Studentship.


In September 2013 Gerardo began a Composition PhD at the Royal Academy of Music with Simon Bainbridge researching on orchestration according to rehearsal’s needs and supported by the AHRC Scholarship. As an instrumentalist Gerardo plays Piano, Saxophone and Clarinet. He has performed in different ensembles including duos, saxophone quartets, wind orchestras and symphonic orchestras. During his studies at the Royal College of Music he conducted several concerts and workshops of contemporary music. His compositions have been performed in several prestigious venues in Italy, UK, France and China. In may 2013 his ballet A Fruitful Death has been performed by dancers of the English National Ballet at The Place Theatre in London, choreographed by Makoto Nakamura.

Richard Miller

Richard Miller is currently studying composition at the Royal College of Music under Prof. Kenneth Hesketh. Since joining the composition department there, he has twice written pieces for the New Ensemble and a brass trio for the RCM’s Contemporary Music in Action scheme. 


He is also a passionate conductor, currently holding the posts of Assistant Conductor of the RCM Film Orchestra, Guest Conductor of the Blackfriars Sinfonia and Artistic Director of the Coventry Road Chamber Choir, who he directed in a well-received performance of Vaughan Williams’ ‘A Sea Symphony’ at the age of 18, shortly before moving to London (the performance is due to be repeated in the summer of 2014 for the anniversary of Commander Johnny Walker). 


Outside of his studies Richard is a keen singer, currently holding a choral scholarship at St John’s Church, Notting Hill.

Patrick Bailey | Mentor Conductor

Patrick Bailey has conducted concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia (Music of Today), Britten Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, ViVA, English Sinfonia, Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra and many others. He has appeared at festivals in Aldeburgh, Brighton, Bath and Cheltenham, broadcast concerts and opera for BBC Radio 3 and recorded for NMC and Tartan Film.


From 2000-2008 he was regular conductor and, from 2004, Music Director of The Opera Group with whom he conducted numerous new productions and tours including Blond Eckbert (Royal Opera House), The Shops (world premiere, Bregenz Festival, Austria) and Street Scene (Young Vic & winner of the Best Musical at the London Evening Standard Awards). Other notable performances include the UK premiere of Nono’s Prometeo at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Sinfonietta.

Patrick taught conducting at the Royal College of Music from 2002-2008 and was Head of Conducting at the London College of Music and Media from 1997-2006.

Peter Thomas | Conductor 

His musical career has been as soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader and as conductor.

As a soloist his most prestigious concerts were performances of the Elgar concerto with Simon Rattle and the CBSO, also performing with them concertos by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Mozart. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with some of the most distinguished musicians such as Jacqueline du Pre, Mistislav Rostropovich, Nigel Kennedy, Steven Isserlis amongst others as well as being a member of a world class quartet (Allegri) and a prize winning Piano Trio (Orion).


As an orchestral leader he has had as distinguished and varied career of any concertmaster, having been leader of The Philharmonia Orchestra in the era of Guilini, Sanderling and Svetlanov, and the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (where he was invited by Simon Rattle in 1990 to become their Leader). His guest leading engagements have included the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and many orchestras in Spain. As well as leading many concerts for the Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonicoa, he recently conducted them in six concerts of the works of Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga.



He started his conducting career first with the training of young aspiring professionals at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and at the Birmingham Conservatoire. As a trainer of youth orchestras Peter Thomas has a large experience of working with young musicians from many countries. The most important of these projects was his appointment for three years as string advisor to Claudio Abbado’s Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchestra. His most recent activity with international students was in 2010 and 2011 with the I-Culture orchestra in Poland, an orchestra drawing students from the former Soviet satelite countries. Peter Thomas’ professional conducting activities with the CBSO, and its chamber orchestra the Birmingham Ensemble have included works by Mozart Beethoven, Elgar, Richard Strauss and Strauss family, Elgar, Britten, Tippett, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Schoenberg and Webern, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky.

© 2019 London City Orchestra

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