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.

NAVEEEN ARLES

Guest 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.

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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.

HARRY BAKER

Accompanist

Harry Baker is an award-winning pianist and composer with an equal passion for classical performance and for jazz and improvisation. A key player on the UK jazz and classical scenes, Harry has performed at the 606 Club, Pizza Express Jazz Club, Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and on BBC Radio 3, with international soloists including opera singer Danielle de Niese and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

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As an in-demand composer and arranger of choral and vocal music, Harry has written compositions for the Choirs of Merton and Magdalen College Oxford, SANSARA chamber choir, and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, with whom he is a Young Composer. In June 2019, he conducted Oxford University Jazz Orchestra and vocal ensemble The Oxford Gargoyles in the first performance of his suite for big band and voices, entitled “The Floating Boy”.

Greg Beardsell

Conductor / Musicianship Tutor

Greg is a leading light in music education and performance. His ability to inspire people of all ages to explore new musical horizons whilst sharing his diverse range of musical skills has created new and exciting music-making opportunities, particularly for young people.

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As well as being conductor of the London Youth Chamber Choir, he is Music Director of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland, the Peace Proms and Principal Conductor of the National Youth Training Choir. He is a guest presenter for BBC Radio 3’s “Live in Concert” and “Choir and Organ” programmes and features as a choral music expert for the BBC Proms TV broadcasts.

He has held conducting positions with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, the Irish Youth Choir, the Ulster Youth Choir and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir and has presented seminars on conducting and teaching strategies for organisations such as Cambridge University, the Association of Swedish Choral Conductors, Cornell University New York, and music education hubs across England.

GEORGE COOK

Assistant Leader (LYC Cambiata Boys)

George is a freelance baritone based in London. He studied Music at Durham University, where he gained a high First Class in his final year public recital. Alongside his degree, he was senior choral scholar at Durham Cathedral. He also conducted the University Chamber Choir and was Musical Director and Vocal Director for the Opera Ensemble, for performances such as Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Since graduating from university, George has been an academic Music teacher for the past two years, at Oakham School, where he was also a choral scholar at Peterborough Cathedral, and Ipswich School respectively. He is a graduate of the Genesis Sixteen and National Youth Choir Fellowship schemes, having performed all over the country in Oxford, Barnsley, Cambridge, Nottingham, and Manchester.

Now a freelance musician in London, George is currently a choral scholar at St Martin-in-the-Fields and deputises around other churches in London. George has sung with a number of ensembles including the Chamber Choir of London, the Hilliard Ensemble, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, and St Martin’s Voices. George is also continuing to establish his solo career, with previous concert experience including Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Mozart’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Brahms Requiem, and Schutz’s Musikalische Exequien. Alongside his singing career, George still wants to inspire the next generation of singers and is thoroughly enjoying working for London Youth Choir and the Centre for Young Musicians.

JACK HARBERD

Assistant Leader (LYC South East)

Jack works as a singer and music researcher for television alongside his role with LYC. He was raised in Norwich and Oxford, and took a music degree at the University of York, graduating in 2018. Jack is in his second year both as a member of Genesis Sixteen and as a choral scholar at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and is an ex-fellow of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.

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During the first and second COVID-19 lockdowns Jack worked as a delivery driver for Tesco, and only crashed his van three times! In his spare time Jack plays gamelan, cooks, and is working hard towards touching his toes. He always looks forward to LYC South East on Thursdays!

PENNY HOMER

Assistant Leader (Boys’ Choir)

Penelope Jane Homer graduated from the University of Nottingham with a Bachelor of Music degree in 2003, where she was a choral scholar at St Barnabas Cathedral. She is the Musical Director of Winchmore Singers, an upper voice choir in North London, as well as Musical Director of Barnet Hospital Choir. She is also Assistant Leader at London Youth Choir.

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Previous conducting engagements include Apprentice Musical Director at Enfield Choral Society, Junior Conducting Fellow at Zemel Choir and Musical Director of Barts and the London Musical Society Choir. In addition to conducting, she sings professionally as both a chorister at St Dominic’s Priory and as a soloist, and teaches at City Lit and Streatham and Clapham Prep School as well as privately.
She is also the Administration and Communications Officer for Arts Network Sutton.

LAUREN MORGAN

Assistant Leader (Girls’ Choir)

Lauren grew up in Dorset and joined the Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus at a young age. She was fortunate to have some inspiring music teachers at Clayesmore school and went on to study music at Royal Holloway University of London, graduating with a BMus (Hons). She now works in youth music education as an administrator and is particularly interested in the effect music has on physical & psychological wellbeing.

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Lauren is a mezzo-soprano, and sings regularly with the London Youth Chamber Choir, National Youth Choirs and other ensembles, performing in iconic venues and at high-profile events nationally and internationally. Past performance highlights include First Night of the Proms, Centenary Memorial Service at Amiens Cathedral, Patrick Hawes “Great War Symphony” at the Royal Albert Hall, recording at Abbey Road Studios and performing at Ronnie Scott’s. 

Lauren also deps as a freelance singer and assists with choral workshops across the UK. She is passionate about music education, and is VERY excited to be a member of the LYC staff team!

DAN MORIYAMA

Accompanist

Dan is a pianist and keyboard player performing across musical genres, from soul/rock organ at European blues festivals to classical piano at the Royal Albert Hall. An accomplished classical pianist, he specialises in accompanying instrumentalists, singers, and choirs.

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He plays Hammond organ with Tennessee blues singer, Earl Thomas; keyboards with pop artists including the late Donna Summer and members of Madness; plays and sings with ‘New Orleans funk/soul’ band, The Coalminers. He works in TV, theatre, and with dancers; is Musical Director for educational charity, Arts Insight; teaches piano and songwriting; plays bass guitar; writes, and produces. Dan studied music at Wells Cathedral School, was a BBC Young Musician piano finalist at 15, and studied jazz and classical piano at the Guildhall School of Music.

LAUREL NEIGHBOUR

Assistant Leader (Cambiata Girls)

Laurel is a Musical Director and singer, and was a member of the London Youth Choir and Chamber Choir in its very first year! She currently leads the London Humanist Choir, King’s College London Staff Choir and Islington Council Singers, and works as an Assistant Leader with London Youth Choirs and St John of Jerusalem Festival Chorus, and as a private singing teacher.

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Laurel has sung professionally in London for many years, with groups such as Gareth Malone’s Voices, St Martin’s Voices, National Portrait Gallery Choir, Apollo5, and London Contemporary Orchestra. In 2012 she sang for The Rolling Stones with LYC at the 02!

Laurel is also passionate about getting younger voices singing and currently works as an education workshop leader with Voices Foundation and Voces8 Foundation. In her spare time, she can be seen pedalling on her purple Peugeot racing bike, Polly, around south London.

JESS NYANTAKYI

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.

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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. As a regular member of Southwark’s ‘library band’, Jessica will insist that librarians are in fact very cool, and not stodgy at all!

MARIANA ROSAS

LYC Girls' Choir Conductor

Mariana is an Argentinian conductor based in the UK. She is currently Music Director of the Colla Voce Chamber Choir and Birmingham City Council Choir, Deputy Conductor of Crouch End Festival Chorus, and Choral DIrector at the City of London School for Girls. She also works regularly with Birmingham Opera Company, West Midlands Inclusive Choir, and the Royal Opera House in London. 

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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 and worked as a guest conductor in 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.

OLIVIA SHOTTON

LYC West Conductor, LYC Cambiata Girls Assistant Leader

Olivia is a freelance conductor and singer based in London. She is currently studying Choral Conducting under Patrick Russill at the Royal Academy of Music where she has conducted masterclasses with the BBC Singers, Paul Brough, David Hill and Simon Halsey, and been shortlisted for the DIMA International Choral Conducting Competition.

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Olivia completed her undergraduate degree in Music at the University of Sheffield where she also won the ‘Jessop Voices’ conducting award. She is a Conducting Scholar with Milton Keynes Chorale, Musical Director of Horsham Chamber Choir and Assistant Musical Director of The Hythe Singers, and is a former Sing For Pleasure Young Conducting Scholarship holder.

RACHEL STAUNTON

Artistic Director

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.

 

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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.

BEN VONBERG-CLARK

Conductor

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.

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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 two choral societies in South London and is the conductor elect of the University of Essex Choir from October 2020. He ran the Singing Outreach Programme for Westminster Cathedral, working with 12 primary schools over London, from 2014-19.

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.

UNLOCKING YOUNG PEOPLE’S POTENTIAL THROUGH THE POWER OF CHORAL SINGING

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