Jon Weller, BMus (Hons) PGCE - Director 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.
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.
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. Most recently she appeared in two concerts with Stephen Isserlis in Cheltenham Festival's July 2010 Schumann strand, which were broadcast by BBC Radio 3.
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.
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.
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.
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 – Keyboard Tutor
As a pianist Andrew has performed extensively as both soloist and accompanist in the UK, France, Spain and Sri Lanka. His compositions have been performed professionally by pianist Joanna MacGregor, the Beethoven String Trio of London and vocal group Stile Antico. He has also composed music for many local community productions. As a teacher, he is especially interested in bridging the different approaches of the classical and popular musical worlds.
Andrew's Musical Remedies series of compositions have been performed by several current and ex-students of Hereford Sixth Form College. He has recently worked as a composition tutor with the BISYOC international youth symphony orchestra.
Ruth Watson, BA (Hons) ARCM – Head of Woodwind
A graduate of York University and the Banff Centre, Canada, her teachers included Irene Pragnell and Evelyn Barbirolli. She was principal oboe of the National Youth Orchestra and has since played with many of the major orchestras in this country and abroad. She was solo oboe with the Orquestra do Porto, Portugal during the 1990s.
Living in Radnorshire since 1996, she had been instrumental in organising and performing in numerous concerts in the marches area. She has taught at the Guildhall School of Music, Bedales and Uppingham Schools and is a director of the international Marches Oboe School.