Her Majesty The Queen

Patron of the Royal Northern College of Music


Sir John Tomlinson, CBE

President of the Royal Northern College of Music

Sir John Tomlinson was born in Lancashire. He gained a BSc in Civil Engineering at Manchester University before winning a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music. He was awarded a CBE in 1997 and knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2005. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Singer in 1991, 1998 and 2007 and in 2014 their Gold Medal.

John Tomlinson’s engagements include performances at La Scala, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Geneva, Lisbon, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin (Deutsche Oper and Deutsche Staatsoper), Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Antwerp, and Bilbao and the Festivals of Bayreuth (where he sang for eighteen consecutive seasons), Orange, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Edinburgh and the Maggio Musicale, Florence. He has sung regularly with English National Opera since 1974 and with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, since 1977 and has also appeared with all the other leading British opera companies.

John Tomlinson has a large concert repertoire and has sung with all the leading British orchestras and in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain, Denmark and the USA. 

John Tomlinson’s main operatic roles include: Berg Wozzeck (Doctor), Birtwistle Gawain (Green Knight) and The Minotaur (Minotaur), Britten Billy Budd (Claggart), Mussorgsky Boris Godunov (Boris Godunov), Mozart Die Zauberflöte (Sarastro) and Don Giovanni (Leporello and Commendatore), Strauss Der Rosenkavalier (Baron Ochs) and Elektra (Orestes), Wagner Das Rheingold and Die Walküre (Wotan), Siegfried (Wanderer), Meistersinger (Hans Sachs), Parsifal (Titurel and Gurnemanz), Tristan und Isolde (King Marke), Lohengrin (Heinrich), Tannhäuser (Landgraf) and Der Fliegende Holländer (The Dutchman), and Verdi Don Carlos (King Philip and Grand Inquisitor) Oberto (Oberto).

In January 2017 Sir John Tomlinson will replace Sir Willard White as President of the Royal Northern College of Music.


Professor Linda Merrick

Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, Governor and Tutor in Clarinet

Linda holds the position of Principal and Professor at the RNCM, and is the UK representative for Howarth Clarinets. She has an international profile as a clarinet soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and clinician.

Linda’s catalogue of over 20 solo CD recordings includes new concertos by Gary Carpenter, Nigel Clarke, Martin Ellerby, Kit Turnbull and Guy Woolfenden (Polyphonic), Philip Sparke (Anglo Records), Stephen McNeff (Campion), John McLeod (Chandos), Edwin Roxburgh (NMC), and Philip Spratley (Toccata).

Her chamber music output includes premiere recordings of a series of new clarinet quintets with the Kreutzer and Navarra Quartets for Guild, Metier and Naxos by composers including Nigel Clarke, Robert Crawford, Martin Ellerby, Wilfred Josephs, John McCabe, Edwin Roxburgh and Kit Turnbull, CDs for clarinet and piano featuring works by Malcolm Arnold, Martin Ellerby and John Ireland, and two CDs of newly-commissioned works for clarinet and electronics with Chris Thorpe (Voiceprint).

Linda has broadcast for BBC Radio 3, Radio France, DRS1 Switzerland, CKWR Canada and Arte TV South Korea, and performed as a concerto soloist across America, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, the UAE, and throughout the UK.

She is a founder member of the contemporary ensemble ‘Sounds Positive’, with whom she has premiered over 70 works by British composers, and released 3 CDs.

Her main research interests are collaboration between composers and performers, and extended performance techniques for the clarinet.

The Board of Governors

Nick Prettejohn


Nick has been Chairman of the Governors of the Royal Northern College of Music since January 2012. With a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Balliol College Oxford, he first joined management consultants Bain and Company in 1982, becoming partner in 1988, and subsequently held positions with NFC plc and at private equity company Apax Partners.

Nick joined Lloyd’s of London in 1995 as Head of Strategy and was instrumental in driving forward its Reconstruction & Renewal (R&R) programme. In 1999 he was appointed Chief Executive and under his leadership Lloyd’s underwent significant change to its strategy, supervision and processes. He led Lloyd’s response to the attacks of 9/11 and the Society’s debut on the international capital markets. Between 2006 and 2009 he was Chief Executive of Prudential UK & Europe, responsible for UK Life and Pensions Business, where he led a major change programme and repositioning of the business.

From 2010 to 2013 he was a non-executive director of Legal & General plc and from 2011 to 2013 Chairman of Brit Insurance Holdings BV. He was a trustee of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden between 2005 and 2013, and an Independent Director of the Prudential Regulation Authority from 2013 to 2014.

Currently, Nick is a non-executive director of the Lloyds Banking Group (where he is also Chairman of Scottish Widows), a member of the BBC Trust and Chairman of the Britten-Pears Foundation. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Martin Vander Weyer

Deputy Chairman

Martin Vander Weyer is a writer, arts promoter and performer. He is business editor of The Spectator magazine, a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and other national publications, and the author of a number of books and plays. He is a trustee of Opera North and the former director of Helmsley Arts Centre in North Yorkshire and former chairman of Ryedale music festival; he is also well known in the region as a public speaker and amateur actor/director.

He has been trustee or chairman of a number of charitable and voluntary projects. Before turning to writing, he spent 15 years as an investment banker in London, Brussels and the Far East. He is a graduate of Oxford University in politics, philosophy and economics.

Carolyn Baxendale MBE


Carolyn graduated with a Master of Music from Manchester University in 1984 and has followed this with a career in music education. After teaching music in the primary and secondary sectors Carolyn joined Bolton Music Service in 1999, as an Advanced Skills teacher. Since taking up the post of Head of Bolton Music Service in 2007 she has focused on increasing the impact of the service with local schools and other stakeholders, working with a wider range of partners and creating a secure profile for music education, both locally and further afield. Bolton Music Service is now the lead partner in the Greater Manchester Music Hub.

Carolyn has plenty of experience working with other music services nationally as a Music Service Evaluation Partner and also in the area of Music Hub development. As a trustee of ‘Music Mark’, Trust Music and Chetham’s School of Music, Carolyn has gained an understanding of the national challenges for music education.

Carolyn’s musical expertise lies in choral training and direction and currently directs a number of local youth and adult choirs. She has directed many large scale choral works and particularly enjoys bringing local amateur societies and organisations together in large scale performance events.

Mark Blundell


Mark Blundell was educated at Downside School and was a scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Physics and Philosophy.  He was articled as a solicitor in Liverpool and subsequently practised in London for a number of years. In 1986 he moved back to Merseyside on inheriting the family estate at Little Crosby, owned by the Blundell family for many centuries.

In 1988 he founded Crosby Hall Educational Trust, a residential centre for children in the grounds of his family home, of which he remains chairman.  In addition to providing an exciting experience for the visiting children, the centre promotes cultural activities including an annual programme of chamber music concerts.

Mr Blundell was a member of the Council (the governing body) of Liverpool University for many years, and held the posts of President and Pro-Chancellor. He has also been a member of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for the North West, and a Council Member of Tate Gallery Liverpool.  He is currently a director of Merseyside Buildings Preservation Trust, and The Heritage Trust for the North West and Chairman of Liverpool University Pension Fund.

Chris Cox


Chris joined the University of Edinburgh as Vice Principal, Philanthropy and Advancement, in February 2016. He has worked in development and alumni relations for 24 years, ten of which were in his previous role as Director of Development at The University of Manchester, following earlier roles at UCL and Newcastle University.

He has been active with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), as a previous European representative on their US-based Commission on Alumni Relations, and as a Faculty member at Institutes for Educational fund-raising in Europe and Africa. He will Chair the CASE Europe Conference for Educational Advancement in Brussels in 2016.

He was Chair of the Ross Group of UK Higher Education Development Directors in 2011 and 2012 and was a member of the Education Task Force for the UK Government’s Giving Summit in 2012. He holds a BA in History from UCL and an MA in International Political Economy from Newcastle University. He plays flute and is an occasional amateur conductor, conducting the London Shostakovich Orchestra since 1999.

Professor Lynne Dawson

Governor (nominated by the Academic Board)

Lynne Dawson has been one of Britain’s best loved and respected sopranos for more than 30 years. She trained as a translator and interpreter and spent several years in industry before beginning her training as a singer. She was very fortunate to work with many conductors and ensembles at the forefront of the Historical Performance movement, including the Deller Consort, the Hilliard Ensemble, John Eliot Gardiner, Roger Norrington, Christopher Hogwood, Trevor Pinnock, and with them made many recordings for most of the major labels.

Her career then developed to encompass opera and to sing concerts and make recordings at the highest international level. She has worked with all the major British Orchestras and abroad with orchestras such as the Leipzigewandhaus, the Concertgebouw, San Francisco Symphony, La Scala Milan, Chicago Symphony and Berlin Symphony over many years, in addition to chamber orchestras all over the world.

Her recordings now number more than 80 and include many roles by Handel and Mozart, as well as solo discs of English song and French song and a recent disc of lieder.

Her operatic roles include Pamina, Zaide, Donna Elvira, Countess, Queen of the Night, Constanze, Aspasia and Vitellia, as well as Amenaide in Rossini’s Tancredi, leading roles in Handel’s Orlando, Guilio Cesare, Orlando, Hercules and Ariodante, Marzelline in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Iphigenie in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide, Mimi in La Boheme, Zdenka in Strauss’ Arabella, and Violetta in La Traviata, in opera houses such as Amsterdam, Opera North, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin Staatsoper.

She has sung many concerts all over the world and particularly with Daniel Barenboim, Frans Bruggen, Marc Minkowski, Zubin Mehta, Carl Maria Guilini, Neville Marriner, John Eliot Gardiner and Christopher Hogwood. Her repertoire encompasses many compositions for soprano and orchestra such as Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Ravel’s Sheherezade, Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Ete, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven concert arias and Berg’s Seven Early Songs and the Lulu Suite, but she has never lost her love of the baroque repertoire.

Lynne began teaching some 5 years ago and has been a vocal tutor at the RNCM, at the ESMUC Conservatory in Barcelona and at York University. She is a vocal consultant for Yorkshire Young Musicians. She has given masterclasses at many summer music festivals, especially in Spain and Japan. In September 2010, she was appointed Head of the School of Vocal Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Amy Ellison


Amy qualified as a Chartered Accountant with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) in 2004. Amy has over 15 years of professional services experience working with leading insurance and financial services companies. Currently Amy works for Legal & General Group Plc where she holds the position of Head of Internal Audit for the Insurance and Savings divisions. Prior to working at Legal & General Amy spent 15 years in the external audit division of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP working predominately with companies in the insurance industry in Edinburgh, Melbourne and London.

Amy graduated with a first-class Bachelor of Music with Honours (BMus (Hons)) degree from Edinburgh University before gaining a Postgraduate Diploma in advanced studies in Musical Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Amy’s principle study at the RNCM was the harp which she studied under the tuition of David Watkins. Prior to studying with David, Amy studied with Frank Sternfeld and Honor Wright.

Amy was born in Leeds and gained her formative musical training in Yorkshire. Throughout childhood and as a student Amy performed extensively across the north of England and Scotland and has been on tour throughout Europe with many orchestra’s including the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (NYOS). In addition to the harp Amy studied the viola and piano and today is an occasional performer.

Mike Emmerich


Mike is a founder Director of Metro Dynamics, an advisory business focussing on cities. He was formerly the Chief Executive of New Economy.

Mike has extensive experience in economic development and regeneration. Prior to joining New Economy, Mike was the founder-Director of the Institute for Political and Economic Governance at the University of Manchester. He returned to Manchester from London where he had been a Civil Servant at HM Treasury and in the No 10 Policy Unit, where he was the Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister on local government and regeneration. He has also worked as a management consultant on local government projects, including for Ernst and Young.

He is a Governor of the Royal Northern College of Music and of the Tutor Trust which provides learning support to schools in deprived areas. Mike is also a board member of Manchester Camerata. He is also a former trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund. He has also acted as an external expert to international projects for the European Commission, OECD and others.

Diane Gilhooley


Diane qualified as a solicitor in September 1994 and currently leads the national education employment team for Eversheds LLP. She is based in Eversheds’ Manchester office and provides advice to the higher, further and schools sectors and is noted as a key individual in Chambers & Partners from 2009 – 2014.

As well as advising on a broad range of issues, Diane has developed a national training programme for education institutions, and delivers public courses and in-house training events throughout the UK. Writing for the Times Higher, editor for the commentary on the Instrument and Articles and governance for Further Education colleges, she also delivers workshops at key sector conferences and presents on a variety of HR topics for sector bodies such as the AoC, UHR, AHUA, AMHEC and UCEA.

Diane is at the forefront of developments within the education sector and is regularly consulted on the latest legislative changes.

Felicity Goodey CBE DL


Felicity Goodey shaped and led the project which has relocated a major part of the BBC from London to Salford and the North of England. She headed the team which won a fiercely contested bid for the BBC and on the back of it created MediaCityUK, the biggest purpose built digital media centre in the UK. She led the team which designed, built and ran The Lowry, an international theatre and arts complex which has helped attract £1.5 billion private investment to Greater Manchester and contributes more than £29 million to the local economy annually.

She set up and chaired the UKs largest urban regeneration company, Central Salford, which secured a further £2.5 billion of private sector investment in 5 years. She was a founder director of the Northwest Development Agency, chairing the Tourism team which helped turn the region into a £ 14.5 billion tourism destination; founded and chaired the successful Cultural Consortium for the Northwest and was awarded a CBE for services to regeneration and the arts.

Her career began with the BBC. Experience as a senior correspondent specialising in industry and politics, together with a business career in media and education services, provided the foundations for developing and leading major public/private projects. She currently chairs the Buxton Festival described by the Metropolitan Opera of New York as ‘One of Europe’s great little unmissable European Opera Festivals’; and by the Observer as ‘‘ A happy marriage of music , opera and books’!

Jonathan Groves


Jonathan Groves was born in 1952 and received his formative musical training as a chorister at King’s College Cambridge under Sir David Willcocks. He returned to Cambridge as an undergraduate, studying history at Trinity College, and serving as President of the Cambridge University Music Club.

Since 1976 he has been a director of Ingpen and Williams Ltd, the long-established international artist management company. During this time he has been responsible for the worldwide management of many distinguished artists including Sir Mark Elder, Sir Edward Downes, Alfred Brendel, Elisabeth Söderström, Dame Anne Evans, Yvonne Minton, and Sir Donald McIntyre – and several RNCM alumni such as Graham Vick, Sian Edwards, Joan Rodgers and Amanda Roocroft.

Jonathan Groves was a founding board member of the Young Concert Artists Trust and served for many years as Chair of the Opera Committee of the International Artist Managers’ Association. He lives in south-west London and is married with three grown-up children.

Dr Jon Lamonte


Jon Lamonte joined Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) as CEO in 2013. His portfolio covers rail, bus, tram, highways, cycling and other forms of active transport. TfGM is the executive delivery arm of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Jon Lamonte was the CEO of Tube Lines from 2011 – 12, including the critical period of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tube Lines, as part of Transport for London, was responsible for the maintenance, renewal and upgrade of the Underground infrastructure on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Jon joined from the Royal Air Force where he fulfilled a number of senior operational roles and led major project delivery. His most recent role was Chief of Staff, Strategy, Policy and Plans, which included co-leading the Strategic Defence and Security Review into the maritime programme for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Prior to this Jon was Director General Finance for Defence Equipment and Support, the MoD’s £17bn a year procurement and logistics organisation. Other roles included running the RAF’s largest base, Brize Norton, with over 4,500 people and three fleets of transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft.

Sir Alan Langlands FRSE


Alan Langlands is the twelfth Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, a major Russell Group University with a commitment to high quality education, a strong and dynamic research base and a track record of social, economic and cultural development.   Before joining the University, he was the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (2009 to 2013), responsible for promoting and funding high-quality education and research in universities and colleges with higher education programmes.

He was formerly the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee (2000 to 2009) and Chief Executive of the NHS in England (1994 to 2000). He has a particular interest in the scientific basis of health services, and from its inception in 2004 until 2012, he chaired the board of UK Biobank – a major genetic epidemiology study funded principally by The Wellcome Trust and The Medical Research Council. He continues to chair the board of the Health Foundation, a UK-wide charity committed to improving the quality of healthcare. Alan was knighted in 1998 for his services to the NHS, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and an Honorary Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

He is a science graduate of the University of Glasgow and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University in 2001. He also has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh and the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Warwick Business School and a Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London. In recognition of his contributions to healthcare and professional education, he has been awarded Honorary Fellowships by the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow), the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, the Institute of Actuaries and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance.

Audrey Lawrence-Mattis


After working in financial management, including a role at West Midlands Arts, the Midlands-based offices of the Arts Council, Audrey studied at Birmingham Conservatoire; graduating in 1997 with a BMus in Vocal Studies.

In 2002 she began working for Manchester LEA’s Adult Education Service progressing to Senior Co-ordinator for Music and Performing Arts. She worked with voluntary and community organisations in developing arts and educational programmes engaging adult learners and led her departments to successful inspection before leaving to freelance in 2007.

She founded her company Palm Arts Ltd in 2007, a music-based events and education provider that delivers training voice coaching, music workshops and offers musical event solutions such as choirs and bands for events.  She has advised on issues related to youth and music, including being a board member of Youth Music’s North West Music Action Zone, formerly known as GMMAZ (now Brighter Sound) from 2002-2007.

Audrey is well-known for her work coaching gospel and community-based choirs in the UK and Italy. She has worked with some of the UK’s top gospel choirs including London Community Gospel Choir and led workshops for British Gospel Arts, one of the leaders in gospel education in Europe.  Over the past few years she has built a reputation for creating large gospel choir concerts to revive the original “gospel sound”. Her professional choir, AMC Gospel Choir, has featured on recordings, tours and continues to perform regularly across the UK.

After years leading the RNCM Gospel Choir and workshops as part of the RNCM Outreach Programme, she joined the RNCM Popular Music Department in 2015 teaching Voice and Harmonics.

In 2016 Audrey was elected to sit on the North of England Regional Committee for the Musician’s Union.

Hazel Province


Hazel graduated as a violinist from the Royal College of Music in 1988, then completed a one year orchestral training programme at the Guildhall School of Music before going on to pursue a successful portfolio freelance career, encompassing performance, teaching and arts administration.

These diverse skills, along with her passion for opera, ballet and live musical theatre, led to her appointment as Orchestra Manager for the New D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, then on to Birmingham Royal Ballet, also as Orchestra Manager – both companies with whom she toured the UK extensively. From there, Hazel went on to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where she held the position of Orchestra Director for 10 years – working under Sir Bernard Haitink and then Sir Antonio Pappano, leading the ensemble through a challenging transition period following the closure and redevelopment of the ROH in the late 1990s.

In 2008, Hazel was appointed to the position of Director of Planning at the Royal Opera House: a key role in shaping the strategic direction of the organisation, working closely with the Artistic Directors to enable the rehearsal, performance and events programme across the ROH’ many stages and digital platforms – both nationally and internationally.

Hazel is also a Trustee of Theatre Royal, Stratford East and a keen supporter of Southbank Sinfonia.

David Roper


David is a partner with PwC in Birmingham and has been on the Board of the RNCM since 2009, being the College’s appointee to the Board of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music since 2011 where he is also the Deputy Chairman. He chairs the audit committees at both organisations. He is also a lay member of the Finance Committee of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

He is on the Midlands region Advisory Board for Business in the Community, and was delighted to have been HRH The Prince of Wales’ Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility for the North West in 2009/10.

David graduated in 1982 with a music degree from Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he was a Choral Exhibitioner. He has pursued his interest in music since graduating by, amongst other things, being a Lay Clerk at St. Margaret’s Westminster, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and, before moving North in 1999, St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. He is married to Jayne (a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music) and has two children, Matthew (21) and Katy (19).

John Summers


Chief Executive of the Hallé since 1999, John Summers was formerly Chief Executive of the Northern Sinfonia.

He studied the ‘cello at Trinity College of Music and after graduation worked in Scotland. While working as a freelance cellist with the Northern Sinfonia he was appointed to the management finally ending up as Chief Executive in 1989. He was actively involved in the planning of the Sage, Gateshead before moving to manage the Hallé in Manchester. Since joining the Hallé he has been responsible for a number of new initiatives, including a significant expansion of the Orchestra’s Education and Ensemble Programme, and the setting up of the Hallé’s own recording label.

He was a member of the Board of the Association of British Orchestras from 1991 with a special interest in Education and Outreach matters, and in 1995 was appointed Chairman through until 1998. He rejoined the Board in 2015.

John was Lead Adviser for Music to the Arts Council of England from 2003 – 2005 and is currently President of the Lakeland Concerts Society.

Blanc Wan


Blanc Wan has established a profile as a pianist, musicologist, and educator. His recitals and radio appearances have included over a hundred performances throughout Europe, Asia and North America including the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and a recital in Poland to mark the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth in 2010. He is a governor of the Royal Northern College of Music, the Chairman of Hong Kong International Pianists’ Association, a Grant Examiner of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the Artistic Director of the Hong Kong International Piano Conference. He holds fellowships from the Royal Society of Arts, Royal Schools of Music, London College of Music, and Trinity College of Music. He was elected as a Young Steinway Artist in 2011.

Blanc Wan has given masterclasses as well as lectures worldwide, and has sat on the juries for many prestigious piano competitions such as the Asia Piano Open Competition, Hong Kong International Piano Open Competition, and Macau Youth Piano Competition. As the Editor in Chief of The Pianist magazine, he has published interviews with some of the world’s greatest pianists including Lang Lang, Dame Fanny Waterman, Jörg Demus, Leslie Howard, Peter Donohoe, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Pascal Rogé, John Lill, Peter Frankl and Stephen Hough.

Blanc Wan studied at the University of Oxford and at the Royal Northern College of Music. His current doctoral research at King’s College London focuses on the Russian Piano Pedagogy and Performance Tradition. As a musicologist, he has given papers at various seminars and conferences in the UK and abroad, and has received research grants and awards from the Royal Musical Association, the University of London, as well as the British Library. Blanc Wan is the 2015-2016 Edison Research Fellow at the British Library.

Nick Ware

Governor (nominated by the Support Staff)

Born in Manchester, he trained as a theatre technician at the RNCM, before working freelance as a production electrician for companies and organisations including Northern Ballet Theatre, The Royal Exchange and Edinburgh Festival. He was Chief Electrician at Buxton Opera House from 1987 to 1989.

Following a career change into farming, he received a Diploma in Agriculture. After a decade, he returned to the theatre industry, joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2000 to become Head of Lighting there the following summer, where he was instrumental in overseeing the reorganisation and updating of the department.

In April 2008 he was appointed Head of Lighting at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, working on technical management and lighting design for opera and ballet productions both in the UK and worldwide.

In September 2012 his professional life came satisfyingly full circle when he was appointed Technical and Production Manager at the RNCM; this new position came at a particularly timely moment in his career, because he felt well prepared to meet the fresh challenge of helping to carry through the College’s plans for its new Concert Hall. His return to the North West from London has enriched his family life with his wife and two teenage children, which has always been based on his home in Macclesfield. This return has also enabled his greater personal commitment to his leisure interests in the running and development of the Gradbach Scout Camp in the Peak District National Park.

The Principal (ex officio)

(See Linda Merrick, above)

Dr Dawn Edwards


Dawn is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She joined the Royal Northern College of Music in 2010 as Head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement. Previously she worked at St Mary’s University, Twickenham where her role was Director of Research, Scholarship and Learning.

Dawn has a wealth of experience in quality assurance and enhancement in the higher education sector both nationally and internationally. Since 2000 she has worked for the Quality Assurance Agency as a reviewer. She has also undertaken work for the Higher Education Academy as a reviewer for the accreditation of postgraduate programmes in learning and teaching in higher education and for applications to the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. She was a member of an EU-funded project which developed quality assurance guidelines and criteria for higher education review in music higher education across Europe and is part of an international benchmarking group coordinated by the College which looks at governance, management and leadership in conservatoires in Europe, the US, Singapore and Australia.

She is a scientist by background, obtaining her PhD in human physiology from University College, London. Following this she worked at a postdoctoral research fellow at McMaster University, Canada, working with young people with cerebral palsy. She maintains her subject interest through her role as External Examiner both in the UK and Ireland.

Hayley Parkes

Student Union President

Hayley graduated in June 2016 with a BMus (Hons) in Classical Piano Performance under the tuition of Miss Dina Parakhina and is now Student Union President at the RNCM. She is an active performer as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. Appearances include solo performances at the Bridgewater Hall, The Sage, Gateshead and on BBC Radio 3 and well as performances at BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall and at the Royal Festival Hall.

As a competition participant she was chosen to compete in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Category Final, won first prize at the Beethoven Junior Intercollegiate Piano Competition and twice winner of the EPTA UK piano competition. She is also the recipient of various awards including The Vernon Farley Piano Prize, The Peter Donohoe Prize and has also gained praise for her skills as an accompanist by winning both The Marjorie Pennington Prize for Accompaniment and the The James Oncken Song Prize. As an orchestral pianist Hayley has appeared at prestigious venues across the country under Edward Gardner, Sir Mark Elder, Paul Mann & En Shao.

Updated August 2016