2020 Festival Adjudicators
Brass and Woodwind
Christina Thomson LRAM ARCM GRSM PGCA – Brass
Christina Thomson studied horn, piano and singing at the Royal Academy of Music, London. She then had a fascinating playing and teaching career in Bavaria for 11 years before returning to London to perform and teach at Harrow and the Purcell School. Now she is much in demand as an adjudicator, examiner and teacher, based in North Yorkshire. In 1991 she moved to Ripon, Yorkshire, where she teaches at the Choir School and Ampleforth College. She also has an extensive private practice encompassing ages 5 to 78! As well as being an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals, Christina is an examiner for the ABRSM and is a Brass Mentor for the Associated Board’s professional development course.
Gill Johnston AGSM – Woodwind
Gillian Johnston studied the Bassoon with Archie Camden at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After a period of freelance playing, she concentrated on a teaching career, before moving to Harpenden where she established her own Music School, Harpenden Musicale. From small beginnings Musicale has grown into one of the largest institutions of its’ type in this country. As well as the day to day running of the Music School, Gill arranges Musicale Summer Music Courses around the country, Competitions and a Summer Music Festival. Gill is the founder and Musical Director, of the National Children’s Wind Orchestra and associated groups. She is much in demand as an adjudicator and very much enjoys the contact with the young musician, inspiring and enthusing their interest in music. She has four children, three of whom are professional musicians.
Chamber Music, Junior and Senior Ensembles
Roy Robinson (details below), Christina Thomson (details above)
Michael Young (details below), Gill Johnston (details above)
Bands and Orchestras
Rhys Matthews – BMus (Hons) MMus
Rhys Matthews graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a MMus (Distinction) and BMus Hons (1st Class). Rhys has enjoyed much success performing with a variety of orchestras. Professional engagements have included performing with: BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh National Opera, Sinfonia Cymru, Scottish Chamber Orchestra & BBC Philharmonic. He has performed at The Royal Albert Hall, Symphony Hall, Royal Festival Hall, The Sage Gateshead & The Bridgewater Hall. Rhys is a diverse professional musician, often performing in a variety of styles and concert settings. Engagements have included: Live BBC Radio 3 Broadcasts, TV & Radio recordings for BBC and S4C (Welsh Television), BBC Proms and tour with International Artists.
As an educator, Rhys leads the Percussion & Drum-Kit department at Oundle School in Peterborough. He also coaches 6 percussion ensembles, a Steel Pan Ensemble, Wind Orchestras, Symphony Orchestras and Contemporary Music Groups. In 2012, Rhys joined RSL Arts Awards (Rockschool International Examination Board) as their youngest examiner. Rhys examines modern music exams in piano, vocals, drums, guitar and bass for the examination board. Examining commitments have taken Rhys to Asia, South America and Europe, as well as exams in the UK. Extended examination duties include marking and assessing diploma examinations in teaching and performance. Rhys also leads masterclasses, workshops and seminars in the UK and Internationally where he advises teachers and students on the Rockschool syllabus and he is also an Adjudicator with The British and International Federation of Festivals.
Caroline Diffley 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.
Previously, Caroline taught piano at Wells Cathedral School for many years, working with both specialist and generalist students there. 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.
Michael Young studied piano with Lilian Niblette and composition with Charles Hutchings. Following academic studies at university he continued his piano studies with David Parkhouse at the Royal College of Music, where he was a double prize winner, and he was also a finalist in the National Piano Concerto Competition in 1977.
He has performed regularly as recitalist, concerto soloist and in chamber music in Europe, USA and in SE Asia, giving many first performances and broadcasts of contemporary works as well as making a special study of the works of Korngold. He currently works in a number of duo partnerships including Christopher Horner (violin) and Ioan Davies (cello).
Michael Young has been active as a piano teacher for 35 years, and has given masterclasses and lectures on piano pedagogy all over the world. He was Head of Keyboard at Wells Cathedral School from 1980 to 2000, developing a department with an international reputation for excellence, and is now Professor of Piano at both the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Many of his former students have gone on to international success and careers as performers, and his vast experience as a teacher is put to good use at both conservatoires in lectures on the Art of Piano teaching. He is much in demand as a festival adjudicator, and is on both the Diploma and Presenter Panels of the ABRSM.
Primary Music Makers and Primary Choral
Sam studied at the University of Huddersfield. He has gone on to sing for Opera North, in their commission ‘Songs at the Years End’, and was singer and MD for the acclaimed Wilson+Wilson production ‘Mulgrave’. As a conductor, Sam has directed massed choirs of children at Symphony Hall and the Royal Albert Hall and the Beverley Early Music Festival Schools Chorus, for whom he directed a production of Noye’s Fludde. He runs school choirs, a county choir, a community choir and a singing and signing choir. He is a workshop leader and music consultant and established ‘Performing Arts etc’ to provide workshops in schools and theatres. Sam is the Chair of Sound Sense, the UK professional association promoting community music and supporting community musicians as well as an Adjudicator with the British and International Federation of Festivals.
Roy Robinson MA Dip Perf RCM ARCM (Perf) ARCM (Tchr) LRAM
Roy trained at the Royal College of Music as a joint first study viola and piano pupil of Frederick Riddle and Angus Morrison, gaining 5 performing and teaching diplomas on his two main instruments and the violin, and winning the Leslie Alexander viola competition (the highest award available on the viola at the RCM). He later gained an MA in Music.
Roy combines teaching, performing, examining and adjudicating. He has performed in orchestras and ensembles, and as an accompanist and recitalist. Following posts at St Swithun’s School and Cheltenham College, he was Director of Music and Castle Court for many years. He has taught academic music to A Level and his main instruments to diploma level. He particularly enjoys working with choirs of all ages and he has coached numerous orchestral courses for children. He has a passion for arranging and composing; some of his works have been published.
He is a busy ABRSM grade, diploma and jazz examiner. Tours have included Malaysia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Jordan, South Africa, Namibia, USA, China and Germany (the latter examining in German!). He also presents teacher meetings for ABRSM. Roy loves adjudicating is in demand at some of the UK’s largest music festivals.
Eira Lynn Jones
Welsh harpist EIRA LYNN JONES is a versatile musician, who has a passion for creativity and originality. Her eclectic career ranges from orchestral work, recordings and commissions to chamber music collaborations. She is known equally for her committed, dynamic playing and her innovative, dedicated teaching.
While a student at the Royal Northern College of Music, Eira won numerous awards, including a Guinness Foundation Scholarship and an I.S.M. Performer Award, resulting in her BBC Radio 3 debut on the ‘Young Musicians’ series. Further studies with Kathleen Bride at the Manhattan School of Music in New York led to a Masters Degree. Invited to join the Manhattan Contemporary Music Ensemble, she premiered new works for harp, which ignited her interest in researching unusual and varied repertoire. She did indeed take her harp to the party; to Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre of Performing Arts and Creativity, and even to the top of the Empire State Building!
On returning to the UK she was appointed Principal Harp with Northern Ballet Theatre. She now regularly freelances with the UK’s leading orchestras, including Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, Opera North, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. As soloist, she has performed Debussy Danses with Manchester Camerata and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro with Northern Chamber Orchestra.
Eira is also widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading harp teachers. As Head of Harp at the RNCM she loves inspiring young musicians, receiving many invitations to run workshops worldwide, including USA, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and Iceland.
Andrea Calladine has a varied career as performer, teacher, conductor and adjudicator. She studied initially at the Birmingham School of Music (now Birmingham Conservatoire) gaining honors in Diplomas and was awarded many major prizes.
As a singer, she has travelled widely at home and in Europe performing from her wide concert and oratorio repertoire and she has made radio broadcasts.
Andrea’s teaching commitments are divided between a very busy private practice, where she coaches many professional singers and a leading Independent School. She is also in demand for Choral Workshops. Other positions held have been at the Birmingham Conservatoire (where she was a tutor from 1985 – 2009), Birmingham Junior Conservatoire, The Elgar School of Music, and Worcester University.
Andrea is an active adjudicator member of the British and International Federation of Festivals. She is also a member of the Association of British Choral Directors, Association of English Singers and Speakers and the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Sarah is a vocal graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Josephine Veasey and Patricia Clarke. Whilst at the Academy, Sarah was the recipient of many prizes including Early Music, Lieder and English Song. She was an active member of the opera course, singing roles by Britten, Strauss and Mozart. Upon leaving the Academy, Sarah studied with Margreet Honig at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. She has sung recitals and oratorios all over the country and was a member of the Opera De Lyon. Sarah is a visiting teacher of voice at Marlborough College in Wiltshire and an adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals.
Secondary Choral Day
Sam Dunkley (details above)
Adult Choral Day
Sam Dunkley (details above)