Choral Scholarships for all voice parts
Worth up to £2,000 a year, university students in Leeds have the opportunity to sing with one of the country’s finest cathedral choirs and broadcast regularly on BBC Radio and Television. For more information click here.
Worth up to £1,500 a year, university students in Leeds have the opportunity to work with one of the country’s finest cathedral choirs with expert tuition and mentoring, invaluable contacts and regular performances. For more information click here.
To apply for our scholarships contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0113 244 8634
Diocese of Leeds Music comprises 13 full-time and six part-time members of staff.
There are 30 parental volunteer chaperones and a Management Board comprising 12 members.
Jessica Shears graduated in 2016 from Leeds College of Music with a First Class Degree in Classical Music. During her studies, becoming passionate about the benefits of the arts within education, she specialised in Community Music. Jessica has worked as a full time Music and Arts Practitioner; working as a woodwind tutor for Bradford Music and Arts Service, as a Performing Arts Specialist for Artis Education, and as the Classical Tutor for Leeds College of Music’s Saturday Music School. Jessica is now thrilled to work for The Diocese of Leeds Music Department and looks forward to bringing her experience as an arts educator into the role.
Benjamin Saunders is Director of Music for the Diocese of Leeds, carrying overall responsibility for the largest church music programme in the UK. Ben has been engaged by many external bodies as a consultant in the management and development of music programmes with particular expertise in fundraising and organisational structure, especially addressing access issues in marginalised or deprived communities. He was appointed a Director of Leeds College of Music in 2013 and Visiting Professor of Music at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana in 2015. As an organist, he has performed to HM the Queen, Princess Anne and US President Carter and worked with conductor Carl Davis and jazz virtuoso Dick Hyman. He has given solo organ concerts in France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Russia and the United States and records as a soloist for Brilliant Classics and Herald AV. Ben has also been a drummer in two rock bands, keyboardist in the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival and is now studying the classical accordion. From January 2021 he is leading the National Schools Singing Programme across the UK.
Thomas Leech enjoys a reputation as an outstanding and inspirational choral director and organist. As the Director of our internationally acclaimed Schools Singing Programme he manages one of the most innovative and successful choral programmes in the country, involving some 50 schools and over 4500 children weekly, with its choirs broadcasting regularly on BBC radio and enjoying international competition and concert success. Tom combines this with his role as Musical Director of Bradford Festival Choral Society and frequent appearances as a guest conductor and workshop leader, with recent projects as diverse as Paco Peña’s flamenco Requiem por la Tierra, Britten War Requiem Elgar Dream of Gerontius and Mahler Symphonies 2 and 8. Recording credits include the complete choral works of Duruflé and complete organ works of Arvo Pärt for Brilliant Classics and he has broadcast on BBC1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Classic FM and Radio France. His educational work has most recently been recognised by the Worshipful Company of Educators’ Masters’ Award. For more information follow him on twitter @thomas_leech.
David Pipe read Music at Downing College, Cambridge as Organ Scholar, later studying organ at the Royal Academy of Music. He has given recitals at many major venues, and has performed as a soloist in international festivals. David has appeared as organist and conductor on national television and radio, and has made numerous recordings as organ soloist, accompanist, and continuo player. He has held roles at Southwark and Guildford Cathedrals and was Assistant Director of Music at York Minster before coming to Leeds. As Director of the Keyboard Studies Programme and Cathedral Organist in the Diocese of Leeds, David leads one of the country’s largest keyboard tuition programmes, and is Artistic Director of the Leeds International Organ Festival. He is an examiner for the Royal College of Organists and Musical Director of York Musical Society. In 2018, David was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, awarded to past students who have distinguished themselves in the music profession.
Charlotte Kitson graduated in 2011 from the University of Birmingham with a First Class Honours degree in Music, and was shortly after appointed as Choral Director for Bradford in the Schools Singing Programme. She left the Music Department in 2014 to pursue a PGCE in Secondary Music at Leeds Trinity University, and then worked as a Teacher of Music and RE at St. Bede’s and St. Joseph’s Catholic College in Bradford, completing her NQT induction and Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) in July 2015. Charlotte first became involved with the Music Department when she joined the Cathedral Girls’ Choir at the age of 16, later becoming a Choral Scholar at Leeds and then at St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham. In 2019 she completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy with the University of Wales and Voice Workshop, specialising in breathing methodology for singing.
Lucy Haigh has been directing high-quality children’s choirs since the age of sixteen. She founded and directed The Hildegard Choir for girls in Oxford in 1991, reaching the televised semi-finals of the BBC Choir of the Year competition in 1998 and 2000 and winning the International Choir Festival of Jersey in 2004. Lucy worked in Perth, Western Australia from 2006-2010, where she held the post of Head of Choral Music at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls. She has also founded a number of boys’ choirs during her career, including the Palestrina Boys’ Choir in Oxford and The Dragon Singers in Perth. Lucy joined the Diocese of Leeds music staff since September 2010. She established the two Cathedral Junior Choirs in 2011, the Cathedral Children’s Choir in 2014 and the Leeds Trinity Cathedral Choirs in September 2016. In addition to her work at the Cathedral, Lucy visits eleven primary schools each week to lead sessions as part of the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme.
A passionate advocate for choral singing, Alex Kyle began conducting choirs in 2011, and joined Diocese of Leeds Music as Choral Director in 2014. He is co-director of Bradford Catholic Youth Choir, with responsibility for the Senior Boys Choir and Junior Choir, who he has conducted on national television (BBC One, Christmas Day mass broadcast from St Joseph’s Church 2019) and BBC Radio 3. Alex is also Musical Director of Vocalis Chamber Choir and the Leeds Methodist Choir. An experienced conductor of choral-orchestral music, he has collaborated with Leeds Haydn Players, Harrogate Philharmonic Orchestra and Ad Hoc Baroque of Leeds. In September 2018, as part of a partnership between Diocese of Leeds Music and Leeds Trinity University, Alex set up a new pop choir for university students, Trinity Voices.
Wil Jones first began singing in his local church choir, aged five and has since developed a career singing and conducting around the country. Graduating in 2015 from Leeds College of Music, Wil studied classical voice and conducting with a variety of different teachers, most notably Leeds-based Jane Anthony. During his time at university, Wil was very fortunate to collaborate with a range of different musicians; including international tours throughout Europe. Being a chorister for as long as he can remember, becoming a choral director was always an aspiration for Wil and since leaving university, his work includes a variety of different musical engagements both chorally and musical theatre.
Lizzie Leather is a Choral Director with a passion for working with young musicians to inspire a love of music and to encourage them to reach their full potential and thrive in a safe, supportive environment. Lizzie has worked as a conductor and choral animateur with organisations including Hackney Choral, the Oxford Bach Choir and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Lizzie has taught music to classes of children in London and Berlin, where she also ran social singing groups for adults in the community. Lizzie co-founded Hesperos, a chamber choir in 2018, and has studied Music, Migration Policy and Choral Conducting at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham.
Caius read Music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he was Organ Scholar, accompanying the girls’ and undergraduate choirs for concerts, international tours, broadcasts and CD recordings. His musical journey started at Bradford Cathedral aged 11, before joining Leeds Cathedral as Organ Scholar aged 17 and becoming Assistant Organist a year later.
An advocate for bringing singing opportunities to the wider community, Caius ran a children’s choir which won its class at 2016 Mrs Sunderland Music Festival and has co-delivered organ and choral workshops with David Baker, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Since 2019, he has been a trustee for Awards for Young Musicians, and in July 2021, he helped deliver the Europa Cantat Festival in Slovenia. Now returning to Diocese of Leeds Music as a Choral Director, Caius is excited to continue working on his passion to make music opportunities accessible to all, regardless of background.
Roland graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2014, where he specialised in piano performance and accompaniment, studying with Sally Anne Macleod. In 2016 Roland was awarded a Sing for Pleasure Young Conductors’ Scholarship, which has since led to a varied career as a choral director, workshop leader and accompanist.
He is passionate about the importance of music education and has previously enjoyed working with leading providers such as Musica Kirklees and Opera North Education. Roland’s first experience of choral singing was in his school choir and he is now delighted to provide similar life-changing opportunities to school children across the Diocese of Leeds.
Graduating from King’s College London with a first-class in Music in 2020, William Bruce has recently completed his MA in Choral Conducting under the tutelage of Simon Halsey CBE at the University of Birmingham. Having worked as a vocalist and freelance musical director in the UK’s two largest cities, William has been fortunate enough to perform on stage, screen and in educational settings, alongside musicians of all ages and abilities.
Before his appointment as a Choral Director in the Diocese of Leeds, William was the Director of Music for the Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas’ (Hospitals) Music Society and Guy’s Chapel, King’s College London, and regularly returns to guest conduct performances across the capital city. Throughout his studies, William developed his skills under internationally acclaimed choral conductors, including Jeffrey Douma, Amanda Quist, Simon Carrington and Neil Ferris. Most recently, he has enjoyed shadowing Simon Halsey with the CBSO Chorus, having formerly been a member of Children’s and Boys’ Choruses during his childhood. Whether preparing soloists or choruses for secular or sacred performances, William always aims to inspire others to share in the joy of vocal music.
Sally Egan was born in Leeds and educated at Notre Dame High School. She read music at Cambridge University and studied singing in Paris with Maria-Grazia Dilluvio and in London with Lillian Watson. She has sung opera and oratorio all over the world under the baton of many leading conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, William Christie and Pierre Boulez. Sally also specialises in training treble voices. Prior to her appointment in Leeds, she worked as a vocal coach with the choristers of Westminster Cathedral and taught singing to the choristers of Westminster Abbey. Sally works for Opera North as a workshop leader, choral director and animateur and she also works with choirs all over the country alongside her role as Choral Director of Holy Rosary and St Anne’s Primary School in Chapeltown.
Valerie Barr is an accordionist from Wishaw, Scotland. She graduated with a Masters in Music Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2020, where she studied with Djordje Gajic. Throughout her studies, she enjoyed collaborating and learning from other musicians through multidisciplinary practices and was chosen to perform in many internal showcase concerts and external events.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Valerie works in a wide variety of settings including recitals in major venues, workshops in ASN schools and early years sessions. With violinist Eddy Betancourt, she has regularly worked with Live Music Now since January 2019. From 2019, Valerie attended the Italian Accordion Academy with Claudio Jacomucci where she received masterclasses in performance, improvisation, transcription and composition. She has performed in concerts and festivals in Italy, Lithuania, Germany and the Netherlands, and has attended masterclasses by James Crabb, Milos Milovojevic and Bjarke Mogensen.
Valerie’s ultimate goal is to promote the accordion as a classical instrument in the UK.
Born in Florence, pianist Giulia Contaldo completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with the highest honours at Florence’s “Luigi Cherubini” Conservatory. Since 2012, Giulia studied at Imola International Piano Academy with Jin Ju where she completed her artist diploma in 2019. She has recently completed the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Piano Performance with distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music on a full scholarship and has been nominated International Artist of the college. Giulia has received numerous prizes, including the 28th J.S. Bach Italian National Competition, prizes at the Prémio Internacional de Piano Figueira da Foz (Portugal), 32nd Concours Européen de Musique de Chambre (Paris) and the Massarosa International Piano Competition. She has recently won the RNCM’s Concerto Competitio and Piano Duo Prize and was one of the 62 pianists chosen to participate in the first round of the Leeds International Piano Competition in April 2021.
Giulia performs regularly throughout the UK and Europe. As a soloist she has played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no.1 with both Orchestra del Carmine and Giovane Orchestra d’Abruzzo. She was a soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy op.80 with the Florence Conservatory Orchestra, with whom she also performed the Schumann Piano Concerto and in June 2021 she performed Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 with the Manchester Camerata and RNCM Symphony Orchestra.
As well as performing, Giulia has a passion for teaching. Music has given Giulia the opportunity to travel the world and explore different cultures and she is excited to share this joy with the students of the Diocese of Leeds Keyboard studies Programme.
Jake is a composer, producer, performer and educator based in Leeds city centre. Jake has been practising music for the majority of his life and has recently finished his formal musical education, graduating with a Masters at Leeds College of Music in 2019, studying composition and performance with Matthew Bourne and Ben Lamdin (Nostalgia 77). He currently work as a live/studio session musician playing keyboards for Tom Williams and also for the Invisible Orchestra. Jake creates his own music, producing and writing with his band Space Dolphin and also creates solo piano/ambient records. Having spent his entire musical career collaborating with other musicians and creatives, Jake wants to teach students how to play and interact with other musicians, how to be successful in the 21st century music industry and how to find many years of happiness within musical performance.
Dr Jane Flynn is Director of Music at St Edward, King and Confessor, Clifford, and teaches on the Keyboard Studies Programme. She is a Visiting Fellow in the School of History, University of Leeds, and a freelance music teacher. She holds degrees in organ performance from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and Duke University, Durham (USA), and specialises in early music. Her research focuses on music education during the early modern period, especially on keyboard improvisation techniques. Publications include ‘Tudor organ versets: echoes of an improvised tradition’, Journal of the Royal College of Organists 3 (2009); ‘To play upon the organs any manner playnsong’, BIOS 34 (2010); ‘The Education of Choristers in England during the Sixteenth Century’, in Institutions and Patronage in Renaissance Music, ed. T. Schmidt-Beste (Ashgate, 2012); ‘Sum liber thomae mullineri iohanne heywoode teste: The Mulliner Book, the early In nomine, and the Prayerbook of 1559’, RCO (2019).
Anthony is an organist, choir director and composer based in Yorkshire where he is the Director of Music at St Wilfrid’s Church, Harrogate; Musical Director of the Fairfax Singers and an organ tutor for the Diocese of Leeds. He was previously Organ Scholar at Southwell Minster where he accompanied and directed the Cathedral’s three choirs. In 2018, he graduated from Robinson College, Cambridge where he held the Basil Shone Organ Scholarship. He was also the organist for St. John’s Voices, accompanist for the Cambridgeshire Choral Society, and founded and directed the Robinson Consort, a group of 16 singers focussing on contemporary repertoire. Anthony has also been the Musical Director for a variety of theatre productions and in December 2019, Anthony was shortlisted in the final of the BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition with his setting of ‘Go To The Child’. His music is widely performed across the country, including most recently his setting of the Preces and Responses.
Christopher Hughes, comes from Nantwich, Cheshire. Chris has played the piano ever since he was 5 years old, and attended Chetham’s School of Music, where he was taught by Mr John Gough. It is also here he began learning to play the Organ, taught by Mr Christopher Stokes. He now attends Leeds University studying Music.
2016 George Ford (Organ Scholar) appointed as Director of Music for the Parish of Boston
2015 Daniel Justin (Cathedral Organist and Choral Director for Harrogate) appointed as Director of Music for the Diocese of East Anglia
2013 Keith Roberts (Choral Director for Huddersfield) appointed as Director of Choral Music at St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow
2012 Christopher McElroy (Assistant Diocesan Director of Music) appointed as Director of Music at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
2011 Claudine Tat (Music Department Administrator) retired to Headingley and Tuscany
2010 Christopher Johns (Choral Director for Bradford) appointed as Director of Music at Leicester Cathedral