Meet Our In Harmony Music Leaders
Pauline Brandon (Programme Leader)
Pauline is the Programme Leader for In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead. She is from Wallsend, and began learning violin aged eight at her local primary school. At the age of 16, she received a scholarship to study at Purcell School of Music in London, and Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Before setting up the In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead Programme in 2012, Pauline enjoyed teaching violin across the region. When she isn’t working with the children at school, she performs in a range of settings from Newcastle’s Utilita Arena to Operas in Italy and the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Tony Abell (Bass)
After studying the double bass at Gulildhall School of Music and Drama, Tony joined the BBC National Orchestra of Wales where he worked for 21 years. When his wife, Tegwen, rejoined Royal Northern Sinfonia in 2007 he moved to Newcastle and has freelanced as a double bass player and bass guitarist. He teaches at Sage Gateshead and has worked on the In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead programme since it started. Tony likes to compose and arrange music in many different styles and performs with “Alter Ego”, a six piece jazz band, and with “Horovod”, who play folk music from the Balkans, Turkey and Greece.
Abigail Brierley (Brass)
Abigail began playing brass at the age of six in her local brass band in Lancashire. She eventually came to Newcastle to study music at Newcastle University and spent one of those years studying abroad in Hong Kong. Abigail began working for In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead in 2018 and also teaches privately, in schools and for music centres in and around Newcastle. When she’s not teaching Abigail is involved in numerous different projects around Newcastle in which she writes, records and performs music on the trumpet. She enjoys playing a wide range of genres and settings which include musicals, session musician work and jazz. She will usually say yes to playing anything!
Katrina Buzzard (Clarinet)
Born in the North East, Katrina completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in clarinet at Newcastle University, and has since established a busy teaching and performing career in the region. Aside from her instrumental teaching, she has also founded a number of ensembles for young musicians in Newcastle and North Tyneside.
Katrina has been working with In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead since the project began in 2012. At Hawthorn Primary School, she currently leads the Debussy Woodwind Ensemble, as well as working with Reception and after school groups.
Clare Crinson (Flute)
Clare is the flute tutor for In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead and teaches the flute to students of all ages throughout the region, including undergraduates in Durham University’s Music Department. She is also the Director of Instrumental Music at The Chorister School, Durham and helps run Durham Cathedral’s Outreach Choir programme. She performs regularly as a freelance flautist and choral singer.
Mark Edwards (Percussion)
Originally from Scotland, Mark trained as a percussionist in Edinburgh and Newcastle. His work as a conductor and percussionist takes him across the country and further afield to work with orchestras, choirs and Indian Street Bands. After starting musical life on the recorder and violin, he quickly switched to percussion after a concert playing the triangle. Mark is currently undertaking further study with Clark Rundell and Mark Heron at the Royal Northern College of Music which includes being the Assistant Conductor for projects with BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Psappha ensemble. Earlier this year he founded the Northern Percussion Ensemble who perform concerts, recitals and workshops across the region.
Mark is currently Director of Music for New Tyneside Orchestra, Hexham Orpheus Choir, Felling Male Voice Choir, workshop leader for Streetwise Opera, lecturer in conducting at Newcastle University and associate conductor for ‘Voices of Hope’ who recently won the BBC Choir of the Year Competition.
Annie Francomb (Clarinet)
Originally from Bristol, Annie took up the clarinet at the age of eight and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After graduating, she worked for BBC Radio 3 before moving to Newcastle. She has played in many orchestras including Royal Northern Sinfonia and has taught woodwind and Clarinet throughout the region. Annie’s positions include Programme Leader for wind and brass on Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme and she has been involved with In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead since it’s inception. Annie enjoys travelling and cooking and going to visit her two grown-up children.
Dave Hignett (Brass)
Dave Hignett started his musical career playing Cornet for Chester Brass Band and in 1980 went to Colchester Institute, graduating with a Music Degree and Guildhall teachers diploma. Dave performed on Cruise Ships with Royal Caribbean cruise line for three years, then in the Canary islands with his wife Barbara for three years before settling in Newcastle as a freelance trumpeter and teacher.
Music Education has been a driving force in Dave’s career, and has been Head of Brass and Orchestras Coordinator for Northumberland Music service for 15 years. In 2001 he was asked to form and direct the youth ensemble, Jambone, which is part of Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme. Dave is currently a member of the Gerry Richardson Band who performed four years ago at Newcastle Civic Centre with Sting and played for Sunday for Sammy at the O2 Arena in February.
Charlotte Kennedy (Ensemble Leader)
Charlotte grew up in Northumberland and began learning the violin at school before joining Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme Centre for Advanced Training. From a young age she knew she wanted a career in which she could help others enrich their lives through music, so she went on to study music at the University of Durham. Since graduating with First Class Honours in 2015, she has enjoyed a varied career as a musical educator and performer and joined the In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead team in 2018.
Ele Leckie (Ensemble Leader)
Ele graduated from the Royal College of Music before training as a teacher at Durham University. She then moved to New Zealand, where she played in chamber concert programmes and Wellington Sinfonia in addition to teaching. On moving back to the North East she taught lower strings for Newcastle and Sunderland Music Services. She currently combines teaching Foundation & Step Up Strings on Sage Gateshead’s Young Musicians Programme with teaching at Durham School and chamber and orchestral playing throughout the North East.
Jo Montgomery (Violin)
Northumberland born, Jo Montgomery started playing the violin at the age of four and studied at Chetham’s School of Music from the age of 13. She went on to study in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she performed in string quartets and on West End shows whilst still a student. Jo has a varied musical life combining teaching with string quartet playing and orchestral work, having performed and recorded with the BBC Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. She has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company touring company playing an on stage role in the Taming of the Shrew.
Jo has been teaching at In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead for the past six years and highlights have included; team teaching with Andrew Lloyd Webber, taking the children to perform at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool and working with the reception children, who are so fabulous.
Rebecca O'Donnell (Oboe and Bassoon)
Rebecca O’Donnell was born in Kent and began instrumental lessons at the age of six. In 2002 she began studying at Chetham’s School of Music and in 2004 was awarded a scholarship to study oboe at the Royal College of Music with Chris Cowie and John Anderson. In 2016 she completed her Masters of Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Rebecca’s orchestral work has included playing for the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestra of Scottish Ballet, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra of Scottish Opera amongst others. In the summer of 2019 she joined Royal Northern Sinfonia for their critically acclaimed residency at Nevill Holt Opera.
Rebecca has also been involved with the outreach and education teams of the Philharmonia and the English Chamber Orchestra in schools in and around London and was a member of Albert’s Band, the Royal Albert Hall’s 15 piece education mini-orchestra. As well as teaching on the In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead programme, Rebecca is a Step Up Wind & Brass Project Leader and Music Leader for the Young Musicians Programme Centre for Advanced Training at Sage Gateshead.
Peter Richardson (Cello)
Born in Corbridge, Peter began cello lessons aged eight at his local school in Ashington. He studied under Alexander Baillie at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. Peter enjoys a varied career performing and recording all sorts of music on the cello and electric guitar. He especially enjoys arranging music for the many ensembles he directs as well as conducting youth orchestras. His favourite band is Radiohead and adores the composers Shostakovich, J.S.Bach, Thomas Newman and Debussy.
As well as enjoying teaching at Hawthorn Primary School, Peter teaches at The Royal Grammar School and Kings Priory, Tynemouth. He is a keen mountain biker, loves renovating property and has two Cocker Spaniels called Milly and Maya.
Hannah Tattersfield (Viola)
After growing up near Sheffield, Hannah studied music in Newcastle and then travelled to Sweden to train to be an orchestral violinist at the Swedish National Orchestral Academy. She loved living in Sweden but was happy to move back to Newcastle, where it’s much warmer! Hannah started working for the In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead programme in 2017 and also teaches at Sage Gateshead and in other schools and music centres in the area. She performs regularly as a freelance violinist and violist, and likes to play music from lots of different genres including classical music, Scandinavian folk music and British folk music.
A graduate of Newcastle University’s Folk and Traditional music degree, Imogen has been teaching since the age of 14 when she set up a local violin school. Since then, she has taught at schools, music centres and summer schools in Scotland and England. As well as teaching and composing, Imogen has gigged across the UK and in Europe in her different band outfits.
At Sage Gateshead, Imogen teaches on the Folkworks courses, the Foundation and Step Up Strings Programme and is part of the Early Years team. She also teaches in several schools across North Tyneside
Chrissie grew up in Belfast and studied viola at the RNCM, graduating in 1999. After freelancing for a year with many of the country’s leading orchestras, Chrissie took up a post with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales lasting 6 years, before relocating to the North East.
She now plays regularly with Royal Northern Sinfonia (RNS) on a freelance basis and with various chamber groups, including Trio Northumbria.