All photos © Gerald Place 2006/7

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TYO Staff

Thames Youth Orchestra has a permanent staff of nine professional musicians and the Executive Director.

Simon Ferris - Musical Director, Thames Youth Orchestra & Thames Youth Jazz Orchestra

Simon Ferris, founder director of the Thames Youth Orchestra, read music and was organ scholar at King's College London. As an undergraduate he pursued additional instrumental and musicianship studies with Bernard Oram at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and, after graduation, received composition tuition and encouragement from the composer and John Ireland pupil, Geoffrey Bush.

A skilled and experienced jazz musician, Simon’s wide-ranging professional career now embraces an array of genres and disciplines, as pianist, composer (published by ABRSM), arranger, writer, conductor and teacher, with duties including preparing children’s choirs for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and directing the Thames Youth Jazz Orchestra. He is the author of a biography of Beethoven, due for publication in 2017, and works on the specification and exam setting panel for the Cambridge Pre-U Music syllabus.

Simon is currently Composer in Residence at Tiffin School, and Musician in Residence at Tiffin Girls' School, Kingston upon Thames.

Carys Evans - Executive DirectorDominika

Carys Evans is an Oxford music graduate working in arts programme management. As well as being Executive Director for Thames Youth Orchestra, she is the Music Programme Manager for Ark Schools, and the former Finance Manager for The Voice Festival UK. In addition, she has worked for numerous arts organisations including the Tiffin Boys' School Music Department, Mandinga Arts, the Edinburgh Festival (as a performer, stage manager and venue assistant) and with a leading comedy agency. Passionate about music and arts education, Carys has taught oboe and double bass at Kampala Music School in Uganda, and continues to work with various organisations on educational outreach programmes in the UK.

Adrian Charlesworth - first violin coach

Adrian is a freelance violinist and works throughout Great Britain, but especially in London, playing for many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, and in trios and small ensembles. He has played for Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras and Mark Elder and in the English National Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

Adrian regularly leads orchestras and has led and played solo with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He performed The Lark Ascending during Vaughan Williams' 50th anniversary year under the baton of Lev Parikian and leads the Brent Symphony Orchestra. He has recently played for The Queen and also one of the Queens of pop, Kylie Minogue; has perfomed on TV, gained various CD and film performance credits and played for the launch of

He is involved with string coaching for the I.A.P.S. Training Orchestra (as Principal string coach) and Surrey County Youth Orchestra and has coached the National Children's Orchestra.

Adrian supplements his playing by teaching at St. George's College, Woldingham and Reigate Grammar and is on the board of The Rehearsal Orchestra.

Sarah Hedley-Miller - cello coach

Ben Daniel-Greep - double bass tutorAndrew

Ben is excited to join the TYO team and be part of this exciting orchestra. Having previously played in various TYO concerts, he was amazed by the level of commitment and skill the orchestra demonstrated.

Ben took up the double bass aged twelve, and after eight months was accepted to the Yehudi Menuhin School.  He subsequently gained scholarship to the Royal College of Music under Caroline Emery. He furthered his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, with Duncan Mctier, Graham Mitchell and Dominic Seldis.

He is currently on trial with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and has also worked with many orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Britten Sinfonia and Aurora Orchestra to name a few. He also enjoys working in London’s West End, where he has worked on shows such as Les Miserables, Funny Girl and Mary Poppins.

Ben finds much enjoyment in teaching, and is currently double bass professor at Hindhead Music Centre, Kingston Grammar School, Tiffin School and also coaches Stoneligh Youth Orchestra, as well as having taught at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.

AndrewAndrew Watson - woodwind coach

Originally from Aberdeenshire, Andrew Watson started playing the bassoon at the age of 12. He studied at the University of Glasgow with Alison Green, and at the Royal College of Music with Sarah Burnett, Andrea de Flammineis and Martin Field. He graduated from the RCM with an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction in 2007, after which he was awarded a further year long post at the College as Junior Fellow within the Woodwind Faculty.

In 2009 Andrew held the position of co-principal bassoon with the Southbank Sinfonia. As a freelance musician (playing both bassoon & contrabassoon) he has worked with several of the UK's leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Britten Sinfonia. He has performed at the Cheltenham and Aldeburgh festivals, and has toured to Mumbai several times as principal bassoon with the Symphony Orchestra of India.

An enthusiastic chamber musician, Andrew works regularly with Ensemble 360 and he is a member of Etesian Winds and the Mosaic Ensemble. As a concerto soloist, performances include Weber's Bassoon Concerto with the Aberdeen Chamber Orchestra, Weber's Andante & Hungarian Rondo with the RCM Chamber Orchestra and Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante with the Jersey Chamber Orchestra.

Andrew joined the TYO as Woodwind Coach in 2008.

David WhitsonDavid Whitson - brass coach

David started playing the trombone at the age of 9 when given his grandfather's old instrument. He very quickly learned to cope with making a sound and joined a local brass band near Swindon.
On the advice of the composer David Gow, he auditioned successfully
at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he went on to study the trombone with Sidney Langston and Harold Nash. 

On leaving the Academy in 1976 David freelanced in London, playing with all the major orchestras, performing on film soundtracks and recording for radio and TV including, recently, for the the latest Wallace and Gromit adventure.

As well as working with the English Brass Ensemble, his chamber music experience has included playing with Lontano,the London Sinfonietta, Matrix Ensemble, Music Projects-London and many others.

David has worked in over 47 different countries, including the USA, India, Malaysia, Korea and even Burma!

Solo work has included recording the David Gow Concertino for Trombone & Orchestra with the BBC Concert Orchestra for BBC Radio 3. The Concertino was originally written for him with Concert Band accompaniment.

David is currently Principal Trombone with English National Opera working at the London Coliseum.

Along with his playing career David also teaches for the Junior Department at the Royal Academy of Music, the University of Surrey, Charterhouse School, Reigate Grammar and is a coach for various courses including the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and, since 2011, Thames Youth Orchestra.

Ben Porter - percussion coach

AndrewAlex Rider - harp tutor

Alex Rider is a young harpist much in demand as a chamber and orchestral musician, as well as being recognized for his interest in new music. This year alone includes solo appearances at the Canterbury and City of London festivals playing music by Berio, Britten and Paul Patterson, a Radio 3 broadcast of Takemitsu (as part of the BBC total immersion series) and solo concerti with the Bedworth and Sussex symphony orchestras. The summer of 2013 will see Alex travel to Germany where he has been invited to perform with the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra.

Liz Shadbolt - Concert Manager & Administrator