Artists Council

  • Phillipa worked at Britten Pears Arts (formerly Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh Music) from 1999 to 2021. Under her leadership, the Community Department became an award-winning year-round programme, delivering high-quality music projects with an increasingly important contribution to the health and wellbeing agenda. In 2018, Phillipa became Director of the Music Programme, responsible for all music teams at Britten Pears Arts: Artist Development, Community, Performance, Public Engagement and Shared Thinking. She was responsible for programme development and partnership building in order for Britten Pears Arts to be the leading national resource for music, health and wellbeing, bringing together different sectors and professional communities to connect research and practice.

    Phillipa studied at Liverpool University and Bath College of Higher Education. After teaching music in a large comprehensive school in Liverpool she went on to work at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Glyndebourne Productions. Until recently, Phillipa sat on the National Centre for Creative Health working group as part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Arts Health & Wellbeing, and was a member of the Advisory Group for the Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research.

    She is currently a Trustee of Streetwise Opera and the Sing Up Foundation, an Involvement Champion for The Brain Tumour Charity, a Strategic Advisor for SoundVoice, a member of the Lived Experience Expert Panel for the National Centre for Creative Health, a Lived Experience Reviewer for the Arts & Humanities Research Council and is involved in various voluntary roles within her local community.

  • Nicola T. Chang is an award-winning composer/sound designer for stage and screen. She was the Composer/Sound Designer on the 2020/21 Old Vic 12 cohort and a current BAFTA Connect Member (Film Composer). She was a co-winner of the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund (Audio Design) in 2021.

    As a performer, she plays Keys 2/Percussion in Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World (UK Tour), and has previously appeared in Six the Musical (West End) as deputy MD/Keys 1 and in STOMP! (West End/World Tour) as a cast-member. She has performed with the Chineke! Orchestra, the Women of the World Orchestra and the London Film Music Orchestra, and at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Shakespeare’s Globe.

    She currently works with various theatre and dance companies as a composer/musical director, including National Youth Theatre, British Youth Musical Theatre, National Youth Ballet, Rambert and House of Absolute. In 2021, she scored the short film LAID, which won Best Sci-Fi at Cannes Shorts and was an official selection at the New York Film Festival. In January 2019 she premiered her Concerto for Ping Pong and Piano Trio at Queen Elizabeth Hall, which was then performed in Shanghai later in the year. In 2017, she conducted the London Film Music Orchestra playing her original soundtrack to The Perfect Dinner, accompanied by a live screening of the film.

    She also works extensively in audio plays and radio dramas. Her work on the “Fully Amplified” Podcast Series for Futures Theatre was awarded Silver at the British Podcast Awards in 2022. She co-created the audio work Mooncake with Isabella Leung as part of 45North’s “Written on the Waves” programme in 2021, and co-created Sonic Phởwith Anna Nguyen in 2022.

    Selected theatre credits include: For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy (Apollo Theatre/Royal Court/New Diorama), My Neighbour Totoro (RSC/Barbican), Kerry Jackson (National Theatre), Top Girls (Liverpool Everyman), Of the Cut (Young Vic), The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs (Soho Theatre), The Swell(Orange Tree Theatre), Macbeth (Leeds Playhouse), All Mirth and No Matter (RSC), White Pearl (Royal Court), Dziady/Forefather’s Eve (Almeida Theatre), 15 Heroines (Jermyn Street Theatre/Digital Theatre), Miss Julie (Chester Storyhouse), Funeral Flowers (Camden Roundhouse/Hackney Empire/UK Tour), Wild Goose Dreams (Theatre Royal Bath), Little Baby Jesus (Orange Tree Theatre), The King of Hell’s Palace (Hampstead Theatre), The Death of Ophelia (Shakespeare’s Globe), Summer Rolls (Park Theatre), The Tempest (Orange Tree Theatre), No Man’s Land (Square Chapel Halifax) and A Hundred Words for Snow (Arcola Theatre).

    Selected film credits include: Mei (Sundance 2022), Baked Beans (2022), Twitching (2022), The Fight in the Dog (2022), The Bicycle (2022), Devi (2022), IRL (2021), LAID(Cannes Shorts: Best Sci-Fi, New York Film Festival 2021), Getting Away with Murder(s) (2021), Seafruit (2020), A Dose of Happiness (2019), Boundaries (2019), You Wouldn’t Adam and Eve It (2019), Postcards from the 48% (2018) and The Perfect Dinner (2017).

  • Prof Nathan Holder is an award winning author, international speaker, musician and education consultant. With over a decade of experience, Nate has been advocating for inclusive and diverse music education globally through speaking engagements, writing, and consultancy.

    As an experienced public speaker, Nate has led numerous CPD training, workshops and lectures for schools, universities, and hubs to tackle issues including pedagogy and critical perspectives in music classrooms, departments, and boards. His collaborations include working with top artists such as Ghetts, KOKOROKO and Arkells, as well as with leading companies and organizations like BBC, Hal Leonard Europe, Oxford University Press and Harper Collins.

    Nate’s contributions extend beyond his consulting work. He serves on the board for F-flat books (US), Music Teacher Magazine, and is a member of the Advisory Group to the Africa APPG’s Inquiry into Africa in the UK Curricula. Currently, he holds the position of Professor and International Chair of Music Education at the Royal Northern College of Music.

    As an author, Nate has written nine books, including ‘I Wish I Didn’t Quit: Music Lessons’ (2018), ‘Where Are All The Black Female Composers’ (2020), and the award-winning ‘Listen and Celebrate’ (2023). His work aims to inspire and empower learners and educators to embrace inclusive and diverse music education.

  • I hold a degree in Music Education from the University of São Paulo, where I began my professional journey as an intern at the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. Following my graduation, I moved to Italy where I undertook a specialization course focussing on exploring the relationships between music and mathematics and how such intersections can support music teaching. In 2010, I completed my master’s degree in Music Education at the Federal University of Paraná. My research delved into the music learning process of children with Downs syndrome. Subsequently, I earned a PhD degree from the University of Leeds in 2021. My doctoral thesis investigated the extent to which education and outreach programmes allowed or inhibited participation in classical music and opera.

    I have collaborated with cultural organizations in both Brazil and the UK. I have worked with institutions such as the Brazilian Symphony, the National Foundation for the Arts (Brazilian Ministry of Culture), and, more recently, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. These experiences provided valuable insights into the strengths and challenges of implementing participatory music projects in countries marked by diverse social and economic contexts. Additionally, they allowed me a nuanced understanding of the complexities surrounding public policies for the area from different perspectives.

    I am delighted to become part of the City of London Symphony Creative Council during this exciting time for the organisation. I am confident that this opportunity will serve as a platform to collaborate with brilliant colleagues and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s mission and vision.

  • Dr Sita Thomas is a Welsh-Indian cultural leader and creator based in Cardiff. She is Artistic Director and CEO of Fio, a theatre company that focuses on creating work with Welsh Global Majority creatives and participants. She is Creative Associate at Wales Millennium Centre and Associate Artist at National Youth Theatre.

    ​Sita holds a PhD from the University of Warwick and a Masters in Movement Direction from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, both funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council. She is a trustee of Emergency Exit Arts and Young Vic, and is part of the advisory groups for Refugee Week and Movement Directors’ Association. Sita is also a presenter of Channel 5’s milkshake!

    ​Directing credits include: The House of Jollof Opera, a pop up food hip-hopera experience for Fio and Music Theatre Wales, The Shoemaker, an immersive opera co-created with refugees and asylum seekers in Wales for Welsh National Opera, Oasis Cardiff and Fio; Coventry Embraces, a large-scale site-specific production as part of Good Chance’s The Walk with Little Amal; Go Tell The Bees, a feature film about Pembrokeshire for National Theatre Wales; Press Play Here, short films for Theatre Royal Stratford East; Under The Mask, a binaural audio drama about the NHS for Tamasha and Oxford Playhouse. As assistant, associate and staff director, Sita has worked at National Theatre, Royal Court, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Royal Festival Hall. Sita was previously Co-Artistic Director (maternity cover) of Common Wealth theatre. Sita was a Headlong Origins Director 2022, and was part of the National Theatre Director’s Course 2022 and Royal Opera House Jette Parker Director’s Course 2021. She was a recipient of an MGCfutures award in 2019.

    ​Movement directing credits include: Brown Boys Swim by Karim Khan (The North Wall, Soho Theatre); The Glee Club (Stockroom, Cast, Kiln); Much Ado About Nothing, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin (Watford Palace).

    ​Sita is particularly passionate about supporting the development of the next generation of creatives from the Global Majority. She leads artist development programmes including ‘Arise – Wales Creates’, a partnership between Fio and Wales Millennium Centre that pays ten producers and ten directors from underrepresented backgrounds to increase their skills, networks and confidence, and Tamasha Directors’ Programme.

  • Matthew Kofi Waldren is a conductor of mixed British and Ghanaian ancestry, renowned for his detailed, responsive and collaborative approach to music-making. ENO Mackerras Fellow (2016-18) and nominated at the International Opera Awards (2017), he is recognised for an innate sense of theatre, equally at home in the concert hall, recording studio and theatre pit, even recording the soundtrack to London’s new Elizabeth Line.

    Recent engagements include Ainadamar and the acclaimed world premiere of Will Todd’s Migrations (WNO), the British premiere of award-winning American opera Blue and Olivier nominated Paul Bunyan (ENO), a semi-staged concert tour of The Pearlfishers (Opera North), concerts with the LPO, WNO Orchestra, the CBSO and CBSO Chorus, concerts and recordings with Chineke! Orchestra – including a disc of Grant Still’s Symphony No.1 and Price’s Symphony No. 3, a new orchestration of Jonathan Dove’s Flight and Les mamelles de Tirésias (RCS Opera), L’elisir d’amore (West Green House), Opera Holland Park’s La traviata, Pelléas et Mélisande (Scottish Opera), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Opera Linbury, Signum Classic, OHP).

    Described by The Sunday Times as ‘one of the most adept and dynamic young British Verdians’, Matthew Kofi has conducted highly acclaimed readings of Un ballo in maschera, Rigoletto, La rondine, La bohème, Gianni Schicchi, Zanetto, Il barbiere di Siviglia (also Lakmé, Les pêcheurs de perles and Fantastic Mr Fox) for Opera Holland Park, La bohème, Don Giovanni, La petite bohème (Opera North), Le nozze di Figaro (English National Opera), La cenerentola (West Green House) and Gianni Schicchi (RCS).

  • Alexandra Wood has won major prizes at International Violin Competitions including Wieniawski, Tibor Varga, Lipizer and Yampolsky. Alexandra graduated from Selwyn College, Cambridge before going on to the Royal College of Music in London, where she was President Emerita Scholar and studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky. She then held the Mills Williams and subsequently the Phoebe Benham Junior Fellowships.

    She has given performances for numerous International Festivals (including Cheltenham, Bath, and Aldeburgh) and also in London at the Wigmore Hall, South Bank, Kings Place and live on BBC Radio 3.

    As a concerto artist she has performed with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, City of London Sinfonia, and the OSJ. She has given the premiere of violin concertos specially written for her by Hugh Wood (2009) and Charlotte Bray (2010). Leader of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (with whom she has appeared at Carnegie Hall) she also regularly guest-leads other ensembles including London Sinfonietta, Aurora Orchestra, and Music for Ballet Rambert, and has collaborated with chamber groups such as The Schubert Ensemble and Endymion.

    Alexandra has won many prestigious awards including the Worshipful Company of Musicians Medal, Maisie Lewis Award, Wingate Scholarship, Hattori Award and MBF awards. She was selected for the Tillett Trust Young Artists Platform, and won a Star Award from the Countess of Munster Trust.

    Her CD of world premiere recordings -Chimera- was described as “splendid” in The Sunday Times, and in BBC Music Magazine as “agile, incisive and impassioned”. In 2009, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music volume Spectrum for Violin, which she compiled, edited and recorded, was released. She has also recently recorded for NMC- two violin pieces by Oliver Knussen.

    Alexandra plays a violin made by Nicolo Gagliano in 1767. This instrument was purchased with generous assistance from the Countess of Munster Trust, Abbado Young Musicians’ Trust and the Loan Fund for musical instruments.

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