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Lincoln Abbotts

Lincoln AbbottsLincoln is Director of Strategic Development at ABRSM. This is a role that sets out to support and inspire music teachers worldwide.

Lincoln is a flautist, composer, conductor, teacher and workshop director who has worked extensively throughout the UK and overseas. After studying at Manchester University and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, he began a freelance career working with the education programmes of orchestras, opera companies, art galleries and dance schools.

From 2003 to 2008 he was Learning Consultant to the BBC Proms and Learning Manager with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He devised the Family Orchestra and Chorus programmes and was the driving force behind projects which brought together musicians of all ages and experience to work with performers from Indonesia, Africa, Iran, South America and Turkey. Between 2008 and 2012, Lincoln was Chief Executive of Music for Youth - a national music education charity providing inspirational performance opportunities, culminating in the Music for Youth Schools Prom, which takes place each November at the Royal Albert Hall.

Lincoln continues to be active as a musician and during the 2012 BBC Proms series, conducted the Family Orchestra & Chorus in the world premiere of Wish You Were Here, a new work with music by Jason Yarde and words by Ian McMillan.

Mark Armstrong

Mark ArmstrongMark Armstrong was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and brought up in Amersham, where he attended Dr Challoner's Grammar School, took a degree in Music at Oxford University and attended the postgraduate course in jazz and studio music at the Guildhall School of Music, gaining an LGSM in Jazz.

Mark's playing career has included a wide variety of styles and genres. He was a member of Clark Tracey's Quintet for seven years and played regularly with Clark’s father Stan Tracey, recording with Stan on his final quintet album The Flying Pig (2013). Mark was nominated in the best trumpet category of the 2007 Ronnie Scott Jazz Awards. Mark still performs regularly as a jazz trumpet player as both a member of the Ronnie Scott Jazz Orchestra and in his own quartet, which released the album Coastbound in 2010.

Mark’s career as a conductor began at Oxford, where he helped to resurrect the Oxford University Big Band. After joining the National Youth Jazz Orchestra he was asked by founding Music Director Bill Ashton to act as his assistant, a position he maintained for almost 15 years before being appointed as NYJO’s Artistic and Music Director in 2011.

Mark’s additional education work includes his position as Jazz Professor at the Royal College of Music, which combines academic lecturing and practical coaching and tuition, lecturing in composition at the London Centre of Contemporary Music, and teaching the trumpet at James Allen’s Girls’ School. Mark is also a jazz moderator and trainer and ABRSM examiner.

Mark is a past winner of the BBC Big Band Competition arranging prize, and many of his big band compositions can be heard on recent NYJO albums. His recent Solstice Suite for big band commission was performed at the 2009 North Sea Jazz Festival. He writes a wide range of arrangements and compositions, ranging from choral music to orchestral symphonies.

Paul Harris

Paul HarrisAfter studying at the Royal Academy of Music and the University of London, Paul Harris has now established an international reputation as one of the UK’s leading educationalists.

Paul now has over six hundred publications to his name that focus on a vast array of subjects concerning music education. His Music Teacher's Companion (co-written with Richard Crozier) won the UK's MIA Best New Book award and his latest book, The Virtuoso Teacher, has been received with great interest. He is the creator of the Simultaneous Learning system of teaching and is in great demand as a workshop and seminar leader all over the world.

Paul is an examiner and adjudicator and is frequently asked to take part in national and international events. In 2010 he was appointed Lecturer in the Principles of Education at the Royal Academy of Music in London and he is a visiting professor at the Conservatoire in Denmark. Paul's innovative teaching techniques have found support all over the world and combine thoroughness, imagination and practicality, the defining qualities of his outstandingly successful work.

Russell Hepplewhite

Russell HepplewhiteRussell Hepplewhite studied piano and composing at Chetham's School of Music and subsequently as a scholar at the Royal College of Music.

He is becoming increasingly widely known for his operatic and choral music. His groundbreaking operas commissioned by English Touring Opera for young audiences have been widely performed, and have won him much critical acclaim. Laika the Spacedog won two major awards at the prestigious Armel International Opera Festival and transferred to Avignon Opera; while Shackleton's Cat was described in Richard Morrison's four star review in The Times as 'compelling' and as 'outstanding' in a glowing Opera Now Magazine article.

Russell's choral works are published by Banks Music Publications in their Genesis Choral Library Series, and he is the composer in residence with the St Cyprian's Singers of London.

His cello and organ works have been recorded by Svyati Duo and released on Regent Records. Future commissions include works for Trinity Boys Choir, W11 Opera, Shanghai Arts Festival, and the Salisbury Playhouse.

Russell has taught at the Royal College of Music Junior Department since 2007 and has examined for ABRSM since 2008. He has undertaken a number of international tours and also trains new examiners.

John Holmes

John HolmesJohn Holmes is ABRSM’s Chief Examiner, a role which provides leadership and direction for all ABRSM examiners in the conduct of their examining work, with responsibility for achieving and maintaining the highest standards in all ABRSM exams. John gives regular presentations to support teachers, parents and candidates entering ABRSM exams worldwide.

John was educated at King’s College, Cambridge, where he read Music. He studied piano with Bernard King and Alexander Kelly, and clarinet with Jack Brymer. As a clarinettist he has performed with professional orchestras and for many years the focus of his work was instrumental and academic music teaching at Tonbridge School, where he was Head of Academic Music and Head of Woodwind from 1983 to 2010.

John joined ABRSM as an examiner in 1990 and combined teaching and performing with a wide range of ABRSM activities, including Diploma and Jazz examining, numerous international examining tours, examiner training and moderating, and mentoring teachers.

John has four children who between them have taken various ABRSM graded exams on a range of instruments, and he has been entering his own pupils for exams for over 30 years.

Alexander L'Estrange

Alexander L'Estrange“If you had to create from scratch the perfect 21st century musician, Alexander L’Estrange would be your template.”

This accolade (from TV composer and broadcaster Howard Goodall) acknowledges not only Alexander’s outstanding musicianship – he graduated with a First in Music from Merton College, Oxford, and was a chorister in the famous New College Choir – but also his huge versatility.

A composer and arranger (including Glee, CBeebies and The Sing Off for television), singer (his 'air guitar' featured in the T-Mobile Welcome Home flashmob advert), double-bassist and pianist, he has shared the stage with jazz greats, conducted thousands of children at the Royal Albert Hall (even beat-boxing with Blue Peter's Barney Harwood!) and musically directed the National Youth Music Theatre in shows on Broadway and in Japan, Edinburgh and London.

Alexander is best known as one of this country's most in-demand arrangers, composers and presenters. In 2013 he wrote and produced an album for The King's Singers based on the 'Great American Songbook', and he specialises in vocal music, jazz, and combining different musical styles and genres. This is perhaps best exemplified in his hugely successful African/gospel work Zimbe!, which has had over 150 performances all over the world in just four years since publication. Alexander has also written two Jazz playalong books/CDs and hundreds of arrangements of songs across the whole musical spectrum, many of which are part of Faber Music’s popular Choral Basics series.

Alexander's output as a songwriter includes Love’s Philosophy, three stunning settings of poems by Shelley, Tennyson and Byron (on the ABRSM Singing syllabus), an award-winning one-woman jazz musical entitled Hello Life! and a number of jazz originals recorded by his wife, former Swingle Singer Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, on an album entitled New things to say.

Louise Matthew

Louise MatthewLouise Matthew studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and then at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall. On leaving college Louise quickly established herself as a freelance flautist, working with some of the country’s leading orchestras and her award-winning flute quartet, Just Flutes. She also led education projects for many of these orchestras, encouraging young people to explore their own ideas and develop their musical understanding using core orchestral repertoire as a starting point.

Louise has a wide range of experience as an instrumental teacher and has worked in a variety of different settings including music centres, schools, private teaching practice, regional and national youth orchestras, for the organisation Flutewise, and on specialist flute days and residential courses including Tuttiflutey, which she set up and has been running since 1994.

A growing interest in music education led Louise back to college in 2007, where she gained a PGCE in secondary class music teaching from the Institute of Education. After teaching for several years in an inner city London comprehensive school she recently accepted a part-time music specialist position in primary school and Louise now enjoys a diverse portfolio career working as an instrumental teacher, class music teacher, ABRSM classical and jazz examiner, CT ABRSM Plus course woodwind-teaching mentor, flute player, workshop leader and music events co-ordinator.

She is delighted to be able to share ideas with colleagues at this exciting ABRSM conference.

Jessica O'Leary

Jessica O'LearyJessica has toured internationally and recorded extensively as a professional violinist and member of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and Principal 2nd violin of the Orchestra of St. John’s for 25 years.

Combining performing, teaching, examining, writing, adjudicating and editing for Faber, Jessica has a varied portfolio career. She has presented seminars, recorded a podcast and is the Violin moderator for the 2016-19 syllabus. Her recent Best of Violin Grades 1–5 books were published by Faber and are also available on an innovative new music education iPad app (KR Player), for which she is a consultant. Music Teacher Magazine published her ‘notes’ on violin repertoire and ‘behind the examiner’s desk’ articles in 2014.

Jessica is passionate about playing and teaching music in a variety of styles and has worked with Madonna, Led Zeppelin, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Opera House. Coming from a family of innovative string teachers, who were the first to use the Suzuki method in Europe, Jessica played in the Cork, Irish and European Youth Orchestras. She teaches violin and viola and directs string ensembles at Eltham College, St Paul’s Girls’ School and Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. She has been a tutor on National Youth Orchestra Outreach days, works with the National Autistic Society and regularly plays chamber music.

Heidi Pegler

Heidi PeglerHeidi Pegler studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Trinity College of Music, London. She has performed at many of Britain’s leading venues with the All Souls Orchestra including the Royal Albert Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Bridgewater Hall, St David’s Hall and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

A specialist in Baroque music, she has released Hark! the echoing air (CD) which features music for soprano, trumpet and orchestra. She also sings with London Voices and has recently sung on the latest Harry Potter movies as well as The Hobbit, The Croods and Jupiter Ascending.

Heidi is the Head of Singing at St Paul’s Girls’ School where she steers a team of 10 singing teachers. She conducts all the choirs and directs musical productions and operas. Heidi has also published several books including the award winning series The Language of Song (Faber) with friend and colleague Nicola-Jane Kemp; It’s never too late to sing (Faber) and It’s never too late to sing Christmas with Pam Wedgwood and The Best of Singing (Faber) Grades 1-3 and 4-5 (selecting highlights from the ABRSM Singing syllabus). Heidi is the membership secretary for AOTOS (the Association of Teachers of Singing) and is an examiner for ABRSM.

Anthony Williams

Anthony WilliamsAnthony was born in Essex and studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Alexander Kelly. Following international competition success he has gone on to give recitals, broadcasts and concerto appearances around the world. He is also an experienced accompanist, performing with soloists such as Peter Cropper and Ann Murray.

As a piano teacher Anthony has established an international reputation, his pupils achieving notable competition success and many going on to become professional musicians. Having taught at the Royal Academy of Music and Reading University Anthony is now based full-time at Radley College as Head of Keyboard and Instrumental Studies and combines this with a busy freelance career. He has written numerous articles and books on piano teaching and regularly presents lecture-recitals and seminars on performance, repertoire and the art of teaching, most recently to teachers and students in South East Asia and China as well throughout the UK, including the RCM. Most recent publications include The Best of Grade books for Faber.

Anthony is a senior moderator for ABRSM (both jazz and classical), trainer and examiner and a regular presenter for ABRSM teacher support conferences and seminars. He is an experienced and busy adjudicator, a member of the Federation of Festivals, and President of Chipping Norton Music Festival.


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