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London orchestra leader swaps the hurly-burly for the Aussie beach

Andrew Haveron, co-leader (concertmaster) of the Philharmonia Orchestra, is joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as joint leader. Not  many come back untanned. Here’s the burble.

Andrew Haveron action_credit Paul Muir

photo: Paul Muir

29 January 2013, Sydney — The Sydney Symphony is delighted to announce the appointment of Andrew Haveron to the position of Co-Concertmaster. Currently Joint Concert Master of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Haveron will take up his position with the Sydney Symphony in May 2013.

“We are thrilled that Andrew Haveron will be joining the ranks of the Sydney Symphony alongside our current Co-Concertmaster Dene Olding,” said Sydney Symphony Managing Director Rory Jeffes. “Haveron has a vast amount of orchestral experience, having held concertmaster positions with orchestras throughout the UK including the BBC Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras, plus guest concertmaster appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields and others,” said Jeffes. “He also has a wealth experience as a soloist and in chamber music, holding the position of first violinist of the internationally acclaimed Brodsky Quartet from 1999 to 2007,” added Jeffes.
According to Haveron, there was no question as to the opportunity this position represented for him. “The Sydney Symphony is now regarded as one of the leading orchestras of the world – it attracts the best soloists, conductors and musicians, and unlike many orchestras around the world has the means to undertake significant artistic projects, recordings and touring which is extremely attractive” said Haveron. “I cannot wait to join in with this charismatic and enthusiastic group of wonderfully talented musicians, and to continue my already fruitful working relationship with both current Principal Conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and his successor David Robertson,” added Haveron.


Born in London in 1975, Haveron is considered one of the UK’s most sought after violinists.
He studied at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music and was the highest British prizewinner at the prestigious ‘Paganini’ competition for the last fifty years and also took prizes at the
Queen Elisabeth and Indianapolis competitions.
As a soloist, Haveron has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis, the
BBC Symphony Orchestra with conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, The Hallé, plus City of Birmingham
As first violinist of the Brodsky Quartet (1999 – 2007), Haveron collaborated with artists such as
Anne-Sofie von Otter and Alexander Baillie through to their iconic ‘cross-genre’ work with Elvis
Costello, Björk, Paul McCartney and Sting. Haveron recorded more than 15 albums with the quartet,
many of which received industry awards such as “Diapason d’or” and “Choc du Monde”.
As an orchestral leader, Haveron has received frequent invitations to work with major symphony
orchestras around the world, including leading the ‘World Orchestra for Peace’ at the request of
Valery Gergiev.
In 2004 Andrew received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Kent for his services to
Andrew plays on a violin made in 1709, by Carlo Tononi.

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  1. Haveron certainly has a deserved reputation for being an extremely fine fiddle player, but this seems to be a strange move–lateral at best, if not a step back. Curious if there’s a behind the scenes story.

    • He’s been at the Philharmonia all of five minutes. A surprising move.

      • Malcolm James says:

        He was at the BBCSO for about 4 years, but he very rarely seemed to be leading. Admittedly I only heard them on the radio, but the leader nearly always seemed to be Stephen Bryant.

  2. I wouldn’t consider it a strange move at all. Talented young chap, gets the opportunity to move “Down Under” for a few years to experience a very different continent and professional/personal lifestyle to the musical grind in London. The days of people spending all their working lives in one position are long gone.

    • Marko Velikonja says:

      Indeed. Get to live in Sydney, play in the Sydney Opera House. Good orchestra. Good on ya, mate!

  3. Alexander Hall says:

    There has to be an inside story. Talented orchestral principals are often the greatest prima donnas of all. Why would somebody like David Pyatt, arguably the best British hornist we have, desert the LSO – incontestably the leading British orchestra – for the LPO? It just doesn’t make sense. There are many other examples in the London orchestras which defy rational explanation. “Oh, I needed a change”, is the gloss that most choose to put on it. Not getting your way with section appointments, not being allowed time off to do solo dates, not getting on with colleagues, and, and, and….. – those are often the real reasons. Haveron clearly didn’t get on at the Philharmonia. Why he would want to swop the attractions of London, where he has his own chamber orchestra, for a city on the musical sidelines like Sydney is a puzzle. Sydney – one of the world’s greatest orchestras? Pull the other one, please.

    • Maybe because he’d like to live in Sydney? It’s a beautiful place.

      I know I’m projecting, but I like to think that he’s another one who went through this winter and decided that he couldn’t stand the cold weather for another damned minute.

    • As for the LSO being “incontestably the leading British orchestra” – that’s true now, and has been for more than a decade, but it hasn’t always been true and won’t always be true.

      The holder of the “finest orchestra in London” title tends to change every decade or so, and I’m inclined to think that which orchestra holds the (notional) title depends more on the chief conductor and senior management team than on the particular musicians. (London is full of excellent orchestral musicians.)

      Norman and other Londoners, am I right about that?

      • Hmmmm… it’s a question to which, from where I sit, there is no bombproof answer. But, yes. Player for player, initiative for initiative, management for management, the LSO has led the field for the past 15 years or so. Rivals may quibble that the LSO gets double funding – ACE and City of London – but it’s what they do with the money that sets them ahead of the pack and gives them the biggest brand footprint.

        • Does Colin Davis deserve a good deal of the credit for that – for the quality of the playing, I mean?

          I confess to a bit of surprise that the LSO has held onto its primacy under a hit-and-run chief conductor like Gergiev

          • The LSO is player owned. First credit goes to them, for picking the right conds, managers, programmes, opportunities…

          • Quite right. Especially since there are any number of orchestras whose musicians would not be so enterprising and forward-looking.

            I’d say that, among London orchestras, the OAE deserves similar credit.

            By the way – Note to the OAE, in case anyone there is reading this: Have you considered trying to engage Osmo Vänskä while he seems to have some extra time on his hands? (#MinnesotaOrchestraLockout) He talks about always trying to get at what the composer intended, so I keep wondering what would happen, and what his reaction would be, if he conducted Mozart or Beethoven on instruments like the ones they used.

        • Pira Beresford says:

          LSO incontestably the leading London orchestra? “Incontestably”? Really, perhaps some people need a dictionary.

          When they choose to be they can certainly be as good as anyone anywhere, but they are highly variable and when not in the mood….well…let’s not go there.

          A lot of this is subjective of course, but speaking as someone who attended Salonen’s Philharmonia Lutoslawski/Ravel RFH concert on Wednesday (led by the very fine Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay) the LSO would struggle to match that level of brilliance on a consistent level.

  4. How well is that kind of position paid at the Sydney SO as opposed to the Philharmonia? And how do the costs of living compare between the two cities?

    • why is this anyone’s business? a violinist has made a career and lifestyle decision. End of. No public interest beyond this point.

      • I didn’t ask specifically about Mr Haverton’s motivations, just what it is like to live and work in Sydney as an orchestral musician, compared to what it is like in London (which I know is pretty tough).

  5. Sandra Haveron says:

    All very interesting comments, but as Andrew’s wife I can plainly say that we decided on many levels that this move was the right one for both Andrew and for us as a family with 2 small children. But saying this, Norman is right in saying that the reasons behind our decision really iaren’t public interest. Please stop speculating.

  6. Roger Benedict says:

    As someone who left London over ten years ago to join the Sydney Symphony (I was Principal Viola in the Philharmonia Orchestra from 1991 -2000) I naturally understand Andrew’s decision to move down under – and I am very excited that he will be joining us. The SSO is a very fine orchestra, and anyone who says Sydney is a musical backwater certainly hasn’t been here recently. A decision to move ones family and career across the globe is never taken lightly and whatever the reasons for the Haveron’s decision to accept the orchestra’s offer, the fact remains that a professional musican’s life in London is not all it is cracked up to be. London has some of the best (and certainly most resilient) musicians in the world, but working conditions there fall way short of what are on offer in Sydney (and most other places). And Andrew is certainly not the first Philharmonia musician to have been enticed to Sydney – as well as myself, the orchestra has welcomed Carl Pini (another former concertmaster) and Alex Henery (former co-principal Double Bass) into its ranks.

  7. Everyone at The Purcell School is enormously proud of Andrew Haveron! We were all delighted to hear about his success. He will bring much to the SSO, and Sydney is the most wonderful place to live and work. I studied there years ago myself.

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