To celebrate ten years of the partnership between Southbank Sinfonia and EFG Private Banking, and to highlight how together we have helped musicians from across the world build successful and varied careers, we are presenting 10 for 10: 10 alumni stories over 10 months shining a spotlight on the achievements of our brilliant alumni.
Our first Q&A is with Usman Peguero, a violinist and member of Southbank Sinfonia 2018. Since completing the fellowship, Usman has worked with the groundbreaking Chineke! Orchestra, and has been awarded a full-time contract to play with the Ulster Orchestra.
What motivated you to join Southbank Sinfonia originally?
To live and work in such a multicultural city, where I was sure to draw inspiration from.
What is your favourite memory from your time in Southbank Sinfonia?
Working with maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy was one of my favourite projects. We played under his baton at Milton Court, Barbican and traveled to Guernsey to perform for our supporters. It was a real privilege, especially since he just announced his retirement.
What has been the most exciting thing to happen to you since leaving Southbank Sinfonia?
Getting a full-time job doing what I love. Priceless!
Congratulations on your appointment with the Ulster Orchestra! How’s life in Northern Ireland?
Life is great! The lifestyle over here is calmer than in London, which has been a blessing. This environment encourages me to focus better, I have more time and energy to balance my job and my personal life.
What might a typical working week look like for you at the moment?
It’s always different. I’m usually juggling meetings, private teaching, rehearsals, concerts and community engagements. I do enjoy my days off as well. What never changes is that I walk everywhere, since there is no tube!
How did being in Southbank Sinfonia help you in your achievements since leaving the orchestra?
During my fellowship, I realised we were building up the stamina required to be a full-time musician. I had to learn how to be efficient in order to survive in a tough profession.
What goals do you have for the future?
There are so many. I want to help others to network with other musicians, especially on the international scene. Certainly, there is more potential around to be found. We will see what happens!
Do you have a message to pass on to Southbank Sinfonia supporters?
A massive ‘thank you’ for supporting such an inspiring and enabling institution. I have always felt that Southbank Sinfonia is a big family, including the staff, supporters and all the musicians that have been through the fellowship. Without the supporters, we wouldn’t be able to have these connections.
Find out more about Usman here.