Penny founded Preludes in 2009 with Charlie Groves in two Bristol schools. Since then the project has grown and grown, and now provides thousands of children across Bristol and Bath with a high quality music education.
Penny plays violin, recorder and piano and has been involved in community music and education for most of her musical life. Prior to Preludes she ran Hum and Drum sessions for children from six months to twelve years old, and has performed in care homes across Bristol. Throughout her career Penny has given countless young people an incredible start in music and continues to inspire and enrich the lives of many today.
Charlie is our second longest serving music leader on the Preludes team, having worked with us for 12 years!
As well as being a fantastic songwriter and arranger of music he is an amazing guitarist, pianist and violinist.
A lot of the pieces our students play in orchestra have been arranged or composed by Charlie, we’re so lucky to have him with us!
Charlotte Dunling is a clarinettist with a passion for sharing music with people from all walks of life. She has worked for Preludes for the past four years as a clarinet teacher and classroom teacher and loves every moment. Alongside this she works for Wiltshire Rural Music who aim to bring music to rural communities and has previously worked for Singing for the Brain. Charlotte has recently taken on more of an organisational role within Preludes and is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this wonderful organisation.
Liz has recently begun work as a freelance musician, after completing an MA (Distinction) in Medieval Musicology at the University of Bristol.
Working primarily as a piano and vocal teacher for young children, Liz began teaching piano with Preludes in November 2021. Liz works as an accompanist for various organisations, including St George’s Cosmos Children’s Choir, and for Voices for Life’s upcoming project ‘Stardust’ with the Bristol Ensemble. Liz also interns at Bristol Pre-Conservatoire, who work to coach 14-18 year olds into chamber music performance. She works as a soprano, singing regularly with the Fitzhardinge Consort, and other churches around Bristol.
Ellen is a community musician with a passion for inclusivity and accessibility. Primarily a French Horn player, she enjoys teaching brass, piano and anything in between! Ellen recently graduated with a masters from Oxford University where she studied music alongside working in community music settings.
As well as Preludes, Ellen works with Soundabout, the National Open Youth Orchestra, Bristol Beacon and Evolve Music.
Oli is a professional drummer who has been playing the kit for 18 years. He has toured Europe with multiple bands, with Japan coming up next year, and played some of the UKs stickiest stages. He has been teaching for the past 7 years, getting young people through their grades, and teaching long term drummers better technique and masterclasses. Oli plays with My Octopus Mind, Ogives Big Band, Lawi Anywar and has a function band called The Small Things, all of which keep him very busy working alongside Bristols finest educators!
After a career in the TV industry, Jo came back to music and have been teaching violin and piano privately for 15 years.
She has been working with Preludes since 2015 and teaches whole class lessons and string groups. She loves being part of a team, and it’s a mutually satisfying arrangement as she says she gets as much out of it as the children do!
Helen Pidoux graduated from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as a classically trained violinist. She has worked for Preludes for two years as a string and keyboard tutor. Alongside her work with Preludes, Helen is an orchestral tutor and violin teacher for Bristol Plays Music. Her latest project involves playing reminiscent songs in care homes for people with dementia.
Emma is a clarinettist and passionate community musician who recently graduated with a Masters from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She joined the Preludes team in 2017 as a clarinet tutor and classroom teacher and feels hugely privileged to give so many inspiring young people access to music.
Alongside her work with Preludes Emma also works for Arts Active, Cardiff’s vibrant community arts hub, facilitating exploratory music sessions for people with additional needs through Soundworks and an ever-expanding Open Orchestra.
Daniel Elston is a professional drummer with a degree from the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. Starting with Preludes as a drum tutor in 2016, he became a classroom teacher the following year. With a commitment to providing music tuition to the community, he enjoys working with like-minded people in the Preludes team to deliver this. As well as Preludes, Daniel performs regularly with different acts in the UK and around Europe.
Luke is professional musician, performer, DJ & tutor who discovered his passion for music at a young age. Since graduating from the British Institute of Modern Music (BIMM), Luke has focused his talents towards teaching whilst still remaining a highly active musician.
Luke is a multi-instrumentalist with a wealth of experience on the stage having performed solo, as a duet, part of a choir & with numerous bands, spanning multiple genres and styles.
Luke joined the Preludes team in 2016 as both a piano and classroom tutor. A class with Luke is always fun, high energy and inspiring. His goal is to always make sure that students are getting the most out of his lessons regardless of ability and strongly believes that personal development through music is essential to every child.
Born and raised in Bristol, Kat attended Cotham School before studying musical theatre at the prestigious Guildford School of Acting. Since graduating, Kat has gone on to perform as an actor, musician and dancer in various mediums across the country, including the Original West End cast of Once: The Musical, the Original West End cast of Mrs Henderson Presents, the West End revival of Brief Encounter and the No.1 UK tour of Cabaret. She now delivers whole class and string lessons with Preludes.
She has appeared in various commercials, films and television shows including BBC’s Eastenders, Salvation Has No Name (short film), Deliveroo (Commercial) and I Hear You Calling (music video).
Kat is also a songwriter and is currently writing music for a brand new Netflix soundtrack.
Sara has worked for preludes for 4 years. She studied music at Plymouth University and plays the piano, guitar and flute.
Alongside her Preludes work she teaches piano and guitar to young people with additional needs and works with the National Open Youth Orchestra.
She believes in making music inclusive and accessible to all young people and working with Preludes allows her to do this.
After helping out with a concert in 2016 Ian left his job as a science teacher to start working with Preludes.
He now works in schools across Bristol, delivering piano, trumpet and whole class lessons, as well as choirs.
He can play a tune on most instruments but is happiest at the piano!
The #CultureFlashSale is on now with discounted tickets for four of our concerts at St George’s Bristol over the next few weeks!
The sale ends at 10am on Friday 28 January so grab yourself a ticket now.
Romantic Rhapsody – 14 February
Vaughan Williams and the English Tradition – 25 March
Handel’s Messiah with City of Bristol Choir – 2 April
St John Passion with Choir of Royal Holloway – 9 April
A new direction for the Bristol Ensemble
After more than 25 years as Artistic Director of the Bristol Ensemble violinist and founder, Roger Huckle, is taking charge in his new role as CEO. Roger will oversee the strategy and financial security of the organisation, whilst continuing to have a regular presence on stage. The role of Artistic Director will be taken over by Simon Kodurand, a violinist and member of the Ensemble since 2011. Simon is keen to continue the fantastic work Roger has curated:
“We are fortunate to have in Bristol a hugely successful and versatile ensemble, with a dedicated education team, and I plan to build on the excellent work Roger and the BE has provided for Bristol and the surrounding areas over the years. Our goal for 2022 and beyond is to build on our collaborations with arts organisations across Bristol to better help the communities in which we serve, whilst still presenting first rate performances. We have built new relationships with ballet, theatre, and opera companies, and this will allow us to showcase the huge and varied talent that Bristol and the Southwest has to offer.”
Roger Huckle echoes this sentiment:
“The Bristol Ensemble is delighted that Simon Kodurand has joined us as Artistic Director. After 26 years of leading the organisation on all fronts it’s time for new blood, new vision and new energy. The Ensemble has always been embedded in the local community and we now look forward to reigniting and building our work and relationships in the South West as we emerge from the shadow of COVID-19”
Garfield Austin began playing the trombone at 12 and, like many classical brass players, was initially immersed in the world of brass bands; as principal of the 70-strong county youth band but also the youngest member of the West of England Champions, Camborne Town. As one of the senior British brass bands, Camborne recorded recitals for BBC Radio 3 and were Championship Section national finalists.
Garfield made the move to classical performing and attained his RCM performance diploma under the guidance of the legendary Denis Wick, and went on to study advanced orchestral technique with Ian Bousfield (Principal Trombone, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) and Dudley Bright (Principal Trombone, London Symphony Orchestra). He freelances extensively as a classical tenor and alto trombonist and has performed with professional ensembles including Chaconne Brass, Bath Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BSO Brass Ensemble and The Sinfonietta. Garfield is the Principal Trombone of Bristol Ensemble.
Emily has played for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Ensemble, Orchestra of the Swan and many regional orchestras. She also plays with Bristol Ensemble’s Stephanie Gilbert as part of GEMS flute and harp duo.
Emily has a BMus from Birmingham University and teaches the harp at schools including Millfield, Clifton College, Kingswood, RHSB and Downside. She has also developed story telling workshops for primary schools and outreach concerts for care homes.
Hugh Blogg’s musical development began in Watford where he was introduced to a wealth of musical experiences at a young age. He has especially fond memories of playing in numerous orchestras which helped to cultivate a team-spirited approach to performance. The happy combination of study at Watford Grammar School for Boys and the Royal Academy of Music, Junior Dept, led to the decision to read music at the University of Leeds where he continued to relish various roles of responsibility. Particular highlights include performing Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 with the LUUMS Chamber Orchestra, conducting the LUUMS Symphony Orchestra for two years, and playing with LS2, a contemporary music ensemble. During an Erasmus Exchange year at the Conservatoire de Region de Strasbourg Hugh enjoyed working with a diverse range of chamber groups, which ignited a passion for music-making on a smaller scale.
Hugh’s growing enthusiasm for chamber music was realised in the form of the string quartet whilst studying for a Masters at the RNCM. He was initially introduced to quartet playing through informal chamber music socials and rapidly became enamoured with the genre’s spontaneous dynamic. Through quartet coaching, rehearsal and performance he relishes exploring and learning about music in a wonderfully enriching environment – with the goal of continually crafting a living, evolving interpretation. In performance Hugh hopes to share his sense of excitement, wonder, and sometimes bewilderment, towards a form of musical expression that can have such a profound impact on one’s life.
As a freelance violinist Hugh has particularly enjoyed working with the Bristol Ensemble, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata under Gabor Takacs and Ensemble Deva.
John Telfer took a degree in Music/Theatre at York University, then trained as an actor for two years at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, to which he has frequently returned over the years to teach, direct, and musically direct students.
He joined Richard Cottrell’s Bristol Old Vic Company straight from Theatre School, where he spent, initially, 5 happy years in a variety of plays.
Favourite shows have included a magical Midsummer Night’s Dream, also seen at the London Old Vic, and Amadeus at Chester, playing Salieri.
The 80’s were generally a time of touring- including Orwell’s England for The Royal National Theatre- and television work. He was one of the Actor/Presenters on ITV’s children’s shows Let’s Pretend, and played DC Pettit in 4 series of the much loved Bergerac.
TV appearances since then have included roles in Without Motive, Casualty, Licence To Live and Skins.
Recently he has been touring playing Johnny Cradock, and Philip Larkin.
He has narrated for The Brodsky String Quartet and also for the Bristol Ensemble and made literally dozens of radio broadcasts in plays and short stories, and Poetry Please.
Audio books are another enthusiasm, recently completing all 50 of Leslie Charteris’ Saint catalogue; Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin was placed 9th in the Telegraph’s 20 best Audiobooks of all Time.
He is also Alan Franks, the vicar in The Archers.
He has written musical scores for Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, The Bristol Old Vic, The Mermaid Theatre, Birmingham Rep, The Royal National Theatre, the Cambridge Theatre and The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, for which he and Clive Hayward wrote four pantomimes. He has also composed music for numerous Radio 4 dramas and for BBC2’s Everyman programme When Did You Last See Your Father?, ITV’s Let’s Pretend, the theme tunes for Ozzie The Owl and West Foot Forward (ITV), and was the arranger/musical director for three musical documentaries, Loose Gags, Songs and Sketches on Radio 4, and Festival Follies and Merman on Radio 2.
John has also composed four musicals: Massacre (with Bill Pryde) based on Marlowe’s Massacre At Paris for York University and the Edinburgh Festival; You’re Not Singing Any More (with Chris Bond) about a group of football fans, which was showcased at Bristol City Football Club, Checking Out (which features romance and murder across two continents) and Muscles the Musical (both with Alec Reid), which was premiered at The Landor Theatre in London.
His work as a director includes The Follies of Weston Super ‘The Owl and The Pussycat went to See…, Die Fledermaus for Bristol Opera, and the premieres of Eric Wetherell’s A Foreign Field and The Snow Child.
He was producer for The Bristol Gilbert and Sullivan Society for some years and fronted the Bristol Rock band AFGM.
After studying at Guildford School of Acting, Katrina has gone on to perform as an actor and musician in various mediums across the country.
Katrina’s work includes the Original West End cast of Once: The Musical, the Original West End cast of Mrs Henderson Presents, the West End revival of Brief Encounter and the No.1 UK tour of Cabaret.
She has appeared in various commercials, independent films and television shows, most recently voicing a role in the highly anticipated stop-motion film Salvation Has No Name, filmed at Aardman Animations in Bristol.
Katrina also writes songs as a member of the electro-pop band ‘arroh’ who’s music has been continually supported by the BBC. Katrina is also part of the song-writing team for a brand new Netflix series.
She has a lot to thank her father Roger Huckle and the members of the Bristol Ensemble for, for bringing endless music and joy to her life. She loves performing with them whenever she can, both as a singer and narrator on the stage and the small screen!
Amelia Goodall studied violin and chamber music at the RNCM with Christopher Rowland, and at Manchester University with soloist Leland Chen. After beginning her freelance career in London, she moved to France to study classical and romantic music on historical instruments. Following this Amelia performed in many of the great concert halls in Paris and across Europe with François-Xavier Roth’s chamber orchestra Les Siècles.
She was introduced to the Parisian tango music scene and took a course with bandoneonist Juan José Mosalini.
Since returning to the UK, Amelia moved to Bristol to raise a family and has particularly enjoyed performing with the Bristol Ensemble, in the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival and with Tango Calor.
More recently, she set up Lunchtime Live, a concert series in which she has performed as soloist and chamber musician.
Amelia is also a music therapist and keen music educator, specialising in the early years. She started up the string department at the Cathedral Primary School in Bristol, where she introduced Kodály musicianship classes into the music curriculum and piloted whole class violin lessons.
Harriet studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she received a Distinction in performance on both baroque and modern cellos.
With her chamber ensemble, The Burney Players, she won several awards, including in the Van Wassanaer competition and a Deutsche Bank Pyramid award. The group was ensemble in residence at the Handel House Museum.
Harriet was principal cellist with the Southbank Sinfonia with whom she performed Walton’s Cello Concerto (conducted by Edward Gardner), gave the first public performance of a new work for solo cello by James MacMillan and chamber concerts at the Wigmore hall.
She plays with many of the London-based period instrument ensembles and modern orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as artists such as Paloma Faith, Florence and the Machine and Father John Misty.
She teaches the cello at Wells Cathedral School and Millfield.
Banging the drum for Preludes
A big thank you from the Preludes team to Kat Lloyd, who donated these amazing timps for the children to play. If you have an instrument you can donate, please get in touch with the team at email@example.com
Support for Preludes
Preludes is incredibly grateful to the Mark Masons Benevolent Fund for sponsoring the production of over 60 videos to help vulnerable children during the months of lockdown. The videos have been viewed many times by teachers, parents and children and are still being used in schools.
Penny Rawlings and Preludes – National Lottery’s Portraits of the People
We are thrilled to announce that Penny Rawlings, who heads up our award-winning Preludes project, is a National Lottery Champion of the Arts!
Her eye-catching portrait by photographer Chris Floyd is part of an exhibition of 13 ‘Portraits of the People’, being exhibited in eight of the UK’s most iconic art galleries around the UK.
The exhibition shines a light on work undertaken by individuals in the arts sector who are using National Lottery funding to ensure people can continue to be engaged and enriched by the arts, as best they can, during this time.
British photographer Chris Floyd has captured a series of 13 portraits of people across the UK to bring this story to life. His photographic work has appeared in some of the world’s most highly respected publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Harpers Bazaar, GQ, Esquire and The New York Times.
The exhibition will be on display in National Portrait Gallery, London, IKON Gallery in Birmingham, The Photographers’ Gallery in London and BFI (The British Film Institute). The portraits will also be on display at the BFI Southbank in London, and in galleries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Preludes, the education arm of the Bristol Ensemble, works in areas of Bristol that are experiencing high levels of economic disadvantage and aims to put music at the heart of every child’s education.
Congratulations to the whole Preludes team that has been working with children in schools throughout the pandemic, making music part of their everyday lives. Forced to curtail their activities due to lockdown, the team made 16 videos to send to schools using the music teachers who usually taught them – in some schools they were also able to continue teaching some vulnerable children – in addition to 45 online recitals with freelance Bristol Ensemble players who were in urgent need of work.
Look out for Penny talking about the team’s amazing work in Bristol schools on BBC Points West later today.
Barber’s Adagio – In memoriam
Bristol Ensemble players have recorded Barber’s iconic Adagio in lockdown, with the separate recordings assembled through the wonders of technology into a beautiful ensemble performance. Watch the video on YouTube
Preludes Jazz Project with Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation
A few pictures from our half term jazz project which took place from 28 to 31 October, led by our Preludes team Dylan, Dan, Penny and Charlie, with talented young musicians from Lawrence Weston in Bristol, in association with Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation.
Preludes with Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson and John Lenehan performed The Pied Piper by Jonathan Dove at St George’s Bristol, ably assisted by recorder-playing rats from Oasis Long Cross School.
Long Cross is one of the schools participating in the Preludes project. The children were very excited and overwhelmed to be performing with such prestigious musicians.
The parents who came along were incredibly proud of their children, and were introduced to classical music concerts in a concert hall for the first time.