The long-standing retiring members have a combined total of 160 years performing with the orchestra

Untitled design (37)

Clockwise from top left: violist Richard Wallace, violinist Alex Marks, oboist Jonathan Small, violist Rob Shepley, violinist Sophie McQueen, percussionist Matthew Brett and violinist Joana Rodrigues.

Read more news stories here

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra bids farewell to long-standing string players this year, as it announces the newly appointed members ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The retiring string players are principal viola Rob Shepley, who joined the orchestra in 1984; section player viola Richard Wallace, who joined the orchestra in 1979; and section player first violin  Alex Marks, who joined the orchestra in 1985.

The new string players joining the orchestra are Sophie McQueen as associate principal second violin no.2 and Joana Rodrigues as section player second violin.

McQueen studied jointly at the Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University with Richard Deakin and the Royal Academy of Music with Clio Gould. She is a member of Manchester Camerata and has worked with the Scottish Ensemble, Academy of St. Martin-In-The-Fields, Berkeley Ensemble, London Contemporary Orchestra and London Sinfonietta.

Rodrigues is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is currently a fellow for the Philharmonia MMSF Instrumental Fellowship Programme 2023/2024. She has performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra and Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa.

In addition to the string section musical chairs, the orchestra has also announced the retirement of principal oboe Jonathan Small, who joined in 1984, and the appointment of Matthew Brett as section leader percussion.

Best of Technique

In The Best of Technique you’ll discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers. It’s packed full of exercises for students, plus examples from the standard repertoire to show you how to integrate the technique into your playing.


The Strad’s Masterclass series brings together the finest string players with some of the greatest string works ever written. Always one of our most popular sections, Masterclass has been an invaluable aid to aspiring soloists, chamber musicians and string teachers since the 1990s.


American collector David L. Fulton amassed one of the 20th century’s finest collections of stringed instruments. This year’s calendar pays tribute to some of these priceless treasures, including Yehudi Menuhin’s celebrated ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri, the Carlo Bergonzi once played by Fritz Kreisler, and four instruments by Antonio Stradivari.