Lydia’s Music Story
Coming from a musical family, with a mum who was a clarinet teacher, Lydia started playing instruments at an early age. By the time she was 5 she already played piano and recorder. Lydia loved playing the recorder in ensembles at school and so her mum suggested to try the oboe so that she could be part of an orchestra. She started playing oboe at age seven, learning with Angela Williams, a private teacher in Hereford, followed by Graeme Adams.
Lydia went to a state secondary school, Aylestone High School which had a “Music Plus” programme. This meant she took GCSE music in Year 9 and AS Level in Year 11, with extra music lessons three mornings a week. In addition to oboe, Lydia did piano to grade 8 whilst at school and continued this as a second study instrument at music college. She now teaches piano as well.
When it came to choices at sixth form, one of the A Levels Lydia wanted to do alongside music was German. This made her look outside her local area as the local sixth form college didn’t offer that subject at the time. She knew about Wells Cathedral School because of Pete Harrison and Simon d’Souza, both teachers at Wells and tutors on the National Youth Wind Orchestra’s Focus course which Lydia attended, so she applied there. Lydia loved boarding at Wells where she was a Specialist Musician. Liz Fyfe was her oboe teacher and during her time there she realised how important music was to her.
After that Lydia studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she was taught by Helena Gaunt, Gordon Hunt, Richard Simspon, Alison Teale, Joe Sanders and Jane Marshall. She then attended the Royal College of Music where she was taught by Chris Cowie, Gareth Hulse, Fabien Thouand and Christine Pendrill. She now has a varied playing career – from orchestras to West End shows to recording for heavy metal bands!
Who is Lydia’s inspiration? Well, all the people she performs with. Being a freelance musician gives her the opportunity to be inspired by different people all the time. It could be the person she’s sitting next to in the orchestra, or the soloist out the front. It could be a singer on stage or the conductor of the ensemble.
Lydia now lives in King’s Sutton near Banbury with her partner (a clarinettist) and their tortoiseshell cat. It is a perfect base to enable them both to teach locally and travel further afield to perform.
She regularly plays oboe and cor anglais with orchestras such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Welsh National Opera. She has also performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and the BBC Concert Orchestra. She is a dep player for Wicked in the West End.
As a soloist, Lydia was a prize-winner at the Barbirolli International Oboe Competition in 2014, and in 2009 she won the Chandos Symphony Orchestra’s Young Musician Competition, leading to a performance of the Strauss Oboe Concerto with the orchestra. A few years ago, she performed Marcello’s Oboe Concerto at St-Martin-in-the-Fields. She has also performed the Vaughan Williams and Mozart oboe concertos with various orchestras.