Jon Weller, BMus (Hons) PGCE - Head of Music
Jon Weller works as a freelance singer and choral director as well as his role of Director of Music at Hereford Sixth Form College and Academia Musica. He sings regularly as a deputy singer with Hereford Cathedral Choir and his solo work in recent years has included Mozart's Requiem Mass, Faure's Requiem Mass, Haydn's Missa in Tempore Belli and Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs. Jon is founder member and musical director of the Ethelbert Consort, and he has undertaken a series of local recitals with pianist Sam Bayliss. As a choral director, Jon is co-conductor of Herefordshire Youth Choir.
A graduate from Edinburgh University (1998), Jon was a choral scholar at St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh for 4 years under Timothy Byram-Wigfield and graduated with a degree specialising in performance and composition. Since then, he has undertaken a career combining full-time teaching (from primary level up to A Level) and freelance work. During his teaching career, he has taken choirs and orchestras on tour numerous times, with performances in St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Vienna's Stephansdom and St Paul's Cathedral in London as particular highlights.
Jon is the regular pianist for the show "Alive and Brel", a cabaret show of the songs of Jacques Brel. This show has had much local success in Hereford, Gloucester and Malvern, but also further afield with performances in Watford, London and Bath. Jon has also been involved with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, accompanying for, and assisting with auditions.
Lucy Bowen, MA (Cantab), LRAM, PGCE – Head of Vocal Studies
Lucy Bowen has been teaching singing students for over twenty years, most of these in Herefordshire schools. Former students have gone on to study in conservatoires in London and Cardiff, and to choral scholarships in cathedrals and university college choirs.
Lucy is an experienced oratorio and recital soloist, and has also performed and recorded with the consort choirs The King's Consort, Polyphony and Aurora Nova. She appeared in two concerts with Stephen Isserlis in Cheltenham Festival's July 2010 Schumann strand, which were broadcast by BBC Radio 3.
Simon Harper - Assistant Head of Vocal Studies
Simon Harper is a freelance singer, conductor, and teacher. He received his early musical education in Southampton, before studying Music at the University of York, graduating in 2013 with First Class Honours.
Currently a Tenor Lay Clerk in Hereford Cathedral Choir, Simon is also Music Director of Hereford Chamber Choir, the Cotswolds-based Cantores Chamber Choir, and Ledbury Choral Society. Simon sings with and co-directs Echo, a London-based choir, and sings with the Glevum Consort, a professional chamber choir in Gloucester.
As a singer, Simon has participated in live broadcasts on the BBC, and toured China, the USA, Serbia, Rome, and Normandy. Solo work has included Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, the role of Evangelist in the Schütz St. John Passion, in addition to leading roles in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Weber’s Der Freischütz.
Simon gives vocal and instrumental tuition privately, and in schools and colleges across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Catherine Morgan, MA, BMus (Hons), LRSM, LTCL, ALCM – Head of Keyboard
Catherine was awarded a first class honours degree in music at Cardiff University, and remained for a fourth year to gain her MA in Performance Studies. Her tutors have included Martino Tirimo, Iain Burnside and Beate Popperwell, and she has performed as a concerto soloist on numerous occasions as well as in solo and duo recitals.
Catherine is now an experienced teacher, working with pupils from novice to diploma level, and enjoys a wide variety of accompanying work. She also holds a teaching post at Hereford Cathedral School.
Andrew J Morris, BA (Hons), LWCMD, PGCE – Teacher of piano, composition and practical musicianship
Andrew is a freelance musician living and working in Herefordshire for over thirty years. As a pianist he has performed extensively as both soloist and accompanist in the UK and has also performed concerts in France, Germany, Spain, Romania and Sri Lanka.
He is Chair of Herefordshire Composers’ Workshop and his compositions have been performed by many musicians including Joanna McGregor, the Beethoven String Trio of London and Stile Antico. He has worked many times as composition tutor with the BISYOC youth orchestra and has also led composition projects with many other young people including at Hereford Sixth Form College. Some ex-pupils of HSFC have recorded some of Andrew’s compositions with him as part of his Musical Remedies CD series.
As a teacher he is especially interested in bridging the different but complementary approaches of the classical and popular musical worlds. As an accompanist he is very experienced with accompanying singers and instrumentalists for auditions and examinations. He is also currently MD of the Birchpole Singers in North Herefordshire.
Sarah Heins, DTCL – Head of Strings
Sarah studied violin and viola (scholar) at Trinity College of Music, London. In 1994 she was appointed principal viola in the National Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, and on returning to Britain played with Welsh National Opera and London City Ballet.
Sarah has been the viola player with the Minerva String Quartet since 1996, performing in many festivals including the Three Choirs and recording radio plays for the BBC and soundtracks for Channel 4. Sarah is also a violin and viola teacher at Hereford Cathedral School.
Esther Kay, MA (Oxon), LGSM (Flute), DipABRSM (Singing) - Head of Woodwind
Esther read Music at Oxford, where her special subject was History of Wind Instruments with performance on an 18th century flute.
Following a stint at BBC Television she became a freelance music copyist and editor, working on new music for all the major music publishers.
She was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and later returned to study flute with Averil Williams.
In Herefordshire she teaches flute, clarinet, singing and theory in local schools, with a particular interest in coaching ensembles from wind quartets to ceilidh bands.
She plays flute for the cabaret group "Alive and Brel", and is also a member of the Ringerike ceilidh band.
She sings with the Hereford Cathedral Voluntary Choir and the Cantemus Chamber Choir of Wales, with whom she has appeared on The One Show and BBC Radio 3 and 4.
When time allows she is a keen choral composer, and has had works performed in Britain and Europe.
Liessa Price, BA (Hons) - Head of Brass
A former pupil of Hereford Sixth Form College, Liessa studied for an Honours degree at Lancaster University, which incorporated both modern foreign languages and music, gaining First Class Honours for her Music Performance Recital.
Following a postgraduate Law degree from Nottingham Trent, Liessa worked in the Conveyancing, Probate and Matrimonial departments of law firms in Nottingham and Birmingham before returning to Hereford to join the then Herefordshire Music Service (now Encore Enterprises) as a peripatetic teacher of brass instruments and ensemble tutor/ conductor.
Liessa has studied French Horn with members of the Halle, CBSO and Philharmonia Orchestras and has herself had many pupils go on to study music at universities and music colleges, as well as several who have also gone on to play in a professional capacity.
Neil Taylor - Head of Guitar
Tony Bianco - Head of Percussion
Tony Bianco is an American jazz drummer and composer from New York City who moved to Europe in the early 90's.
Described as a "Master Drummer", Tony has played with a diverse range of musicians from Dave Liebman to Chuck Berry. He plays straight ahead jazz, funk, rock and improvised music and is familiar with the new technologies taking place in music today. He is said to be "one of the giants in the improvised music scene in Europe".
Tony was born into a musical family - his father was a drummer and his grandfather a guitarist. Tony studied music in Lehman College (University) in New York City.
Tony has an extensive discography with acclaimed recordings receiving 4 stars from notable jazz magazines such as Downbeat and Jazzwise.
Tony has taught throughout his career, giving workshops at The Birmingham Conservatoire, Academy of Contemporary Music and Kidderminster College.
As well as his musical expertise he can teach students about the reality of the music business.
Stephen Gowland, MA (Cantab), PGCE - Musician in Residence
Stephen started his musical career in Norwich Cathedral as a Choir Choral Scholar before winning a Choral Scholarship to Gonville and Caius College Cambridge to read Music. He also sang in Jesus College Chapel Choir and performed as violinist and viola player in many ensembles.
He has from that time made his career as a composer and a teacher. He teaches Music and French and has taught in a wide variety of schools. He has performed as a counter-tenor soloist and alto lay clerk in many church and cathedral choirs. From 1981 to 2010, he was a lay clerk in Hereford Cathedral Choir.
Stephen now teaches class music, theory, singing, violin, viola and keyboards at both primary and secondary levels. He has a growing practice of private pupils of all ages at home in the centre of Hereford.
Tim Pratt - Musician in Residence
Tim trained as a musician specialising in choral music and composition. After thirty-five years as a full-time education professional, including fourteen years as a secondary school headteacher in Wales, he is now involved in publishing choral music. He has sung with a number of high-profile choirs including the Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir and has directed church choirs since the late 1970s. He has held the position of Director of Music at St Mary's Priory in Abergavenny since June 2000, and in 2014 was awarded the Archbishop of Wales' Award for Church Music. He still regularly composes choral music for choirs with recent commissions coming from as far afield as the USA and Canada as well as Holland and the UK.
Robert Green - Organist
Robert Green has held many posts in his career as conductor, organist, harpsichordist, examiner and singer. He was fortunate in having his organ lessons from Dr. George Thalben-Ball on the celebrated Hill organ in Birmingham Town Hall and to have been the first conductor of the then newly-formed Tamworth Choral Society. In addition to being Assistant Organist at Lichfield and Hereford Cathedrals he was for many years conductor of Herefordshire Orchestral Society which numbered amongst its players some former pupils of Elgar’s. He now restores early keyboard instruments and conducts choral courses here and on the Continent as well as playing for concerts, evensongs and broadcasts with the Academia Musica Choir.