Lily Whitehurst, BMus Violin

Lily Whitehurst pic

How are you getting on with your studies?

Really well. I’m learning with Yossi Zivoni. He’s brilliant – he’s really helped me come on since I’ve been at the College and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.

I’ve just been placed on BBC Philharmonic Professional Experience Scheme. The week before last I had my induction and we went to go play and meet our mentors. Tomorrow I’m going to actually play with them and I’ll be in there for the rest of the week.

What was your background and why did you choose the RNCM?

I’m from South Wales, and my mum was a violinist and she started to teach me. Then I learned from Jim Walker from the age of 8 to 18. He was amazing.

Since I was really small I wanted to go to London, that was the only place for me and I was auditioning elsewhere for the experience. So when I got a place in London I was almost convinced I was going to go there. I had my RNCM audition the next day, and I actually wasn’t going to come, but my mum convinced me to come up. I just fell in love with it. I was such a friendly atmosphere. My teacher teaches at both places, so it was a no brainer really.

What do you think of Manchester?

I absolutely love it. It’s quite a buzzing place. The Bridgewater Hall is a 15 minute walk away, so I go to a lot of concerts there. There are lots of things in the Northern Quarter. Camerata did things in a bar the Northern Quarter. It’s quite cool; you’ll find things where you won’t expect them. I’ve had free tickets from College to go see artists in the Ritz – that was great. You can go to see really good musicians playing. There’s always something to do.

The Students’ Union organises lots of parties and activities. There’s probably about three or four big nights a term. It creates a sense of community in the College.

What have been the highlights for you so far?

In my first year I got to play in a public masterclass with Renaud Capuçon. It was the first one I’d ever done so it was quite a daunting experience. I learned a lot. It inspired me and I still use what he told me today.

Last year, we met for a couple of weeks to do the String Orchestra version of Verklärte Nacht with Henk Guittart. It was amazing because he worked really closely with Schoenberg and knew his family really well, so he has a real affinity with this piece. He was telling us things that were so inspirational. Everything he told us to do, we’d have little light bulbs popping up, like ‘I’ve never thought of that before’. It was amazing. He’d contacted the Schoenberg family to let them know how we were doing with it and they’d send messages back to him and pass on their best. Being connected the Schoenberg family- that was really cool.

What are your career aspirations?

I’ve wanted to be an orchestral musician since I can remember. That’s been my dream for a long time. Freelancing would be great, but I would love the community of being in an orchestra. I feel like I’m getting there with the placement at the BBC Philharmonic orchestra. The placement schemes, we have so many to choose from, are a massive stepping stone into the profession.

The orchestral team also contacted the Hallé, and I went in and played with them for one gig. The orchestral and Strings department are helping me to start paving my way into that profession.