Susanna was appointed as Director of the Dorset based Wessex Youth Orchestra in 2007. Mindful of the orchestra’s long history of successful concerts, festival appearances, charity fundraising performances, foreign concert tours and TV and Radio broadcasts, Susanna has set about not only continuing but building upon these WYO traditions, and today the WYO is one of the most successful regional youth orchestras in the UK.
Like most professional musicians, Susanna has fond memories of her time in youth orchestra and this has fired her enthusiasm to pass-it-forward to all young players, at all levels. Whilst regularly tackling ambitious mainstream symphonic repertoire, foreign concert tours and National Festival of Music for Youth appearances, Susanna also brings to the podium her experience of working in the orchestral profession; performing in the some of the most notable concert venues in the world, working with world-class conductors and soloists, she can offer insights into international touring, recording work including for film and TV, and perhaps most importantly, quite simply - how to be professional; an invaluable lesson that all youngsters can use in whatever career they choose to pursue
At the WYO, Susanna has introduced a Mentor scheme, allowing WYO members the chance to learn (under her guidance) how to coach and work with the younger members of the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians, she has arranged for access for the WYO members to sit in or watch professional rehearsals and performances, she has made regular sectional training with professional orchestral players an integral part of the WYO’s schedule, and ensures a plentiful supply of solo opportunities for the talented young musicians under her care.
WESSEX YOUTH ORCHESTRA
As a result, the Wessex Youth Orchestra now attracts some of the most talented young musicians from across the three counties of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. The orchestra has appeared at the National Festival twice in the last 4 years, coming away on both occasions with the most prized certificates of the day for “Performance Practice” – given in recognition of outstanding musical achievement, subsequently it has also twice been invited to perform in the Schools Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and the WYO has repeatedly been praised for its bold and exciting orchestral sound, wide variety of tonal colours, rhythmic control and professional approach to performing.
Susanna continues to develop new plans and projects for the orchestra and its members, ensuring that during her time with the WYO, this vibrant youth orchestra will continue to thrive and provide top quality orchestral training for the young musicians on the South Coast.