Samson Diamond was recently appointed as leader of the Odeion String Quartet and concertmaster of the FSSO. He was principal second violin of the JPO and he is founder member of the jazz-classical band Quattro Fusion, and former leader of the Diamond Quartet.
He graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, where he obtained both Bachelor of Music Honours Degree First Class (2006) and his Master of Music Performance (2007) degree with distinction.
Sharon De Kock is tthe principal second violinist of the FSSO and has been a member of the Odeion String Quartet and lecturer in violin at the UFS since 2008. After studying with Jürgen Schwietering and Gina Beukes (both Julliard alumni), she left South Africa to study in the USA at the age of 17. She is a B.Mus (magna cum laude) and M.Mus graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she received many awards and prizes. She studied under the well-known concert violinist Chee-Yun Kim, Kurt Sassmannshaus and Piotr Milewski, all also Juilliard alumni.
Jeanne-Louise Moolman was appointed in 2008 as principal violist of the FSSO and viola player of the Odeion String Quartet at the University of the Free State. Jeanne-Louise was a founding member of the Rosamunde String Quartet. In 1990 she took part in the first live TV broadcast of serious music in South Africa during the SABC Chamber Music Festival at Mount Grace. Since then she established herself as one of the most sought after viola players in the country. She has performed in different other chamber music combinations with people such as violinists Gerard Korsten and Philippe Graffin, pianists Lamar Crowson and Albie van Schalkwyk, and clarinettist Robert Pickup.
Anmari van der Westhuizen, cellist, was appointed in the quartet and as a senior lecturer in cello at the UFS, in 2008. She is one of the most sought-after cellists in South Africa, both as soloist and chamber musician. After graduating cum laude at Stellenbosch University, she studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Heidi Litschauer and was awarded the Grosses Konzertdiplom with distinction. At the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, working under Maria Kliegel, she received the Konzertexamendiplom.
Peter Guy has been the principal double-bass player of the FSSO (previously the Pacofs orchestra) for more than twenty years. Peter has twice been nominated for Bloemfonteiner of the Year, received the Music Achiever of the Year in Johannesburg, a Centenary Medal from the University of the Free State, Awards from the Premier of the Free State and most recently the Friend of Heidedal Award. All recognition has been due to the success of the Mangaung String Programme.
Chrisna Smit was appointed as principal clarinet player of the FSSO in 2011 after she moved back to Bloemfontein to further her studies at the University of the Free State. She was winner of the woodwind category and also overall winner of the Clerm de Boeck competition in 1991. In 1996 she was appointed as first clarinet of the National Chamber Orchestra in Mmabatho where she stayed for a year.
Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg has been appointed as pricipal trumpet player of the FSSO in 2007. He studied at Stellenbosch, UNISA and the Rotterdam Conservatoire and holds a BAMus, BMus (hons), MMus, DMus, UM, LRSM and UVLM.While studying with Theo Mertens in Holland he also had the opportunity to attend and play at master classes presented by Adolph Herseth, Maurice Andre, Timofei Dokshitzer, Edward Tarr and Peter Maceuse. He competed nationally and internationally and was awarded first prizes in amongst other the ATKV Forte, Oude Meester, Bottineau, Twents Conservatorium Prijs and Mable Quick and was awarded special scholarships by the SABC, NZAV, Van Ewijk Stichting and the CSIR.
Hendri Liebenberg completed his undergraduate music studies at the UFS in 2001, majoring in Trombone performance, Composition and Jazz Improvisation & Arranging. While working as lower brass teacher at the Free State Musicon, he obtained the Post Graduate Certificate in Education at the UFS, and did a year long course in orchestral conducting under the late Christopher Dowdeswell.
After four and a half years as Concertmaster of the FSSO and leader of the Odeion String Quartet, Denise Sutton decided to move back to Pretoria. During the time she was in Bloemfontein, Denise had an enormous influence on the standard of playing in the orchestra and was a huge inspiration for many fellow musicians.