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.
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 September 2014 Laura was awarded the Landgraf von Hessen Prize at the Kronberg Academy's prestigious international masterclasses.
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.
During her young life Laura has already had many other prizes and awards bestowed on her. 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. More recently she was awarded the Director's Prize (2012) and the Esther Coleman Prize (2014) for outstanding contributions to the RCM Junior Department.
Highlights of the 2014/15 season include her debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and with Sinfonia Cymru in Shostakvich’s Cello Concerto, performances of the Elgar concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of World War I anniversary concerts, as well as concerts with the London Mozart Players and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. In recitals she will be joined by pianist Tom Poster for an extended tour in January/February 2015, and Alison Rhind in spring and early summer. She also performs with Huw Watkins, with whom she recently formed a trio together with violinist Tobias Feldmann.
Laura lives in Sussex where she is completing her A-levels at her local secondary school and enjoys as much of a teenage social life as her commitment to music allows for. She plays a 1906 cello by Giuseppe Pedrazzini, loaned to her by David & Louise Kaye.
Laura 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)