The Orchestra - Principals
Alice Billen

Principal Viola

Alice Billen

Alice Billen was born in Worcester and began instrumental lessons when she was four years old. She attended the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Moving to Manchester in 2005 Alice studied on the joint course between the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music, during which time she learnt the viola with Simon Rowland-Jones. On graduation she was awarded a Procter-Gregg prize for performance from the university, and in the RNCM 2009 Viola Prize she won the Rachel Godlee Prize for her performance of the Rebecca Clarke Sonata.

As the violist with the Albion String Quartet, Alice was selected by the Royal Northern College of Music to take part in an exchange with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia, where she subsequently spent three months studying and performing. Further notable performances of the Albion String Quartet include a performance as part of the Alexander Goehr Festival at the Wigmore Hall.

Following a year of postgraduate study she graduated with distinction from the RNCM and and is now in demand as a freelance violist working with orchestras in the North West including Manchester Camerata, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera North.

As a soloist Alice has given recitals around Manchester and the Midlands along with concerto opportunities including in June of 2010 the Telemann Viola Concerto under the baton of Nicholas Kraemer, accompanied by the RNCM Chamber Orchestra.  She is a keen chamber musician and lately joined the Astaria String Quartet.