David Adams, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

David Adams


David Adams is the Concertmaster of the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, co-Artistic Director of the Penarth Chamber Music Festival and teaches at RWCMD. In his role at WNO, he performs concertos with the orchestra and often directs concerts from the violin. He has appeared as guest leader with most of the major orchestras in the UK most recently the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Orchestra of English National Opera and the Halle Orchestra.

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    Equally at home on violin and viola David has made guest appearances, recordings and broadcasts with the Nash Ensemble, Endellion String Quartet, Gould Piano Trio and Hebrides Ensemble including recording the Brahms Piano Quartets (Gould Piano Trio) and the Beethoven String Quintets (Endellion String Quartet). Previously a member of the London Bridge Trio and the Raphael Ensemble, his recordings of Schumann and Mendelssohn Piano Trios were received with critical acclaim and the London Bridge Trio’s live broadcast of Fanny Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio was selected to be the cover disc of BBC music magazine.

    This year David will appear at the Winchester and Wye Valley chamber music festivals, direct a summer tour of concerts with WNO. He was honoured to be invited to participate in the IMS Prussia Cove 50th anniversary celebrations at the Wigmore Hall in 2022.

    David belongs to a musical family - his father, John Adams, was Principal Viola of the Halle Orchestra and his wife is cellist Alice Neary.

Alice Neary, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Alice Neary


Alice enjoys a varied performing career as a chamber musician, soloist and as principal cellist of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Familiar to listeners of Radio 3, festival performances include BBC Proms chamber series, Marlboro (USA), Bath International, Santa Fe (USA) and Lofoten. Recent concerto performances include Honegger and Cheryl Frances-Hoade concertos with BBC NOW.

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    Alice was a member of the Gould Piano Trio from 2001-2018 - career highlights include the complete piano trios of Beethoven, Schubert and Dvorak at the Wigmore Hall, the commissioning of new works from Sir James MacMillan and Mark Simpson, regular tours of USA and over 25 CD releases.

    Alice has appeared as guest cellist with numerous groups including the Nash Ensemble, Ensemble 360 and the Endellion, Elias, Bingham and Heath quartets. She collaborates with pianists Viv McLean, Benjamin Frith, Robin Green and Daniel Tong. Regular visits to International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Marlboro Festival USA and Wye Valley Chamber Music festival provide ongoing inspiration. In January 2022 Alice took part in a USA tour with Marlboro Music Festival musicians, (including performances at Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society).  Future plans include Don Quixote with BBC National Orchestra of Wales in June 2023.

    Alice studied with Ralph Kirshbaum at the RNCM and, as a Fulbright scholar, with Timothy Eddy at Stonybrook, USA.  As a teacher, Alice has been tutor in cello at the Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music. She is now based in her home town of Cardiff at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she was awarded a Fellowship in 2015. Alice is also a mentor for ChamberStudio. She and her husband, David Adams founded the Penarth Chamber Music Festival in 2014.   Alice plays a cello by Alessandro Gagliano of 1710.

Claire Booth, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Claire Booth


“An actor-singer who can raise the dramatic heat as soon as she enters the stage” (Opera Now), “that most questing, resourceful and intelligent of sopranos” (Daily Telegraph), British soprano Claire Booth has been widely acclaimed for her “radiant, rapturous, wonderfully nuanced performances” and voice of “piercing purity [and] luscious richness” (The Scotsman). She is renowned for her breadth of repertoire, and for the vitality and musicianship that she brings to the operatic stage and concert platform, with a versatility that encompasses repertoire spanning from Monteverdi and Handel, through Rossini, Berg and Britten, to a fearless commitment to the music of the present day.

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    Booth’s plans for 2022 and beyond include a residency at Britten Pears, working on the creation of a jazz rendition of Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben with Alisdair Hogarth and Jason Rebello, and performances with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (world premiere of Emily Howard’s Elliptics), Nash Ensemble at Wigmore Hall (including a new work by Julian Anderson), Aurora Orchestra (Britten’s Les Illuminations at Saffron Hall and Southbank Centre). Following her performances of Irene in Vivaldi’s Bajazet, directed by Adele Thomas at the Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre, Booth was invited by Thomas to perform in a semi-staged project at the 2023 London Handel Festival, conducted by Laurence Cummings.

    Engagements from recent seasons include the title role in Handel’s Berenice for the Royal Opera House’s first production of the opera since its 1737 Covent Garden premiere, Nitocris in Handel’s Belshazzar for the Grange Festival, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Vivier’s Lonely Child with Ilan Volkov and the London Sinfonietta, critically acclaimed recordings of songs by Mussorgsky, Grieg and Percy Grainger, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the City of Birmingham Symphony at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, George Benjamin’s A Mind of Winter with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the world premiere of Alex Woolf’s A Feast in the Time of Plague for Grange Park Opera, and numerous regular collaborations with the Nash Ensemble at Aldeburgh Festival.

    She gained notable critical acclaim as “the stunning voice of operatic isolation” for a series of “viscerally powerful” (The Times) performances of La Voix Humaine; following a streamed performance for Grange Park Opera and a video performance specially recorded under lockdown conditions for Welsh National Opera, which earned her Best Actress at the Welsh Theatre Awards, she brought Poulenc’s solo tour-de-force in a triumphant return to London’s Wigmore Hall, with Opera Today praising her “thorough assimilation of both text and music and the intelligence of her delivery. Her intonation is flawless, and her diction perfectly clear [...] it is the very unvarnished quality, an honesty of expression, that is perhaps her greatest asset. Such is her portrayal that one watched mesmerised by something excruciatingly real...”

    While still a student at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Booth came to international attention performing the world premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Io Passion at the Bregenz and Aldeburgh Festivals, and creating the role of Pakriti in Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream in Pierre Audi’s production for the Netherlands Opera. Subsequent roles have included Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Elcia in Mose in Egitto for Welsh National Opera, Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen for Garsington Opera, Romilda in Handel’s Serse for the Early Opera Company, Dorinda in Handel’s Orlando and Ellida in Craig Armstrong’s The Lady from the Sea for Scottish Opera, Nora in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea for English National Opera, Adele (Le Comte Ory) for Chelsea Opera Group, Despina for Opera Nantes-Angers, and solo performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden of both Kurtag’s Kafka Fragments and Georg Friedrich Haas’ Atthis.

    Booth’s wide-ranging concert appearances have included Britten’s Les Illuminations with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with the Psappha Ensemble, Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with the City of Birmingham Symphony, Miranda in Thomas Ades’ The Tempest with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, and Mrs Foran in Turnage's The Silver Tassie with the BBC Symphony. Booth's two decades of collaboration with the late Oliver Knussen included her world premieres of his Requiem; Songs for Sue with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and O Hototogisu! with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, and she has given over 60 world premieres of compositions by composers as diverse as Elliott Carter, Tansy Davies, Ryan Wigglesworth, Mark-Antony Turnage, Charlotte Bray and Unsuk Chin, and built close associations with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Proms, the London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Aldeburgh and Holland Festivals, as well as working with prestigious ensembles worldwide including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the London and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras.

    For more than a decade she has collaborated with video director Netia Jones to produce a series of critically acclaimed productions, including her performances of Max in Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are and Rhoda in his Higglety, Piggelty, Pop! which toured from the Aldeburgh Festival via the Swedish Radio Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, to the Barbican’s own 60th birthday celebrations for the composer. She has worked with conductors including Edward Gardner, Carlo Rizzi, Pierre Boulez, Simone Young, Marcus Stenz, Yannick Nezet- Seguin and Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, and appeared in recital at include the Aldeburgh, Lucerne and Edinburgh Festivals, at the Wigmore Hall with the Nash Ensemble, Aurora Orchestra and Knussen Chamber Orchestra, and her regular accompanist Christopher Glynn.

    Booth’s diverse discography includes Grainger Folksongs and Grieg lieder (hailed as BBC’s Disc of the Month in January 2020), with Christopher Glynn for Avie Records, Wigglesworth's Augenlieder with the Hallé, Lucia in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia for Decca, and the melodies of Debussy and Faure with Andrew Matthew’s Owen (CD of the Year 2019 for Classical Source). Other recordings include John Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris with Christian Curnyn’s Early Opera Company and works by Webern, Knussen, Alexander Goehr, Jonathan Dove and Augusta Read Thomas. ‘Unorthodox Music’, a survey of Mussorgsky songs and piano solos with Christopher Glynn was released in Autumn 2021. Booth can also be found as a course director on the Contemporary Performance course at the Britten Pears School in Aldeburgh, and enjoys a burgeoning career as a radio presenter and regular contributor to BBC Radio 3’s Inside Music and Record Review programmes.

Lucy Gould, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Lucy Gould


Lucy is best known as the violinist and founder member of the Gould Piano Trio, one of the UK’s most respected ensembles. Several international awards, a busy schedule and an impressive discography (core repertoire, lesser known works and commissions) are testament to Lucy’s dedication to this genre since embarking on her career.

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    Lucy studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London and Indiana University, Bloomington with Gyorgy Pauk and Josef Gingold. In addition, masterclasses with Andras Schiff, Menahem Pressler and members of the Amadeus String Quartet at Prussia Cove and the Banff Centre for the Arts were a source of great inspiration in the early days. She enjoys all aspects of the repertoire, having performed sonatas with Benjamin Frith and Leon McCawley, clarinet trios with Robert Plane, horn trios with David Pyatt, Richard Watkins and Alec Frank-Gemmill and chamber music of all shapes and sizes with many of the leading artists in this field at festivals in the UK and abroad. Her experience has led to invitations to appear on international juries.

    Lucy is a regular guest leader of many UK orchestras and holds the position of principal 2nd violin with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. As part of the COE Academy she often gives lessons and advice to up and coming violinists and has directed student performances of Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms Symphonies. She lives in Cardiff and teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Laura Samuel, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Laura Samuel


Born in London in 1976, Laura studied with Itzhak Rashkovsky at the Royal College of Music, London. Prizes include the Royal Over-Seas League String section,Musicians Benevolent Fund Manoug Parikian Award and the TWIYCA Competition, resulting in her South Bank Recital debut.

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    In 1994 she co-founded the Belcea Quartet and was a member for 16 years. The quartet won first prize in the Osaka and Bordeaux International Competitions. Worldwide tours included regular visits to the States, Far East and throughout Europe as well as a five-year residency at the Wigmore Hall, London. Their numerous recordings for EMI Classics include Bartók, Janácek and Britten cycles as well as Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Debussy and Ravel quartets and have won Gramophone, Midem, Edison and Echo Klassik Awards. Laura leads the BBC Scottish Symphony orchestra and joined the Nash ensemble in 2010. She plays the ex 'Nissel' Stradivarius of 1731.

Magnus Johnston, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Magnus Johnston


Magnus Johnston is recognised as one of the most distinguished chamber musicians of his generation. A past member of both the Navarra String Quartet and the Aronowitz Ensemble, he has been a recipient of two Borletti-Buitoni Trust Awards and a place on BBC Radio 3ʼs New Generation Artists Scheme.

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    Aside from his dedication to chamber music, he has been in demand as Guest Leader and Principal of orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Royal Opera House, Britten Sinfonia, Hallé, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Scottish and Australian Chamber Orchestras. As a chorister of the choir of Kingʼs College Cambridge, he toured extensively at a young age, going on to study at Chethamʼs School of Music, Manchester, and later the RNCM. His passion for chamber music led to the birth of the Aronowitz Ensemble, a unique chamber group of string sextet and piano. The ensemble made their debut performance to a sold-out St Johnʼs Smith Square, and enjoyed a busy touring schedule along with frequent live broadcasts and studio recordings. With the Navarra Quartet, he made appearances at major venues and festivals throughout the world, including the Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center New York, Berlin Konzerthaus, Sydney Opera House and the BBC Proms.

Tom Dunn, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Tom Dunn


Tom Dunn was born in Yorkshire and studied on the Joint Course at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music. Since then he has held Co-Principal Viola positions with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Mozart Players and from 2011-2014 was Principal Viola in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

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    Tom has also appeared as Guest Principal Viola with many orchestras including the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and John Eliot Gardiner's Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. In 2014 he took up the position of Principal Viola in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

    A keen Chamber Musician, Tom was a member of the Quince Quartet and the London Bridge Ensemble and has also collaborated with the Gould Piano Trio, Simon Crawford-Philips and Nicola Benedetti.

    He is very lucky to play on a viola made in 1690 by Matthijs Hofmans. 

Rebecca Jones, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Rebecca Jones


In 2016 Rebecca moved to Cardiff to take up the post of Principal Viola of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. For over ten years she has been a member of the Callino String Quartet, a group founded at the West Cork chamber music festival in Ireland.

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    The quartet have cultivated a broad and eclectic repertoire and their recording of Haydn’s Seven Last Words for Coro has met with critical acclaim. Their recent collaboration with Canadian film director, Kaveh Nabatian, performing a live score of this work, was premiered at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam and will be touring to festivals in New York, Buenos Aires, Bilbao, Montreal, Edinburgh and Moscow. Rebecca is also a frequent session musician and has toured with Adele, Bjørk and the Stereophonics. Since moving to Wales, she has also become a professor at the Royal Welsh College and the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Philip Higham, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Kaupo Kikkas

Philip Higham


Philip Higham enjoys a richly varied musical life: as passionate chamber musician, equally at home in concerto, duo and unaccompanied repertoire, both on gut strings and “modern”, he especially relishes playing music from the Enlightenment and the early Romantic periods; in this he is frequently and happily immersed as principal cellist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

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    He has appeared several times in recital at Wigmore Hall, not least for a performance of the six Bach suites there in 2017, and a recital with Susan Tomes in the 2020 Autumn series to both live and online audience. He has also been active at prominent venues and festivals both at home and abroad, including solo recitals in Washington D.C. and Tokyo, and is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3. His two solo recordings for Delphian Records, of the Britten and Bach solo Suites, have received considerable praise, the Britten chosen as 'Instrumental disc of the month’ in Gramophone Magazine during 2013. He enjoys collaborations with pianists Alasdair Beatson and Susan Tomes, violinists Erich Höbarth and Alexander Janiczek, the Navarra and Benyounes string quartets, Hebrides Ensemble, and, as concerto soloist, with Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Philharmonia, the Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

    Born in Edinburgh, studied at St Mary’s Music School with Ruth Beauchamp and subsequently at the RNCM with Emma Ferrand and Ralph Kirshbaum. He also enjoyed mentoring from Steven Isserlis, and was represented by YCAT between 2009 and 2014. In 2008 he became the first UK cellist to win 1st prize at the International Bach Competition in Leipzig, and followed it with major prizes in the 2009 Lutoslawski Competition and the Grand Prix Emmanuel Feuermann 2010.

    Philip plays a cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, made in 1697, and is grateful for continued support from Harriet's Trust. He lives in Edinburgh with his partner, Kim Vaughan, and their two children.

Jâms Coleman, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Jâms Coleman


From Anglesey, North Wales, Jâms Coleman is a pianist who enjoys performing as a soloist, chamber musician, and vocal accompanist.

Jâms regularly performs at the major festivals and venues in the UK and in Europe and highlights from the 2022/23 season include recitals at the BBC Proms, Champs Hill, Cheltenham Festival, King’s Place, Machynlleth Festival, North Norfolk Music Festival, Ortús Chamber Music Festival, Penarth Chamber Music Festival, Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music, and The Royal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam).

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    Albums include ‘Pohádka; Tales From Prague To Budapest’ with cellist Laura van der Heijden for Chandos Records, and ‘Loewe: The Other Erlking’ with baritone Nicholas Mogg for Champs Hill Records. Both of these recordings were released to critical acclaim in all the leading music magazines. The 23/24 season will see the release of a second album with Laura van der Heijden for Chandos Records, and the release of an album of Fanny Hensel lieder for First Hand Records.

    Recent and future highlights include performances with BBC NOW, Britten Sinfonia, and the Marmen Quartet; recitals with instrumentalists David Adams, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Brett Dean, Lesley Hatfield, Laura van der Heijden, Steffan Morris, Alice Neary, Amy Norrington, Robert Plane, Timothy Ridout, Colin Scobie, Ursula Smith, Sini Simonen, Jonathan Stone, and Maria Włoszczowska.

    As a vocal accompanist, he enjoys collaborating with many singers and his engagements include recitals with James Gilchrist, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Andrew Kennedy, Michael Mofidian, Nicholas Mogg, Nicholas Mulroy, Robert Murray, James Newby, Sir Bryn Terfel, Sir John Tomlinson, Ailish Tynan, and Elizabeth Watts. Recent highlights include a Radio 3 recital with Sir Bryn Terfel, and performing with Felix Kemp, Michael Mofidian, and Elizabeth Watts at the Oxford Lieder Festival.

    Jâms enjoys working as a concerto soloist and performances include Beethoven’s Third, Fourth and Fifth Piano Concertos, and concertos by Brahms, Chopin, and Mozart.

    Jâms read Music at Girton College, Cambridge, where he was also a choral scholar. In 2016 he graduated with a Masters from the Royal Academy of Music where he then stayed on as a Fellow. In 2018 he was the Artistic Director of a concert series based in St Clement Danes Church in central London which featured twenty-four lunchtime concerts and five evening concerts.

Matthew Featherstone, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Matthew Featherstone


Matthew Featherstone’s early studies began in France, where he gained his ‘premier prix’ for flute at the Orléans Conservatoire.

Returning to England, he pursued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on the undergraduate and postgraduate course with Philippa Davies, Sarah Newbold and Ian Clarke, where he was a fellow the following year. During his studies he was awarded a Worshipful Company of Musicians Busenhart-Morgan-Evans award as well as awards from the MBF, the Countess of Munster Trust, and the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund.

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    Principal flute of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Matthew has also appeared as Guest Principal flute with Britten Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

    As a solo recitalist who was awarded the Royal Overseas League Wind Prize in 2012, Matthew has enjoyed travelling round the UK to perform recitals by his partnership with the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme, as well as concerto appearances with various orchestras.

    Matthew is a keen chamber musician regularly performing with ‘Trio Anima’, his flute, harp and viola trio, who were glad to receive the Elias Fawcett Award for Outstanding Chamber Ensemble in the 2012 Royal Overseas League Competition and are keen advocates of this rare formation, recently commissioning new works to be released on their album in partnership with TyCerdd.

    As an educator, he gives masterclasses and workshops in various capacities and teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Alongside his classical training, he’s been lucky enough to work with some outstanding pop and jazz artists and gain experience as a backing vocalist, beatboxer and session singer and songwriter.

Steven Hudson, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Steven Hudson


Steven Hudson is Section Principal Oboe of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Professor of Oboe at both the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

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    Born and raised in North Yorkshire he began learning the oboe at 16. He went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Gordon Hunt and Richard Simpson, graduating with a First-Class Honours Degree and winner of the woodwind prize. Further studies took him to the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris with David Walter, the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music where he graduated with distinction and winner of the Royal College of Music oboe prize. During this time he was also a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra.

    In 2013 Steven was appointed Section Leader Oboe of Royal Northern Sinfonia. RNS provided him with many highlights including performances of Vaughan Williams Oboe Concerto recorded live for Classic FM, a tour of Brazil as soloist in Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto in D minor and dressing up as a bird in the Ross Edwards oboe concerto Bird Spirit Dreaming!

    On joining BBCNOW at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic he was invited to perform Richard Blackford’s oboe concerto ‘The Better Angels Of Our Nature’ with Martyn Brabbins as part of the BBCNOW’s Digital Season Concerts.

    An active chamber musician, Steven has given broadcasts, recitals and chamber music performances at the BBC Proms, in France, Japan, China and South America. He was regularly invited to appear at Lars Vogt’s Spannungen Chamber Music Festival in Germany. He also regularly appears as guest principal with many of the UK’s major orchestras.

    Aside from his teaching commitments Steven has given masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

    In 2017 he was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Thomas Verity, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Thomas Verity


Thomas’s career spans orchestral performance, chamber music, solo recitals and recording projects. He also enjoys teaching and outreach work, as well as composition and improvisation. Thomas is principal clarinet with Welsh National Opera, and has performed as guest principal with orchestras including the Philharmonia, Royal Opera House, Hallé, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Royal Northern Sinfonia. He was a member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for seven years, followed by a year as Associate Clarinet with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.

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    Chamber music highlights include working with Stephen Hough in a quintet concert in The Music Room (Liverpool Philharmonic Hall), and with the Heath Quartet (described by the BBC as ‘a performance of blazing intensity’). Other appearances have included Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, and St Martin-in-the-Fields, St James’s Piccadilly and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Thomas’s recording of Peter Hope’s Clarinet Sonata (a work he also commissioned) was described as “sensitive and polished” (American Record Guide).

    And on a completely different note, Thomas plays with Klezmer-ish (, a classical / world music fusion quartet. Performances have included repeat visits to The Music Room (Liverpool Philharmonic Hall), Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall and London’s Green Note. The group were featured artists on BBC Radio 3’s ‘World on Three’, and their albums Music of the Travellers and Dusty Road (Riverboat Records) have been described as ‘note perfect’ (Songlines) and ‘a joyous combination of playfulness and precision’ (The Times).

James Lea, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

James Lea

James Lea is Senior Lecturer in Music and Senior Lecturer in Research and Innovation at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He received a doctoral degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a masters in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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    His research for both degrees centred on aesthetics. He edited, along with the ethnomusicologist Thomas Turino, Identity and the Arts in Diaspora Communities, a book examining the crucial roles played by artists in society, an area that he continues to explore in his current research. He has performed solo recitals and lectured throughout the US and the UK. At RWCMD he lectures on the musician in society, music history, analysis, and aesthetics, and works with colleagues across the College to drive forward its commitment to research. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Donal Bannister, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Credit: BBC | B. Ealovega

Donal Bannister


Donal Bannister is the Principal Trombone of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to that he was a member of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Originally from Ireland, he studied at Trinity College Dublin where he was a scholar, and at the Eastman School of Music, New York.

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    His musical activities are wide ranging; in addition to orchestral playing he has done much chamber music, writing and arranging music for brass, conducting, and lecturing. He is also a regular guest with many other orchestras across the UK and beyond. Whilst at Trinity College, he did extensive research into the music of Joseph Haydn, so does not feel too much of an imposter in the Penarth Chamber Music Festival. He lives with his family here in Penarth.

Lenny Sayers, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Lenny Sayers


Lenny Sayers is the Principal Bass Clarinet player of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and tutor in clarinet at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He studied Music at York University and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

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    Education and outreach work plays a very important part in Lenny’s work as a musician. As well as playing an active part in the outreach work of BBC NOW, he tutors on the ‘Outreach Skills’ and ‘Teaching Skills’ modules at the RWCMD. From 2016-2018 he worked as a Creative Agent on the Arts Council of Wales Lead Creative Schools scheme. Lenny has devised and presented the family concerts for the Penarth Chamber Music Festival since it began in 2014 and in 2019 he made his presenting debut with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

    Lenny is becoming increasingly recognised as a composer. In 2022 he wrote a chamber opera ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ for Swansea City Opera which received rave reviews following its tour of community venues in Wales. Other notable commissions include a work for the Cardiff County and Vale of Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and a duo for accordion and cello for St David’s Hall ‘Night Music’ Series.

    His compositions have been performed on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Scotland. Three of his works for orchestra with audience participation, ‘A Very Silly March’, ‘Plinky Plonk Polka’ and ‘A Wibbly Wobbly Waltz’ have featured in the BBC NOW Family Concerts.

CCVG Symphonic Brass, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

CCVG Symphonic Brass

Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Symphonic Brass performs an extensive repertoire ranging from renaissance polyphony through to contemporary scores and has given the world premieres of works by Welsh composers including Gareth Wood, Haldon Evans and Helen Woods.

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    Since its foundation in 1991, the ten-piece ensemble has appeared throughout the UK at major venues such as London’s Barbican Hall and the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham and has toured widely — destinations have included Norway and Scotland. The group has performed at the Edinburgh & Glasgow Festival of Youth Orchestras and the North Wales International Music Festival and has won first prizes at competitions in Bath and the Isle of Man.

    In 2016 it was awarded ‘Best Age-Friendly Event’ by the Get Creative Family Arts Festival for its concert at St George’s, Bristol. Over the years, many from the group have represented the country in National Youth Arts Wales ensembles and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

    A significant number have gone on to study music at degree level and many are now members of professional orchestras and ensembles throughout the UK and abroad.

Tim Rhys-Evans, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Tim Rhys-Evans

Tim Rhys-Evans, MBE, FRWCMD, was appointed Director of Music at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 2020. He is also a highly sought-after choral conductor, arranger, composer and TV presenter.

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    Tim believes passionately in the transformative power of music and that everybody should be given the opportunity to engage in the arts. After working extensively in opera and music theatre, he created the award-winning Only Men Aloud in 2000, with the aim of reinvigorating the Welsh male choir tradition. In 2010 he established The Aloud Charity which runs the choirs Only Boys Aloud, Only Girls Aloud and Only Kids Aloud, in order to try and affect real change in the lives of young people from areas of social deprivation; these initiatives have improved the lives of thousands of children from some of the poorest communities in Wales.

    In addition to his fulltime role at RWCMD, Tim is proud to be the current conductor of the National Youth Choir of Wales. He is also an outspoken advocate for mental health issues and the documentary programme he made about his own mental crisis, ‘Tim Rhys-Evans – All in the Mind’, won a BAFTA Cymru award following its network broadcast on BBC One.

Rachel Jones, Penarth Chamber Music Festival

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones is the Chief Executive of Arts & Business Cymru, a charity and membership organisation which specialises in promoting and enabling mutually beneficial partnerships between business and the arts across Wales.

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    Hailing from Neath in South Wales, Rachel is a music graduate of Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. She worked for Artistic Management Agency, Van Walsum before returning to Wales to work for Live Music Now, an organisation which she retains close links with. Rachel joined Arts & Business Cymru in 1996 as its administrator and became its Wales Director in 1999. In 2011, she led the process of separation from the A&B UK body, establishing A&B Cymru as an independent Welsh charity. Rachel is now the organisation’s Chief Executive.

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Artistic Directors

  • David Adams and Alice Neary


  • Rebecca Evans CBE