Course Tutors

Principal tutors and conductors:

Pictured: NLMS Tutors, 2016: from left – Tom Leech (choir), Peter Selwyn (Symphony Orchestra), Gillian Tarlton (String Group), Steve Bingham (Course Director and Sinfonietta)

“Excellent week! Thank you very much: tutors very professional, friendly environment. I’ve learned a lot.”

“The tutors are absolutely marvellous.”

Here is the latest list of tutors confirmed for 2019 

Margaret Archibald (Woodwind Co-ordinator & Clarinet Tutor). Margaret brings her infectious enthusiasm for music to every situation and embraces the wealth of opportunities her career presents to share music with others as recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral player, teacher, coach and lecturer. She was Education and Community Manager of the London Mozart Players for twenty-one years and devised a string of projects to engage groups from under 5’s in nurseries and playgroups to over 90’s in nursing homes and day care centres and she also created extensive programmes of music workshops for primary age children in out-of-school clubs and creative music recording workshops for adolescents in youth clubs.

Margaret coaches the clarinets of the Kent County Youth Orchestra and also coaches adult amateur clarinettists on residential courses held at Little Benslow Hills in Hitchin. She also teaches privately and has recently started teaching period clarinet at Trinity College of Music.

Gemma Ashcroft (Symphony Orchestra double bass) performs regularly with many UK orchestras including the Hallé Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Since graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music she has worked with a wide range of artists including David Braid, Sting, Guillemots and Russell Watson, and last year played on the soundtrack for a South Indian movie as part of a string octet.

Gemma has a passion for music education and balances her performing career with a busy teaching and workshop schedule. She is a lower strings tutor for two local music services and visiting double bass teacher at Repton School, in addition to her growing private teaching practice. In 2013 she organised the first North West Bass Day which was attended by 21 local bass players. This year Gemma is delivering ‘Hallé Shine’ music workshops for young people across Greater Manchester and has recently been appointed Outreach Manager of Skipton Camerata, the professional chamber orchestra of which she is also principal bass.

Anthony Barratt (Trombone)

Nicola Beckley (Alto) studied mathematics at Warwick University and singing at the Royal College of Music. She is now Head of Singing at Streatham and Clapham High School and also teaches at the Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon. She has worked professionally with a wide variety of choirs, including the BBC Singers, The King’s Consort, Philharmonia Voices, London Voices and London Sinfonietta Voices. She has worked in many other choirs and consorts and opera choruses as well as undertaking solo engagements in oratorios and opera from Bach through Brahms to Britten.

Nichola Blakey (Sinfonietta Viola) studied at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with first class honours and gaining the Licentiate teaching diploma. She now teaches violin and viola, both privately and at the North London Music Centre, and she is a qualified Alexander Technique teacher.

As a freelance player Nichola works with such orchestras as the BBC Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Opera North, the 18th.Century Sinfonia, The Brook Street Band and the Orchestra of Ex Cathedra. She also performs with various chamber groups, including the Kertesz Quartet, a classical string quartet using period instruments, and in non-classical contexts for various artists and bands around the UK and abroad.

Ruth Beedham (Sinfonietta ‘cello) studied at Trinity College of Music with Alison Wells and Natasha Pavlutskaya. Whilst at Trinity Ruth won the Leonard Smith Prize for string and piano duo and was also awarded a scholarship to continue her studies with a postgraduate diploma. She now studies privately with Naomi Butterworth.

Ruth is a member of The Backman Trio – a Finnish/British trio who have performed extensively across both countries. In 2012 they performed at the new music hall in Helsinki and made a recording for Finnish radio station YLE 1. Last year they launched their debut CD “Fantasia” (British and Finish piano trios) on Finish label Fuga. Ruth has been guest soloist with Wandsworth Symphony Orchestra and St Paul’s Sinfonia and has also made a solo demo recording for Oscar winning film composer Rachel Portman.

In addition to her performing work Ruth enjoys a busy and varied teaching career that includes City of London School and Blackheath Conservatoire.

Peyee Chen (Soprano) is a soprano with a particular interest in contemporary and Baroque music. Appearances as a soloist include the Gavin Bryars Ensemble, Edinburgh Contemporary Music Ensemble, Lucerne Festival with the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and Barbara Hannigan, Pierrot Lunaire on the York Spring Festival, The Light Show as part of Southbank Centre’s Harmonic Series, and world premieres at Spitalfields Festival and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

She is an ad hoc member of the BBC Singers and EXAUDI, with recent engagements including the BBC Proms, Spitalfields Festival, and Aldeburgh Festival with BCMG and Oliver Knussen. Peyee received her BMus degree from Northwestern University, USA, in 2008, and her MA (with distinction) from University of York, UK, in 2010.

Christina Everson (Sinfonietta Violin)

Cathy Fox (Sinfonietta Violin) is a freelance violinist who studied with Gillian Findlay at Trinity College of Music, and now divides her time between performing and teaching.  She is currently freelancing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and teaching violin and viola at the London Oratory School.

Last year, she completed her MA degree in Kodály pedagogy at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.

Previous to this, she performed as violinist and singer in the RSC’s production of Titus Andronicus at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. UK and European tours have included ABBA the show, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and James with Orchestra of the Swan. As a chamber musician, she has given solo recitals in venues including St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Foundling Museum, Southwark Cathedral and two concert halls in Japan.

Mike Escreet (Sinfonietta double bass) was born in Scunthorpe. After reading music at the university of York Michael took a job in the BBC Training orchestra, and a year and a half later became a member of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra, where he was promoted to the no 2 seat after a week in the job. In 1997 he became principal bass in the BBC Philharmonic, from which he retired 10 years later, in order to do more period instrument playing. Whilst at the BBC he also played as guest principal with chamber orchestras such as Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, and Northern Camber Orchestra, and throughout his career he has endeavoured to play as much chamber music as possible, playing with the Legrand ensemble and the Goldberg Ensemble, of which he was a founding member. More recently, he as been invited to play with Ensemble Cymru. Highlights of his career include playing the obbligato bass part in Mozart’s “per questa bella mano” in a live broadcast of a 4 hour concert celebrating 250 years since the composer’s birth in 2006.

Paul Garner (Trumpet)  Now celebrating 40 years as a trumpet player, Paul is in demand as a teacher and freelance player. Early years were spent playing in brass bands (including the National Brass Band Finals at the Royal Albert Hall and the British Open Brass Band Championships) and touring both in England and Europe. He studied at the Birmingham School of Music where he won the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto competition. Following graduation from Birmingham (where he studied with Bernard Brown, Alan Whitehead and John Wilbraham), Paul travelled the world playing aboard cruise liners for P&O and Cunard. Summer seasons also saw Paul working with Linda Nolan, Mike Reid and Bob Monkhouse. Paul has also played for commercial radio and television including the theme tune for a special edition of ‘This is Your Life’ and as part of the brass section on an album for Walter Trout and for Katrina and the Waves. Locally he has played with the Cambridge Philharmonic, Sinfonia of Cambridge and K239 Chamber Orchestras, 78 RPM Big Band and Superstition (an 8-piece function band).

Judith Van Ingen (Symphony Orchestra violin) studied the violin and chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music with Rosemary Rapaport and Sydney Griller. Since leaving the Hallé Orchestra she freelances with many modern instrument orchestras across the country including English National Ballet, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Concert Orchestra et al. and teaches at The Queen’s School, Chester and Liverpool University. Judith plays with period instrument groups (Baroque and Classical) and manages the 18th Century Concert Orchestra – an orchestra whose members play instruments of the period and perform in period costume.

Jonathan Lee (Accompanist)  studied at the Junior Royal Academy of Music, in Stellenbosch (South Africa), and at Cambridge University. Whilst at Cambridge he read for a degree in music, was an organ scholar at Sidney Sussex College, and studied the organ with both Nicholas Kynaston and John Wellingham. Prior to Cambridge, he was assistant organist at the Diocesan College in Cape Town. Jonathan has been organist at Berkhamsted Parish Church since Advent 2002, and in 2016 year he accompanied the church choir in a private concert for HM The Queen a few weeks after her 90th birthday.

Accompanying and continuo work takes him all around Europe including work with the Gewandhauschor and the Bach Choir of Madrid (on Spanish television) as well as work much closer to home; he is the regular accompanist of the Chiltern Chamber Choir. Jonathan is staff accompanist on the NLMS music course, and in 2017 he directed the RSCM National Course in South Africa. He has been musical director of Berkhamsted’s Castle Choir since its launch in 2013.

Jonathan was for many years a music editor working for ABRSM, and has been responsible for several sets of the ubiquitous ABRSM piano exam anthologies.  He also is active as a classical record producer, recently making records for Amici Voices, St Marylebone Parish Church Choir, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, Peterborough Cathedral Choir and the Beauregard Youth Choir, as well as making numerous sets of syllabus recordings for ABRSM. Jonathan is a peripatetic piano teacher at Berkhamsted School, where he is also school organist.

David Lewis (Symphony Orchestra Leader) is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and divides his time between performing and teaching on both modern and period instruments. He has played and recorded with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera and is currently leader of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and co-leader of the English Haydn Symphony Orchestra, as well as a regular player with many other orchestras and ensembles in the UK. David made his big screen debut leading the orchestra for the film The Madness of King George

Sarah Moore (Flute) enjoys a busy performance schedule as an orchestral player and as a chamber musician, both on modern and period instruments. She performs with period instrument orchestras such as the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, Newcastle Baroque, Leeds Baroque Orchestra and the Eighteenth-Century Sinfonia. Sarah also performs with Bellissime Chamber Ensemble, which specialises in performing music from country houses and she has recently been involved in recordings of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion and Mass in B minor with the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists, released on the Signum Classics label.

Sarah studied modern and baroque flute with Edwina Smith during her undergraduate degree at the University of York. She was awarded AHRC grants to pursue her postgraduate studies in York and, after completing her MA (with distinction) she was awarded a PhD on rhetoric and baroque performance practice with Professor Seymour.
Teaching forms an important part of her career. She teaches modern and baroque flute at the universities of York and Hull, and at Ampleforth College, and she leads seminars, master-classes and workshops for undergraduates at the universities of York and Hull.

Adrian Rowlands (Oboe) is principal oboe in the London production of Les Miserables and widely sought after as a freelancer.  He is also Professor of Reed Making at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Michael Solomon Williams (Tenor).  Born in London, a music scholar at the City of London School and a graduate of the BMus programme at the University of Leeds and the University of North Texas College of Music, Michael was awarded the Dixon scholarship for the MA in Vocal Studies at York, graduating with distinction, contining postgraduate studies with Adrian Thompson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  Michael is also an alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artists programme at Aldeburgh.

A solo, chorus, consort and session singer in much demand across England and Europe, he works frequently with groups such as the The Academy of Ancient Music, London Voices, the Monteverdi Choir and Dunedin Cosort, as well as with leading European period ensembles including Le Concert d’Astrée (Emmanuelle Haim), Les Eléments (J. Subihiette), Stradivaria (Daniel Cuiller), Ensemble Matheus (Jean-Christophe Spinosi) and Le Cercle d’Harmonie (J. Rhorer). He has been a staff singer at St Paul’s Knightsbridge since 2011 under the direction of Stephen Farr.

Brenda Stewart (Symphony Orchestra viola) has been a member of the Bingham String Quartet since its formation in 1985. With the quartet she has travelled extensively in this country and abroad, and has been active in education at Radley College, the Benslow Music Trust, and chamber music courses in Shropshire and Norfolk. Her wide-ranging teaching activities have included long-standing commitments at the Junior Royal Academy, Queenswood School, Radley College and the Mary Ward Centre, London, where she taught adult beginners, coached chamber groups and conducted the string orchestra. She continues to perform professionally alongside her duties as Rector of the West Leightonstone Benefice in the Diocese of Ely.

Laurence Williams (Bass) trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and graduated with distinction and a Concert Recital Diploma in 2017. He has performed as a soloist both internationally and across the UK: recent highlights include Bach Mass in B Minor with Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Stephen Layton in Brisbane, Australia, broadcast on ABC Classical; and Mozart Requiem with Brandenburg Sinfonia at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Recent operatic roles have included Onegin, Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin (Cambridge University Opera Society), Opera Scenes (Various, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama); Mr Gedge, Britten Albert Herring (Hampstead Garden Opera); and Smirnov, Walton The Bear (CUOS & Leeds University Chamber Ensemble).

Laurence was a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, and sings with choirs including Polyphony, The Gabrieli Consort and Philharmonia Voices. He is passionate about introducing young voices to choral music and has extensive experience directing children’s and youth choirs.