• FSSO 3
  • FSSO 2
  • FSSO-2011-Messiah
  • FSSO 1
  • FSSO-2011-Messiah-2
  • FSSO2011

Orchestra Members

Concert master

Samson Diamond


Samson Diamond was appointed in 2013 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.


Samson got his first taste of music in Soweto where he studied with founder director of Buskaid, Rosemary Nalden and further on with Richard Ireland, Pauline Nobes and Philippe Graffin. He matriculated with distinction in music from the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg in 2001. Samson won many prizes including the prestigious 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, the Charles Hallé Award; the RNCM Eric Nicholson Bow Prize; the RNCM Major Entrance Award, Edward Heaton Scholarshp; and the RNCM Philip Newman Violin Prize.

As a freelance orchestral player in the UK, Samson played in the Hallé Orchestra, the Academy of St Martins in the Fields, BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, and the Academy of Ancient Music. He has been heard in concert in prestigious venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie in Berlin, Bela Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, and the Musikverein in Vienna, with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner. He has gained experience under distinguished conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Gianandrea Noseda, Yan Pascal Tortellier, and Stanislav Skrowacevski.

With the Halle Orchestra and the Academy of St Martins in the Fields, Samson has toured South America, Germany, and Austria; he was co-leader of the Freedom 200 orchestra at the UK bicentenary commemoration service for the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade act at the Westminster Abbey; he was leader of the internationally acclaimed Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble from its inception in 1997 participating in successful collaborations with international artists such as Steven Isserlis and Bernarda Fink; and with members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Diamond and the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble performed at the BBC Proms (2007) at the Royal Albert Hall with the English Baroque Soloists and Montiverdi Choir conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Samson has appeared as soloist with L’orchestre Nationale d’ France, the Buskaid Ensemble and prominent orchestras in South Africa including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Samson has performed before many distinguished guests including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Duke of York, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. In 2009, Samson performed privately for Mr Nelson Mandela under the invitation of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

As a chamber musician, Samson Diamond has performed at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Ryedale Music Festival UK, and Grahamstown National Arts Festival.

Samson has received quartet masterclasses from internationally acclaimed chamber musicians such as Andras Keller, Johannes Meissl, Christoph Richter, Seppo Kimanen, Roger Tapping Vladimir Mendelssohn, members of the Endellion String Quartet and The New Zealand String Quartet, and had regular chamber music lessons with Alisdair Tait and the late Dr Christopher Rowland.