About Us

The Orchestra

Chamber Academy Orchestra attracts musicians from many different backgrounds and professions and has a ‘no audition’ inclusive approach to making music without compromising on the standards of the performances that we strive for. Current members include musicians, teachers, lawyers, doctors, students, retired professionals, sports people, company directors, gardeners, designers, translators, accountants & financial professionals, IT professionals and many more! So whatever your profession or musical background you are sure to make new friends and gain new musical experiences at Chamber Academy.

Peter Fender (Conductor & Composer)


Having studied in London Peter is currently musical director of the Angel Orchestra, Mid Sussex Sinfonia, Another Opera, the Six Centuries Chamber Choir and Philharmonia Britannica (which he founded in 2007, particularly keen to mix music with other art forms – such as acting, poetry, dance, comedy and video). Aside from his native England he has conducted in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, and Romania.

Recent highlights for Peter have included a Christmas concert working with a dance school, and conducting the première of his piece ‘Blow, Blow’ for choir and smartphones. Forthcoming projects include operas by Rameau and Milhaud, and returning to south-eastern Sicily for an orchestral course in the summer. Peter also leads conducting workshops in London, including days to introduce conducting to non-musicians.

As well as Peter’s composition ‘Blow, Blow’ he recently wrote ‘In the Bee-Loud Glade’ – songs based on four poems by WB Yeats for choir, soloists and orchestra, commissioned and performed by the Blackheath Choir. Peter has also released a recording of his own orchestral compositions. Entitled ‘Speechless’ it includes works with solo parts for cello, sax, and mezzo-soprano. See his website for details.

A short film has recently been made about Peter – also available on his website.


Sofia Presta (Leader)

Sofia Presta started to play violin at the age of eight, with Professor Carola Vizioli.  In 2007 she entered the JuniOrchestra of Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and was soon leading it.  She has performed under conductors Simone Genuini, Ciro Visco, Mario Brunello, Fabio Biondi, Diego Matheusz, Antonio Pappano and Joel Levi, taking part in events like “Ravello Festival”, “Festival dei due Mondi”, and “I violini della speranza”.  She played in Prometheus Chamber Orchestra and World Youth Orchestra.

From 2009 she also studied at “Conservatorio Santa Cecilia” in Rome with professors Camillo Grasso and Maurizio Pepe, completing with full marks in 2016.  She has played first violin in a quartet for the AMREF initiative and as viellist in ensemble.  She has won awards in 2015 at the “San Vigilio in … Canto” national competition and the “Premio Clivis” international competition.  

She is currently studying a Masters degree in violin performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with professor Krysztof Smietana and regularly participates in masterclasses by professors Ruggero Sfregola, Marco Fiorini, Roberto Gonzales-Monjas and Dora Schwarzberg.