Brass, Woodwind & Percussion Department Staff
Clarinet / Saxophone
Sue took a degree in Music with English from the University of Leeds, studying at Bretton Hall College of Higher Education and receiving instrumental tuition from clarinettist and saxophonist Anthony Houghton.
When she had completed her studies Sue was asked by the Skegness Music Club to help set up a scheme for youngsters in the Skegness area to learn wind instruments after school hours. This fired her with an enthusiasm for teaching, and she eventually moved back to Worcestershire to work for the Hereford and Worcester Instrumental Service (now Worcestershire Youth Music), giving both group and individual tuition in primary and secondary schools in Bromyard, Malvern and Worcester.
After a few years with the Service she began to work as a freelance tutor in woodwind and took up posts at The Royal Grammar School, Worcester, The Downs School, Colwall, and St James’s School, Malvern. She also began to build up a private practice, teaching students of all ages and covering both classical and jazz styles of music.
In order to give her adult beginner students the opportunity to play with others Sue founded ‘Single Reeds’, a group of a few clarinet and saxophone players where beginners could gain confidence and enjoy playing together. This grew over the years into a major wind band giving performances in and around the Malvern area, and while other commitments mean Sue is no longer the conductor, Single Reeds continues as a friendly local band.
Sue now teaches at RGS Worcester, The Downs School (Malvern College Preparatory School), and The Elgar School of Music. Her extensive private practice covers Malvern, Worcester and Droitwich, with pupils ranging in age from eight up to retirement and beyond. While emphasising the importance of good technical skills Sue always aims to ensure her students enjoy their music to the full.
Besides her teaching work Sue plays baritone saxophone for the Worcestershire Saxophone Ensemble and Quartet and is Music Director of the Malvern Saxophone Choir.
Oboe / Cor Anglais /Piano / Theory / GCSE / Composition
BA, LTCL, PGCE
Fiona studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, followed by a Post Graduate year at Trinity College of Music, London. She worked as a freelance oboist and session musician, before ending up as a recording engineer for EMI Music at Abbey Road.
Since completing her PGCE, she taught in Worcestershire for 16 years and has especially enjoyed bringing her academic and practical skills to the classroom. She plays regularly with various orchestras, chamber groups and continues to enjoy specialist wind teaching/coaching and delights in the challenges of organising new musical adventures. Fiona is currently Director of Music at Sibford School in Oxfordshire.
Recorder / Bassoon / Recorder Consort
Multi-instrumentalist Andy Watts is Associate Principal Bassoon with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the UK’s leading period instrument orchestra, and founder and director of folk/early music group The Carnival Band. After graduating from Cambridge University he studied bassoon and recorder at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and baroque bassoon at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He then became musical director for touring theatre company The Medieval Players and went on to play with a number
of renaissance music ensembles and with many of London's period instrument orchestras including The Academy of Ancient Music, the English Concert, The London Classical Players and The English Baroque Soloists. He has also played for Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Concentus Musicus in Vienna. In 1984 He formed The Carnival Band playing a mixture of early, traditional and world music and with them has toured as far afield as Sudan, the Gulf States and Japan. A keen music educator working with children and adults of all ages, he is professor of baroque and classical bassoon at the Royal Academy of Music and a visiting lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire. He is currently engaged on a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for which The Carnival Band will record the 100 most popular ballads of the 17th century.
Hannah Talbot Cooper
Flute / Flute Choir
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.
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 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.
Drums / Percussion
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.