Peter Fender – Conductor, Composer, Teacher
Peter studied – and now principally works – in London. Following a career as a violinist Peter’s focus turned to conducting in 2007 when he founded Philharmonia Britannica, particularly keen to create interesting musical juxtapositions and to mix music with other art forms – concerts of music alongside acting, poetry, dance, comedy and video have followed. Subsequently, as well as being music director of Chamber Academy Orchestra (now Camden Philharmonia Orchestra), Peter has been director of the Angel Orchestra, Another Opera, Mid Sussex Sinfonia Heber Opera and the 6 Centuries Chamber Choir. He has conducted a number of other groups as a guest conductor, conducting in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania aside from his native England. For many years Peter has been keen to promote music by British composers and women composers, and in addition has a strong interest in Baroque music.
Peter leads conducting workshops in London, from days introducing conducting to non-musicians to advanced classes with full orchestra. Courses have ranged through all of the Beethoven symphonies plus many other standard (and not so standard!) works.
As a composer Peter has written a wide variety of music – orchestral, concertos, chamber and choral. A CD recording of some of his own orchestral compositions, entitled ‘Speechless’, was released in 2011 and another of chamber music in 2019. As an arranger and editor he has worked on music by Imogen Holst, Ethel Smyth and Jean-Phillipe Rameau, amongst others.
A short film has been made about Peter – available on his website alongside lots of other information: www.peterfender.co.uk
Sofia Presta – Leader
Sofia Presta started to play violin at the age of eight, with Professor Carola Vizioli. In 2007 she entered the JuniOrchestra of Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and was soon leading it. She has performed under conductors Simone Genuini, Ciro Visco, Mario Brunello, Fabio Biondi, Diego Matheusz, Antonio Pappano and Joel Levi, taking part in events like “Ravello Festival”, “Festival dei due Mondi”, and “I violini della speranza”.
She played in Prometheus Chamber Orchestra and World Youth Orchestra. From 2009 she also studied at “Conservatorio Santa Cecilia” in Rome with professors Camillo Grasso and Maurizio Pepe, completing with full marks in 2016. She has played first violin in a quartet for the AMREF initiative and as viellist in ensemble. She has won awards in 2015 at the “San Vigilio in … Canto” national competition and the “Premio Clivis” international competition.
She is currently studying a Masters degree in violin performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with professor Krysztof Smietana and regularly participates in masterclasses by professors Ruggero Sfregola, Marco Fiorini, Roberto Gonzales-Monjas and Dora Schwarzberg.