Soraya Vermeulen is an award-winning harpist based in Leicestershire and Greater London.
Soraya graduated in 2014 from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London, with a Masters in Music with Distinction, following a BMus First Class Honours Degree in harp performance. She was also awarded a high Distinction in an LTCL Diploma for Music Teaching.
Born in Leicestershire, and previously a music scholar at Oakham School, Soraya has been playing harp since she was 7 years old. She studied harp under Gabriella Dall’Olio, and studied early music on the triple harp with Frances Kelly. Soraya gained a Leverhulme Arts Scholarship to continue her studies on a Masters of Music Performance course, and was awarded a Musicians Benevolent Fund Postgraduate Performance Award. Alongside these prestigious awards Soraya was also presented with a Penske Automotive Scholarship and City Livery Club Prize for Excellence.
Soraya has won many prizes for her playing in festivals and competitions, including Leicester Young Performer of the Year aged just 13 and the John Marson Harp Prize, (for an outstanding and creative musician), in 2012, leading to a solo recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. During these years she has also participated in many masterclasses with such eminent harpists as Fabrice Pierre, Sylvain Blassel, Letitzia Belmondo and Elizabeth Fontan-Binoche.
Soraya had her concerto debut at St John’s, Smith Square, London, at the age of 15, and has travelled widely with her harp, playing both solo and orchestral works in Spain, Belgium, France and Portugal.
She has played in many prestigious venues in the UK including The Royal Albert Hall, London Barbican, Cardiff Millennium Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall and Festival Hall at London’s South Bank. She has also performed, among others, alongside, Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart, Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Gregory Porter, Pixie Lott, Laura Mvula, Katie Melua and the West End cast of War Horse.
Regularly invited to play for dignitaries, Soraya has performed for members of the Royal family, including Her Majesty the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and also for Lord Lieutenants. She has worked closely with composer Amir Sadeghi, with whom she has recorded a world premiere with the Marson Harp Trio for BBC Television, and also regularly plays as part of a flute & harp duo with Katherine Birtles (Fantasia Duo), a clarinet & harp duo with Christopher Hatton (Clarity Duo) and with Soprano, Erika Wooding (Duo Incanto).
Soraya has a love of orchestral playing and was awarded a place on a mentor scheme with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under principal harpist, Rachel Masters. Her passion for orchestral playing began during her six year position as principal harpist with the CBSO Youth Orchestra, a position she also held with the award-winning Northampton Youth Orchestra from the age of twelve until leaving to start her studies at music conservatoire. Now she regularly performs with many orchestras such as the Leicester Symphony Orchestra and the Bardi Orchestra at Leicester's De Montfort Hall. Annually she performs as the harpist for the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and the for Mountbatten Festival of Music. During such performances Soraya has worked under many eminent conductors including Sakari Oramo, Edward Gardner, Jac Van Steen, Andris Nielson, Claus Efland and Rainer Hersch among others.
A highly popular performer at weddings and corporate events Soraya has played for many prestigious clients, including new launches of BMW and for many recordings such as “Frank Benbini” from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Stompy’s Playground (a twelve-piece ensemble melding the mind bending grooves of electronic dance music and an expansive orchestral sound world).
Not only does Soraya have a very busy performing career but she also has a great passion for teaching, with a very busy private teaching studio. She is the harp teacher for The Pointer Preparatory School, London, Loughborough Endowed Schools, Oakham School, Southwell Minster and Northamptonshire Music Service. Soraya is grateful to be supported by the Sir Andrew Martin Trust, The Gordon Robinson Memorial Trust, The Norman Gill Trust and The Dorothy Johnson Trust.