Principal tutors and conductors:
- Steve Bingham (Course Director and Sinfonietta Conductor)
- Thomas Leech (Choir)
- Peter Selwyn (Symphony Orchestra)
- Gillian Tarlton (String Group)
- John White (Wind Group)
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.
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 Butterworrth.
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.
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 U.K. and abroad.
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.
Ian Cuthill (Bassoon) was a member of the English Chamber Orchestra for over twenty years and still plays with them occasionally. He has played in all the leading London orchestras and has recorded for films and television. He has worked for the Bournemouth and BBC Scottish Orchestras and Sadlers Wells Opera. He has also played period instruments with various groups including the Ionian Classical Players. He has taught or coached at the Guildhall School of Music, National Youth Orchestra, Harrogate Wind Course and London Schools Symphony Orchestra.
Maddy Evans (Sinfonietta Violin) studied violin and piano at Birmingham Conservatoire and Manchester University. Since graduating she has enjoyed a varied career of playing, teaching and directing in the Stratford-on-Avon area. She has worked as MD assistant MD and pit musician on a wide variety of shows with various musical theatre companies in the area, the most recent of which was Sweeny Todd, performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Maddy is in high demand as an accompanist, and enjoys playing in a wide variety of performances and exams. She is also a member of the highly regarded Wigmornia String Quartet violinist. Maddy particularly enjoys working with choirs and has directed several major choral works, most recently Requiem by John Rutter. She is organist and co-director at her local church.
Cathy Fox (Sinfonietta violin) has enjoyed a variety of freelance and teaching work. The majority of her teaching has been at the London Oratory School where she teaches violin and viola. She has been using the Colourstrings method with all the beginner violin and viola students at the school which has led to an interest in deepening her knowledge of this aural-based method. She has spent the last year studying for an MA at the Kodaly Institute in Hungary where she has been working on writing her own violin method.
As a freelance violinist, Catherine loves to play in orchestras and her recent highlight has been playing with the LPO. She also enjoyed playing and singing with the Royal Shakespeare Company for 6 months.
Bill Houghton (Trumpet) has over 45 years experience of the music business. He has been one of the world’s leading orchestral trumpet players since the age of 19, when he accepted his first appointment with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He has 24 years teaching experience as a professor at the Royal Academy of Music.
Bill was the Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 25 years before leaving in 2007. In his career he has played principal trumpet with all the main London orchestras as well as holding the principal position for the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the English National Opera. He is leader of the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.
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 Halle 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.
John Jones (French horn and Brass Co-ordinator) studied primarily in Berlin and thereafter with Neil Sanders and Francis Bradley. He subsequently held posts as a principal player from 1966 with the Sadlers Wells and Welsh Opera Companies, before opting for a mixed portfolio in 1974. He held teaching posts in South Wales and at Bath College whilst pursuing a busy free-lance schedule with many of the leading orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra. In 1982 he became Brass Instructor for Orkney during which time he conducted and performed new works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and enjoyed a very happy time there until being appointed Professor of Horn and Cornet at the Army Junior School of Music in Dorset. Here he directed the Brass Ensemble in two successful tours to France, the highlight of which was a performance in the Messiaen Hall of the Nantes Conservatoire. Upon the closure of the Junior school he was offered various posts in Somerset and Dorset where he continued to lead an active musical life. In 2013 he retired back to Orkney where he has been in demand as a conductor, teacher and performer, and is an enthusiastic consultant in a music project to the outer isles. He has a wealth of experience which includes coaching for the National Children’s Orchestra, County and regional Youth Orchestras and Bands, and has been involved with NLMS since 2002.
Jonathan Lee (Accompanist)
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
Joshua Lynch (Symphony Orchestra ‘Cello) is a recipient of the Freda Dinn and Ida Marbett Award, Joshua is a passionate devotee of chamber music and has already enjoyed a diverse and creative career. Having graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music under the guidance of Emma Ferrand and Gillian Thoday, he is about to commence his postgraduate study at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study with Ursula Smith.
Former cellist of the Cassia String Quartet, Joshua had regular lessons alongside his colleagues with Peter Cropper and Robin Ireland (Lindsay Quartet), Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) and James Boyd. The quartet were recipients of the Musiciens Entre Guerre et Paix Award from the International Académie Ravel and performed at the Wigmore Hall, The Crucible (MitR), Salisbury International Arts Festival and Leeds International Concert Series.
Away from performing, Joshua is a passionate teacher and holds the position of cello and chamber music tutor at Rochdale music service and depute chamber music coach at Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He is a regular tutor at ProCorda, which coaches talented young musicians.
Sarah McNulty (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.
David Rix (Clarinet)
Joseph Sanders (Oboe)
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.
.Jan Zahourek (Sinfonietta double bass)