Who we are
Sian Edwards Artistic Patron
Sian Edwards studied horn, piano and conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music before winning a scholarship to the St Petersburg Conservatoire where she was a student of Prof I A Musin. She subsequently won the first Leeds Conductors’ Competition and started her professional career, working with major orchestras and opera companies in the UK and abroad. As well as symphonic and operatic repertoire Sian also conducts contemporary music. She has recently become Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, London.
Orchestras for All HQ
Marianna Hay Founder and Artistic Director
After reading music at Oxford University, Marianna joined Teach First as a music teacher at Highbury Grove School in Islington. She subsequently became the school's Director of Music, setting up its first in-school music academy and working closely with Music First, a charity that builds communities and transforms young lives through music in Islington. She became Music First’s director of programme development in 2010. Marianna founded OFA in 2011 and is the orchestra's Artistic Director. She was nominated as a 2013 Woman of Achievement by Women of the Year and shortlisted for a Woman of the Future award in 2015. In 2016, Marianna won the Musician’s Union Inspiration Award for her work with Orchestras for All at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.
Stuart Burns Executive Director
Stuart studied French and Russian at the University of St Andrews, spending his year abroad teaching English in Besançon, France. Following three years working for the Civil Service, Stuart joined OFA as Programme and General Manager in September 2014, becoming Head of Programmes and Operations in February 2016 and Executive Director in 2018. Stuart is a keen musician, and plays principal clarinet in the North London Sinfonia.
Richard Dinnadge Head of Development and Communications
Richard is a music and publishing industries veteran having held senior positions in business development, marketing and general management with companies including Warner Music, Bertelsmann, Trusted Media Brands and Schott Music. Richard holds a BMus degree from the University of London (Goldsmiths College) and post-graduate qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In the past Richard has played trumpet in a wide range of amateur and semi-professional ensembles, from orchestras to pop bands.
Anna Williams Head of Programmes
Anna has worked with OFA from the beginning, coming along to the inaugural NOFA summer course in 2011 as a pastoral tutor whilst training as a music teacher with the Teach First programme. After teaching secondary music for three years, she began working for OFA part time, developing the Modulo Programme alongside continuing to teach classroom music. Since September 2018, Anna has been with OFA full time as Head of Programmes and Designated Safeguarding Officer.
Steven Smith National Orchestra for All Programme Manager
Steven studied music at Edinburgh Napier University, where he also became involved in youth work. He has since worked across the charity sector in areas such as youth empowerment, equality and mental health. He has also continued to use music to engage different communities as a performer, workshop leader and tutor. Steven is a saxophonist, singer and songwriter
Myffy Dymond Team Coordinator
Since graduating from Cardiff University in 2013 with a BMus in Musicology, Myffy has worked as a Music Assistant in secondary schools across the country. She joined OFA in October 2017 as Team Coordinator and is a keen violinist, playing with the Finchley Symphony Orchestra in her spare time.
Alice Bowmer Researcher
Alice began her career as a teacher in 2008 and her research evolved out of a desire to understand more about her young students development. Alice’s current research examines the relationships between cognition, musical learning and teaching. In 2018, Alice co-founded the research group 'Music and Cognition' with her research partner, Dr Kathryn Mason. Alice is committed to working with people from multiple fields and her work prioritises an active contribution from everyone involved the research process. Alice also runs a music teaching practice where she works with pupils between 6-18 years, and she supports community music projects for preschool children growing up in challenging circumstances.
Katie Mason Researcher
Katie is a developmental psychologist, researcher and musician with over 12 years’ experience in developmental, cognitive and educational research. Her work focuses on how children acquire language, thinking and problem-solving skills (known as executive functions), and the underlying mechanisms that make some activities particularly effective in supporting these areas of development. She completed her doctorate at University College London in 2017, where she designed and evaluated the effect of a music-based intervention on deaf children’s executive function skills.
Katie has always been driven to explore the potential for music training to grow and reinforce key cognitive skills throughout the lifespan, and is dedicated to conducting research with a collaborative approach, working with Deaf and hearing teachers, musicians, artists, other practitioners and young people. In 2018, she co-founded the research group ‘Music and Cognition’ with Alice Bowmer, which aims to understand and explain the impact that music and the arts can have on young people’s development.
Emma Oliver-Trend Artistic Associate
Emma studied for a BA and MA in Music at RWCMD and Dartington College of Arts respectively. After a decade as administrator and project manager with Music Theatre Wales, Welsh National Opera and Dartington Arts, she spent eight years as a secondary music teacher, most recently as Head of Performing Arts in Hertfordshire. Emma has founded and directed young orchestras, musical theatre and folk ensembles and is experienced in leading mixed-ability multi-instrumental groups. Emma teaches violin with Triborough Music Hub and the Nucleo Project. She is also violinist and Outreach Project Manager with the Bishop’s Stortford Sinfonia and has been conducting the National Orchestra for All since 2016.
Danyal Dhondy Composer-in-Residence
Danyal Dhondy is a composer, arranger and violist from South London. He has worked extensively in theatre and opera, for companies such as TARA Arts and OperaUpClose, and has a long-standing relationship with Kensington Chamber Orchestra. Danyal is founder and chair of Lucid Arts and Music, which has produced new works of theatre and opera at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival, The Yard Theatre, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Bharat Rang Mahotsav Festival. He was nominated for an Arts Foundation Award in Opera Composition in 2010, and contributed to Sam Lee's Mercury-nominated album in 2012.
Bob Pepper Guest Conductor
Robert has worked as a professional musician and educator for over 40 years, holding posts as Conductor, County Music Adviser and Associate Headteacher. He is an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths University of London and was made MBE in 2006. As well as working for Orchestras for All he is Artistic Adviser to The Music in Secondary Schools’ Trust (The Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme) and Musical Director of the English Schools’ Orchestra and the English Young Artists’ Sinfonia. In addition, he is employed as Conductor of the Enfield Youth Symphony Orchestra and Adviser to Enfield Music Service. In 2008 Robert visited Venezuela to study the highly acclaimed El Sistema programme. Robert has performed in major concert halls, including the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Southbank and the Barbican. He has toured extensively in Europe Canada and Australia and given concerts with a
number of distinguished soloists, including Nicola Benedetti, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Guy Johnston. He has also conducted World Premieres of new works by composers such as Edward Gregson and David Bedford.
Justin Fung Guest Conductor
Justin is a passionate conductor and music educator. He studied composition and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Since graduation in 2009, he is in demand as an orchestra trainer and conductor of youth orchestras. He has held principal conductor positions with many youth orchestras in and around London areas. In addition, Justin has also appeared as guest conductor with a wide range of amateur and professional ensembles, orchestras and chamber opera companies in the UK and in Europe. Most recently, Justin has relocated to Leeds to take up the position of Orchestral Education Leader at Opera North where he works as the Artistic Director of the award winning education programme In Harmony Opera North, as well as a conductor for various education projects at Opera North. Recent highlights include performances with St Paul’s Opera of London, Eroica Camerata, ‘Ensemble thing’ in the Hague, Netherlands, the Orchestra of the Swan, Haydn Sinfonietta Wien, Amadeus Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonia Veneta and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra.
Jack McNeill Composer and Percussion Tutor
Jack is a composer and sound artist from London. He writes under various different monikers and has worked on various projects including a UK charting dance release, music for theatre and television and large scale public installations. Having graduated from the University of York in 2015 with a BA in Music he is now completing his PhD in Composition at the University and is the recipient of the Nonhebel Scholarship. Before heading off to university he started volunteering with Orchestras for All and has been working with the charity in various roles ever since!
Ollie Tunmer Percussion Tutor
Ollie's percussive ways started by hitting pots and pans in his kitchen as a toddler. Since then he has drummed his way through university, the Rio de Janeiro carnival and as a cast member of the international hit show STOMP. He got involved with OFA as part of his training as a classroom music teacher. He has since been humbled and inspired through his involvement with this incredible ensemble. Ollie now delivers Body Percussion and Samba Drumming workshops to schools, colleges, education conferences and corporate events throughout the world, and is currently working on his 'mouth popping' repertoire which currently includes 'Popcorn' and 'Axel F' from the film Beverley Hills Cop.
Marta Gonçalves Flute Tutor
Portuguese flautist Marta Gonçalves graduated with distinction in 2009 from the Royal College of Music's Masters of Music in Advanced Performance. Since 2005 she has regularly performed with orchestras and ensembles including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium, the London Handel Players, English Touring Opera and the Academy of Ancient Music. She has broadcast several times for BBC Radio 3 and has recorded for various labels including Hyperion and Chandos.
Kim Reilly Flute Tutor
Kim Reilly is a freelance flautist and qualified music teacher in London. She studied at the Purcell School, Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College of Music and the University of Sussex. Kim holds the position of Principal flautist with the Docklands Sinfonia and has played with them since their formation in 2009. Recent engagements include recording sessions at Angels and Air studios, performances and collaborations at the Cadogan Hall and the Royal Albert Hall and a UK tour with the band Hawkwind.Kim teaches for Bromley Youth Music Trust, Eltham Hill School, Elmgreen School and JASSPA in Dulwich.
Fiona Mitchell Clarinet and Saxophone Tutor
Fiona studied at The Royal College of Music and The Royal Academy of Music, gaining her master's degree on the clarinet in 2010. For the last five years she has been a member of Orchestre Revolutionnnaire et Romantique during which time the Orchestra had a residency at the Opera Comique in Paris. She has also performed with English Baroque Soloists in Europe and the US and playing at places such as the BBC Proms, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall, New York. Fiona is a dedicated teacher who works at the London Oratory School teaching clarinet and saxophone.
Sarah Douglas Clarinet and Saxophone Tutor
Sarah studied at Chetham's School of Music and The Royal College of Music. She has been NOFA's clarinet and sax tutor since 2017 and also coaches woodwind for the Thames Youth Orchestra. Her orchestral work includes projects with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, The London Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra's 'Nucleo' scheme, Orchestra of the Swan, Brandenburg Sinfonia, KZN Philharmonic (South Africa), Opera de Baugé (France), Brit Award winner - Duffy (Radio One Live Lounge), Steve Harley and Pink Floyd Symphonic Live at the O2 Arena. She works as an instrumental tutor and ensemble coach in London schools and has delivered music workshops for Live Music Now and NCS 'The Challenge'.
Simon Tong Upper Brass Tutor
Simon is an Essex-born trumpet player living and working in London. He was given a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music on the 4 year Bachelor of Music course. During Simon’s time at the Academy he won the John Soloman Prize for Brass & Woodwind and played first trumpet for many of the ensembles and orchestras including the Concert Orchestra and Opera. Outside the Academy he has been involved in various contrasting events, from performing a solo at the London Handel Festival to being recorded for a McDonald’s TV advert.
Richard Turner Lower Brass Tutor
Richard studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, and has worked with orchestras in India, Japan, UK and Chile where he held the position of assistant principal trombone of The Santiago Opera House. One of two founder members of ‘Old Dirty Brasstards’ (London’s finest drum ‘n’ brass combo), Richard has arranged, organised and played with the group at venues such as Glastonbury, Latitude and The Royal Opera House.
Chris Smith Lower Brass Tutor
Julia Lungu Violin Tutor
Julia is a freelance violinist and teacher based in Edinburgh. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and is currently freelancing in Scotland. Julia has worked with various professional ensembles, including BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Dunedin Consort, Scottish Opera Orchestra, Royal Opera House, Ludus Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia and other chamber and orchestral groups in the UK. Julia also has a passion for teaching, has successfully prepared students for entries to CYM London, Junior RCS, and City of Edinburgh Music school auditions, and has coached students who have been awarded prestigious music scholarships in leading UK schools. She is proud to have been an upper strings tutor for NOFA since its founding in 2011.
Georgia Hannant Violin Tutor
Georgia is a passionate freelance violinist and teacher, based in London. An experienced orchestral musician, she has performed in many of the UK’s most prestigious concert halls, under the baton of such world-class conductors as Semyon Bychkov, Edward Gardner and Sir Mark Elder. She led the University of London Symphony Orchestra for two years, and has since enjoyed a successful professional career with orchestras across London. Throughout her training, she has had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with world-renowned violinists James Ehnes and Maxim Vengerov. As a chamber musician she achieved much success as leader of The Melanson Quartet, who were Davey-Posnanski Scheme participants 2014-15 and received a High Commendation at the Wolfe Wolfinsohn String Quartet Prize. Her other collaborative work includes regular work with un-conducted independent ensemble Aldwych Sinfonia, based at St George’s Bloomsbury, and recording sessions with the likes of Rick Wakeman at This Is Metropolis and Abbey Road Recording Studios. Georgia has held many prestigious teaching posts, including violin teaching at Uppingham School, Junior Royal Academy of Music and King’s College London. She has been involved in OFA since 2013 and is thrilled to be returning as an Orchestral Tutor.
Ruth Hutton-Searle Violin Tutor
Megan Jowett Viola Tutor
Megan began her musical studies aged 8 at the Kirklees Music School she went on to the Birmingham Conservatoire where she completed her undergraduate degree in 2014 and she is now in her first year of postgraduate studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Recently she has performed at Buckingham Palace and worked with the inspirational violinist Henning Kraggerud as a member of the Royal Welsh String Soloists. Megan is regularly principal viola in the Royal Welsh College Orchestras and has worked with highly acclaimed conductors including Carlo Rizzi, Edward Gardner and Pierre Valdes. Megan also toured with the jazz ensemble "A Moveable Feast" in the summer of 2015 with the performance from the Manchester Jazz Festival broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Currently Megan is the violist in two quartets which keeps her busy. She is an enthusiastic teacher and has worked with In Harmony and the award winning Strings Club. She also teaches privately and is looking forward to working with OFA this summer.
Lawrence Durkin Cello and Double Bass Tutor
Lawrence Durkin trained at the Royal College of Music. He was a selected artist for the Park Lane Group in 2008 and was Artist in Residence at the Performing Arts Institute, Pennsylvania. Lawrence pursues an active freelance career as an orchestral musician and gives recitals throughout the UK as a member of Trio Aquilon who have recently released their debut CD featuring works by Brahms and Haydn. Other performance highlights include concerts at the Wigmore Hall, Fairfield Halls and Rachmaninov Hall, Moscow.
Anna Williams Pastoral Lead
Simon Page Interim Chair
Simon is a senior manager and Chartered Accountant with over 20 years experience working in the private and public sector. He has expertise in business planning and fund raising having raised long-term capital from pension funds, high net-worth individuals, fund managers and public sector institutions. Simon has had a life long interest in music and theatre having begun singing as a cathedral chorister at the age of 6 and attending the same school as Shakespeare! Simon’s own experience makes him a passionate believer in the importance of music in developing self-confidence and enriching children’s lives.
Jessica Boyd Trustee
Jessica Boyd is a singer and pianist and has been a music teacher for over 10 years. During this time many of her students have engaged with OFA and she herself has volunteered as pastoral staff on our summer residencies. Jessica cares deeply about access to high quality musicianship for all young people. She has delivered teacher training to music teachers across the country on this and has recently embarked on a PhD researching equality and diversity within education.
Kate Danielson Trustee
Founder of Kate Danielson Associates, Kate has been a producer and fundraiser in the arts for over 25 years. Her work in music includes running the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, the development office at Wigmore Hall and consultancies with WOMAD and St Georges Bristol. She is also a trustee of the BBC Performing Arts Fund and supports young people into the arts as director of Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries.
Jonathan Kanagasooriam Trustee
Jonny Kanagasooriam works for BBC Marketing & Audiences as Senior Planner for BBC Radio, Music & Arts. He has previously held strategy roles at BBC Studios, fashion and lifestyle publishing group Dazed Media and advertising agencies McCann Erickson and J. Walter Thompson. He is one of the two BBC Clore Fellows for 2017-2018 and is also a trustee for the Hofesh Shechter Company. Jonny studied at King’s College, Cambridge where he was a choral scholar.
Alice Poole Trustee
Alice is a Technical Director and Head of the Governance and Public Sector Reform Service Line for international development at ICF, a global consulting company. Previously, she worked at the World Bank and as Transatlantic Fellow at The German Marshall Fund, both in Washington DC. She holds masters' degrees in public policy (Georgetown University) and an international MBA (University of Geneva). Alice is a keen supporter of the arts in many forms, is passionate about social justice, and particularly focuses on governance, risk management and HR in her role as trustee.
Emily Sayers Trustee
Emily is Subject Leader for Music in the Education Faculty at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her role involves visiting a wide range of schools and music education settings in order to support and develop music teacher trainees. She is also completing a PhD in Cognitive Aspects of Indian Music at the School of Oriental and African Studies and University College London’s Institute of Education, focussing on how children use their memories to create compelling performances.
Philip Whalley Trustee
Philip Whalley is Director of ESG Equities at investment group CLSA (UK). With over 25 years’ experience in finance and international equity markets, he leads CLSA’s global sustainable and responsible investment business advising global institutional investors on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Having personally experienced the transformative power of music making, he is a firm believer in the importance of music in education and a keen supporter of music and children’s charities. He holds an MA in Law from the University of Cambridge, sings with The London Chorus and is an amateur pianist.
Lizzie previously ran the support services for small charities for a national infrastructure body that champions the role of small charities and collaborates across all sectors to provide accessible and sustainable assistance for organisations just like Orchestras for All. As a cellist who hugely benefited from many years playing in orchestras throughout school and university, Lizzie is keen to now share her experience and knowledge to ensure others can access the opportunities she was fortunate enough to participate in.
Jenny spent 20 years at the BBC making films in Current Affairs (Newsnight, Panorama) as well as the Documentary Department (Peoples’ Century, Inside Story). She has been a freelance producer / director working for Channel 4, Sky, BBC etc for the last 15 years. Jenny has also presented radio series for Radio 4 and taught short film courses at the National Film School. She has advised on films for a number of different charities.
Jonathan is a performer, writer, educator, recording producer and Principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
Amanda is a writer, filmmaker and biographer (Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt (2006) and Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland (2013)). She has many years of experience in the arts and has been involved in several feature films as an associate producer and co-screenwriter, and as a company director of Renegade Films and Prisma Communications Ltd. She has a particular interest in fundraising for youth music projects, including the New Oxford Consort, a unique early music group for 11-18 year olds.
Marshall has been CEO of the European Union Youth Orchestra since the spring of 2013. He is also Founder and Chairman of Sistema Europe, Founder of Sistema Africa, a Director and Trustee of Sistema England, and a member of Sistema Global’s Advisory Board. During the previous two decades he was Head of Music at Southbank Centre and Chairman and then Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
A professional fundraiser for over 15 years, Martha has worked extensively in the charity sector, in particular in the arts and youth sectors. A music graduate, Martha started her career at the Philharmonia Orchestra before setting up the corporate fundraising programme at the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. At The Children's Society she led on EU funding as well as raising funds from institutional grantmakers, and then set up Trusts & Foundations fundraising at the newly established Canal & River Trust. She is now a Consultant working for Queen Rania Foundation (Jordan) at Princes Trust International. Martha is passionate about social justice and music and sings in London's Pegasus chamber choir.
Sir Richard Stilgoe
Richard Stilgoe’s 50-year career in show business spanned radio, television, cabaret and theatre, led him to many egregious people and places and gained him a diverse collection of fortuitous and, in his own words, almost certainly undeserved honours. In 1997 he founded the Orpheus Centre, and remains a trustee.