Music Team 2023-24
Inspirational leadership is one of the most important things we can offer our young singers. Led by Artistic Director, Rachel Staunton, our Senior Music Team are all choral conductors with many years experience of drawing the very best from young people. Our conductors encourage, nurture and challenge the members of their choirs, giving them a fantastically engaging and enlightening musical experience.
Conductor (LYC Cambiata Boys)
Naveen Arles BCA FRSA, has established himself as an energetic, inspirational vocal leader and animateur. Founder of MDBrunch, his 36 years in music incorporates 26 years of creating singing groups of all ages and skills. Nav's ability to motivate people to try music and train any group of people means he equally delivers workshops in senior management training courses, with wellbeing support groups and in prisons.
His choirs have toured with Hugh Jackman, Take That, Lulu; performed with George Ezra, Alexandra Burke, Freya Ridings, on all TV channels, for HRH Prince Charles and welcomed the guests for Michelle Obama's exclusive UK book launch. Nav's experience and social justice work has led him to both be invited onto the council of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) and to join a 10 person consultancy panel to advise Hal Leonard Europe on their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies.
Pianist (LYC West, LYC Junior Boys, LYC Chamber Choir)
Harry Baker is an award-winning British pianist and composer active at the highest levels of both jazz and classical performance. As a jazz musician, he has worked with top jazz performers at London’s Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, King’s Place and the Jazz Cafe. As a classical pianist, collaborations with artists including singers Fatma Said (Warner Classics), Danielle de Niese (Metropolitan Opera) and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason have led to performances at Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall, the Verbier Festival and the Konzerthaus Dortmund, in addition to media performances on BBC1&2, BBC Radio 2 and Radio 3.
His arrangements have been recorded on Decca Classics and performed at the Royal Albert Hall. Upcoming international touring highlights include the Konzerthaus Berlin in 2024.
Conductor (LYC Cambiata Girls), Musicianship Tutor (London Youth Choir)
Robert Brooks is a conductor, baritone, and composer based in London. His first music
lessons were at the Junior Guildhall, before he became a chorister in the choir of New
College, Oxford. His music studies took him to The University of Manchester, where he
specialised in singing and composition. He also conducted the University’s chamber choir Ad
Solem, and was a member of the Genesis Sixteen choral program.
After graduating, Robert directed several ensembles and appeared frequently as a soloist and recitalist. He was selected for the National Youth Choir’s Fellowship Scheme, and works
regularly for NYCGB as a conductor and arranger.
Conductor (LYC South West, LYC South East)
Charlotte is a singer, conductor and workshop leader based in London. Charlotte enjoys delivering workshops and facilitating education projects throughout the UK and Europe for various national organisations including The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, The Voices Foundation, The Bach Choir and VOCES8 Foundation, and is an ambassador for Britten-Pears Arts.
Charlotte is musical director of Monumental Choir and directs the East Hertfordshire Schools Singing Festival. She is in demand as a workshop leader, presenter, and adjudicator. Charlotte studied at Nottingham University whilst also holding a choral scholarship, she then moved to Rome to study singing and Italian. Until recently, Charlotte was a full-time member of Apollo5, an international award-winning vocal quintet. She now enjoys a solo career of recitals, oratorio and opera.
Conductor (LYC Junior Girls)
Gabrielle is a singer/songwriter and vocal leader. Since completing music leadership training with Ark Schools, Gabrielle has worked with young singers in various contexts including, Ark Schools (Mentor and Artist), Newham Music (Vocal Leader), Spitalfields Music (Vocal Workshop Leader), Pegasus Opera (School Workshop Assistant), and Living Song (Young Artist). Gabrielle also joined the team at National Youth Choirs as a trainee to arrange and conduct a piece for the Training Choir. After working as an Assistant Leader for LYC Junior Girls, Gabrielle is delighted to be the choir’s Conductor.
Pianist (LYC North East)
Lucas Cunha is a pianist based in London. He studied at the Royal College of Music Junior Department for three years under the tutelage of Yekaterina Lebedeva, and is currently studying piano at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he is the recipient of the Alfred and Therese Kitchin Scholarship and is continuing his studies with Prof. Lebedeva.
Lucas has won various competitions in the UK, including first prizes at the North London Music Festival for Romantic, 20th Century and Jazz U18 categories, and the Enfield U18 Piano Competition in 2017. He has made a solo piano appearance with Haringey Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra (of which he is a former member) - playing both piano and orchestral percussion.
His successes have recently expanded from the UK to the international scene: he was invited to play in a gala concert in Shunde, China, and was one of the prize winners at the 2022 Musical Odyssey Masterclasses in Nafplio, Greece.
Assistant Leader (LYC North East)
Vanessa, passionate music specialist and leader of youth choirs, sees music as a therapeutic mechanism for building confidence as well as being a magical educational tool. Vanessa also leads dance classes and is always excited by the unique abilities and talents seen in young people.
As a member of Metronomes Steel Orchestra, Vanessa has performed at Notting Hill Carnival and at Natural History Museum, in her more recent role as a DJ.
Vanessa facilitates a number of community arts projects, adding sparkling joy and creativity to the lives of both children and adults of all ages and abilities. She is excited to be joining the London Youth Choirs staff team, contributing to enhancing the wonderful talent of the young people that she’ll be working with.
EMILY INDIA EVANS
Assistant Leader (LYC Junior Girls, LYC South West)
Emily India Evans is a soprano and organist based in London. Emily read for a Music degree at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where she held an Organ Scholarship and sang in the college’s choir, having previously held similar positions at St Davids Cathedral and St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Emily works primarily as a professional soprano.
She is an alumnus of Genesis Sixteen, The Sixteen’s Young Artist Programme, and Ex Cathedra’s Academy of Vocal Music. Emily enjoys performing in opera: previous roles include Venus (Venus and Adonis, John Blow); First Lady (The Magic Flute, Mozart); Alcina (La Liberazione di Ruggiero, Francesca Caccini); and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas, Purcell). Emily also works as a Singing Teacher for Richmond Music Trust, and is hugely excited to be a part of the London Youth Choirs team.
Assistant Leader (LYC South East)
Adam Hilton is a conductor and baritone based in London. Born in Wrocław, Poland, he studied Music at the University of York, where he developed his singing under the tutelage of Alex Ashworth and joined The 24 choir, led by Robert Hollingworth. In his final year, he started a new student choir which sang for his final conducting recital in 2022.
After graduating, Adam moved to London to develop his freelance career and regularly sings at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel. Adam recently received the Hertford Choral Society Conducting Fellowship 2023/24 and the National Youth Choir Fellowship 2024.
Assistant Leader (LYC North East)
Gwenllian comes from West Wales where she was a member of a number of different choirs. It was here that she enjoyed her first taste of choral conducting which included a chance to conduct Ysgol Gerdd Ceredigion in the final of the Côr Cymru choral competition. She is also a harpist and was a member of NYOGB. She graduated from King’s College London with a degree in Music and during this time studied the harp with Professor Emerita Skaila Kanga at the Royal Academy of Music.
Gwenllian is a former conductor of the King’s College Chorus which she found extremely rewarding and lots of fun. She greatly enjoys working with young people and helping them realize their potential.
Assistant Leader (LYC Cambiata Girls)
Following work as a pastry chef, Sharon was looking to transition into a career in music in therapeutic settings when she received a job ad for a schools-based opportunity. She now works with children of a variety of ages as a school learning support assistant, using music to engage with and transition children through the school day. She has been a member of a Gospel Choir for 10 years, and is also a singer-songwriter.
Assistant Leader (LYC North East)
Noga is a recent graduate from the University of Warwick, where they were a section leader for the Chamber Choir and manager of the Warwick Symphony Chorus, and is a former member of the London Youth Choir. They are passionate about enfranchising young people through music and community and their work has led them to collaborations with Arts Council England, the Barbican, the British Academy, and the English Touring Opera amongst others. They have directed and performed in numerous operas and chamber concerts as an aspiring professional soprano and soloist, including West Green Opera House, the Berliner Dom, and the Duomo di Milano.
Pianist (LYC South East, LYC Cambiata Boys)
Jonny is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music where he studied the organ, and has a Master's Degree in Jazz Piano from Trinity Laban. Exposed to classical music during his youth, Jonny was playing the Church Organ at Mass every Sunday from the age of 13. He has performed at many venues giving solo recitals as well as being the Church organist of several churches throughout London over the years.
He performed at The National Concert Hall, Dublin at the age of 15, and has given organ recitals at St Paul’s Church, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Westminster Central Hall, Fairfield Halls, Croydon, The Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy of Music, and St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh.
While studying the organ at the Academy, Jonny became deeply immersed in the jazz genre, and started teaching himself jazz piano in his spare time. It was also during this time that he started composing his own music. As a jazz pianist Jonny has performed at The Vortex Jazz Club, Toulouse Lautrec, Oliver's Jazz Bar, Bush Hall, Ninety One Living Room, Boisdale of Canary Wharf, Boisdale of Mayfair, and Blackheath Concert Halls in London.
Following the release of his 2019 EP 'New Days & Past Times', Jonny released his debut album Mellow Mind in 2020, which features 9 of his new original compositions, and a solo piano EP A Message Through Sound featuring 3 original solo compositions.
As well as performing as a keyboardist, Jonny is also an active producer making Deep House and Jungle music, with 4 EPs (Deep House Dubs Project EP, Diary Of A Keys Man EP, London Past & Present
EP & Wise Eyes EP) under his belt so far. He is also a Jungle DJ and record collector with several mixes recorded on SoundCloud.
Pianist (LYC South West, LYC Junior Girls, LYC Cambiata Girls, London Youth Choir)
Conductor (LYC North East)
Laurel is a musical director and singer with a passion for sharing music-making with others. She currently leads the staff choir for King's College London, conducts Note-orious Community Choir and is leading the new choir London Youth Choir North East. Laurel completed an apprenticeship with the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus in 2018, led the London Humanist Choir for ten years, worked for many years for Music in Offices. Laurel made her conducting debut at the BBC Proms in 2019 in John Luther Adams' In the Name of the Earth, and conducted Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem in November 2022 with Wokingham Choral Society.
Laurel studied music at the University of Nottingham and sang as a choral scholar at St Mary's. Growing up in Kent, she sang with Kent Youth Choir, played in Ashford Youth Jazz Orchestra, and learnt to play several instruments in her Mum's folk band. Upon moving to London she was a member of London Youth Choir itself in its founding year, singing with the chamber choir in their performance with The Rolling Stones at the O2 Arena in 2012.
Laurel has performed with many professional choirs, including St Martin-in-the-Field's Voices, London Contemporary Orchestra, Echo Vocal Ensemble, London Choral Sinfonia, National Portrait Gallery Choir, and St Paul’s Cathedral Consort. She is an alumna of Genesis Sixteen, the choral training programme of internationally renowned chamber choir, The Sixteen. She has toured the UK and made several TV and radio appearances with Gareth Malone's Voices, including UK tour “Singalong-a-Gareth” as a lead vocalist, and penny whistle and ukulele player in Autumn 2022.
Laurel is also passionate about getting younger voices singing. For several years she was project director for Dartford Choral Outreach and currently leads Hampton Court Palace’s Songstars project, providing singing support to state primary school children in South West London who have limited access to music. Laurel also currently teaches curriculum music for Southwark Music Service, and works as a choral leader with Voces8 Foundation and Voices Foundation.
In her spare time, Laurel can be seen pedalling around London on her purple Peugeot racing bike, Polly.
Assistant Leader (LYC South East)
Jessica is a passionate youth educator, with a drive to bring out the oftentimes hidden confidence in young people. She uses laughter and fun to encourage them to embrace their unique abilities and talents. One of her primary tools in this process, is her other deep passion - music.
When not joyfully immersed at LYC, Jess is a library development officer, where she loves to engage with local communities and schools in the borough she services. Here she once again brings this passion for music forward, combining it with the magic of spoken and written words, to deliver fun filled events both in person, and in this new era, via zoom.
You will often find Jess, even with a book in hand, singing a song. Better still, you will find her dancing while singing with the under-fives, or teaching both parents and children calypso and pop tunes.
Assistant Leader (LYC Junior Boys, LYC Cambiata Boys)
Antonio is a singer, choral leader and teacher from London. He was a founding member of the youth choir Inner Voices in 2011, and went on to study music at the University of Hull. Having been in the London Youth Choir in 2015, he is delighted to now be part of the LYC Staff Team.
Antonio is passionate about providing opportunities for quality music making and singing to young people, and does this through his work with the London Youth Choirs, Ark Academies and Southwark Music Service. Currently, Antonio is completing a year-long Fellowship Programme with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.
Assistant Leader (LYC Junior Boys, LYC Cambiata Girls)
Freya is a soprano and freelance project manager based in South London. Having grown up surrounded by a family of musicians, she has always valued the importance of music-making and the changes it can and has made to so many lives. During her time studying Music and Drama at the University of Manchester, she developed a passion for community and education work, delivering workshops to people from all backgrounds and in settings ranging from primary schools to prisons. She is now very lucky to work for music organisations who are striving to make a difference through the creative arts, including Gabrieli Roar, National Youth Choirs, and London Youth Choirs.
As a performer, Freya sings with the professional session choir London Voices and has recorded music for many films, TV shows and video games. Freya is particularly interested in musical theatre and jazz, and is currently studying the Estill voice training method. She also deputises regularly for services at various churches around London.
Conductor (LYC Chamber Choir, London Youth Choir)
Matthew Quinn is a Northern Irish conductor, composer and singer who is quickly developing a reputation for his exciting and dynamic approach to his music making. Working across the UK and Ireland, Matthew has conducted a range of high-quality ensembles such as the chorus and orchestra of Northern Ireland Opera, Chamber Choir Ireland, Cappella Caeciliana, Myriad Chamber Choir, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Genesis Sixteen, and Manchester Philharmonic Choir. He has recently made professional debuts with the Ulster Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
Matthew has held young artist positions as a conductor at Northern Ireland Opera, The Sixteen, and Crouch End Festival Chorus, and has studied with illustrious conductors such as Sir Harry Christophers, Eamonn Dougan, and David Temple MBE. He is currently the musical director of Northern Ireland Opera’s chorus development programme.
Conductor (LYC South East)
Mariana is an Argentinian conductor based in the UK. She is currently Associate Conductor of London Symphony Chorus, Music Director of Cantoras Upper Voices, and Birmingham City Council Choir, and Deputy Conductor of Crouch End Festival Chorus. She also works regularly with National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, Birmingham Opera Company, West Midlands Inclusive Choir, Glyndebourne, and the Royal Opera House. In September 2021, she obtained the 2nd Prize at the Dima International Conducting Competition in Romania.
Mariana was educated in Italy and Argentina, and in 2018 transferred to the UK to study at the University of Birmingham with Simon Halsey. Prior to her move, she was Assistant Professor of Choral Practice at the National University of Arts in Buenos Aires. She has worked as a guest conductor in Germany, Denmark, Canada, Italy, and Switzerland.
She now works on a diverse range of projects across many musical disciplines and is regularly engaged as a guest conductor – with musicians of all ages and abilities – on projects across the UK.
MERLIE ANNE SEBASTIAN
Assistant Leader (LYC South West)
Merlie Anne was part of the LYC Junior Girls' Choir over five years ago and is excited to return as an Assistant Leader for LYC South West. She graduated from The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology with a diploma in Music Performance and Production in 2020. She is currently a freelance vocalist and digital artist based in Sutton, as well as a member of the London International Gospel Choir.
Conductor (LYC West)
Olivia completed an MA in Choral Conducting and a Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music. She received a distinction and was awarded a DipRam for outstanding performance in her final recital, in addition to the Sir Thomas Armstrong Choral Leadership Prize. She is the Conductor of the University of London Chamber Choir and the University of Greenwich Choir, and was the 2022-23 Genesis Sixteen Conducting Scholar.
Olivia founded and conducts professional ensemble The CONVENTional Project, an early music group performing music by women from the Italian convents.
Her previous engagements include being Assistant Musical Director with British Youth Opera, Assistant Chorus Master for the Academy Chorus, and attending Dartington International Summer School Advanced Conductor programme.
Rachel Staunton co-founded LYC in 2012 with Suzi Digby. Having gained a first-class honours degree in music at Royal Holloway, University of London, Rachel continued her studies at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with numerous awards and an LRAM in Choral Conducting.
Rachel usually conducts London Youth Choir, LYC Cambiata Girls and LYC South East, but is currently taking a break from conducting and will return in 2024.
She held the post of Vocal Director for In Harmony Opera North (Classic FM’s Music Education Project of the Year 2014) and spent several years establishing the Opera North Children’s Chorus. Rachel has also worked as a conductor with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain for over a decade.
In 2014, Rachel was made Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of her contribution to choral music and work with young people. She is passionate about using choral music to inspire young people from all backgrounds and dedicates her career to this mission.
Assistant Leader (LYC Junior Girls)
Meg is a freelance flautist and conductor, having just completed her master's studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She dedicates her career to education, from private music tuition and workshop leading, to running and conducting an orchestra committed to educating children and young adults on film music. She is very grateful to have joined the team at LYC.
Meg loves to show her personality in her music, and can often be found performing barefoot, or tap dancing whilst playing the flute! Her bright coloured hair and make-up make her easy to spot in a crowd, and if not, you'll find her falling in love with each and every dog she comes across!
Assistant Leader (LYC West)
Chloe is a singer, conductor and educator with a passion for creating music with others and outreach work. She is a graduate from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she studied her Masters and Undergraduate in Voice, graduating with Distinction in both and winning several awards. She regularly performs as a soloist in opera and oratorio, and loves curating interesting recitals. Chloe works with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and is a Musical Director for Liberty Choir, a charity who run community choirs within prisons.
Chloe holds a Choral Scholarship at Holy Trinity Church in her hometown, Dartford. She is an outreach project leader with the church and the local primary school to inspire the next generation of young singers! She is really excited and grateful to be joining the LYC team!
Assistant Leader (LYC West)
Emily is a singer, music educator and actor based in London.
She is a Fellow for the National Youth Choirs, Music Specialist for the Artis Foundation, Course Tutor for the Hallé Youth Choirs, Workshop Leader for The Sixteen, Foundation Tutor for the Lambeth Music Service and Singing Teacher at Esher College.
A first-class Vocal Studies and Opera graduate from the Royal Northern College of Music, Emily held scholarships at the Manchester Oratory and Salford Cathedral, was a young artist for The Sixteen's Genesis Sixteen scheme and continues her studies as a masters student at the Royal Academy of Music.
As an alum of the Orange Tree Theatre’s Young Company and soprano for KANTOS chamber choir, Emily is passionate about theatrically reimagining choral repertoire and showcasing new writing through immersive and collaborative multi-media performances.
Conductor (LYC Junior Boys)
Ben has been teaching primary aged children since his year abroad in a children’s theatre in Vienna in 2008. He set up the three children’s choirs of St. John the Divine, Kennington, in 2013, where 80 children aged 5-18 now attend weekly rehearsals and perform in concerts around the country; they have also broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and have a partnership with St. John’s College, Cambridge.
Ben is increasingly in demand to lead one-off singing days and courses, working for the Red House, Aldeburgh, the Roman River Music Festival, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the Rodolfus Foundation and YK Pao School, Shanghai. He also conducts four office choirs in London and is the conductor of the University of Essex Choir and founder and director of the Wivenhoe Youth Choir. He ran the Singing Outreach Programme for Westminster Cathedral, working with 12 primary schools over London, from 2014-19. His book “Introducing Singing” was published by Trinity College London in March 2023.
Ben studied music and German at Durham University, University of Vienna, King’s College London and as a postgraduate in vocal studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Alongside his conducting, he is seen regularly on the oratorio and recital circuit and has sung with the BBC Singers, the Sixteen, Stile Antico, Tenebrae and the Eric Whitacre Singers among others. In 2019 he performed a solo recital as part of the Aldeburgh festival.
Assistant Leader (LYC South East)
Stella is a former member of LYC Chamber Choir and joined the LYC staff team in September 2021 as an assistant leader for LYC West.
She graduated with a degree in Music from Royal Holloway University where she sang with the Royal Holloway Founders Choir and helped to run the Holloway Notes Choir for adults with learning disabilities. Since graduating in 2020, Stella has worked as an administrator for The Military Wives Choirs, London Youth Choirs and The Include Choir. She now works as Event Coordinator at the Royal College of Music.
Assistant Leader (LYC Cambiata Boys)
Tristan is an LYC alumnus and a Choral Conducting MA student at the Royal Academy of Music. He runs several choirs, including UCL Chamber Choir, is Deputy Artistic Director and Choral Lead of music outreach charity Elysium, and is determined to provide opportunities to musicians of all backgrounds. He is Musicianship/Aural Lead and Choral Director at Youth Music Centre, and Director of Music at St Mary’s, Merton Park. He has led singing workshops in the UK and abroad for children and adults alike.