…… Meet Our Leader

MSO’s leader is Charis Sykesud 

Charis Sykesud began playing the violin at eight years old, having already discovered her love for music through listening, singing, playing the piano, and practising ballet. She has since studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Lorraine McAslan and Susan Collier as her violin teachers and Francesca Bruns and, later, Winnie Wu as her piano teachers. Charis is currently taught the violin by Nathaniel Vallois.

Charis attended the Watford Grammar School for Girls where she was selected to take part in a one to one masterclass on Beethoven’s Spring Sonata, op. 24, with Tasmin Little. She read her degree in Music at the University of York, during which she workshopped Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, op. 108, with Jack Liebeck in preparation for her final recital. As an undergraduate, Charis particularly enjoyed exploring composition and performing in recitals, both on the violin and on the piano. Having graduated, she spent the next year at the university achieving her Postgraduate Diploma in Performance Practice on the violin, under the tutelage of William Leary. For her Diploma, she worked on solo repertoire by Beethoven, Janáček, Dvořák and Tchaikovsky.

Charis is a founding member of the Jochama Piano Trio, an ensemble in which she pursues her love for chamber music. The trio has performed works by Hummel, Schumann, Smetana and Shostakovich.

Charis’ greatest experience, thus far, lies in leading orchestral works. She has led both Hertfordshire Schools Symphony Orchestra and the prestigious Hertfordshire County Youth Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stark, in repertoire including Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. She was the leader for the University of York’s Symphony Orchestra in Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7, amongst other pieces. Charis has also been the leader of the Watford Youth Sinfonia since it was established in 2014, performing works such as Mahler’s Symphony No.9 and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. In March 2017, she was soloist in Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No.3, and in July 2018, Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy. The WYS accompanied her on both occasions.

Having enjoyed leading the orchestra in its 2017/18 season, Charis will be performing Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Dvorák’s Violin Concerto with the MSO this season.  Charis’ love of music and playing the violin is such that she enjoys playing for orchestras, chamber music and solo performance. Her orchestral experience has taken her on tour to Berlin and Madrid and she hopes to have many more opportunities to travel as a musician.

Charis has played the violin in orchestras under a number of well-known conductors including Colin Davis, Peter Stark and Andrew Gourlay. She has played the violin at some notable venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican, The Royal Academy of Music’s Duke’s Hall and The Watford Colosseum. Whilst at school, Charis played her violin on stage at the Watford Palace Theatre in a couple of plays requiring live music alongside the actors.

Charis holds the Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music on both the piano and the violin.