Instrumental and vocal teacher profiles
Alfia Nakipbekova – Cello
Alfia is an internationally acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue. She is Professor in Classical Contemporary Performance at Leeds Conservatoire. Alfia also teaches at The Guildhall School of Music, London. Her interests encompass cello technique and interpretation of cello works from the romantic, classical, baroque and contemporary repertoire.More on Alfia Nakipbekova – Cello
Alistair Vennart – Viola
Alistair is an award-winning Violist, Arranger and Educator hailing from Manchester, UK. He has collaborated with some of the world’s most renowned artists both as a Violist and Arranger, and sits comfortably within a huge range of musical genres. Alistair plays with Manchester Camerata, Manchester Collective, Aurora Orchestra, Sinfonia Cymru, London Concertante, Le Cercle de l'Harmonie, RLPO and the Hallé, often sitting as guest principal.More on Alistair Vennart – Viola
Amanda Crawley – Voice
Based in York, Amanda enjoys a flourishing singing, teaching and coaching career, giving recitals and voice workshops. Her repertoire covers all eras and styles and is the vocal tutor for Musical Theatre at York College. Amanda is currently Music Director of three choirs, two of which she founded, and has a thriving private practice.
Anthony Brown – Saxophone
Anthony graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with an International Artist Diploma in chamber music and a First Class Honours degree, attaining full marks in his final recital, and has performed extensively throughout the UK. He has also won awards from the likes of The Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Tillett Trust, Park Lane Group and Making Music.
Austin Gunn – Voice
Austin has performed many roles with companies including English National Opera, Scottish Opera, and the Musica Na Fabrica Festival in Portugal. He has appeared in concert in locations throughout the world and the UK in oratorio and recital. Austin is Professor of singing at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and visiting teacher of singing at Leeds and Durham universities.
Helen Shilitto – French horn
As a freelance musician Helen has played modern horn regularly with various orchestras including the BBC Symphony, Northern Ballet, and the Scottish Opera. Period ensembles and orchestras have included Concerto Copenhagen, as well as the Gabrieli Consort with whom she has made several recordings and Proms appearances.
Jakob Fichert – Piano
Jakob is a pianist with an international profile. He has repeatedly performed in prestigious venues and festivals and has recorded for Naxos, Toccata Classics, Divine Arts and Resonus Classics to great critical acclaim both as a soloist and collaborating artist. His concerts have taken him all over the world to countries in the Far East, South America and Europe. Jakob has given numerous master classes for music specialist schools, conservatoires and universities in the UK, China and Mexico and holds the position of Principal Lecturer in Piano at Leeds Conservatoire.
James Mainwaring – Saxophone
Saxophonist and composer James Mainwaring has been recognised both individually, as a sideman and for his work with Roller Trio. Additionally, James explores performing solo with saxophone and electronics, including performances at Jazz in the Round and Kings Place as part of London Jazz Festival. James is currently signed to Edition Records and alongside his performance career, is a senior lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire.More on James Mainwaring – Saxophone
Jason Huxtable – Percussion
Jason is an active percussion performer across a wide range of genres and performance settings. Known for his versatility, Jason has performed with a huge variety of ensembles and has appeared at many of the UK's premier festivals across pop/rock (Glastonbury Festival), jazz (Cheltenham Jazz) and classical (BBC proms) styles. As concerto soloist he has appeared with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic (world premiere conducted Gustavo Dudamel).More on Jason Huxtable – Percussion
Jenny Hobbins – Piano
Jenny began her career in Newcastle, where she played for and regularly coached Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland University students and established performing partnerships with Iona Brown (Principal of Royal Northern Sinfonia) and the international bass singer Graeme Danby, among others. Jenny has developed freelance career of playing and teaching. Alongside her work at the University, Jenny regularly works with Hallé choirs and also teaches and coaches at Leeds Conservatoire.
Jeremy Davis – Piano
Jeremy has worked extensively in opera, ballet, musical theatre and contemporary dance, collaborating with renowned conductors and choreographers as soloist and repetiteur at the London Festival Ballet, Chelsea Opera, and Holland Park Opera. His experience as a musician is wide ranging, with specialist areas in theatre music, 20th Century chamber music, British music for violin and piano, and 17th Century French repertoire for bass violin.
Jill Crossland – Piano
Jill pursues an active concert and recording career. Jill has played regularly at South Bank and Wigmore Hall in London, and has also appeared at other locations including Cadogan, Bridgewater and Fairfield Halls, St George’s Bristol, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Vienna Musikverein, National Concert Hall, Dublin and Sage Gateshead. Jill’s radio and TV broadcasts include live and recorded on BBC Radios 3 and 4 and the Classic FM Hall of Fame. Jill’s recordings include the Bach Goldberg Variations (Warner Classics), and works by Bach, Handel, Scarlatti and Mozart.More on Jill Crossland – Piano
Kate Ledger – Piano
Kate is a pianist and teacher who specialises in late 19th-21st century music, experimental and contemporary music, and artistic collaboration with composers. She has developed a movement-based, embodied piano technique through the help of Feldenkrais methodology and spiritual practice. She has played across Europe, the US and the UK as a soloist and with different ensembles, including Heather Roche, Peyee Chen, Distractfold and Dark Inventions.More on Kate Ledger – Piano
Louise Gibbs – Voice
Louise is a jazz singer, composer and educator, and graduate in both music and education from Columbia University, New York. She teaches jazz and popular voice for the Universities of Leeds, Chester, Sheffield, and York. Louise has recorded with top UK and US artists and has five acclaimed albums as leader and she maintains active research and writing interests in voice, improvisation, education and musical aesthetics. She is currently President of the British Voice Association.More on Louise Gibbs – Voice
Martin Longhawn – Piano
Martin is one of the most in demand piano and keyboard players around the North of England. Martin has performed regularly with a variety of jazz ensembles including the Firebird Quartet, Svarc/Hanley/Longhawn, Kate Peters Quartet/Septet and Krzysztof Urbanski’s Urban Jazz Society. As well as jazz, Martin is equally at home in other styles from blues, latin, pop, rock and classical.More on Martin Longhawn – Piano
Michael Woodhead – Trumpet
Michael studied at the Royal Northern College of Music as a trumpet student of Cecil Kidd. There followed a busy freelance period of work with the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras, as well as serving as Principal Trumpet with the Scottish Ballet Orchestra. Michael was invited to join the Orchestra of Opera North at its inception where he remains today. As a teacher, Michael has taught in the Music Department at the University of Leeds for over 25 years, a role which he currently shares with the University of Huddersfield.
Panos Kotsiopoulos – Bass guitar
Panos is a Leeds-based musician and educator. For more than 25 years he has been experimenting with the bass guitar and a variety of other stringed instruments. He has been focusing on jazz, with strong foundations and influences from classical music, popular music genres (surf rock, pop, electronic). He specialises in classical and modern music theory, ear training, choir singing, polyrhythms, solo performance, composition and approaches on improvisation.
Philip Voldman – Piano
Originally from New York, Philip attended LaGuardia HS of Music and Art and Performing Arts (FAME). He then trained at the Royal College of Music and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was appointed Repetiteur Fellow. Philip also completed a year at the National Opera Studio, London. From October 2015 to May 2016, he was Scottish Opera Emerging Artist – Repetiteur and Assistant Conductor supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Grant for Repetiteurs and was also on the music staff at Opera North (2016/17 Season). Since 2020, Philip has been working with students at the RNCM, Leeds University and Leeds Conservatoire.More on Philip Voldman – Piano
Ralph Dawson – Violin
Ralph studied the violin at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, at London University and was a member of the Ulster Orchestra (2 years) and The Orchestra of Opera North (5 years). For the last two decades he has enjoyed a career as a freelance musician, working with most professional Orchestras in the North, and a huge variety of other ensembles and artists - from Bach Passions with the Northern Sinfonia, to backing Led Zeppelin on tour and playing Strauss Waltzes around Europe.
Rob Burtenshaw – Trombone
In 1970, Rob went to Chetham’s, where he was taught by Peter Leary. He then went on to the Royal College of Music as an Exhibitioner and was taught by Arthur Wilson. In 1978 he joined the newly formed orchestra of Opera North and became the sub-principal trombone, staying for 43 years. During this time Rob also freelanced with RLPO, BBC Phil, Halle, CBSO, Welsh Opera, LSO, and the RPO. He played in the Proms with the BBC Phil, LSO and RPO and recorded Gabrielli with the LSO Brass.
Robin Hill – Guitar
Robin's career has included many years of international performances, albums released through prestigious labels such as Teldec Classics and Decca and published classical guitar books via Mel Bay. He has toured internationally with the Hill/Wiltschinsky Guitar Duo, making their acclaimed debut at London's Wigmore Hall and many major venues worldwide, alongside numerous masterclasses and workshops. He has performed with orchestras and artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Philharmonic.
Tim Carter – Drum kit
Tim is a drummer, guitarist and educator based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Tim studied at Leeds College of Music with some of the finest musicians in the country where he continues to be involved as a visiting artist. He has worked with the Hammond Organ Quartet ‘North South’ who have appeared at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s and the Vortex in London. Over the last decade Tim has regularly worked with vocal artist Kate Peters touring parts of Scotland and most recently performing in a sellout showcase featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald.