Our Musical Director Jonathan Parkes grew up in the brass band world and played Principal Trombone for the Rotherham Schools Youth Brass Band and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain before going on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester under Chris Houlding and Andrew Berryman.
Whilst at the RNCM he started his career as a freelance trombonist working with the Halle Orchestra and went on to work with all the professional orchestras in the North West of England, including the Manchester Camerata, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera North and Northern Ballet. In 2004 he played Principal Trombone for the Philharmonia of the Nations in Germany, touring Europe and South Africa. Jonathan has taught all over the Greater Manchester region since 2001 and began tutoring and directing music courses shortly after and began conducting in 2005.
His first full time appointment came in 2011 when he was appointed musical director of the Dobcross Youth Brass Band. The following year he was appointed MD of the National Children’s Wind Orchestra – a prestigious residential course performing concerts in venues such as the Cadogan Hall, Royal College of Music and Saffron Hall. In 2016 he was delighted to be appointed Musical Director of the Werneth Concert Band.
Course Director Kathryn Wood’s day job is as a translator and languages tutor, but she also has a broad range of experience in running music courses and events, both in the UK and abroad. This includes:
- Orchestral Manager for the National Children’s Wind and Chamber Orchestras (2014 – 2018)
- Conference Producer for a London-based FTSE 250 company (2015 – 2017)
- Volunteering at a music school in Peru, running a variety of musical groups for children and young adults (2012 – 2013)
- Executive Committee for Durham University Orchestral Society (2011 – 2012)
Kathryn is also a keen violinist, playing regularly with the Stevenage Symphony Orchestra and working with the committee to arrange concerts.
Assistant Course Director and Senior Tutor in Brass Jonny Watkins has been playing the trombone since the age of 7. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Eric Crees and Simon Wills and with Don Lucas at Boston University during which time he toured extensively with the European Union Youth Orchestra and won the International Trombone Association Quartet Competition with the Spitfire Trombone Quartet. From 2011-13 Jonny was the Principal Trombone in the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and, in the 2017 season, was Associate Principal Trombone in the National Centre for Performing Arts Orchestra in Beijing, China. He has trialled for positions in many of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philhamonic Orchestra and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
Jonny was the trombone section tutor for both the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain and the Hampshire County Youth Wind Ensemble and has led masterclasses at the Hong Kong Baptist University and twice at the Conservatorio Profesional de Musica Xoan Montes in Lugo, Spain.
In his spare time, Jonny can be found enjoying a good pub quiz or screaming at the TV in frustration when his beloved Arsenal are playing...