10 for 10: Alumni Q&A with Jennifer MacCallum

10 for 10: Alumni Q&A with Jennifer MacCallum

Jennifer MacCallum

viola, 2014 

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. 

We caught up with 2014 violist Jennifer MacCallum about what she's been up to since completing the Southbank Sinfonia Fellowship.

What motivated you to join Southbank Sinfonia originally?

I first heard of Southbank Sinfonia when a school teacher mentioned this fantastic new orchestra which was helping young musicians bridge the gap between their studies and entering the professional world. They said how much they wished they’d had such an incredible opportunity. Through my college years I kept hearing people say how wonderful it was so, when I graduated, I jumped at the opportunity to apply!

What is your favourite memory from your time in Southbank Sinfonia?
I was very lucky to be part of the orchestra productions of Amadeus at the National Theatre. It was a completely new experience for me as the orchestra was on stage alongside the actors! Feeling the anticipation and excitement whilst waiting in the wings and the thrill of performing for the NT Live performance of Amadeus, which was screened in cinemas across the world, is a memory I will treasure forever.

What have you been up to since completing the Southbank Sinfonia fellowship?
Since leaving Southbank Sinfonia, I’ve been working in West End shows and freelancing with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and London Concert Orchestra. I’m very keen to make music accessible to all and have been bringing concerts to schools and care homes with Live Music Now.

How did being in Southbank Sinfonia help you in your achievements since leaving the orchestra?
During my time with Southbank Sinfonia, we performed in such a huge number of concerts and projects it really showed me how to manage my time well. It’s a great environment to explore different avenues of music and I really felt I had a much better understanding of the kind of career I wanted to pursue and had attained the confidence to go out and achieve it.

What might a typical working week look like for you at the moment?
Like most of my colleagues, the Coronavirus situation has deeply impacted our ability to work. Usually, my week is quite varied: I perform concerts and shows around London and on tour, teach and lead workshops in schools, coach viola sections in youth orchestras and and take part in recording sessions for TV and film.

What goals do you have for the future?
I really miss performing live so am looking forward to the time when I can join my friends and share music in front of an audience again. Until then I’m so thankful that technology is helping us to stay connected!

Do you have a message to pass on to Southbank Sinfonia supporters?
Being part of the Southbank Sinfonia family means so much, now more than ever. The passion and determination it instills in its musicians is vital to the future of music. Southbank Sinfonia unquestionably has been invaluable in making me the musician I am today and I’m so grateful to the supporters for making my time in this wonderful orchestra possible.

Find out more about Jennifer here.