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

Director of Music

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).

Full time members of staff

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.

Margaret Edwards
Olivia Thackray

From achieving a Choral Scholarship to Repton School and ending my time there as Head Chorister, I was involved in multiple ensembles, bands and productions which only further developed me and my passion for Music.

I appeared as a chorister with many of the most important choirs on today’s platform. I performed at the National Arboretum for Prince William to commemorate the centenary of World War I with the Repton School Chamber Choir, performed an Evensong at Kings College Chapel, at the University of Cambridge with the Kings College Choral Choir and at many other Cathedrals in the UK. I also sung for BBC 3 during my time on the Eton Choral course. Further to this, I gained knowledge on the genre of Musical Theatre by gaining entrance onto the RADA Musical Theatre course and expanded upon my instrumental playing by gaining my Grade 8 in Flute.

After achieving my A-levels at Repton School, I attended Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and gained a diploma in Musical Theatre and a Distinction in my ATCL Level Four exam. I then attended the University of Leeds to read BMus Music and the University in North Texas: College of Music, where I specialised in Vocal Performance, graduating with a First Class Degree in my final year.

During my time at University I toured with the UoL Big Band gigging in the South of France, around the city and at some of the most prestigious music venues in Leeds. I also gigged at some of the most important events on the LUU calendar – the Summer Ball and the Riley Awards. I also gained the opportunity on my year abroad at the University of North Texas: College of Music to perform my first international recital under the direction of William Joyner.

I am currently studying to take my ABRSM LRSM Diploma in vocal performance this coming year.

Most Memorable Performance

Performing beside Roderick Williams as the soloist in Fauré’s Requiem. That was the pivotal moment for me in my career as a soloist and confirmed that music performance was the path I wanted to follow.

Greatest Musical Influence

Stephen Sondheim, his pure genius in lyric writing and complex music writing is unique and something I greatly admire.

Did you know?

I have never failed to escape an escape room.  In 2018 I thought Ian McKellen was my relative and hugged him at the Olivier Awards.  I love travelling – I can’t wait to explore Africa!

Heads of Section

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.

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.

Yulia Chaplina

Born in Rostov-on-Don (Russia), I gave my debut performance aged 7, performing Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in F minor with the Rostov State Symphony Orchestra. Since then, I have performed extensively in Europe and Asia.

I am the winner of 7 international piano competitions. Since winning the First Prize & the Gold Medal in the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Competition for Young Musicians, I have performed regularly as a soloist in many of the world’s finest venues, including the Wigmore Hall and the Southbank Centre in London, Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Grand Halls of the Moscow Conservatoire and the St. Petersburg Philharmonia, Bunka Kaikan Hall in Tokyo and many other concert halls.

I hold a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arts (Berlin), Masters in Music & Fellowship from the RCM (London).  I received music coaching from Mstislav Rostropovitch, Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, Paul Badura-Skoda, David Waterman, Steven Isserlis, Thomas Adès and Liliya Zilberstein.

I am a passionate teacher and have given many recitals and masterclasses in international music festivals, as well as at the Royal College of Music and in leading UK schools. I have recorded piano syllabus pieces for both the ABRSM and Trinity Piano Examination Boards as well as recording accompaniments for the Trinity Vocal syllabus. I was a member of the selection panel for the Trinity College London Examination Board in 2018 and 2020.   I have been invited to participate as a jury member in several music competitions in the UK, Russia and Italy.


My most memorable performances were playing recitals at the Wigmore Hall, playing at the BBC Introducing Young Artist Prom, several concerti appearances at the Berlin Philharmonie and recording one of the piano parts in Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’.


My greatest musical influences were lessons with Mstislav Rostropivich and Sir András Schiff – both are absolute legends in the music world!


I was a hard-core inline roller-skater as a child and teenager. I used to do high jumps and descending stairs at full speed. Although now I must watch my hands, I still remain a keen skater and will come to the school on a pair of inline roller-skates (of course from a nearby train station, not from London!).  Although I am gluten-free, I am a very keen baker. My handmade marzipan pralines are a great hit and I was once recommended to leave music and give it a proper go.  I presented at Google Headquarters in London.



Peripatetic Music Teachers

Yulia ChaplinaHead of Keyboard
Adrienne Black ARCM (Piano), ARCM (Harpsichord), Dip.RCM (Perf) Senior Piano Teacher & College Accompanist
Chris De Souza BAPiano
Anne Law GRSM, ARCM, Dip RottPiano
Janette Mason MMus (Composition)Piano
Jacky Naylor MA LRAMPiano
Elisabeth Croft BMus(Hons), PGDip, LRAMHead of Vocal Studies
Matt Blaker BA(Hons)Voice
Alexander JonesVoice
Kimberley Roberts BA(Hons)Voice
Serenna Wagner BMus(Hons), PGDip,
MMus(Perf), MA (Music Therapy)
Carol Hultmark BA Head of Strings and Viola
Neil Charlton LTCL Cello
Sean Law BMus (Hons)Double Bass
Matt Lowe BMus, MMus Cello
Philippa Mo ARAM Violin
Poppy Beddoe BMus, MA, LRAMClarinet
Shevaughan Beere BMus (Hons)Saxophone
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
Elias Gargallo Aguilella BMus (Hons)Percussion
Ben Arthey BA, Dip Guitar
Chris Montague BA(Hons), MMus, ARAMGuitar
Rachael Elliott BAHarp
Alexander Technique
Judith TurnerAlexander Technique
David Quinn BA(Hons), FRCO, PGCEOrgan
Janette Mason MMus (Composition)Jazz
Music Technology
Mark Price BMus (Hons)Music Technology