Mark Heron is a Scottish conductor noted for dynamic and well-rehearsed performances of an unusually wide repertoire.
He appears regularly with major orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Manchester Camerata, Psappha and Meininger Hofkapelle. He is Music Director of the Nottingham Philharmonic and as Professor and Head of Conducting at the RNCM works regularly with all the College’s orchestras and ensembles.
Mark has vast expertise in contemporary music and has collaborated with many of the greatest living composers. He has recorded more than twenty CDs with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and Manchester Camerata on labels such as Chandos, Naxos, NMC, ASC and Polyphonic.
Alongside his conducting activities, Mark has an international reputation as a conducting teacher. Apart from leading the RNCM's world-renowned conducting programmes, he is a visiting professor to the Royal Air Force and is frequently invited to teach at masterclasses all over the world.
Susan Hollingworth studied voice at The Royal Northern College of Music. In 1990 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for her work with choirs and studied in Hungary.
In 2008, she won The BBC Choir of the Year competition with The Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir. With this choir, she performed at the opening ceremony of the Millennium Dome and at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2010 she was awarded Choir Master of the Year by the Gramophone Magazine and 2013 she received a Royal Philharmonic Award for co-directing and commissioning Cycle Song, a large community opera for the Cultural Olympiad which included over 1000 participants. She has also directed her own family Prom in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.
Sue is music director of the Sine Nomine International Touring Choir, a choir in which the majority of the singers are themselves choral directors. This choir regularly performs at festivals in both the UK and abroad. She also conducts the Grimsby Philharmonic Choir and Scunthorpe Choral Society as well as being music director of the Lydian Choir.
Sue is in demand as a conductor trainer, workshop leader and choir trainer and is a visiting lecturer at the Royal Northern College of Music. She is a vice-president of the Association of British Choral Directors and in 2018 was awarded the Chair’s Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to choral music nationally. In the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honors List, Sue was awarded a British Empire Medal for her contributions to music and choral singing and in 2021 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln for her work in music education.
Julian Jacobson is one of Britain’s most creative and distinctive pianists. He has been a vital and original presence in the British musical world and in more than forty countries worldwide since the 1970’s. In his early years he was a highly sought-after duo and ensemble partner but following his appointment as Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 1992 he concentrated more on solo work, becoming particularly admired for his performances of the complete Beethoven Sonatas. To date he has given ten complete cycles, three of these being “marathon” performances of all 32 sonatas in a single day. He is currently recording the cycle. His CDs for labels including Decca, Argo, Chandos, Hyperion, SOMM, Meridian and Continuum cover a wide repertoire from Mozart to Nyman and include his own music and transcriptions. He has given important UK and world premieres of works by Ligeti, Xenakis, Takemitsu, Schnittke and many others.
Julian has performed with many of the principal British orchestras with conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Tamás Vársáry and Jane Glover and at most of the major UK festivals. He has composed and conducted the music for five films including “To the Lighthouse” and “We Think The World Of You” as well as several instrumental pieces published by Schott/Bardic Edition and Faber Music. His recent virtuoso transcriptions for piano duet of Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody and “An American in Paris” have won substantial acclaim and are now being played by many duos.
Julian is currently a professor at the Royal College of Music, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is Guest Professor at the Xiamen University, China as well as being a diploma examiner for the ABRSM. He enjoys singing jazz and has given four performances as reciter of Schoenberg’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’.
Linda Hirst studied the flute and singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her career as a mezzo soprano began in the early music revival of the seventies singing for Roger Norrington, John Elliot Gardiner and David Munrow as well as making Atom Heart Mother with Pink Floyd, recording Tommy with The Who and 2000 Motels with Frank Zappa.
From 1974 to 1978 she was a Swingle Singer, she then co-founded Electric Phoenix. With both groups Linda travelled the world leading to an international career working with living composers; among them Ligetti, Berio and Henze and recording pieces written for her by Knussen, Weir, Holt and Osborne etc.
Linda has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles, festivals and opera companies with conductors Rattle, Gielen, Nagano, Howarth, Harding and more. Alternative contemporary music also interests her and recordings with Ivor Cutler and the Tom Waits song “What is he building in there” are examples. Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire has been a constant thread throughout the last 40 years, a highlight being Glen Tetley’s ballet with the Royal Opera House.
She has always worked in education and was Head of Vocal Studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire from 1995 to 2017. She has given masterclasses in the Teatro Colon, La Fenice, several American Universities and for many years at Dartington and the Hilliard Ensemble Summer Schools. She is a fellow of Dartington College of Arts, an Hon DLit (Huddersfield) and a trustee of the Hinrichsen Foundation. Linda was made President of the Kathleen Ferrier Society in 2013.
Nigel Hutchison graduated with a first class honours degree from the University of Glasgow, this was followed by intensive study with Craig Sheppard at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with help of scholarships from the Scottish International Education Trust and the Sir James Caird Trust. A Fulbright scholarship subsequently enabled him to study with Earl Wild at the Julliard School in New York. Since his acclaimed Wigmore Hall debut, he has performed throughout Europe, the Far East and the USA and has given concerts in all the major halls in the UK as both soloist and chamber musician as well as broadcasts for the BBC and various radio and television stations in Italy, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Poland and China. He has performed with the London Mozart Players, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic orchestras amongst others and has recorded Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with the London Symphony Orchestra.
As a chamber musician Nigel has worked with a number of distinguished artists including Leonid Gorokhov, Robert Cohen, Xue Wei, Hu Kun, Grigori Zhislin and Radoslaw Szulc and has been official pianist for the Menuhin International Competition, the Britten International Competition and the All China International Violin Competition. Nigel is presently an accompanist and coach at the Yehudi Menuhin School.
Alex Jenkins read music at the University of Nottingham graduating with a BA(Hons) and an MA. He was appointed Musician-in-Residence at Christ’s Hospital in West Sussex for two years, where he later worked as a visiting piano teacher. In 2017 Alex graduated with distinction in his MPerf in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Simon Lepper, Roger Vignoles and Andrew Zolinsky. Whilst there Alex was awarded the Titanic Memoriam Prize for best performance by a pianist in the Lies Askonas Vocal Competition and an Accompanist’s Prize at the Brooks-van der Pump English Song Competition, as well as performing at the Wigmore Hall and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
He is currently a professional accompanist and vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music, working predominantly with the Vocal and Choral Conducting Departments.