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Laura van der Heijden, 1997

Winner of the BBC Young Musician Competition in 2012, cellist Laura van der Heijden has already made a name for herself as a very special emerging talent.


Born in England in 1997 as the youngest daughter of a Dutch father and a Swiss mother, Laura’s musical studies started on recorder at the age of four. After learning with Marina Logie on cello, Laura had gained ABRSM grade 8 distinctions on both cello and piano by the age of ten.

Laura's first public performance as a cellist was at the age of 9 with the Jupiter Chamber Orchestra. From 2005 to 2014 Laura was a student at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, where she learned piano with Emily Jeffrey and participated in many ensembles. Since 2008 Laura has been a student of the renowned British-Russian cellist Leonid Gorokhov. Additionally, she is participating in masterclasses with David Geringas, Ralph Kirshbaum and Miklós Perényi.

During her young life Laura has already had many prizes and awards bestowed on her. At the age of 15, Laura was awarded the title of BBC Young Musician 2012, performing Walton’s Cello Concerto with Kirill Karabits and the Northern Sinfonia at The Sage, Gateshead. In 2010 she won “First Prize with Distinction” and a special prize in the final of the Swiss National Youth Music Competition, which led to her performing the Boccherini Cello Concerto in G with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra at Zurich Tonhalle. She was also the 2011 winner of the Marjorie Humby competition at the Royal College of Music, the 2011 Beckenham Musician of the Year and 2012 Woking Young Musician of the Year. She was awarded the Director's Prize (2012) and more recently the Esther Coleman Prize (2014) for outstanding contributions to the RCM Junior Department. In September 2014 Laura was awarded the Landgraf von Hessen Prize at the Kronberg Academy's prestigious international masterclasses.

Last season Laura gave her debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and with Sinfonia Cymru in Shostakvich’s Cello Concerto. She also performed the Elgar concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of World War I anniversary concerts, with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and with the London Mozart Players who recently named her “Young Artist in Residence”. In between she gave many sold-out recitals, particularly in this country but also abroad, with pianists Tom Poster and Alison Rhind.

After completing her A-levels, Laura is currently spending a gap year dedicated to the cello. It includes her debuts in Germany, New Zealand and Australia, performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, extensive recital tours in the UK, as well as new chamber music projects with Peter Limonov, and with the trio she formed with Huw Watkins and violinist Tobias Feldmann. Furthermore, Laura was recently chosen by the Orpheum Stiftung in Switzerland, a foundation encouraging and assisting exceptionally talented young instrumental soloists. Under this umbrella she will appear in recital with Fazil Say at Zürich Tonhalle in September 2016. In October 2016 she will join St. John’s College, Cambridge to extend and deepen her understanding and knowledge of music.

Laura plays a 1906 cello by Giuseppe Pedrazzini, loaned to her by David & Louise Kaye, and is an Ambassador for both the Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts and Brighton Youth Orchestra.


“The beauty of Laura van der Heijden’s playing lies in the fact that she has a wonderful expressivity, but never, ever overdoes it, and the pianissimo ending of the concerto was enchanting, ending with just the solo cello, captivating the audience…” (Jane Shuttleworth / Bachtrack / May 2012)

“…a completely extraordinary performance of incredible creative intensity…” (Nicholas Daniel / BBC3 Radio / May 2012)

“…mesmerising performance of the rarely-played Walton Cello Concerto…” (Richard Morrison / Times / May 2012)