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 has performed 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.

President Emeritus

HRH, The Duchess of Kent


Professor Linda Merrick

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

Professor Linda Merrick is Principal of the RNCM and an internationally-renowned clarinet soloist, recording artist and pedagogue.

Her catalogue of over 30 solo recordings features new concertos she has commissioned by Gary Carpenter, Nigel Clarke, Martin Ellerby, John McLeod, Stephen McNeff, Edwin Roxburgh, Philip Sparke, Philip Spratley, Kit Turnbull and Guy Woolfenden for labels such as Naxos, Chandos, NMC, Guild and Metier. She has also released premiere recordings of clarinet quintets with the Navarra and Kreutzer Quartets by composers including Nigel Clarke, Robert Crawford, Wilfred Josephs, John McCabe and Edwin Roxburgh, with recordings of works by Gary Carpenter, Michael Finnissy, David Horne, Paul Patterson and Paul Pellay due to be released in 2018. In addition, Linda has commissioned and recorded over 20 works for clarinet and electronics, and released two CDs featuring works with clarinet and harpsicord by Robert Keeley.

Linda has performed as a concerto soloist across America, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, the UAE and the UK, and broadcast for BBC Radio 3, Radio France, DRS1 Switzerland, CKWR Canada and Arte TV South Korea. A founder member of the contemporary ensemble ‘Sounds Positive’, she has premiered over 80 chamber works for winds and piano by British composers, and released a further three CDs.

In addition to her position as RNCM Principal, Linda is Chair of Conservatoires UK and a member of the International Advisory Council for the Creative Industries Federation. She is also the UK representative for Howarth Clarinets.

The Board of Governors

Ravi Gupta


Ravi is a leading Mergers & Acquisitions banker, and Industrials and Business expert for the Global Advisory division of Rothschild & Co, one of the world’s foremost independent financial advisory groups. He was appointed as Co-Head of UK for Rothschild & Co in 2018.

Since joining the company in 1997 as an analyst, he was appointed a Director in 2004, Managing Director in 2007, and Global Co- Head of Industrials in 2010, and Global Partner in 2013. During his career, he has advised UK and international clients on over 200 transactions. Ravi’s extensive experience is centred on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity raisings, and strategy; and advising clients across a broad range of sectors.

Ravi is Chair of Rothschild & Co’s Global Community Investment Committee, which is committed to increasing social mobility for disadvantaged communities, for example, mentoring and tutoring schemes for gifted and talented young people from lower socioeconomic areas. He is also a member of the Global Balance and Inclusion Committee of Rothschild & Co. which aims to promote awareness of equality and embrace diversity within the company.

Prior to joining Rothschild, Ravi spent four years at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), where he qualified as a chartered accountant. He completed a degree in Mathematics and Management from Leeds University in 1993.

Ravi is a strong supporter of music and the arts, and is currently training as an Indian classical musician on the sitar. He is passionate about all genres of music, opera and the theatre. He is married and has two children.

David Roper

Deputy Chair

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).

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.

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 Sir David Eastwood


Professor Sir David Eastwood has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham since April 2009. Previously, he was Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), a post he had held from September 2006. Former posts also included Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, and Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

He was Chair of Universitas 21 from 2014 – 2021 and Chair of Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) from 2015-2020; and has been Chair of the Russell Group and Chair of UCAS.  He is currently Chair and Non-Executive Director of INTO University Partnerships, and has served as an International Member of the Hong Kong University Grants Committee since 2011.

In 2014 he was awarded a Knighthood for services to education.

His is an Oxford-trained historian who published on eighteenth and nineteenth-century British history and the history of ideas. He has a passionate interest in music, collects CDs, and still plays the violin and occasionally lectures on music.

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 and 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. Felicity 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’!

Michael Harper


Michael Harper is a singer, vocal consultant and singing teacher.   He has sung opera, oratorio, and new music in the US, Europe and in China, premiering new works in the UK, Venice, and Geneva.

As a vocal consultant, he has given master classes, workshops and lectures for the Centre for Performance Research (Aberystwyth), the Asolo Song Festival and Institute for Song Interpretation (Italy), The National Foundation for Youth Music, Sing Up, The Sage Gateshead (Newcastle), Jackdaws Music Education Trust (Somerset), Guildhall School of Music and Drama, The Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon), the National Opera Studio (London),  the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), various US universities including Westminster Choir College (Princeton) where he worked with the Grammy- nominate Williamson Voices, and the British Library, where he held an Edison Fellowship.

He has curated recitals for the London Song Festival and for Steinway Hall on the songs of African American and Black British Composers, and directed a tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers as part of the Hull City of Culture. 2016

He teaches singing and has private studios in London, Bristol, and at the den Norske Opera in Oslo. He is trustee of the Saga Trust (Edison Fellowship, British Library) and a Patron for the National Opera Studio’s Diverse Voices programme.

Professor Chris Haslam


Chris joined the University of Chester in 2006 as Dean of Corporate Planning and Development and was appointed as a Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2008.

Following a period working in industry with the UK British Coal Corporation where he held various appointments including Deputy Director of Environmental Management, Deputy Head of Corporate Relations, and then successively the Deputy Chairman’s and Chairman’s Personal Private Secretary, Chris worked at the University of Wolverhampton in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office as the Head of Strategic and Academic Development.

In 2003, Chris was appointed a Deputy Director at the QAA. In addition to his role as Deputy Director, between 1998 and 2006 Chris had responsibility for managing the Agency’s extensive work for the UK Government relating to the grant of degree-awarding powers, university title and higher education institution designation. In this capacity, Chris drafted both the 1998 and 2004 UK Government criteria governing the grant of degree-awarding powers and university title and oversaw the provision of advice to Government Ministers. In this capacity, he was appointed as a specialist advisor to the New Zealand Government in relation to the development of the country’s higher education sector.

As Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic, Recruitment, Quality and the Student Experience) at the University of Chester, Chris has a range of management responsibilities which include business planning and performance management, oversight of the undergraduate and postgraduate student experience, ,managing the University’s seven academic faculties, Home and EU Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions and International student recruitment, admissions and partnerships.

Since 2014, Chris has also been the Executive Dean of the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences with oversight of the Departments of Sports and Exercise Sciences, Biological Sciences, Clinical Sciences and Nutrition, a Food sciences Centre, and the School of Medicine. There are currently some 3,000 students studying in the Faculty.

Outside of the University Chris is the Chairman of the UK North West Universities European Unit, is a member of the Governing Council at University College Isle of Man and is an external adviser on the Maltese Government’s Quality and Standards Assurance Committee.

Sir Richard Leese, CBE


Richard Leese was born and brought up in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. After graduating from the University of Warwick, he worked as a teacher in Coventry and as an exchange teacher in the USA before moving to Manchester to take up a post as a youth worker. He was employed variously in youth work, community work, and education research between 1979 and 1988, and was elected to Manchester City Council in 1984. He became Leader of the Council in 1996, having previously served as Deputy Leader (1990 – 1996), Chair of the Education Committee (1986 – 1990) and Chair of the Finance Committee (1990 – 1995).

Richard’s political interests include devolution, place-based budgets and the links between economic development and social policy, developing open democracy and the community leadership role of local authorities; and the role of cities in creating a sustainable future. He has a number of additional responsibilities including Director of Manchester Airport Holdings Ltd, Deputy Mayor and Vice Chair of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Chair of the LGA City Regions Board.

His interests outside politics include walking, cinema, music, and sport (as a spectator, principally Manchester City football and cricket). He is a regular runner and cycles to the Town Hall most days.

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’s 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.

Professor Nicholas Reyland (PhD, MMus, BMus, FHEA)


As Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the RNCM, Professor Nicholas Reyland helps lead the development and delivery of the College’s Undergraduate Curricula and Programmes. He contributes teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, supervises research students, and pursues his own musicological research. He joined the RNCM from Keele University in May 2018 and, before his full-time academic career began in 2005, worked in arts management with the London Sinfonietta.

Nick is a musicologist with wide-ranging research interests including Polish music (principally Witold Lutosławski), screen music, and, more broadly, the theory, analysis and criticism of music since 1900. His many books, edited collections, journal issues, essays and peer-reviewed articles have been published by some of the world’s leading music journals and academic publishers.

Nick has also written for The Guardian, appeared and as a pre-concert speaker at the BBC Proms, written essays for the Philharmonia, Proms, BBC orchestras and Rambert dance company, and presented Royal Festival Hall study days. His principal studies at University, before he specialised in musicology at doctoral level, were trumpet and composition. He currently lives in Cheshire with his family, numerous chickens, two cats, a dog, and quite a lot of bees.

Sam Rigby


Sam Rigby joined artist management agency Intermusica in 2003, reaching the position of Associate Director and managing a varied list of artists such as Daniil Trifonov, Francesco Piemontesi, Midori, Renaud Capuçon and the Pavel Haas Quartet. He also managed concert series at London’s Southbank Centre and St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Concert Hall. 

In 2013, Sam was appointed Creative Director of Schott Music, London, with responsibility for promoting the publisher’s catalogue of 20th-century and contemporary composers. He became Managing Director of Schott Music, London in 2015.

Colin Walklin


Colin graduated with an Engineering Degree from Southampton University in 1975 but rapidly turned towards the world of Finance, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen in 1978.  Throughout a career spanning more than 40 years, he has worked predominantly in the financial services industry – notably in Banking, Investment Management and Insurance – with roles covering Finance, Strategy, Operations, Technology and Regulation.

His previous roles include substantial periods as the Group Head of Finance, first at Standard Chartered Bank and subsequently at Barclays Bank.  More recently, he was Group Chief Operating Officer at Standard Life Aberdeen, the position from which he formally retired in May 2019.  Alongside his mainstream roles he has also served as a member of the Financial Reporting Review Panel of the FRC (2003-2013) and Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at West Bromwich Building Society (2011-2018).

Colin is a keen amateur pianist, describing his enthusiasm for the instrument as “far exceeding his limited talent” but has nevertheless spent a lifetime enjoying music and in a small way participating in its production.

Nick Ware

Governor (nominated by the Support Staff)

Born in Manchester, Nick 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 and after a decade, he returned to the theatre industry, joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2000 to become Head of Lighting.

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 Nick’s professional life came full circle when he was appointed Technical and Production Manager at the RNCM; this new position meeting the fresh challenge of helping to carry through the College’s plans for its new Concert Hall.

Simon Webb


Simon Webb has been the Director of the BBC Philharmonic, based at MediaCityUK in Salford, since 2014. Previously he was Director of Orchestral Management at the CBSO 2008-2014.

He started his career as a cellist with orchestras in Portugal, Hong Kong and Ireland and was a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1996 to 2005 and Chair of the LPO’s board 2000-2005.

Simon’s first role in management was at Sheffield’s Music in the Round as Administrative Director where he was involved in setting up Ensemble 360. He is currently a governor of Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and a board member of the Association of British Orchestras.

He studied theology at Selwyn College Cambridge then the cello at the Royal Academy of Music and was a fellow on the Clore Cultural Leadership programme 2007-8.

Simon is married with three children and lives in Sheffield where he still occasionally plays the cello and conducts choirs and orchestras at his local church.

The Principal (ex officio)

(See Linda Merrick, above)

Professor Dawn Edwards

Clerk to the Board and Director of Academic Governance (CBDAG)

Dawn is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  A scientist by background, Dawn obtained 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 joined the Royal Northern College of Music in 2010 as Head of Quality Assurance and Enhancement and is now Director of Academic Quality in addition to her role as Clerk to the Board of Governors.

Dawn has a wealth of experience in quality assurance and enhancement in the higher education sector, both nationally and internationally. She worked as a reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency for many years, until institutional review was disbanded. 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, and was a panel member for the subject pilot of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.  Through the Association of European Conservatoires 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, Thailand and Australia.

Updated September 2021


COVID-19 Update: In order to provide the best possible student experience over the coming months and to ensure maximum access for staff and students while social distancing is in place, the RNCM will remain closed to the public until further notice. More information...