Meet the Orchestra
Sarah Aaronson OBE 1933 - 2023
The LICO’s predecessor - the London International Orchestra - was founded in 1986 by the late eminent conductor and musicologist Dr Solly Aronowsky and Sarah Aaronson OBE who was instrumental in the orchestra's development and success until her retirement in 2020. Sarah worked tirelessly for many years building an unrivalled reputation for the orchestra, giving opportunities to soloists and orchestral players as well as raising significant sums for many charitable causes. Players were dedicated musicians of all ages, nationalities, denominations and occupations, including doctors, students, lawyers, dentists, scientists, youth prize-winners, as well as professional and ex-professional musicians.
During the period when the orchestra's music was silenced, LIO musicians came together to formulate a plan to create a new orchestra as soon as the situation permitted. The players would once again make music together and our concert activity could become a lasting tribute to the extraordinary work that Sarah had done over the years.
Alexander Walker has pursued a unique path, championing the music he loves, especially in places where it is yet to be heard, conducting pioneering performances all over the world. He has contributed to the rediscovery and re-evaluation of several significant composers with his innovative discography. In 2017, for the Elgar Society honoured him with their highest award, the Elgar Society Medal.
In the UK, he has conducted the BBC Philharmonic (broadcasting on BBC Radio 3), City of London Sinfonia, the New Queens Hall Orchestra and recently making a successful debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in London’s Cadogan Hall. He has also worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting them both in the recording studio and the concert hall, including the prestigious Elgar Birthday concert in Malvern.
His pioneering recordings of the music of Ignatz Waghalter with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, New Russia as well as his cycle of symphonies by Havergal Brian with the same orchestra on the Naxos label have been greeted by both critical and popular acclaim. He has also recorded CDs of music by Robin Walker and with New Russia and Arnold Griller with Musica Viva for Toccata Classics.
Since completing his studies with the legendary Ilya Musin at St Petersburg State Conservatoire, he has worked all over Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and in Scandinavia, where many of his performances, particularly of British music, have been broadcast on National Radio and television. He regularly conducts the Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva, Symphony Orchestra New Russia, the George Enescu Philharmonic, Bucharest and the Russian Philharmonic. Other recent collaborations have included concerts with Prague Philharmonia, the Belgrade Philharmonic and North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted many orchestras in Poland and Romania, as well as working regularly with many orchestras in Finland, Denmark, the Balkans and elsewhere.
He has worked regularly at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, conducting performances of The Nutcracker there, as well as touring with the Royal Ballet to the USA, to the Metropolitan Opera House, Kennedy Center and elsewhere, to the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Opera Theatres in Russia, to Turkey and Asia. He has been Music Director for Swan Lake for the Finnish National Opera and The Nutcracker for the Norwegian National Opera. Alexander has a love of opera, including the major Mozart Operas in his repertoire as well as works by Puccini, Janáček, Verdi, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and Glinka. The opera companies he has worked for have included Opera North, Grange Park Opera and English Touring Opera. As Music Director of Britten’s Turn of the Screw at the Istanbul State Opera, he conducted the first ever Turkish production of one of the composer’s operas. In 2011, he conducted the premiere of Julian Grant’s Prophet and Loss for the Oundle International Festival.
Alexander is a professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire where he conducts regularly, and also teaches conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he also conducts the Junior Sinfonia and Symphony Orchestra.
Caryn Cohen was born in South Africa and studied at The Royal Academy of Music in London with Jean Harvey and Lydia Mordkovitch. She currently enjoys a busy schedule of chamber recitals, orchestral and recording work and music education projects. Caryn leads The Regent Quartet, founed whilst a student at the RAM. Having won The Academy's coveted J B McEwan prize for best quartet the group continues to perform frequently together. Recent recitals include The National Portrait Gallery, The Guildhall, Silversmiths Hall, Cranleigh Arts Centre, Brighton Festival, Cambridge Com Exchange Theatre, Senate House, The Foundling Museum and Eton College Chapel.
She has performed the Mendelssohn, Bruch and Bach Violin Concertos with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Romance and Tchaikovsky Meditation with LIO and Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe at York Minster Abbey.
Recent regular orchestral work includes The Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, RTE Symphony, Welsh National Opera, Brighton Philharmonic and London Children's Ballet as well as recording projects at Air Lyndurst, Abbey Road and Angel Studios.
Caryn is committed to Chamber Music education, coaching groups at South Hampstead High School and University College School, where she also enjoys teaching violin.