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Brass & Percussion Department Staff  

James Topp

James Topp

Subjects Taught

French Horn / Concert Band


BMus (Hons) / LGSMD

James Topp was born in the Orkney Islands and educated in north-east Scotland. His musical training took place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he studied horn with Hugh Seenan and Jeff Bryant, and conducting with Alan Hazeldine. Since leaving the GSMD he has developed a highly varied

freelance career including work with several major UK orchestras, West End shows, corporate team-building projects and even an ABBA tribute band! He has been ESO’s Principal Horn since 2004 and has worked as a soloist and chamber musician with groups such as Fine Arts Brass and the Allegri Quartet.

He is heavily involved with ESO’s education programme, in particular as part of the directors and tutors’ team running the ESO Beginners’ and Intermediate Orchestras. He has also coached the brass section of the English Schools Orchestra, held horn classes at Dartington and at Instrumenta Oaxaca in Mexico, and is Visiting Teacher of Horn at Malvern College and University College School in London.

Chris License

Christopher License

Subjects Taught



BMus, DipABRSM (Performing), CME

Chris graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2014 after being fortunate enough to be able to study as a mature student. His main instrument is Trombone and he has wide experience in the brass band movement, playing at the highest levels. He has also played with local orchestras and has played many stage shows.

His time at the Conservatoire gave him the opportunity to learn from some top brass tutors and this has given him the skills and knowledge to be able to teach brass to a high level. In addition to his work with the Elgar School of music Chris teaches privately through the West Midlands Brass Academy.


Chris is musical director of Worcester Concert Brass and Malvern Hills District Brass Bands as well as composing and arranging music for ensembles including brass bands.

Edward Robert-Malpass

Subjects Taught

Brass (Trumpet)



Edward studied Trumpet performance at Birmingham Conservatoire gaining an honours degree in 1997.  During his studies he began freelancing, including playing Soprano Cornet for several of the leading

Championship section brass bands of the time.  Alongside brass instrumental teaching, Edward was Principal Trumpet for Mid Wales Opera for 7 years, 3 of these also as Orchestra Manager.  In 2002 he was successful in auditioning as an extra for the CBSO and the English National Ballet orchestra.  As a soloist he has performed in the UK, America, France and Holland.  Edward is currently a busy freelance musician, musical director and teacher.  He is also Director & Orchestra Manager for The Film Orchestra project.

Josh Crivelli

Joshua Crivelli

Subjects Taught

Drums / Percussion

I grew up in Worcester playing in and out of school and college bands before moving south to study Degree in Music. I spent the next years playing in numerous original bands, function bands and orchestras. I got the opportunity to perform in many theatres and venues as my time was spent living and gigging along the south coast, and traveling to do shows on the continent too. After travelling the world, I moved back to the midlands and continue to perform. I have worked as a percussion director for orchestras and ensembles, but now do more a little more tutoring and running workshops including here at the Elgar School of Music!


Matthew Green

Subjects Taught

Percussion / Raglejazz

Born in Norfolk, Matthew Green began his musical training at the age of three. Growing up in the Salvation Army, Matthew was playing in the bands from an early age which started his musical journey. At sixteen he attended Colchester Institute School of Music to study A Levels and later a BA Hons Degree, on the way winning competitions for solo and ensemble playing.

Matthew obtained a place to study at Birmingham Conservatoire, where he gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Performance with Distinction. During his education, Matthew was a member of the Britten-Pears Orchestra for six seasons where he held the principal timpani chair for five of them.

Matthew is a very versatile musician and has emerged himself in all aspects of percussion and plays all range of music, from Baroque to Rock. Being as prolific at the back of the orchestra as behind a drum kit, Matthew is also in demand to perform with premier Big Bands and Jazz ensembles in and around the Midlands/London and in the studio recording for rock/pop artists.
Matthew is working extensively in the UK, Europe and further a field playing with such orchestras/ensembles as City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, C18th Concert Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, Alina Orchestra, Birmingham Opera, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Nash Ensemble, Endymion Ensemble, The Bach Choir to name a few. Theatre experience includes the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Globe, Talking Birds and West End productions Jesus Christ Superstar, Abba The Show and Thriller Live (acted as MD for the Autumn Tour 2008).

Having a passion for world music, Matthew studied many of the middle eastern drums which has lead him to work with such artists as Ravi Shankar, collaborating between Eastern and Western musicians and the UK’s leading Nasheed group SHAAM. Closer to home, Matthew has played many folk drums and has played the Bodhran on the west coast of Ireland's folk scene, performing sessions with World Squeezebox Champions . In 2016, Matthew was invited to play at the Queen Elisabeth II 90th Birthday
Thanksgiving Service at St.Paul's Cathedral.


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