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Laura van der Heijden, 1997

At the age of 15, cellist Laura van der Heijden 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.


Born in England 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 grade 8 distinctions on both cello and piano by the age of ten.

In 2005 Laura joined the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music, where she enjoys playing music with her peers. Since 2008 Laura has been a student of the renowned British-Russian cellist Leonid Gorokhov. They perform together in the UK and in Germany.

In 2010 she won “Erster Preis mit Auszeichnung” (full marks) 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 Kammer Orchestra at the Zurich Tonhalle in January 2011.  She was also the 2011 winner of the Marjorie Humby competition at the Royal College of Music, 2011 Beckenham Musician of the Year and 2012 Woking Young Musician of the Year and was awarded the 2012 Director's Prize at RCM Junior Department.

Laura's first public performance as a cellist was at the age of 9 with the Jupiter Chamber Orchestra. Since then, she has given many recitals and played with various orchestras.

Last season saw her perform Walton’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Cadogan Hall) and Guernsey Symphony Orchestra. Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Colchester, Worthing and Woking Symphony Orchestras, Haydn Concerto in C with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and Vivaldi Concerto for 2 cellos with Leonid Gorokhov.

This season includes performances of the Elgar concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Royal Festival Hall) and the London Mozart Players, performances of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A minor with the English Chamber Orchestra, Dvorak Concerto with Het Gelders Orkest, Haydn Concerto in C with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, alongside recitals with Huw Watkins, Alison Rhind and Mana Oguchi.

Highlights for next season include performances of the Elgar cello concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Shostakovich cello concerto no. 1 with Sinfonia Cymru and Haydn D concerto with the European Union Chamber Orchestra.

Laura lives in Sussex where she visits her local secondary school (Sackville in East Grinstead) and enjoys as much of a teenage social life as her commitment to music allows for.

She plays a 1935 cello by Galileo Arcellaschi.


“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)