Victoria Lyon - Violin
High-achieving, musically nurtured almost from the cradle and a descendant of one of the greatest opera stars the world has ever known, Victoria Lyon dares anyone to suggest that Escala’s success is based on glamour.
“I don’t think anyone will ever know how much dedication and sacrifice has gone into what we do. People think that we might be doing well because we’re four young girls.”
Victoria is one of six children born to a family – her father works in marketing - that lived in the West Country. All played string instruments from an early age and all won scholarships to music schools.
The Lyon siblings comprised three violinists, two cellists and a viola player. They would frequently play together as a sextet, giving small concerts in country churches or at music festivals.
Victoria was first a music scholar at Salisbury Cathedral School and then at Wells Cathedral School. She also joined the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain before going to the Royal College of Music, where she was leader of the symphony orchestra. She left after five years - which included a two-year spell as an extra with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - with a postgraduate diploma.
The siblings are not the only musical ones in the family. Victoria’s great-great grandmother was Jenny Lind, the sensational 19th century Swedish soprano – as much of a star then as Maria Callas was to be in the 20th century. Known as ‘The Swedish Nightingale’. Lind settled in Britain and is commemorated in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.
After the RCM, Victoria, then 23, joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as its youngest player but her freelance work led to Escala and she found the competing demands of both too much.
“I loved the Royal Philharmonic and made great friends there. It was a very good experience for me and it helped my playing as a whole. It was difficult to leave but the other members were very supportive and said that at my age I couldn’t turn down a chance like Escala.
“I don’t listen to classical music much – I prefer contemporary music and I’m listening to lots of things at the moment from Duffy and Amy Winehouse to The Eagles – but I do love performing both classical and modern. It’s always a bit difficult to juggle the two but I am so glad that I can do both.”