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Meet our soloist...


Sam Willsmore grew up in Southend and was involved in the youth music scene from a young age. He owes a lot of his musical development to this time working with the Southend Boys Choir, both South Essex Youth Symphony Orchestra and Southend Youth Orchestra as well as the huge opportunities afforded to him by the Music Department at Southend High School for Boys. He has worked with Southend Symphony Orchestra for almost a decade and is hugely grateful for the experiences he has gotten from the ensemble.


Sam studied Oboe at the Guildhall School with Fraser MacAulay, Gordon Hunt, Jane Marshall and Steve Hudson, and Conducting with Tim Redmond and David Corkhill. Currently studying with Steve Hudson, Lucie Sprague, and Patrick Flanaghan, Sam is enrolled on the MMus Orchestral Performance course at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where he co-founded the multi-award-winning Bute Wind Quintet. He has won the Guildhall School 2021-22 Cor Anglais Prize adjudicated by Christine Pendrill and, in 2023, the Royal Welsh College Oboe Prize adjudicated by James Turnbull. Sam was also a finalist in the 2024 RWCMD Concerto Competition.


Highlights of Sam’s career so far include his performances with the UBU ensemble led by Simon Wills including his radio broadcast premiere on the BBC Symphony Orchestra Total Immersion Frank Zappa concert, performing Mozart’s Gran Partita with members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and being a part of orchestral placements as Principal Oboe, Second and Cor Anglais with BBCNOW, Welsh National Opera and English National Ballet. He has also performed regularly with the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra directed by James Blair. Sam’s solo career has also taken off with several concerto appearances in the last year including Oboe concertos by Vaughan Williams, Marcello and Strauss.


 Sam is grateful to have been awarded a bursary by the Tillet Trust and Colin Keer Trust for his studies this year.

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