News Story

Welcome to Sarah Berger

The CBSO has a new tutti cello! Sarah will be joining us for our European tour starting on 4 March. She has worked with us extensively over the last few years, and we can't wait to have her back with us.

Sarah grew up in a musical family in Chicago. First learning piano, she later started playing the cello at school and then soon went on to further her early studies with Sarah Barton.

Surrounded by music in the home, and especially through her inspiring and formative years with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Sarah was quickly drawn to the idea of pursuing the cello professionally. Sarah completed both her Bachelor and Masters studies in cello performance in the United States, first at DePaul University and continuing at the Peabody Conservatory. Her teachers included Stephen Balderston and Amit Peled.

Sarah moved to London for a year in 2016 to play with the Southbank Sinfonia, but quickly felt that the richness of the UK’s music scene had inspired further exploration, and so decided to make it her home. She pursued an active freelance career, primarily focusing on orchestral and session work.

Having lived in Cardiff for a number of years, Sarah is excited to explore what Birmingham and its surrounding areas have to offer!

Welcome Victoria Gill

Victoria Gill will be joining us on a 6-month contract as Tutti First Violin from 4 March to the end of August.

Victoria is a London-born violinist, educated at the Purcell School of Music, and later graduated with a First Class degree in Music from Christ Church, University of Oxford. She finished her further education at the Royal Academy of Music. Across these years, she was under the tutelage of Yossi Zivoni and Philippe Honoré.

Victoria has enjoyed a busy freelance career with numerous ensembles, including the Sinfonia of London, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, and Glyndebourne Sinfonia. She was pleased to join the Salome Quartet in 2023 for the critically acclaimed production Dr Semmelweis (London, West End). She has also performed as a concerto soloist with the Kensington Chamber Orchestra (2021) as a Concerto Competition Finalist with the Oxford Philharmonic (2018).

Victoria plays on an eighteenth-century Widhalm violin, generously on loan from the Harrison Frank Foundation.

News from the Double Bass section

Tom Neil has officially started as Tutti Double Bass to support the bass section!

Fun fact, after playing Strauss' Alpine Symphony with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, Tom was so hooked that he decided to pursue playing the double bass as a career.

A huge thank you to Aisling Reilly who has worked with us as Tutti Double Bass since the beginning of last year. Don't worry, you'll still see her regularly as a freelancer.

Credit: Hannah Fathers