New Leader announcement

11 January 2019

After a two-year long international search, we’re excited to announce that we have appointed Maia Cabeza as our new Leader. She will share the position with our current Leader Alexandra Wood, joining the core group of seventeen Principal Players at Aurora. Her first official concert as Leader will be Dark with Excessive Bright (5 April) at Kings Place, where we give the UK premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s new double-bass concerto and perform with pianist Yeol Eum Son in our Mozart’s Piano series.

In her own words, Maia writes, ‘I’m extremely excited to be appointed Leader of Aurora! The orchestra is not only a superb ensemble made up of incredible musicians, but also a collective with a creative artistic vision and a positive, friendly spirit. I look forward to a bright future with Aurora!’

Our principal conductor Nicholas Collon writes, ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that after a long international search for a new leader, we have appointed the excellent violinist Maia Cabeza to the post. We all remember Maia’s first project with the group on tour in Spain, playing Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde arranged for single instruments. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear up close her immaculate playing, so expressive, cultured and musical. Since then she has led the orchestra in many projects of different sizes, including memorably in 2018’s performance of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony from memory at the BBC Proms. She is an extremely thoughtful musician who shares Aurora’s ethos in music-making, and who will bring a huge amount to the orchestra over the following years.’

A Canadian-American violinist, Maia enjoys a multi-faceted performing career, and came to international attention as the second-prize winner of the 2018 Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig and winner of the 2013 Leopold Mozart International Violin Competition in Augsburg. As a soloist, she has performed with orchestras including the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Munich Radio Orchestra, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and Detroit Symphony. In 2016, she released a critically-acclaimed debut CD on Oehms Classics which features contrasting solo and chamber works by Mozart and Schnittke.

Passionate and dedicated to chamber music, Maia has performed at festivals such as Marlboro Music Festival, Lockenhaus, Rheingau, Kronberg Chamber Music Connects the World, Krzyżowa Music and Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music. In these festivals and others, she has had the opportunity to collaborate with distinguished musicians such as Nicolas Altstaedt, Vilde Frang, Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, Christian Tetzlaff, Dénes Várjon and various members of the Cleveland, Guarneri, and Juilliard String Quartets.

In addition to Aurora, Maia performs with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, is Principal Second of Kammerakademie Potsdam, and has guest led orchestras such as Czech Philharmonic and Haydn Philharmonie.

She received her Bachelor’s Degree at the Curtis Institute of Music and was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic “Karajan” Orchestra Academy between 2012–2014. She completed her masters at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in the class of Antje Weithaas. Maia performs on a Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi violin (circa.1750) on loan by the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank.

We’re very excited to welcome Maia to the Aurora family.