Headed by Matt Lowe, our extraordinary and diverse Music department aims to encourage all pupils to participate in the musical life of the College.

Matt Lowe

Before becoming Director of Music at Bradfield College, I led a busy and diverse life as a professional musician; playing the cello and teaching.

My musical journey started at the age of four, when my mum taught me the cello. I became a chorister at York Minster, something I look back on with great fondness, but it was my cello that enabled me to win a major music scholarship to Eton. I enjoyed a very successful school career becoming President of the Eton Society (Headboy), Secretary to the Eton College Musical Society, House Captain, Captain of the 1st XI football to name but a few. I then went on to study as a cellist at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2008 I was invited to go to the Menuhin Academy in Switzerland, where I continued my studies and also played in the Lysy Camerata, a chamber orchestra which performed across Europe.

On my return to London, I became a freelance cellist playing regularly with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As part of my freelance work, I was invited to trial for the post of Principal Cellist (no. 2) with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, as well for a position with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. I have also played with the English Chamber Orchestra, English National Opera and Aurora, among others. Over the last decade my teaching has seen me work alongside some of the leading cellists in Europe at the Eton International Cello Course and the International Cello Gathering (Bryanston), and as assistant to Alexander Baillie on his summer school in France (Carteret). Until my recent appointment, I had spent a decade teaching cello and chamber music at Eton College, having also taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Junior Department, St Paul’s Girls’ School and St Mary’s, Ascot. I continue to enjoy performing recitals and giving masterclasses, as well as directing the summer course for the Cello Gathering (www.cellogathering.com). I remain as passionate as ever about the importance music plays in lives of youngsters and wider society and is the main reason for taking up my post at Bradfield.

Most Memorable Performance

Difficult question! I’d have to say playing at the last night of the Proms in the Albert hall with the BBC Symphony Orchestra to an audience of 5,500 people, live on TV and streamed across the world. To top it all we were performing with Jonas Kaufman, a superstar tenor. I remember being mesmerised by his sound and as he brought the piece to its conclusion there was a silence, a perfect 5 seconds of emotional silence, before the eruption of the most deafening round of applause I will ever hear. Sensational.

Greatest Musical Influence

My Mother, Sue Lowe! I started the cello at the age of 4 but still vividly remember her writing out nursery rhymes on manuscript paper. She used all sorts of analogies to help me develop whilst making it fun. I even earned pocket money by how many scales I did each day! As a result I was awarded my grade 8 distinction aged 11! Even now Mum remains a huge influence and the opinion that I value the greatest. When I visit home calls of, “Matthew! Do it again! It’s out of tune!” can still be heard!

Did you know?

I was head-boy at Eton (President of the Eton Society). I played ISFA football at every level. In 2016, I completed Ironman Switzerland (4km swim, 180 km bike and a marathon).

Mark Etherington

I have worked at Bradfield College for 11 years. My background is modern languages, and for the majority of that time I have been Head of Modern Languages. I studied French and German at The University of Leeds and worked in schools in Bath and Bristol before arriving at Bradfield. Music has always been a passion and, over my 18 year teaching career in three different schools, I have always run bands and organised concerts. Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a professional jazz drummer in the West Country, and was lucky enough to tour abroad and share the stage with many leading figures in the jazz world. After ten years at Bradfield, I finally accepted the inevitable and became a bona fide member of the music department, instead of a linguist imposter! I am now “Head of Music Events” – a job that I love.

Most Memorable Performance

An impossible question – there have been so many. During my own time at school: the school Big Band and Jazz Bands were of very high quality and gigged extensively. As a professional in my 20’s, I played in some incredible concerts both in the UK and abroad. Since becoming a teacher, the involvement with school music has given me such a buzz – being able to pass on my love of live music to the next generation is such a privilege. In recent times, playing with the OB Band in JoaSE 2017 – sharing the stage with a selection of these great people from over the years was a massively powerful and memorable moment.

Greatest Musical Influence

My father. He is a semi-pro jazz musician, he and I would jam several times a week and he started taking me to live gigs when I was about seven. I played my first live gig when I was just 9 years old. This early exposure to live music, and the fun of it all, is why I can do what I do now. All of this helped me to develop a musicality and a love for playing that continues to this day.

Did you know?

I have a qualification in wine-tasting. Coarse fishing is a favourite pastime. I was once on live TV in Czechoslovakia.

Victoria Hughes

I began working at Bradfield as an NQT in 2007 after completing my BA (Hons) in Music at Leeds University, specialising in composition, followed by my PGCE at Southampton. Whilst at Bradfield I completed my MA in Music Education at Reading University and I examined performance, composition and the written paper for AQA, OCR and IBDP. My instruments are flute and piano, but I have been known to pick up the saxophone or viola on occasion. When I am not in the classroom, I can be found in the gym: I used to compete in powerlifting. I am married to Tim and we have a son, Arthur.

Most Memorable Performance

Conducting the Bradfield Orchestra alongside the LCO. I am not sure my conducting skills were worthy, but it was certainly memorable.

Greatest Musical Influence

Dr Michael Spencer, my composition tutor at Leeds University. He introduced me to a whole new sound world and prompted me to change from performance to composition as my main area of study at university.

Did you know?

My powerlifting total is 280kg and Wilks score is 334. I scored 148/150 for my Grade 1 piano exam. I have a cat named The General Sir Harry Flashman, VC, KCB, KCIE.

David Quinn

I read music at Oxford where I was organ scholar at St Peter’s College. I have subsequently held positions at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire, and Radley College as organist and music teacher. I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. In previous posts, I worked extensively with choristers and choirs, maintaining a busy performance programme. I run an upper voice choir in Oxford and regularly work with Chiara, an upper voice choir drawing its team from around the country.

Most Memorable Performance

The performance that springs to mind is not the most musically sophisticated, but is one of the most moving performances I have ever been involved in. In my previous school, the whole student body had compulsory chapel every evening. Although this wasn’t popular with all, the hymn singing was like nothing I have ever heard and regularly overpowered the organ! On 22 May 2017 a suicide bomber killed 22 people as they left an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Arena. In light of this, and after prayers were said during chapel the following day, our final hymn was changed to Abide with Me – if you don’t know it, look up the text in our hymn book. Accompanying 680 young people sing such an emotionally charged hymn, and the style in which they sang, made it one of those rare experiences that I’ll vividly remember for the rest of my life.

Greatest Musical Influence

Controversially, I’m not going to go for a person in answer to this question, but a place. Durham Cathedral has been my greatest musical influence, whether that be through my choirmaster and his meaningful tuition, or through the music I was exposed to on a daily basis at such a young age. The music of Byrd, Tallis and Vaughan Williams has had a huge impact on me both as a musician, and on my life and career decisions. If it weren’t for Durham Cathedral, I would not be a musician today.

Did you know?

I took Art A level and still paint and draw. I am a huge Mini enthusiast and dream of owning my own classic Mini. Both of my grandfathers were coal miners in County Durham, where I grew up.

Eleanor Harre

Following a degree in music at Oxford, I started my teaching career before many of my current colleagues were born! Before coming to Bradfield, I was Head of Music at a school in Slough for fourteen years, but I have worked in a variety of educational establishments in both my native East Anglia and in Berkshire. When my four sons were young, I taught piano and violin and, for a while, ran a choir of over one hundred 6-11 year olds. My guilty musical pleasures include slushy arrangements of baroque music – the larger and more inauthentic the better – and I enjoy the occasional session of piano duet playing. Fortunately, I have very tolerant neighbours.

Most Memorable Performance

The first time I played in a full-scale symphony orchestra: being surrounded by such a rich sound and being musically swept along by those around me felt extraordinary.

Greatest Musical Influence

My grandmother.

Did you know?

My grandfather taught at Bradfield over 100 years ago. The only exam I have ever achieved full marks in was Grade 5 theory! I adore home-made cake.

Adrienne Black

I was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music for seven years before continuing my studies at the Royal College of Music. I graduated in Advanced Piano Performance, Harpsichord and Accompaniment, winning various prizes for both solo harpsichord and chamber music with piano. I have performed in many concerts in the UK and abroad both as a piano and harpsichord soloist and as a chamber musician, working with a variety of chamber orchestras and smaller ensembles. I have enjoyed playing for masterclasses for leading soloists and teachers in Summer Schools and at the London Conservatoires, and am currently on the panel of professional accompanists for concerts, masterclasses and auditions at the Royal College of Music. Since 2010, I have been the Artistic Director for ‘Concerts in Caversham’ where I have collaborated with many of the UK’s finest musicians in concerts ranging from solo recitals to a small chamber orchestra. We also promote a yearly Jazz event.

I have held teaching/accompanying positions at Bedales School, Leighton Park School, Berkshire Maestros where, for many years, I was a coaching accompanist for the instrumental scholars, as well as at Tring School of Performing Arts as a ballet pianist. Since 2012, I have been the Senior Piano Tutor and Accompanist at Bradfield College.

Greatest musical influence

The great pianist, Peter Wallfisch – husband to cellist Anita Lascia-Wallfisch, an Auschwitz survivor – was a huge inspiration to me whilst studying in London. His warmth, generosity of spirit, wholehearted encouragement, depth of musical integrity and mutual love of cats was wonderful.

Most memorable performance

A ‘Live Music Now’ tour during the European Year of Music. My husband (an oboist) and I found ourselves playing in a Belgian prison, using my harpsichord (which we had been transporting in a transit van). Despite never having listened to Baroque music before, the prisoners were transfixed; afterwards several of them spent their entire week’s allowance on our recordings of Bach Sonatas and Solo Harpsichord Suites. I felt honoured that they wanted to spend their meagre supply of money on our recordings, and hope that it reflected how much our playing enriched their lives, even if just for a brief moment in time.

Did you know?

I very nearly went to Agricultural College instead of Music College (I loved horses and rode a lot). I was born in Zambia; we left when I was nearly four, after being convinced warthogs were going to attack me when our family car got stuck in the mud at Victoria Falls. When I have the time, I very much enjoy doing traditional re-upholstery of old chairs.

Elisabeth Croft

Born and raised in Cardiff, I gained a degree in Music from the University of Birmingham, and then gained an entrance award to study singing at the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating, I studied singing with renowned teacher Noelle Barker for several years and sang at Garsington Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Téte à Opera and in oratorios and recitals throughout the UK. Singing English Art Song is where my passion lies; I won the Michael Head Prize for English Song in my first year at the Academy, The Ivor Gurney Prize in the following year and in 2008 I was the winner of the AESS National English Song Competition. I recorded and premiered an English Song Cycle written by contemporary jazz/classical composer Michael L. Roberts called the Avocatus Suite, which was released by the Nota Bene label and can be found on Spotify!

I have always had a passion for choral singing, having sung in choirs since the age of six. I fell in love with directing choirs when I conducted ‘House Song’ at school, and my house won for the first time in 17 years! I then conducted the University Chamber Choir whilst studying for my degree, and eventually my passion for teaching, directing and inspiring others to sing surpassed my full-time singing career. Between 2011 and 2016 I was director of ‘Berkshire Young Voices’, the County Choir. Under my directorship, the choir gave performances at Kings College, Cambridge, the Royal Albert Hall, and an acclaimed performance on Radio 3 for BBC Music Day. I have also worked with The National Youth Choirs of Wales in recent years, directing the Training Choir and tutoring on the Youth Choir courses.

Most Memorable Performance

I sang the Soprano Solo in Maher’s 4th Symphony, one of my all-time favourite pieces, in an unbelievably beautiful palace in Prague – it was an unforgettable concert for me!

Greatest Musical Influence

My School Music Teacher; she had endless energy and enthusiasm for all kinds of music making, and was an amazing singer. She was, and remains, the inspiration for my own singing and teaching.

Did you know?

I did A-Level Welsh, I love camping and I have a serious addiction to Chilli Heatwave Doritos.

Hayley Lambert

I grew up in a small village in Essex, where the primary school teachers were extremely enthusiastic musicians. Everyone was encouraged to start an instrument and after I smashed through the Wizard’s Way Recorder Book in no time, I was given a violin. I started saxophone aged 11 and clarinet at 13.

After my school careers advisor told me to find something more realistic and achievable to do than applying to Music College, I decided to do a foundation course in music at Colchester Institute. I then gained a place at The Royal College of Music. After graduating in 2004 I did lots of chamber music with saxophone quartet Zephirus, winning the Royal Over-Seas League Ensemble Prize and a Tunnell Trust Award. We performed extensively, including in the Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Live on Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’. I’ve played with many orchestras including Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Most Memorable Performance

Playing violin in the Royal Albert Hall in 1992 (age 10) as part of a Schools’ Prom. We did a musical version of Watership Down. The story was told through music, a narrator and a series of large handmade collages depicting bunnies in various states: terror, death and finally happiness for the survivors. The music included improvised solos using a pentatonic scale and featured instruments that we had made: a clapperboard, jingle stick and tea-chest bass. I loved it and will remember this performance forever.

Greatest Musical Influence

I don’t have a greatest musical influence. I personally find it impossible to pick one influence, especially if you have been lucky enough to have been helped by lots of people along the way and love many different genres of music. My primary school teachers Howard Ling and Martin Nicholls have to be in with a shout though, it all started there. Other musicians that I find inspiring for their integrity, skill, passion, persistence and vision are Alice Herz-Sommer, José Antonio Abreu, Bobby McFerrin, my friend and fellow saxophone player Naomi Sullivan and my husband Ed.

Did you know?

I have done a tandem sky dive. I don’t like aubergine. I have just taken up running (and I’m slow!!)

Carol Hultmark

I started playing the violin at age 8 – only because my friend put her hand up when the local peripatetic teacher came in to my primary school class and asked if anyone would like to start to the violin. If this hadn’t happened I think I would now be a nurse, married to a doctor owning two Labradors; but as it turns out I am a musician, married to a trumpeter living with two cats. After Music College, I joined the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra but I found the short days of winter too difficult and I went to live with my Swedish husband in Sweden. The winter days there weren’t much better so eventually we moved back to the UK where I joined the Philharmonia Orchestra of which I am still a member. I am hugely blessed to have played with some of the biggest names in conducting in my life, the best orchestras and the most talented musicians. However, I think one of the highlights of my musical life may be the feeling I got when, while playing with The Street Orchestra of London at Leicester Station, passers-by (who, quite possibly, had never heard a live orchestra play before) sat on the ground to listen.

I joined the Bradfield music department in 2006 as Head of Strings where I have seen small nervous violinists and violists grow into tall confident people, some taking their instruments with them to play in the wider sphere of their futures.

Most Memorable Performance

I have many fantastic musical performances in my memory bank and it impossible to choose any one as the most memorable; but one that stands out is playing for the Three Tenors at Wembley – how fortunate I am to have experienced accompanying the likes of Pavarotti!

Greatest Musical Influence

My father was undoubtedly the greatest musical influence on me – he played the piano with me all the time and when he taught himself the accordion, we played a lot of folk music together.

Did you know?

I worked in Peru for 6 weeks in 2014 rescuing Sea Lions. I ran a business “Monkey Music ” for infants aged 0-5 for six years. I did a job swap with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for 3 months in 2006.

Peripatetic Music Teachers

Adrienne Black ARCM, Dip Senior Piano Teacher and Accompanist
Chris De Souza BAPiano
Paul Turner ARAMPiano
Elisabeth Croft BA (Hons)Head of Vocal Studies
Rob Clark BMus (Hons)Voice
Hugh Hetherington BAVoice
Kimberley Roberts BA(Hons)Voice
Serenna Wagner BMus (Hons), PG (Dip),
MMus (Perf), MA Music Therapy
Carol Hultmark BA Head of Strings and Viola
Neil Charlton LTCL Cello
Matt Lowe BMus, MMus Cello
Philippa Mo ARAM Violin
Hayley Lambert BMusHead of Woodwind and Saxophone
Poppy Beddoe BMus, MMusClarinet
Anne Law GRSM, ARCM, Dip RottOboe
Howard Nelson ARAM, LTCLFlute
Martin Davis BMus (Hons), ACWCNDFrench Horn/Trombone
Tom Griffiths BMus (Hons), MMus Trumpet
Martin Allen PPRNCM LlbPercussion
Keith Bartlett GGSMPercussion
Ben Arthey Dip Guitar
Chris Montague BA(Hons), Mus, ARAMGuitar
Rachael Elliott BAHarp
Alexander Technique
Judith TurnerAlexander Technique
David Quinn BA(Hons), ARCO, IPGCEOrgan
Janette MasonJazz
Music Technology
Mark Price BMus (Hons)Music Technology

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