Donald Clist ~ Brass
Donald studied with the late Ifor James from the age of 15 until he started as an undergraduate at the RNCM in Manchester. After graduation, he spent 12 years freelancing in London with many eminent ensembles and major symphony orchestras, mainly working with the European Community Chamber Orchestra, with whom he travelled the world, playing chamber music and concertos. In 1999, Donald became a member of the Welsh National Opera horn section, and along with this commitment continued freelancing with BBC Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, CLS and London West End shows.
Jane Samuel ~ Voice
Jane Samuel, Head of Music at Wales International Academy of Voice, studied music at Bristol University graduating with honours in July 1993. In her final year she chose to specialise in Piano Accompaniment and was involved in accompanying many important masterclasses including one for BBC Television in London with Alan Hacker and one at the Thornbury Music Festival which culminated in a performance of Poulenc’s Clarinet Sonata with the great Jack Brymer. Opportunities such as these coupled with the active encouragement of the university staff gave Jane the enthusiasm to pursue a career within the profession. In September 1994 she accepted a post at the (now Royal) Welsh College of Music and Drama as a Vocal Coach and Accompanist and followed that in 1996 with a position on the staff of the college’s Junior Department as a Piano Tutor. In September 2011 Jane was appointed Resident Coach at the Wales International Academy of Voice, run by world renowned tenor Dennis O’Neill CBE, and was later promoted to her new role.
Jane is in demand as an accompanist at home and abroad, having toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada, America, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Through her work at the college, the Wales International Academy of Voice and her association with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Welsh National Opera she has had the privilege of working with some of the world’s finest musicians including Dennis O’Neill, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Nuccia Focile, Stuart Burrows, Della Jones, Christopher Maltman, Rosemary Joshua, Robert Tear, Jane Eaglen, Rebecca Evans, Wynne Evans, John Mitchinson, Susan Bullock, Dame Ann Murray, Elin Manahan Thomas, Patrick Harrild, James Rae and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
As Katherine Jenkins’ official accompanist Jane has appeared on television and radio shows all over the world. British and American credits include Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show, Weekend Wogan, The Andrew Marr Show, Songs of Praise, Heaven and Earth, The Paul O’Grady Show, GMTV, The Apprentice, The South Bank Show Awards, Dancing with the Stars and a Boxing Day special for ITV on which she also accompanied Kermit the Frog!
In September 2008 she fulfilled a lifelong ambition when she stepped onto the stage of New York’s Carnegie Hall with legendary bass baritone, Bryn Terfel.
Maria Jagusz ~ Voice
Maria Jagusz trained as a dancer before taking up a place at the Royal Northern College of Music where she was awarded the Ricordi Prize for Opera. Further scholarships enabled her to continue her studies at the National Opera Studio.
As a singer Maria has worked as soloist for most of the leading opera companies in the U.K and Europe. Her roles include Carmen, Cherubino, Orlofsky, Hansel, Dorabella and Rosina. She has performed with many of the worlds leading singers including Domingo, Carreras, Freni and Dame Felicity Lott.
She is a keen recitalist and a regular soloist for choral societies in the U.K. She has just finished singing the role of Buryjovka in Opera Projects production of Jenufa to much critical acclaim.
As a teacher Maria has specialised in training students who are hoping to have professional careers in the world of opera and musical theatre. In order to give them experience they need to succeed in this cutthroat industry she formed MJ-UK Music and Arts, which has been running for the past eleven years. She has directed Les Miserables, West Side Story, Secret Garden, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seussical as well as many concerts and operas.
For Longborough Festival Opera’s Young Artist Programme she has directed Little Sweep, Dido and Aneas, La Boheme Sweeney Todd and Les Miserables. She is looking forward to directing Orpheo and Eurydice for their young artists programme in 2017.
Other work includes directing The Merry Widow for Music Festival At Sea this autumn.
She travels all over the country leading workshops and master classes for singers. She has been awarded honorary chairman of the Silurian Consort for her contribution to music in the Cotswolds.
Caroline Diffley ~ Piano
Caroline Diffley was born in Yorkshire, and studied piano at the Royal College of Music. She taught at the Kent Music School in Canterbury and at the Dragon School in Oxford before moving to the West Country. She taught piano at Wells Cathedral School for many years, working with both specialist and generalist students there.
Caroline now lives and works in Exeter, where she runs a private piano teaching practice. Her pupils have achieved many successes, including being awarded the ABRSM Gold Medal, and the Sheila Mossman Memorial Prize for the highest mark in local examinations.
Caroline is an ABRSM examiner of both grade exams and diplomas, and she has examined all over the world. She is also a moderator for Music Medals, and is a busy adjudicator at music festivals.
Helen Deakin ~ Woodwind/Piano
Helen Deakin studied piano and clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music, taking both instruments as joint first study. She undertook post-graduate performance studies on the clarinet and in conducting. Helen has considerable experience of both instrumental and choral directing, and of the string repertoire (her now grown up sons were NYO violin & cello principals).She performs as a soloist and as an accompanist and with many chamber groups and orchestras. Helen leads a busy freelance life, with particular specialisms in playing and coaching chamber music. Until recently, she directed the Rugby Chamber Ensemble, whose many successes included the first performance of Guy Woolfenden’s “Suite Française” and its subsequent appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, concerts at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.
As an ABRSM examiner, Helen has worked extensively throughout the UK and around the world, including Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, New Zealand and the USA. As well as examining, she is a regular presenter at the ABRSM Annual Conferences and she has presented many workshop days across the UK. As a member of the ABRSM Professional Development Panel, Helen has worked with instrumental teachers in the UK and overseas. As a founder member of Clavis Music, she is much in demand, giving presentations and workshop days on all aspects of performing and teaching.
Helen is a very experienced teacher and has run a flourishing private teaching practice for over 25 years. She directs a series of chamber music courses and runs workshops for both pianists and piano teachers as well as for instrumental teachers, which have proved very popular. Helen is a very busy adjudicator, something she really enjoys. She is on the adjudicator panel of the British and International Federation of Festivals, and regularly works for Music for Youth.
Steve Collisson ~ String
Steve Collisson was born and educated in Hampshire. He was awarded a place on the Hampshire Specialist Music Course, Winchester, and went on to read music at the University of Manchester, where he studied the ‘cello with Bernard Gregor-Smith of the Lindsay String Quartet. He graduated with a First class honours degree, having won the top academic and performance prizes in three successive years and was awarded the Sir Thomas Beecham Medal. Steve continued his education as a post-graduate at the Royal Academy of Music studying the cello with Douglas Cummings (former Principal cellist of the LSO) whilst also reading a Master’s degree in Performance and Related Studies at the University of London. In 1994 Steve completed a research degree on the music of Arnold Schoenberg at King’s College, University of London and was awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Music Theory and Analysis.
Steve has taught at all levels of music education, as Director of Music at Durston House School, Ealing; as Head of Instrumental Studies at Alleyn’s School, Dulwich; and as Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham University, Birmingham Conservatoire, the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Music Junior Department, Birmingham Conservatoire Junior School, the Open University and as Director of Music at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
From 1995 Steve pursued an entirely freelance career as a chamber musician, lecturer and teacher. He taught on several music summer schools, including the Open University Summer School and the Oxford Cello School and has adjudicated at many festivals and competitions including the BBC Young Musicians competition. He worked regularly with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group under conductors including Sakari Oramo, Sir Mark Elder and Sir Simon Rattle, with whom he has broadcast on Irish, Danish and Swedish radio and BBC Radio 3.
Since September 2013 he has been Director of Music at South Hampstead High School for Girls in London, a job with which he continues to combine his work as a freelance musician, as an Examiner for ABRSM, and as principal cellist of the Southern Sinfonia.