Brought up on the West Coast of Scotland, Helena studied at the Junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and enjoyed many of her formative years as Principal Flute with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Camerata Scotland. Helena moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), graduating with a First Class degree in 2014. After her undergraduate studies at RAM, Helena spent a year in Bordeaux studying with Sam Coles and Jutta Pulcini at the Pôle Supérieur de Musique et Danse which was kindly funded by the Martins Musical Scholarship Fund.
A multiple prize winner, Helena’s awards include first place in the RAM Flute competition, third prize in the British Flute Society Young Artist Competition and the Violet M Wallace Award.
With a keen interest in contemporary music, a highlight of Helena’s studies was performing Stockhausen’s Gruppen with RAM’s Manson Ensemble and London Sinfonietta at the Royal Festival Hall. Helena was subsequently accepted onto the 2014 London Sinfonietta Academy and recently performed with French contemporary music ensemble Proxima Centauri in their The Young Generation showcase.
As a soloist, she gave her Southbank recital debut in May 2015 alongside pianist Timothy End at the Royal Festival Hall. Helena performs regularly throughout London and across the UK both as a solo recitalist and as part of her flute and harp duo, Icaria. This year Icaria were accepted onto the Tunnell Trust Music Club Awards Scheme and looks forward to a tour of Scotland in 2017.
Since graduating in 2014, Helena has worked as an orchestral player with the Philharmonia Orchestra, English National Ballet, Welsh National Opera, St. Petersburg Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Size Zero Opera. She is also on the extras list for the London Philharmonic Orchestra and City of London Sinfonia.
Helena loves being involved with outreach projects and so far, has worked with English Touring Opera, Wigmore Hall Learning and, most recently, with the Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival where she led workshops in primary schools throughout the county.
Helena’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by the Eyre Family Foundation.
What or who inspired you to become a professional musician?
The Beatles were a massive inspiration to me, my Mum bought me their entire collection on cassette tape from a car boot sale. Penny Lane sort of cemented the idea that the flute sounded like a lot of fun! There was always music in our house so I reckon it was my parents who really inspired me as they both love music and always supported me and encouraged me to play.
What’s on your playlist right now?
Usually Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich or Stravinsky – I love Russian music. Lots of folk music – Sufjan Stevens, Sam Amidon and Tigran Hamasyan and I always have Flook, Lau and Michael McGoldrick on the go.
What do you love about classical music?
I love watching live classical concerts as the atmosphere is always electric. It’s an incredible thing to be sitting in an audience of hundreds of strangers who are all listening so intensely and sharing that moment in time together.