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Visiting Music Teachers

Bryan Robinson - Pipe Band Major

Pipe Major Bryan J Robinson is the current piping instructor at Ampleforth College and Director of the School’s Pipe Band, having held the post for twenty five years. He has taught over 200 Pipers and Drummers during this time.  Originally from Dumbarton, Scotland, he started piping at the age of ten in his local Pipe Band, becoming the Band`s Pipe Major at the age of just twenty one.  He moved to Glasgow to join one of the top grade Pipe Bands and thereafter joined Polkemmet Pipe Band, winner of the Scottish and European Championships and runner-up at the World Championships.

Previously he has been Pipe Major of the City of Newcastle Pipe Band who compete actively in contest around the      country and are currently one of England’s foremost Pipe Bands.

Students young and old at various schools in the North East have benefitted from his ability to motivate and inspire, and he has influenced the musical journeys of many Ampleforth pipers and entertained many audiences at Ampleforth events around the country.

Nicola Hicks - Head of Performance and Teacher of Violin

Nicola Hicks joined Ampleforth College as Head of Strings in 2017. Her duties include teaching violin and viola to an excellent standard, ensuring the String Department is strong and productive, directing Pro Musica (the string orchestra), and coaching chamber music ensembles. In addition to teaching at Ampleforth College, Nicola enjoys a multifaceted career maintaining a thriving private studio of students in London, performing as a freelance orchestral and session musician, and mentoring and tutoring for youth ensembles such as Chineke! Junior Orchestra and Sistema England.   

As a viola player, Nicola has performed regularly in chamber ensembles and orchestras internationally. Nicola’s orchestral engagements include performances at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Concertgebouw (Netherlands) with the Chineke! Orchestra, Symphony Hall with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Lincoln Center (New York City) with the Penn State University Chamber Orchestra. Nicola’s chamber ensemble, the Simple String Quintet, won the 2014-15 Southard Music Competition at the University of Northern Colorado and performed at numerous prestigious events including a concert at the Lone Tree Arts Center (Colorado). 

In addition to the Western classical canon, Nicola has explored experimental compositions that combine instrumental performance with electronics, visual arts, and graphic scores. Having recently rediscovered her own enthusiasm for composing, Nicola is toiling at several new writing projects.

Nicola’s interest in teaching was sparked and fostered during her own studies in both UK and USA. Her primary professors were Dr Louise Lansdown and Dr Timothy Deighton, both of whom inspired and encouraged her musical journey. Nicola graduated with Distinction and Excellent, respectively, from her master’s degrees at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Pennsylvania State University. Nicola spent three years as a Viola Teaching Assistant at universities in the USA and has delivered presentations at the 2nd Annual Colorado Viola Celebration and the Rocky Mountain Viola Society Viola Day. 


Neil Morgan - Teacher of Guitar

Neil is an experienced all-round musician having played in a variety of contexts, both live and in the studio. The bulk of his work is in musical theatre - most recently with the UK & international tour of hit musical 'Wicked'. As well as being chair-holder on many shows, Neil has been a dep in the West End and on major UK tours such as 'Wicked' (2014/15 Tour & West End)​, 'Cats' (Tour & West End)​, '9 To 5' (West End), 'Rock Of Ages' (Tour), 'Matilda' (Tour), 'Ghost' (Tour), 'The Bodyguard' (Tour), 'The Wedding Singer' (Tour) and 'Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' (Tour). He continues to play on various productions across the country and is also regularly involved with some smaller amateur productions. He was also the guitarist for the UK Premier of 'Xanadu - The Musical'​ at the Southwark Playhouse, London.

Neil started teaching professionally in 2002 and since then has seen several pupils go on to study at some of the country's leading music colleges and conservatoires, such as the Royal Northern College of Music, Leeds College of Music, the Academy of Contemporary Music, and BIMM. As well as maintaining a busy performance and teaching schedule, he also works as an examiner for London College of Music.

William Dore - Teacher of Piano and Organ

William Dore was one of the first music scholars at Ampleforth College before studying Music at Jesus College, Oxford where he was Organ Scholar. He studied organ with Nicolas Kynaston and John Wellingham. He spent one year as a post-graduate organ scholar at Norwich Cathedral, gaining the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists before taking up a teaching post in Suffolk. William gave many recitals in churches and cathedrals throughout the country, and worked extensively in the South East as an accompanist. His move to Ampleforth in 1994 when he was appointed as Assistant Director of Music brought him back to his roots, and in September 2005, he was appointed as Abbey Organist, succeeding his first teacher, Simon Wright.  He has performed as accompanist and soloist in many countries in Europe and in South East Asia, and continues to work as a freelance accompanist and teacher, (piano and organ) and organ recitalist, within the UK. He has had extensive experience as a choral director, with the Schola Cantorum and establishing the Ampleforth and Ryedale Concert Choir with which he has conducted performances of many large scale choral works including Brahms’ Requiem, Haydn’s Creation and Monteverdi’s Vespers. He became Head of Keyboard in 2019, overseeing the team of five piano teachers, and all of the accompanying of singers/instrumentalists for exams and concerts. He has also worked for the Royal College of Organists as an accredited teacher, and has delivered seminars and discussions on Plainchant.

Martin Longhawn - Teacher of Piano

Martin Longhawn is a busy performer and educator with a wealth of experience performing around the UK and abroad as well as maintaining a busy teaching schedule at schools, colleges and universities. Having graduated from Leeds College of Music with First Class Honours in 2011, Martin has performed at major jazz festivals including London, Manchester and Edinburgh as well abroad in Norway, Germany, Dubai, Singapore and South Africa. Career highlights include performing at the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall (Elgar Room) as well as many of the major jazz clubs in the UK including Ronnie Scott's. 

Martin's musical influences include jazz musicians Larry Goldings, Jason Rebello, Robert Glasper, Terrance Blanchard through to pop rock artists including Bruce Hornsby, Booker T. Jones and The Roots. Blues musician Jon Cleary is also a very big influence.

Lindita Simaku - Teacher of Piano

Lindita is a graduate of the Tirana Academy of Fine Arts, Albania. She has found her musical vocation as a teacher, exploring the pedagogy of piano studies, and has a wide experience of piano teaching from beginner to diploma level. She is a professional member of EPTA (the European Piano Teachers’ Association), taking her students through ABRSM or equivalent graded syllabi with impressive results.  

She takes pride in tailoring her teaching to the individual needs of her students, making sure that they enjoy their music making, whether for examination or for fun, and drawing on her experience to help overcome challenges.  

Alongside her Ampleforth pupils, Lindita currently teaches at Cundall Manor School, York Arts Education and Terrington Hall School. 

Alice Maslin - Teacher of Piano

Alice Maslin is a graduate of the University of Oxford where she read music and was also a choral scholar at Lady Margaret Hall. Since graduating she attained a LTCL diploma in piano performance with distinction, and has pursued a career as a freelance pianist, piano teacher and accompanist. At the age of 13, she was awarded the Lloyd Hartley Prize for achieving the highest mark in Grade 8 piano in the Leeds region. Then at the age of 16, she was fortunate to be accepted as a private pupil of Martin Roscoe, international concert pianist and acclaimed piano teacher, with whom she studied for 6 years. Alice subsequently studied piano accompaniment with John Gough, Professor of Piano Performance and Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music, and has also participated in many piano masterclasses, most notably with Michael Roll, Angela Hewitt, Kathryn Stott, Noriko Ogawa and Phillipe Cassard.  

Alice has a rapidly expanding private piano teaching practice, and has taught at Ampleforth College since 2019. Whilst at Oxford, she was employed by the Music Faculty as an official accompanist and is now a visiting accompanist at the Grammar School at Leeds, and official accompanist for the Harrogate Competitive Music Festival. She has also accompanied at Leeds College of Music for concert, vocal ensembles, auditions and masterclasses; recent highlights being a public vocal masterclass given by Royal Academy Professor Yvonne Howard at the Venue in Leeds and recitals at The Otley Courthouse and Wakefield Cathedral.  

Naomi Robinson - Teacher of Flute

Naomi Robinson is an Australian/British flute player committed to celebrating new music and bringing music of different cultures to the stage. Moving to Manchester in 2021 she completed her Masters of Music Performance and    Music Psychology at the RNCM being awarded the Tim Reynish award for her contributions to the wind department and the Pat Barney and George Henry Peters Scholarships.  

As well as performing in many of the RNCM large ensembles, Naomi is a dedicated chamber musician, keen on exploring new music for traditional instruments. She is a founding member of the eclectic ensemble the 'Azalea Wind Quintet' which celebrates new music from up-and-coming composers from the UK, Australia, Portugal and Hong Kong (the founding members' birth countries), who were finalists in the 2022 Fewkes Chamber Music Prize. 

Passionate about diversifying western classical music, a current goal is to break the barrier between performer and audience. She collaborates with local composers, presenting new styles that test old boundaries. Naomi travelled to Switzerland to perform and study at the Contemporary Music Academy Lucerne in 2023. She has been selected "Creative Engagement Fellow" with the performance and programming team at RNCM so is able to combine her love of creative programming and outreach into one role.  

Naomi completed her undergraduate degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, learning from James Kortum and graduating with Honours in 2018. During this time, she was awarded a scholarship to travel to and perform with the National Orchestra of Samoa and helped mentor and grow the orchestra. She is also interested in music practice research, with her honours thesis on "Tertiary music practice: comparing motivational practice categories that influence successful performance" and her Masters Major Dissertation: "Self-efficacy in practice when preparing for performance".  

Naomi has a long history of contributing to music education, teaching in Australian schools as a Flute tutor and an ensemble director for 10 years, and is now taking great joy in expanding her teaching at Ampleforth College as well as schools and studios around Manchester. She was recently chosen to take part in the new ‘This Is Us’ composition and performance project as Flute player with the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra, which collaborated creatively in four primary schools across diverse communities in Manchester.

Victoria Maclachlan - Teacher of Clarinet

Victoria started her clarinet studies at the age of nine as a pupil of Durham High School for Girls, and was awarded a scholarship to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Whilst at school, she attended the Sage Gateshead Weekend Music School, receiving expert clarinet tuition from Jennifer  Murray. Here, she performed in masterclasses with world renowned klezmer clarinettist, József Balogh and current clarinettist in the London Symphony Orchestra, Chris Richards. Not only was Victoria given solo opportunities to perform, including a performance of the Brahms Clarinet Sonata in Eb in the Sage Gateshead, she also played in their resident Wind Orchestra, Symphonic Winds. Whilst in this ensemble she performed in venues across the North East and Scotland with artists including the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, Simone Robello and in the premiere of ‘Lindisfarne’ with Northern Sinfonia flautist, Juliet Bausor.

Continuing her studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Victoria studied clarinet with Hale Hambleton and Joan Enric Lluna and bass clarinet with Anthony Jennings and Ian Mitchell. For her Masters degree she also received tuition in classical saxophone from Gerard McChrystal, jazz saxophone from Mick Foster and flute from Lynda Coffin. Whilst at Trinity, Victoria’s playing benefited from masterclasses with leading clarinettists and saxophonists, including Andrew Marriner, Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, David Shifrin and Antonio Belijar.

In a performance capacity Victoria has largely been involved in the world of musical theatre and to date she has played in the pit orchestra for over 30 different musical productions across the country and in several London theatres. Productions have ranged in musical style from the jazz soundscape of ‘Lend Me A Tenor’ to the modern pop beats of ‘Honk!’ via klezmer playing in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ demonstrating a range of styles and disciplines. In a production of ‘Our House’ at Stratford Circus Theatre (London) Victoria's playing was personally acknowledged in a review by theatre critic Jonathan Baz stating that ‘wind player Victoria Bell's saxophone work provides the most ballsy authentic Madness sound that truly takes an already wonderful show, one step beyond’. Aside from various theatres, she has also performed at such venues as the Royal Festival Hall and live on BBC Radio 3.

Catherine Hewitt - Teacher of French Horn

Catherine Hewitt studied the French Horn with Derek Taylor at the Royal Academy of Music where she gained a 1st Class BMus.Hons Degree in 1997.  Having worked as a freelance French Horn player from the age of 15 in local orchestras in Kent, she joined the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1998 as Third Horn and progressed up to Principal Horn in 2002 until 2005.  During her career she has been fortunate to be able to work with many major orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Opera House, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.  Since becoming a parent in 2006 and moving to Yorkshire a few years later, Catherine has worked mainly as a French Horn player with local orchestras in the Ripon and Harrogate areas and is currently a Brass teacher at several schools including Ampleforth College and Terrington Hall.

Pietro Lusvardi - Teacher of Double Bass

Pietro Lusvardi graduated from the “Conservatorio di Musica” of Como in Italy where he gained his degree and postgraduate diploma in music. He started working with a number of orchestras including Pomeriggi Musicali (Italy), touring with Sinfonica Orchestra of Cluj Napoca and Filarmonica Oltenia Craiova (Romania).

In 1997 he founded the award-winning jazz avant-garde ensemble Gatto Marte. The ensemble, over two decades, has published ten albums, composed and performed live the scores of numerous silent films and toured Europe and the USA.

Pietro has also composed and published four albums for solo double bass: “Progetto Contrabasso”, “Animali Rari”,“The Lost Concerto”, and “Racconti sul Lago”.

In 2000 Pietro moved to California USA and worked with the Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Bay Shore Lyric Opera in Capitola and Ensemble Monterey, as well as performing solo double bass recitals featuring his original compositions.

Since coming to the UK in 2004 Pietro has been commissioned to write the opera “Colombo Tutto Tondo” by Teeside University which has been performed in England and Ireland, music for ballet by Tees Valley Dance, and a Concerto For Double Bass and Orchestra by the Hull Philharmonic Society, which he performed in 2011 with the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2013 with the Teeside Symphony Orchestra.

Pietro also began working with orchestras, and chamber ensembles including: BBC Philharmonic, Northern Ballet, National Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble 360. He also has a busy teaching schedule including pupils at the University of York, Durham University, Ampleforth College, and Hymers College. 

Isabel Dowell - Teacher of Bassoon

Born in the London Borough of Barnet, Isabel studied bassoon at Trinity College of Music and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. During this time she was a member of the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

From 1999 to 2002 Isabel was sub-principal bassoonist with the Cyprus State Orchestra for three years before moving back to the UK and settling in York. Since then she has lead a busy life freelance playing and teaching bassoon, flute, oboe and recorder. She has taught at Ampleforth since 2009 and also teaches at St Peter’s and Bootham School in York, Queen Mary’s Topcliffe, Harrogate Grammar and at the University of York. She is principal bassoon with the York Guildhall Orchestra, the Academy of St Olave’s and two wind quintets. In recent years Isabel has become involved in Early Music and she has performed regularly with the York Waits since 2015 on curtal, shawm, bagpipes, recorder and crumhorn, including trips to the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway.

Krzysztof Urbanski - Teacher of Saxophone

Krzysztof Urbanski is a multi-award winning Jazz Saxophonist, Composer, Educator and Producer, recommended by ‘The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz’ along with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as one of the most interesting saxophone voices of his generation.

During his 20 year career he has become well known for taking part in concerts, festivals, jazz competitions, masterclasses and workshops at venues including The World Saxophone Congress in Croatia, Asian Saxophone Congress in Shanghai/China, London Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Showcase, Gent Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, UCLA in Los Angeles and The Royal Northern College of Music.

As a recording artist he has 5 albums under his belt; (2008) ‘Urbanski Quartet Live at Hoeilaart Jazz Festival’ , (2010) ‘Urbanski’ , (2013) ‘The Art of Three’, (2014) ‘Urban Jazz  Society’, 2020 ‘Children Of The Light’. He has appeared as a guest artist on more than 100 albums crossing all musical genres.

As a composer and saxophonist his numerous awards include:- January 2016 Scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland; April 2009 Krzysztof Urbanski and his Quartet received the TVP Culture Award from the national broadcaster; March 2009 winner of the ‘wARTo’ Music Award from Gazeta Wyborcza; January 2009 Scholarship from Department of Culture "Young Poland"; September 2009 Scholarship from the City of Wroclaw.

Krzysztof was proclaimed a Jazz Personality of the Year at the ‘JnO’ Jazz Festival 2010. 

Richard Winter - Teacher of Percussion

A native of Liverpool, Richard began bashing pots and pans at home before embarking on formal percussion lessons at the age of 11. Whilst studying for a BA(Hons) in Liverpool he also attended the Stevens International Marimba Conference at The Eastman School of Music - USA.

Postgraduate study followed in Manchester at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he was awarded Distinction in both the Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Music degree.

Since leaving music college, Richard has enjoyed a busy performance career working with musicians ranging from Vladimir Ashkenazy to Deep Purple. He regularly works with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé, Manchester Camerata and Royal Northern Sinfonia. Music has taken Richard throughout Europe and Asia and he has performed many times at the BBC Proms. 

In 2016 Richard was elected a Member of the Royal Society of Musicians.

Matthew Lennox - Teacher of Singing

Matthew was born in Portsmouth and started singing as a boy chorister at All Saints Portsea. At the age of 16 he won a scholarship to study under David Hurley and Margaret Philpot on the Hampshire Specialist Music Course and then went on to win a scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music. The highlights of Matthew’s concert work include Bach’s B Minor Mass and St John and Matthew passions, Handel’s Messiah and Solomon, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Purcell’s Ode to St Cecilia.  Matthew recently performed with Ballet Rambert and in a concert of early music as a member of the Deller Consort. He is also no stranger to operatic roles, having played Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Guilio Cesare in Handel’s Giulio Cesare. He is proud to have performed on a number of different recordings with the Hyperion, Regent and Naxos labels. In recent years Matthew has returned to Cathedral singing, heading first for Wells Cathedral before moving to Yorkshire with his wife and young family. He now sings at Ripon Cathedral, is vocal coach to the choristers of Ripon and York and has presented singing masterclasses at many other northern cathedrals.  

Matthew has an M.A. in Solo and Ensemble Singing under Robert Hollingworth at The University of York, and has recently started his own music events company, High Row Music.

Sarah Fox - Teacher of Singing

One of the foremost English sopranos of her generation, Sarah Fox was educated at Giggleswick School, London University and the Royal College of Music. A former winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award and the John Christie Award, she is also an Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway College, London University.

Roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden include Micaela in Carmen, Asteria in Tamerlano, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Woglinde in Der Ring des Nibelungen. Other highlights include Asteria in Munich and Barcelona (opposite Domingo), Zerlina at Glyndebourne and in Cincinnati, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for Glyndebourne and Mimi in La bohème for Opera North; additional roles include Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, Servilia in La clemenza di Tito, and Ilia in Idomeneo.

Her prestigious concert career has taken her worldwide with engagements in Dallas, Denver, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Tokyo as well as tours throughout the UK and Europe. She works with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, CBSO, Colorado Symphony, Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Salzburg Camerata, Vienna Tonklunster Orchestra and the Hallé, under conductors including Elder, Hickox, Mackerras, Manze, Petrenko and Rattle. She has appeared several times at the BBC Proms, the Three Choirs Festival and at London’s Wigmore Hall ​where she sang as part of their 120th Anniversary Celebrations in 2021. Sarah has performed with John Wilson and his Orchestra, is a regular guest on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ and has sung with Rufus Wainwright in Europe and Hong Kong. Recent highlights include Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne in Milan with Roberto Fores Veses; a tour of Maher's 2nd Symphony in Spain with Robert Trevino; and Vaughan Williams's Sinfonia Antartica at the Bridgewater Hall with John Wilson.

Her discography includes the title role in the world premier recording of Parry’s Judith (Chandos); Aminta/Il Re Pastore (Classical Opera Company), The Cole Porter Songbook, Poulenc Songs and Mahler’s 4th Symphony (Philharmonia/Mackerras) all for Signum Classics; Mozart’s Requiem (London Mozart Players) for Convivium Records; Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem (Colorado Symphony Orchestra/Litton); two volumes of the complete survey of Parry’s English Lyrics for Somm; and Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony (RLPO/Andrew Manze) for Onyx.

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