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Strings Staff  

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Noriko Tsuzaki
Head of School / Head of Strings / Head of Special Educational Needs

Subjects Taught

Violin / Piano / Special Music Makers


B Mus (Hons), PG Diploma, MPhil​

Noriko Tsuzaki was born in Japan and started learning the violin at the age of three and the piano a year later. She relocated to the UK at the age of nine and attended the Royal College of Music Junior Department.

She held a music scholarship at King Edward’s School Witley on violin, piano and trumpet, and performed in many prestigious venues, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Mansion House and the Guildhall. Her undergraduate studies took place at the University of Manchester where she studied the violin with Leland Chen and gained her BMus (Hons). She continued her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music studying violin with Thomas Kemp and achieving a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance and an MPhil in Performance which also included an academic research on Beethoven’s works for violin and orchestra.

Noriko is passionate about teaching and currently teaches violin, viola and piano at schools including Tudor Hall and Sibford School. Her strong interest also lies in teaching people with special needs and she is a Founder Director of Special Virtuosi; a community-interest company providing music opportunities for children and adults with special needs. She is the Education Officer for the Youth Department at the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) and organise courses and coaches young musicians aged five to eighteen on courses during school holidays.


She plays with various orchestras around the country and holds the position of Sub-Principal First Violin in the ESO. Her other freelance work includes session recordings for films, appearing on TV and radio such as Songs of Praise and the Classic FM, and performing with various chamber groups. Her performing career has also taken her to various European countries and the Far East, including Japan, South Korea, China and Singapore.


Noriko hopes to continue developing her teaching and performing careers and to also continue researching and extending opportunities for people with disabilities to access music. She enjoys a busy life at the Elgar School of Music as Head of School, Head of Strings, and Head of Special Educational Needs.

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Kate Fawcett

Subjects Taught

Violin / Viola / Music Therapy

Dan James

Subjects Taught

Ukulele / Banjo / Folk Group

Dan James has been a full time professional musician since 1997. He has played many styles of music but is most comfortable with folk music in all its forms. His main instrument is mandocello and he is also a singer. Having studied trinity college music theory grades at school in the 1980's he has had to train his ears out in the real world of concerts, functions and pub gigs. He also sings and has a good working knowledge of guitar (electric and acoustic), banjo (5 string and tenor), ukelele, electric bass, mandolin, music technology, recording and PA.

He came to music teaching by accident and has 15 years of experience, teaching all ages. In the last 5 years he has also run two youth music “boot camps” at radio station BRFM in South Wales where he still has two radio shows. He has also run two successful workshop days at Elgar school of Music, one for banjo and one for ukelele and enjoys the conceptual challenge of getting inside an instrument. Dan James has several albums to his credit, two “solo” and quite a few with bands and duos. 

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Claire Horáček

Subjects Taught

Viola da Gamba / Viols Consort / Baroque Ensemble


BFA. ATC. MMus (Performance)

Claire has recently been awarded a Master of Music degree in performance on the viola da gamba with distinction studying with Elizabeth Kenny and Jonathan Manson at Southampton University.  She did her first degree in Fine Art at Oxford University but spent a good deal of time there playing the 'cello and furthering her love of early music and interest in historical performance practice.

She has lived in Worcester for over 20 years and for most of that time was a teacher of Art at the King's School Worcester. She now combines working as a freelance performer on both baroque and renaissance viols with teaching music & art as well as, when time allows, painting. She is a member of the Linarol Consort of Renaissance Viols which specialises in the repertoire of 16th century middle Europe and Ensemble Échos, a baroque chamber group formed by postgraduate students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

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Julian Robinson

Subjects Taught

Viola / Adult String Ensemble

Julian started playing the viola at age thirteen and very soon realised he wanted to make music his profession. He studied, at first with Peripatetic Teacher Pamela Blythe. Further studies took him to London with Harry Danks, (Principal Viola of the BBC Symphony Orchestra) and then to the Royal Academy of Music, where he was taught Viola by Gwynne Edwards (Principal Viola LSO) and Chamber Music by Sidney Griller.

​On leaving The RAM he immediately secured a position with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, remaining for 39 years. He played for Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons as well as other world

renowned conductors. He frequently played chamber music with other members of the CBSO and visiting Soloists, including Andrew Litton, Ian Partridge, and Lisa Batiashvili.


In the musical education field, Julian was a enthusiastic participant in the CBSO’s education and outreach programme, including devising and participating in schemes for SEN schools for children and adults. He also enjoyed giving talks and demonstrations for Music Societies and similar organisations.


Over the years Julian has helped many performers with their playing and he has a keen interest in helping young people, both those wanting to join the profession and those who simply wish to have music as part of their lives. Whilst with the CBSO he was a frequent mentor for viola students from Birmingham Conservatoire/CBSO’s “String Training Scheme” including Kate Fawcett, C.E.O. of the Elgar School.


Now semi retired, Julian, plays string quartets, does freelance work when asked and likes to cook.

Claire Tindall
Claire Tindall

Subjects Taught

Classical Guitar



Claire joined the school first as a pupil over 10 years ago and began teaching guitar here in 2010. She has experience of playing in various ensembles: these include the Worcester Guitar Orchestra and the Central England Guitar Ensemble. She also has experience of assisting with the Worcester Youth Guitar Orchestra and currently runs the Guitar Club at the school.

Claire has worked as a Support Worker for Headway - a charity that supports people with acquired brain injury - where she taught music and art.  She has training in art & design and enjoys combining her guitar teaching with working as a freelance children’s book illustrator and painter.

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Grace Shepherd

Subjects Taught


Grace has worked as a violinist with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Symphony Orchestra, the London Concert Orchestra, the Welsh Concert Orchestra, the Piccadilly Sinfonietta, the Midland Sinfonia, the British Sinfonietta, the English Sinfonietta, the Midland Opera and the Studio Orchestra. She achieved a first class Bachelor of Music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2023, and in her final year of study earned a place on the Professional Placement Scheme with the BBC NOW. Following the placement, Grace played on their North Wales Tour as a tutti 1st violinist.

Grace recently performed for the first time as a professional soloist alongside the Midland Sinfonia and continues to enjoy being a regular player with the orchestra, including involvement in their outreach work in dementia cafes and hospices. 

During her undergraduate study, Grace led the Royal Welsh College of Music Symphony Orchestra, performed as soloist playing Vivaldi’s Winter alongside the Baroque Badinerie Consort, and led and performed as soloist with the Ignite Symphony Orchestra. She was a RWCMD string soloist throughout her undergraduate studies, playing alongside esteemed musicians including Anthony Marwood, Maria Wloszczowska, Timothy Ridout and the Manchester Collective. Grace performed as a violinist and viol player at the Brecon Baroque Festival and thoroughly enjoyed the study of Baroque music.


She gained invaluable chamber experience through her selection to represent the college in the Cavatina Competition at Wigmore Hall as the 1st violinist of the Bevan Quartet in 2023.


Alongside her professional work, Grace regularly plays at her local Dementia Cafe and Children’s Hospice. She is passionate about bringing music to those who are unable to access it in other ways and undertook extensive research into the positive impacts of music on the brain, writing her final dissertation on this subject. She has planned a series of her own fundraising recitals and was delighted to raise over £1000 for Acorns Children’s Hospice from her first concert this year. 


Grace is a violin teacher at the Elgar School of music, where she first started learning herself at the age of eight. She is also a deputy teacher at the Centre for Young Musicians (Guildhall, London) and helped tutor at Gloucester Academy of Music’s ‘Big String 2024’.

Grace is grateful for the guidance of her teachers Lowri Porter, Lucy Gould and Lesley Hatfield, and for the invaluable insight from those who gave her masterclasses: Itzhak Rashkovsky, Maria Wloszczowska, Anthony Marwood, Rachel Podger, Jim Clarke, Nick Whiting, Stanislav Pronin and Tamsin Little.


Awards and Prizes:
2023 Harrison-Frank Family Foundation Award

2022 Philippa Whitelaw Yardley Memorial Award

2022 – present Derazey violin loan for which Grace is extremely grateful

2019 – 2023 Scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

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Andy Tsao

Subjects Taught


Trained in Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (BMus). Andy studied primarily Music Performance on classical violin, but also took on Jazz violin as second subject during his college study. With a background disciplined in different traditions, Andy has been performing as a soloist, leading orchestras as well as Jazz groups and the lead violin of the rock group; The Vultures. Andy is an experienced tutor with a knowledge of Galamian method, improvisation and many years of mentoring students with their exam preparation and concert performance.

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