Simona Mannu

Note: Simona completed our BA (Hons) in Music (Combined) in 2017.

"Use your time here well and make the most out of your experience"

Simona Mannu

Simon Mannu - BA (Hons) Music (Classical)

Simona Mannu is a cellist and arranger, and third-year Classical student.

Simona has performed with a number of respected groups and artists including the WOW Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall – Southbank Centre, under the artistic direction of conductor Jessica Cottis and comedian Sue Perkins, with the alternative rock quintet Phoria at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, alongside the French singer-songwriter Kat May, collaborations with the film music composers Jack Edmonds and Thom Robson and performances with Collaborative Orchestra (Britain's got Talent 2016).

She has had the opportunity to collaborate with Venezuelan conductor Natalia Luis-Bassa and with former Soft Cell singer, Marc Almond.

Simona successfully graduated in July 2017. 


What has been the most important thing you've learned during your studies?

I would say being organised. My three years studying a degree in Classical Music here have probably been the busiest of my life and I really got involved in as many projects as I could, so had to make sure that everything was fitting in alongside my course. You will definitely need a diary!

What are you planning on doing after graduation?

I’m planning to move to London and start a career as a self-employed musician. Luckily I got a few offers for solo performances and film music orchestral concerts between June and November 2017. I'm looking forward to starting this new chapter, but I won’t burn my bridges with Leeds!

Is there anything you've encountered over the last few years that has really made you push yourself as a musician or anything new that you had not tried before?

All the time! My cello teacher, Alfia Nakipbekova, has always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone by challenging myself and I'll always be grateful for that. I joined the cross-over ensemble ‘New Music Collective’, performed with the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, played gigs in spaces such as O2 Academy Leeds & Leeds Corn Exchange and have often recorded in one of the great studios at the conservatoire. All this was totally new to me and I really had to push myself to go for it.

Simona Mannu

What is the best piece of advice you've been given during your studies?

I would say being told to have the confidence to use your own initiative, and to use the connections and facilities that the conservatoire offers. It has a great reputation in Leeds and beyond, so use your time here well and make the most out of your experience. Another thing I would say is don't forget to be nice and reliable - people won't just choose to work with you based on your talent, but for your attitude too.

What has been the best project / opportunity you've had during your degree?

Touring with Marc Almond for sold out performances at Leeds Town Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London where we performed in front of 3,000 people, and afterwards watching ourselves in a BBC documentary! It felt so surreal and we loved every second of it!

What has been the biggest challenge and how has this helped you develop?

As an older student, the main challenge was to balance all aspects of my life: full-time study whilst working and keeping my personal relationships healthy. Many students have to deal with this and it requires lots of hard work and organisation, but it really pays off. In my case, it significantly helped me to develop a sense of responsibility that I know I will need to keep for the future.

Simona Mannu

What is your favourite memory from your time here?

It's hard to find just one; I have a collection of memories involving all the wonderful people (students, teachers, staff members, dancers, guest artists) who I’ve had the chance to meet, work with, learn from and befriend.

They definitely made the strongest impact in these three years and I really hope these relationships will keep growing after my studies.

What advice would you give to others thinking of applying to your course?

First of all, if music is what you want to do, give yourself a chance to do it. This is a really great place to start from; it's hard work, but the environment is friendly and supportive. Secondly, once you’re here, there will be plenty of opportunities - the web of collaboration happening between pathways is pretty big! Not only is that extremely exciting, but it will also really help you grow as a musician.

How would you describe your experience in three words?


Study BA Music Classical at Leeds Conservatoire

International applicant? Find out more here.

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