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Staff


JASSPA staff are a diverse and highly skilled teaching team. Music lessons cover classical through to rock and jazz, whilst Dance and Drama courses are creative, drawing on traditional and contemporary practices.

Lily Cooper (Drama)

Lily trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in Drama Applied Theatre and Education (BA HONS).

She is currently the Education Co-ordinator for Kent based Company Play On Words Theatre Company, producing and running events, projects and classes for local young people, families, schools and communities. Her work includes workshops in schools to support the curriculum, weekly youth theatre sessions, site specific projects inspired by local history, sessions for home educated children, storytelling and imaginative play for pre-schoolers and producing large scale productions as part of local heritage festivals.

Lily has produced youth theatre festivals offering young people opportunities to work with and learn from industry professionals.

Lily has worked for years with the Anne Frank Trust UK: using Drama and storytelling for social education as well as working with The Royal Theatre Haymarket to Co-write the education pack and workshop programme for "The Two Worlds of Charlie F" - a project working with ex-service men and women injured in combat.

Lily also currently tutors the LAMDA syllabus to girls at Streatham and Clapham Prep School and has taught at Jasspa since 2008.

El Henderson (Drama)

Eleanor is an experienced actress, director and facilitator. After an undergraduate degree in English and Drama from Bristol University, she trained first in theatre, community and education at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and latterly as an actress at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She graduated from both with Distinction.

Eleanor enjoys a career that spans a range of projects in both education and within the industry as an actress. Her practice across the last few years has been primarily focused on creating work with and for young people. As Associate Director of Battersea Arts Centre's resident young company, she regularly collaborates with leading industry artists to create shows and projects for a range of participants of diverse backgrounds. She also works as a project leader and director in the criminal justice system, most recently directing a Christmas show with male prisoners at HMP Springhill with Kestrel Theatre.

As an actress, she has performed at a range of venues across the UK including the Hammersmith Lyric, Salisbury Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Yard, Soho Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe.

In her work as director with young people, she aims for the process to be guided by their own interests and impulses. She works in a playful and rigorous way that aims to inspire them and allow participants space to express themselves freely within exciting and bold creative structures.

El has taught at Jasspa since 2017.

Gemma Hannah (Drama)

2020 marks 22 years of experience working as an applied theatre practitioner and storyteller. Gemma has worked with a broad range of ages, from babies all the way to adults in a variety of different settings. She likes to draw upon folk tales from all over the world, using techniques such as physical theatre, choral speaking and soundscapes to bring stories to life and give children the opportunity to make the tales their own. To support, encourage and challenge a group and watch them grow and develop is a very special experience for a drama teacher.

Gemma also enjoys developing pieces of theatre with her pupils, and watching the adrenaline, excitement and buzz unfold as they experience the magic of performing in front of a live audience.

Gemma worked at Jasspa from 2005-2010, and it’s a joy to be back again! Over the past 9 years she has lived in the South of France and in Berlin, Germany. This experience of immersion into cultures, communities and languages has been an immeasurably rich and expansive and has nurtured her role as a theatre practitioner.

Amy Lovelock (Dance)
Amy is a professional dance artist, choreographer, creative director and teacher who graduated from LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts). Since graduation she has worked with choreographers and companies including Masters of Movement (performing and choreographing for the ‘World of Dance Tour’ in LA), Litzer Bixler, EEE-Motion Company, Hinged Dance Company, Motionhouse Dance Theatre, the Boxettes, Exzeb Dance Company and MOHO Dance for ‘Emerge Dance Festival’.

Amy has recently worked with choreographer Willi Dorner -Copenhagen International Dance Theatre and on ‘Stratford Living’ in association with East London Dance. She is also guest choreographer/director for the University of Cumbria and University of Lincoln creating original dance theatre pieces for 2nd year tours, as well as Lead Artist for East London Dance project ‘ON THE MOVE’.

Most recently Amy has worked with Bamboozle Theatre Company (touring the UK with productions of ‘PULSE’ and ‘MOONSONG’) and with Bodies In Urban Spaces in Fantastic Feat Festival.

Recent choreographic work includes for Opera North Youth Company and British Youth Music Theatre. Amy has taught at JASSPA since 2015.

Roberta Zuric (Drama)

Roberta is a freelance theatre director and facilitator. Directing credits include: Reset The Stage (The Mono Box/Apatan Productions), The Burning (Pleasance, Edinburgh Fest 2019), The Wave (Almeida Young Company), All Quiet on the Western Front (Pleasance and SoHo Playhouse, NYC). Alice in the Cuckoo’s Nest (Librarian Theatre/UK Tour), Zero for the Young Dudes! (Orange Tree Theatre/Albany/National Theatre), Thisbe (Door Ajar Theatre National Tour), A Christmas Carol (Librarian Theatre/UK tour), Naked (Brockley Jack). As associate: What We Leave Behind (Roundhouse). As assistant: RSC. Alongside directing, Roberta is an associate of the Incognito Theatre and National Youth Theatre.

Roberta has previously taught at Jasspa, both regular Saturday classes and performance projects with our Youth Theatre. We look forward to Roberta joining us for holiday intensives from 2021.

Rachel Birch-Lawson, Rose Tran, Natacha Bisarre and Jo Rhodes (Visiting Dance)
Robyn Pressley, Lucy McCann, Alison Rogers and Suzie Rallings (Visiting Drama)

Miho Arakawa (Piano)

Miho Arakawa is a pianist with over 20 years of experience teaching piano to students of all levels in UK and Japan. Miho started playing the piano at the age of 4 and was chosen to perform in an open master class with Japanese composer Yoshinao Nakada at the age of 7. She has participated and been awarded in several piano competitions.

Miho gave numerous concerts during her studies at Musashino Academy of Music in Japan, where she received her BMus in Performance and PGCE in Music Education with distinction. She furthered her studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London where she completed her MMus in Piano Performance during which she was invited to perform at one of the Russian music concerts organised by Alexander Ivashkin in London. She has performed across the UK, Europe, and far East Asia, including accompanying for a choir and exams.

Miho is an enthusiastic and dedicated piano teacher committed to providing lessons that help her students enjoy making music through playing the piano. She expertly applies various performing and teaching techniques to suit the individual needs of each of her students ranging from age four to adults.

Miho has taught at JASSPA since 2002.

Catherine Borner (Piano and Theory)

A former JAGS pupil, Catherine Borner studied piano and flute from the age of ten at the junior department of the Royal Academy of Music. After graduating from the University of York, she trained on the repetiteur courses at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Catherine has performed concertos with York University Chamber Orchestra, James Allen Community Orchestra, Meridian Sinfonia, played Petrushka and Nights in the Gardens of Spain with Bromley Symphony Orchestra and has appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune. As a repetiteur she has worked for British Youth Opera, Kentish Opera, Grange Park Opera and the 2005 Tower of London Festival. In 2006 she was trainee repetiteur at English National Opera, working on The Gondoliers, The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata.

Catherine has been the accompanist to the North London Chorus since 2005. She co-runs the piano section of the Beckenham Music Festival and is the official accompanist for the strings section. She teaches piano privately, for Bromley Youth Music Trust and has taught at JASSPA since 2004.

Catherine also plays flute in Bromley Symphony Orchestra, James Allen Community Orchestra and The Elgar Sinfonia of London.

Catherine has taught at Jasspa since 2004.

Zrinka Bottrill (Piano and Theory)

An experienced and committed piano teacher Zrinka combines teaching at Jasspa with her employment at both Portland Place and Wetherby schools. Her pupils range from beginners to seasoned performers and with all she prioritises patience and confidence-building.

Zrinka also has considerable experience as a performer. She trained at the Royal Academy of Music and has appeared in venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall and St John’s, Smith Square in London, in Italy, Germany, Portugal, Russia and Croatia. She is a keen chamber musician and performs in a piano duo with her husband, Andrew Bottrill.

Zrinka has taught at Jasspa since 1998.

Jon Feldmann (Piano and Theory)

Jon is a full-time piano teacher and has a wealth of teaching experience with pupils from 5 years of age to adults, beginners to diploma level. He has prepared many pupils for grade examinations, GCSE and A level exam performances, school performances, local music festivals and scholarships at Independent Schools in London. In addition, he regularly accompanies pupils for music exams and enjoys teaching theory.

Jon studied piano at Trinity College of Music Junior Department and then went on to achieve his Music BA(Hons) at Liverpool University, as well as a Guildhall School of Music and Drama Piano Diploma.

The driving influence in his piano teaching is a special interest in the relationship between muscular coordination and tension and the use of the musical imagination, listening skills and musical understanding to develop and influence all physical aspects of performance.

Jon also teaches at James Allen’s Preparatory School and Blackheath Conservatoire as well as having a large private teaching practice.

Jon has taught at Jasspa since 1993.

Marilyn Harper (Piano, Theory and Aural)

Marilyn Harper has been a well-established teacher of music, including piano, theory, aural and organ in Dulwich, JAGS since 1992. As a keyboard player she trained at the RMCM (now the Royal Northern College of Music), St Katherine’s College of Education in Liverpool and Cambridge University where she was the organ scholar at Girton College. Marilyn continues to maintain her own studies by taking lessons abroad occasionally and she regularly gives recitals in London. She is the Organist of Christ’s Chapel Dulwich, Director of Music at St Augustine’s Church, Honor Oak Park and organises concerts in Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Marilyn’s teaching covers a wide range from beginner to diploma level and she enjoys teaching from very young pupils to adults. Marilyn has been teaching piano, theory and aural at JASSPA since 2012 and often accompanies JASSPA candidates for music exams.

Ksenia Laskova (Piano and Theory)

Ksenia, a classically trained pianist, commenced her musical journey at Stanislava Broka Muzikas Vidusskola in Latvia, where she won the 3rd Latvian National Competition for Young Pianists at the age of 15.

Her aspiration for musical excellence led her to London, where she pursued undergraduate studies at Goldsmiths College under the tutelage of Andrew Zolinsky and Danny Driver. Subsequently, she completed postgraduate studies in piano performance and music education at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, guided by Sergio de Simone and Tim Palmer. Ksenia is also a trained secondary classroom practitioner qualifying at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. Later, she matriculated into Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, to earn an MA in Education.

As a versatile artist, Ksenia has showcased her talent by performing Dorothy Howell's Piano Concerto with Goldsmiths Sinfonia, collaborating with soprano Heloise Werner, and contributing as a keyboardist for Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra.

Ksenia holds teaching positions at Colfe's School and St. Olave's Prep School. She manages a thriving private piano studio, KOVA ED, and is an examiner for the International Baccalaureate Music Diploma and a moderator for the International GCSE Music.

Ksenia joined Jasspa in 2024.

Stephanos Marinides (Piano)

Stephanos is a graduate of Trinity College of Music where he received his BMus in Piano Performance. During his time there, he received various musical awards including the Anthony Lindsay Prize for Piano Performance and the first year prize for Outstanding Musical Achievement.

Stephanos has performed in some of the most prestigious venues in London such as The Wigmore Hall, St John's Smith Square and the Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as venues abroad in Hong Kong and Greece.

Stephanos is a versatile musician having accompanied dance classes and choirs as well as having composed music for short films while continuously exploring creative music production techniques. He is an enthusiastic piano teacher with many years of experience, guiding students of all levels through concert performances and exams. Stephanos returned to teach at JASSPA in 2017.

Fred Scott (Piano, theory and composition)

London-born Fred Scott studied with Florence Creighton and Justin Connolly. He later trained at the Royal Academy of Music, studying piano and composition with John Bigg and Paul Patterson, winning numerous prizes and awards.

After making his London debut with Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto, Fred has performed widely in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. His music has been performed in noted UK venues (South Bank, Wigmore Hall, Alexandra Palace, Royal Court Theatre, St. John’s Smith Square, Fairfield Halls) and Sydney Opera House. Fred has also worked in the commercial music sector recording and broadcasting for various media including BBC and other TV networks.

Fred has been dedicated to music education for over 40 years and helped many to achieve success in the music profession, in gaining scholarships, university entrance, grade exams or for purely personal enjoyment. He is currently pursuing his PhD on the opera ‘Doktor Faust’ by Ferruccio Busoni at City University, London where he is a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Recent work has been published by Routledge and Soundpractice with other materials in preparation.

Fred also practices Forensic Musicology and has completed the Cardiff University Bond Solon Expert Witness course. He joined Jasspa in September 2022.

Richard Sizer (Piano including Jazz and Composition; Violin)

Richard started the violin at the age of 6 inspired by the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Piano and trombone followed later and aged 11 he joined the Royal College of Music JD where he won the composition prize and led the Symphony Orchestra. He also led Bedfordshire County Youth Orchestra and Opera before completing a Science degree at City University specialising in electronic music and acoustics. Since then he has worked with recording studios, film projects and taught violin, piano and composition.

Richard was Director of Music at Cumnor House School for 20 years, during which time there were many combined projects with groups such as the Royal Opera House and the BBC singers. In 2018 he launched ‘Saturn Strings’ - a shop front for composers to provide fun compositions for young string orchestras. In the same year he joined Langley School for Girls, teaching GCSE and A level music alongside initiating an instrumental programme for Year 7’s. In 2019 he completed a PG Cert. (string teaching) and in addition to various teaching jobs is currently conducting for Bromley Youth Music Trust and South London Youth Orchestra.

Richard taught at Jasspa in the early 2000’s, returning in 2019.

Elspeth Wyllie (Piano)

Elspeth studied at St Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, read music at Oxford University, and trained professionally at the Royal Academy of Music. She qualified with a PG Diploma in Piano Accompaniment, the LRAM Teaching Diploma, and the annual RAM Club Prize for Accompaniment. Since then, she has developed a multi-faceted career in solo, chamber and choral performance and education.

Elspeth has performed throughout the UK with flautist Claire Overbury, the Amalie Trio and Hepplewhite Piano Trio. Her debut album of solo and chamber music, Enigmas, was released to critical acclaim. With mezzo Catherine Backhouse, she has discovered a rich repertoire for Emotionally Volatile, their programmes of songs written exclusively by women composers. Commissions and contemporary works include music by Joseph Atkins, Bernard Hughes, Sally Beamish, Oliver Searle and Tom David Wilson.

Elspeth has 18 years experience in peripatetic and private teaching, working with young children, busy teenagers, and ambitious or tentative adults. She builds individual connections with all pupils to uncover their motivations and interests, aiming to leave them learning for themselves. As an accompanist to musicians from beginner to professional level, Elspeth plays for exams, auditions, masterclasses, and courses throughout the UK. She has also devised and co-led workshops to thousands of primary school pupils in Scotland and South London.

Elspeth has extensive experience as a freelance accompanist and choral director of large choral societies, including 13 years with Clapham’s Festival Chorus, and more recently covering for Dan Ludford-Thomas at Lewisham Choral Society. Elspeth was Director of Music at St Paul’s Herne Hill for two years, and Interim Director of Music at St Laurence Catford in 2023, leading a children’s choir, adult’s choir, choral scholars and a team of organists. Whatever the musical context, Elspeth’s passion is to nurture confidence, share knowledge and foster expression.

Elspeth started teaching at Jasspa in September 2023.

Veera Piilo (Piano and Theory)

Veera Piilo is a Finnish born pianist who trained as a classical musician from a young age. She is a graduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and now teaches a wide range of students in London, working with students of all levels and ages.

As a teacher she wants to inspire young students and tailors her lessons to suit each individual according to their interests and aspirations. She has successfully guided students of all levels through Grade exams in piano and music theory, and encourages effective practising from the start. Whilst making lessons engaging and fun, she also makes sure to build a good technical base from the beginning. She is interested in finding new and creative ways of teaching music and always discovering ways to get the best out of each student.

In addition to her career as a teacher, Veera is currently performing solo recitals in London and gaining experience as an accompanist. She enjoys every opportunity to introduce music to people, either through performing or teaching and is looking forward to helping her Jasspa students achieve their goals while spreading the joy of learning music. Veera joined Jasspa in September 2022.

Martin Allen (Percussion and Drum Kit)

Beginning his career as a rock/Jazz drummer, Martin went on to study classical percussion at both Leeds College of Music and The Royal Northern, whilst working with both the Halle Orchestra and Ballet Rambert.

He then specialised in chamber music, performing with many of the leading chamber groups in the country including Lontano, Gemini and the London Sinfonietta. He has also performed regularly with the BBC symphony Orchestra.

His theatre work includes Music Director of over 40 shows, primarily with the Royal National Theatre (for whom he has directed several world tours) and with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Martin has performed regularly at the Proms. A long collaboration with Sir Harrison Birtwistle and a study of Iranian music with Fariborz Kianu led to him to become a Proms soloist on a solo written for him by Sir Harrison. He also has considerable experience of recording work in television, radio and feature film.

Martin currently teaches in several educational establishments but also finds time to perform with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble and was privileged to be the only musician to perform at the memorial for the late Sir Peter Hall, with whom he had worked for many years.

Martin has taught at Jasspa since 2004.

Alyson Cawley (Saxophone/Clarinet)

Alyson studied at Leeds College of Music before gaining a post-graduate diploma from the Guildhall College of Music and Drama. She has been teaching in schools in South East London for 25 years, including Kingsdale, Finton House, St Gabriel's School and Cumnor House School for boys.

She teaches all styles of music and all standards from beginner to diploma level. Alyson also leads the National Youth Jazz Collective short course and auditions pupils for their summer school.

Alyson performs Clarinet and all saxophones in various bands, nationwide. She is a member of Ronnie Scott's Big Band, Issie Barrett's Interchange, an Indian/Arabic inspired quartet called Charukesi and has a straight ahead jazz quintet with Martin Speake. Alyson lives in Ladywell and has two children aged 16 and 14.

Alyson has taught at Jasspa since 2011.

Vicky Cowles (All reeds and Flute/Recorder)

Vicky trained at the Royal College of Music, later gaining a PGCE. She works as a woodwind specialist performing worldwide.

As a performer Vicky has worked on musical theatre shows in London’s West End and theatres across the UK doubling on all woodwinds. She performs regularly with The Swinging Magpies, a 1920s band and working regularly with rock tribute bands including The Pure Floyd Show, Progfathers and Cloudbusting. Vicky has had the pleasure to share a stage with artists including Robbie Williams, UB40, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kool & the Gang, Dog Eat Dog, Starsailor and Del Palmer (Kate Bush); worked and toured with jazz bands and artists including Sheila Tracy, Barry Forgie (BBC), Don Lusher, Bill Geldard, Chris Smith and Five Star Swing; and been conducted by Bob Chilcott, Stuart Bedford, Alison Bury and Sir David Willcocks.

Combining a career of teaching and performing, which she believes complement and enhance each other, Vicky teaches saxophone, clarinet and flute at Jasspa and co-directs Chameleon Community Jazz Band. She teaches from beginner to post-grade 8, including preparing students for conservatoire auditions and competitions in classical and jazz styles.

Vicky has taught at Jasspa since 2007.

Hayley Hignell (Flute/Recorder and Flute Ensmeble)

Hayley began playing the flute at the age of 10 years and through her enthusiastic and charismatic teacher developed a passion for music. The saxophone and piano followed which allowed for involvement in Youth Symphony, Wind and Jazz Orchestras. As Lead Alto in the latter this allowed Hayley to be involved in Music for Youth culminating in performances at the Royal Festival Hall and the Albert Hall. Hayley has been lucky enough to play alongside some Jazz greats such as Ronnie Scott, Tommy Whittle, Ronnie Ross, Don Lusher and Kathy Stobart. Hayley also plays Saxophone and Flute in a Funk/Soul ensemble writing and performing their own music.

Following a music degree and Post Graduate Diploma in Performance, Hayley has dedicated herself to teaching (and her two adorable children!) It was through a dedicated and passionate music teacher that Hayley nurtured her love for music, which is why teaching is now her passion.

As well as teaching at Jasspa, Hayley is involved with whole class music teaching in Primary Schools in Greenwich and is the Flute Teacher at Gordon Primary School and Eltham College Junior & Senior Schools.

Hayley has taught at Jasspa since 1997.

Jim Howard (Brass and Jazz Band)

Jim works as a jazz musician, film composer and educator. He studied Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Film Composition at the National Film & Television School.

As a musician Jim has performed with various groups around Europe, including playing with Django Bates, Yann Tiersen, Billy Martin, Billy Jenkins, Randy Brecker, Julian Arguelles, The London Jazz Orchestra, and The Happy End. He currently plays with his own groups Moonscape, and Forever Between.

As a film composer Jim has had his work broadcast worldwide, as well as BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Arte. He has a long-standing working relationship with Mischief Films, an Austrian Production Company making documentaries.

As an experienced educator, Jim has taught brass in many schools and colleges, and has directed ensembles of all sizes from orchestras and big bands, to brass ensembles and jazz groups. He has run workshops and taught on summer schools, at Jasspa, the Essex Youth Jazz Orchestra, and the Guildhall School of Music. Jim has run the Big Band at Jasspa since he began teaching there. It now continues as the Chameleon Community Jazz Band.

Jim has taught brass at JASSPA since 2000.

Leslie Jones (Clarinet/Saxophone/Theory)

Leslie (FRSA) was born in Wales. He studied with Frank Kelleher at the Royal Welsh College of Music, Cardiff and with Keith Puddy at Trinity College of Music, London before going on to study privately with Jack Brymer.

Leslie is now a freelance musician based in London. In the field of education, he has taught Clarinet and Saxophone at the Croydon Schools’ Centre for Wind Players, Kent Music School, Bromley Youth Music Trust, BRIT School, Old Palace School of John Whitgift, St Dunstan’s College and the City of London School for Girls.

In 2000 he organised the BBC Proms Millennium Youth Day at the Royal Albert Hall. For many years he was a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Leslie has taught at JASSPA since 1993.

Kim Reilly (Flute/Recorder)

Kim is a freelance flautist and qualified music teacher. She studied at the Purcell School, Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College of Music and The University of Sussex.

Kim holds the position of Principal flautist with the Docklands Sinfonia and has played with them since their formation in 2009. Recent engagements include recording sessions at Angel and Air studios, performances and collaborations at the Cadogan Hall, The Barbican, Royal Albert Hall and a UK tour with the band Hawkwind.

Kim has a busy schedule. On top of performing and working for JASSPA she teaches for Bromley Youth Music Service, Greenwich and Lambeth boroughs. Kim has taught at JASSPA since 2011.

Steve Foley (Guitar)

Steve has enjoyed teaching guitar at Jasspa since its inception in 1993. He teaches all styles - classical, Spanish, acoustic folk and on electric guitar - blues, jazz, rock, pop song accompaniment and bass guitar.

All ages of pupil are welcome. Young pupils (under 10 years) are encouraged to start on a nylon strung guitar so they can develop a correct playing technique based mainly, although not exclusively, on classical/Spanish guitar. Older pupils (teenagers) may want this approach or they may want to go straight to rock/pop playing, maybe on electric guitar.

Steve teaches classical grades if desired but is equally happy to teach pupils who are happy practising and developing their technique. Learning the guitar should be fun and not a chore!

When not teaching Steve also works in the field of creative and commercial music. Recent gigs include Tate Britain, the Peruvian Embassy, The National Portrait Gallery and the Post Bar in Tottenham (Salsa night)

Chris Hedges (Cello)

Chris began playing cello when he was four years old and learnt with Sue Lowe from the age of seven. He performed regularly during his time at school, and in 2013, he gave the Young Artist recital for the Minehead and Exmoor Music Festival. He has also participated in masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, Louise Hopkins, Pierre Doumenge and Adrian Brendel.

Chris studied music at the University of Cambridge between 2015 and 2018, and was presented with the London Girton Association Award at the beginning of his final year. He gave regular solo recitals and also enjoyed playing principal and co-principal cellist in a multitude of orchestras, including the University Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. This gave him the opportunity to work under such world renowned conductors as Sir Mark Elder, Sian Edwards and Paul Daniel. Chris has just completed his Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Tim Lowe. During his time at Guildhall, he was co-principal cellist of several orchestral projects, performing in the Barbican under conductors such as Thomas Søndergård and Roberto González-Monjas, as well as playing in a variety of chamber ensembles.

Chris is currently working as a freelance musician, combining teaching and performing, as well as playing with the Ignis Piano Quartet, a chamber group formed during his time at Guildhall. Chris started teaching at Jasspa in 2022

Tristan Horne (Cello and Cello Ensemble)

Tristan began playing the cello at 8 years old. He studied academic music at King's College London, then went on to complete a Diploma in cello performance at Trinity College, London. He has studied under Lionel Handy, David Kenedy and Mats Lidstrom

Tristan has been a freelance cellist, arranger and composer for 20 years, and enjoys the varied musical work that brings, including arranging and recording for various artists and composers, founding the Blackheath String Quartet, and teaching. He has been teaching and coaching orchestras at Oxford Cello School for over 15 years, as well as teaching throughout the year both privately and at various schools in South London.

Tristan's passion for music and the cello is a big part of his teaching, and believes that a good technique is solely to express oneself in music. At the end of the day, music should be fun and rewarding!

Tristan joined JASSPA in 2022.

Stefan Melovski (Guitar and Guitar Group)

Stefan Melovski studied guitar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Since graduating, he has performed in various venues in London including the Royal Festival Hall, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, and King’s Place, as well as UK festivals at home and abroad.

Stefan currently works in various schools and music hubs around London, teaching guitar students ranging from beginner to diploma level. His main passions are inspiring students to make their own arrangements of their favourite pieces, as well as exploring different genres and styles possible with the guitar. He particularly enjoys coaching guitar groups.

Stefan teaches all guitars, acoustic, electric and bass and he joined JASSPA in 2023.

Julia Milne (Violin and Viola)

Julia grew up on the Isle of Wight, where there was so much music activity that she was out most evenings, either playing in shows or rehearsing chamber music with more experienced musicians. After music college, Julia played with the National Centre for Orchestral Studies orchestra, which she loved. Studying the orchestra repertoire under the guidance of first-class conductors gave her the chance to combine her passion for violin playing with travelling; she then went abroad to work living in Italy, Spain and Portugal and playing full-time in orchestras for many years.

On returning to England, Julia attended a course with Geza Szilvay (who devised the Colourstrings method); to watch him teach and connect to the children was her inspiration to begin teaching. Julia still regularly attends courses with ESTA (European String Teachers Association) and keeps up to date with all things new in string playing.

Currently, Julia teaches at Hereward House, Bronte School and Old Palace and, aside from teaching, has her own quartet, a tango band and other orchestral playing commitments. Julia looks forward to encouraging budding violinists and viola players at JASSPA to enjoy music making as much as she does.

Julia has been a deputy teacher at Jasspa for many years, but joined the string team permanently in 2024.

Richard Sizer (Violin; Jazz Piano and Composition)

Richard started the violin at the age of 6 inspired by the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Piano and trombone followed later and aged 11 he joined the Royal College of Music JD where he won the composition prize and led the Symphony Orchestra. He also led Bedfordshire County Youth Orchestra and Opera before completing a Science degree at City University specialising in electronic music and acoustics. Since then he has worked with recording studios, film projects and taught violin, piano and composition.

Richard was Director of Music at Cumnor House School for 20 years, during which time there were many combined projects with groups such as the Royal Opera House and the BBC singers. In 2018 he launched ‘Saturn Strings’ - a shop front for composers to provide fun compositions for young string orchestras. In the same year he joined Langley School for Girls, teaching GCSE and A level music alongside initiating an instrumental programme for Year 7’s. In 2019 he completed a PG Cert. (string teaching) and in addition to various teaching jobs is currently conducting for Bromley Youth Music Trust and South London Youth Orchestra.

Richard taught at Jasspa in the early 2000’s, returning in 2019.

Maggie Snow (Violin and Viola)

Maggie is an American born violinist who studied performance at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. She also has a Masters in Violin Performance from Boise State University in Boise, Idaho and more recently completed a second Masters Degree and FLCM certificate in Violin Performance at the London College of Music.

Maggie is an avid performer playing with several orchestras including the London Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonia and is a member of Maple Rose String Quartet. .

Prior to living in the United Kingdom Maggie was concertmaster of the Denver Pops Orchestra and assistant concertmaster of the Littleton Symphony. She also substituted with several orchestras around the US including the Boise Philharmonic, Helena Symphony Orchestra, and Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to her classical training, Maggie also performs on a 5-string electric violin and has recorded with artists including Lethal Bizzle and David Zowie. She has also headlined with DJ Kygo, summer of 2023.

Maggie is passionate about teaching and has over 25 years of experience working with students of all ages and levels in her private studio and the Suzuki Hub in Hoxton, London.

She joined Jasspa in September 2023.

Balint Szekely (Violin/Viola and String Quartet)

Balint first began playing the violin at the age of six. Aged fifteen he joined the Purcell School as a scholar to study with Béla Dékány, former leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Aged seventeen Balint was awarded the prestigious Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship from the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Grigory Zhislin and graduated with BMus, First Class and Postgraduate Diploma, Distinction. During this time Balint also won numerous competitions and prizes including the Sir Arthur Bliss Prize, Leonard Hirsch Prize, Ian Stoutzker violin competition and the Sándor Végh Award.

Since his international début at the age of 14, playing Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in Düsseldorf’s Tonhalle, Balint has performed concertos ranging from Mozart to Bartók with orchestras across Europe and the USA. He has received critical acclaim and many awards for his technique and musical integrity, consistently delivering a unique quality of performance, bringing a wide spectrum of colours and sounds to all periods and styles of music from Tartini to Bartók.

Balint currently teaches violin at Eaton House Belgravia, Wetherby Kensington, Portland Place School, Kingston Grammar School as well as running his own Violin Studio. He has given many masterclasses successfully prepares students for music scholarships and competitions.

Balint has taught at Jasspa since 2004.

Michelle Taylor-Cohen (Violin/Viola and Junior Strings)

Originally from Nottingham, Michelle is a violinist, arranger and composer now based in North London. She has over 20 years’ experience of instrumental teaching. Michelle teaches violin and viola to a diverse range of age groups and abilities and is a passionate advocate for youth music. In addition to individual teaching, she has coached many chamber groups and youth orchestras (including SLYO at JASSPA).

As an arranger, she is best known for working with Estilo String Quartet, who have released two CDs of her work, Marriage in an Orange Grove and Alternative Tracks. Several of her arrangements have reached the Top 10 in the iTunes classical chart, most memorably Fairytale of New York, which was number 1 in December 2016.

As a freelance musician, in addition to working as an orchestral and session musician, she has developed music education projects in order to enable young musicians to play along with professional players. Her specially-adapted arrangements of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition have been used by BBC Concert Orchestra, Telemark Orchestra and the Cohen Ensemble. Michelle has recently been commissioned to arrange viola duets for Peter Mallinson and Matthias Wiesner (BBC Symphony Orchestra) and fully-scored orchestral arrangements for Street Orchestra.

She has taught at JASSPA since 2015.

Amanda Forbes (Voice)

Soprano Amanda Forbes studied opera at London’s Royal Academy of Music and National Opera Studio.

Career highlights include creating the roles of Leni and Fräulein Bürstner in the World Premiere of Philip Glass’s opera The Trial based on Franz Kafka’s novel, and performing the role of the Duchess in the UK premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s The Killing Flower for Music Theatre Wales at ROH Linbury studio. She performed the world premiere of a one woman opera composed for her voice by Tom Green, based on poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s set of poems ‘The World’s Wife’ at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff to critical acclaim.

Amanda worked for several years with Glyndebourne Opera Education, leading workshops for primary and secondary schools. She also led a series of Opera Workshops at the New Wimbledon theatre which she designed to introduce the genre to adults in a fun an interactive way.

Her teaching focuses mainly on classical and music theatre, and includes jazz, country and pop. Amanda has been teaching at Jasspa since 2012, and also teaches voice at Glendower Preparatory school in South Kensington.

Amelya Goldy-Plesence (Voice)

Amelya is a teacher, performer and PhD researcher in the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Vocal Department.

She began teaching in 2003 as an associate teacher for Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, Greenwich Theatre and Epsom College. Amelya previously worked as a Trinity-Guildhall examiner, a Stage-Coach Theatre Arts inspector and as an associate teacher for Royal Holloway and Goldsmiths, both universities of London. A graduate of Trinity College of Music, Amelya has an MA in Music from Goldsmiths, a PGCE from the Institute of Education UCL whilst teaching GCSE at the Brit School.

Amelya began training as a vocal scholar at Chetham’s School of Music, after studying under the guidance of Sir Peter Pears who in 1986 offered Amelya the role of Emmie in Britten’s ‘Albert Herring’ at Snape Maltings. Her early career included solo performances for the BBC Radio 3, touring with Opera North and as a Park Lane Group Young Concert Artist. Professionally Amelya specialises in contemporary-classical repertoire collaborating with composers including Louis Andreissen, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Dai Fujikura. She has performed under the direction of Sir Peter Hall at the National Theatre, the opening of the Hellenic Festival Epidaurus and at the Royal Opera House.

Amelya has taught at JASSPA since 2011.

Pamela Hay (Voice)

Polish-American soprano Pamela trained at the Royal College of Music and Peabody Conservatory of Music, receiving her MMus, BMus and PGCert. She has been concert soloist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 3), BBC Concert Orchestra (broadcast on BBC Radio 2′s Friday Night is Music Night), and Hallé Orchestra. She has given solo recitals in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Salzburg, Belgium, Costa Rica, Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Pamela has sung over 35 roles in opera including Mimi La Bohème (2011 Olivier Award-winning production, Soho Theatre plus national tour), Ellen Lakmé (Opera Holland Park), Juliette Roméo et Juliette (Royal Albert Hall), title role Fairy Queen (Royal Albert Hall), Gretel Hansel and Gretel, Euridice Orfeo ed Euridice (English Pocket Opera), Nedda Pagliacci (King’s Head Theatre), Donna Elvira Don Giovanni (British Youth Opera), Title role La voix humaine (Baltimore), Title role Merry Widow (Kentish Opera), Yum-Yum The Mikado (national tour, Opera Della Luna).

In theatre Pamela has played principal roles at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and Chichester Festival Theatre alongside such actors as Sir Mark Rylance, Stephanie Beacham and Sandi Toksvig. Pamela has featured in an online ad for phone network Orange, and in a role in Guy Ritchie’s film Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows. Her latest film, The Bang Straws, has been selected from over 2600 entries to be one of the 46 winners of The London Open 2022 at Whitechapel Gallery.

In 2021 the Royal Opera House Covent Garden appointed Pamela to be Programme Practitioner of their Create and Sing programme, where she also devised the warm ups and sang the music for their Magic Flute production videos, broadcast live nationally. After the success of Pamela’s work there, the ROH invited Pamela to teach singing technique and vocal coaching to the ROH Youth Opera Company, as well as conducting the full children’s chorus in rehearsal and assisting Antonio Pappano.

Pamela has been a singing teacher for over 15 years, teaching at Eton College, St Dunstan’s College, Newton Prep, Kingsdale Foundation School, and in her private studio. She is a member of the BVA, ISM, and also sits on the council as Chair Elect of the Association of Teachers of Singing, where she has been the Editor of the AOTOS Annual Review magazine. Pamela has taught at Jasspa since 2013.

Sarah Parkin (Community Choir and Voice)

Canadian soprano Sarah Parkin specialises in new music and contemporary opera. She is an experienced deviser of new, immersive pieces and regularly incorporates physical theatre practices into her work.

Most recently, Sarah premiered ‘Voices of the Sands’, a dramatic concert piece for three voices and harp with music by Michael Betteridge for the Tête-à-tête Opera Festival and UK Tour. Throughout 2023, she will be premiering a series of collaborative concert works with composer Rania Chrystostomou. Past performances include: Guest performer with p.e.r.s.o.n.a.l.c.l.u.t.t.e.r. at Dark Music Days 2023 (Reykjavik, Iceland); ‘Four Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ by Angela Slater (Illuminate concert series); Music and the Brain by Helgi Ingvarsson (Tung Auditorium, Liverpool); originating the soprano role in A Kinder Society, an immersive opera by Amy Bryce (Stiftung Kunst and Musik fur Dresden); and originating roles in ‘Wear’ and ‘Robe’ with UU Productions (for Tête-à-Tête and Metier record label).

Sarah works regularly with the award-winning ‘Inspire’ program at Opera Holland Park, leading outreach and education workshops and performances, and was commissioned to create a series of online singing lessons through lockdown. She has also led groups via organisations such as Afghan Association Paiwand and the Jackdaws Music Education Trust. After receiving her BMus (University of Toronto, Canada) and her MMus (RNCM, Manchester), Sarah began teaching voice and piano in several preparatory schools across London, and was the guest conductor for the Thomas’s Clapham Choir Tour to Disneyland Paris in the summer of 2022. Sarah joined Jasspa in 2023.

Beverly Sizer (Director of Jasspa and Junior Choir)

Beverly started her music education as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music, studying flute, piano and harpsichord. Growing up she was heavily involved with Bedfordshire Youth Music, performing as principal flute with Bedfordshire County Youth Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Opera Group.

Following a change in direction from performing to academic music she studied at university. During this time, she started Thames Chamber Orchestra with conductor Philip Hesketh where she played flute and managed the orchestra including a tour to France.

On graduation Beverly was appointed Head of Music at St Edwards Preparatory School, Reading where she started a Saturday Music School and also kept a large teaching practice of flute and piano to pupils aged 6-18. She also gained experience of GCSE and A level teaching along with music scholarship preparation. This combined experience cemented a passion for teaching and the delivery of excellent quality performing arts within schools.

Beverly joined JAGS as Head of Music for James Allen’s Preparatory School in 1993 where she ran choirs for fun and competition! After starting Jasspa she went on to run Jasspa Youth theatre (putting on large scale musical productions) and more recently collaborated with Leigh O’Hara and Richard Sizer to start South London Youth Orchestra.

Naomi Kilby (Voice)

Naomi trained at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. She has been a regular chorister at Opera Holland Park since 2009, undertaking several comprimario roles including First Bridesmaid in their 2021 production of Le Nozze Di Figaro and a triple bill with English National Ballet, performing in Stravinsky's Les Noces at Sadler's Wells. Additionally, Naomi works regularly with their Inspire team offering outreach recitals and workshops.

Naomi also performs regularly with Lost Chord Dementia Charity in care homes around London, and is the founding producer of Opera Alegría, most recently singing the roles of Aurora in The Portrait of Manon, and Pamina in The Magic Flute.

As a recitalist, Naomi has performed in the UK and across Europe, including with Fred Olsen Cruises, travelling to Spain, Morocco & Portugal, and at St Mary Le Strand as part of their new Thursday Lunchtime Concert series. She has also sung the soprano solos in many favourite choral works on the concert platform including Poulenc's Gloria, Rutter's Magnificat, Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem and Mass in C Minor and Haydn's Nelson Mass.

Naomi has been teaching singing since 2005, and is passionate about passing her love of performing onto her students. As well as JASSPA, Naomi teaches privately, and has been a visiting peripatetic singing teacher at Coldfall Primary School in Muswell Hill since 2009. Naomi also sings regularly at Flavours of Naples Italian restaurant in Borough, and is a keen cyclist. She started teaching at Jasspa in September 2023