Our Team

PAUL SHOWELL
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CONDUCTOR

paulshowellPaul began playing the piano at the tender age of 3 and was encouraged to begin piano lessons as soon as possible. He entered the tuition of Miss Barbara Watson and later with Miss Hilary Dilnot.

Paul read music at the University of Huddersfield studying on the BMus performance degree course under the guidance of Paul Feehan. Further postgraduate study led Paul to Trinity College of Music, London, under the tuition of Douglas Finch & Roger Green.

As a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral pianist concert performances have included the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Fairfield Halls, St David's Hall, Symphony Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Republic Hall in Malta and St Michael’s Cathedral in Belgium. He has performed as a member of various chamber ensembles, most notably the Acacia Ensemble and Off the Peg.

Paul has also enjoyed performing with such orchestras as the National Orchestra of Belgium, The Halle (whilst studying), BBC Philharmonic (whilst studying), Royal Philharmonic, Kidenza Orchestra, Her Majesty's Irish Guards and the All Souls Symphony Orchestra. Paul has been fortunate enough to work with conductors such as Sir John Eliott Gardiner, Luciano Berio, Johan de Meji and Noel Tredinnick.
Paul has vibrant energy and passion for music that inspires performers and composers alike, and his dynamic approach when working with musicians sustains their enthusiasm for the delight that music brings to all.

As well as working as a freelance conductor, musical director and pianist, Paul currently holds the post of Director of Music at Bennett Music Academy (Bennett Memorial School) conducting choirs, orchestras and bands whilst being the artistic director of the Bennett Music Academy. In September of 2016 Paul will become the Director of Music at Eltham College. Paul also teaches Piano and is a performance coach for pianists, accompanists and musical theatre and performance graduate / post graduate students.

 

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RACHEL MCILWHAM
ORCHESTRAL LEADER

Rachel studied the violin with Hugh Bean and Rodney Friend at The Royal College of Music where she won several prizes, and enjoyed masterclasses with Igor Oistrakh and Dorothy Delay (from The Julliard School, New York). During her time at The RCM, Rachel Co-led The Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra and played with The European Community Youth Orchestra. One of the highlights of her time at The RCM was performing for a Royal banquet at Buckingham Palace, where Rachel met The Queen, and many members of The Royal Family and Cabinet.

In 1992, within six months of leaving The RCM, Rachel was offered jobs with The BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Royal Opera House Orchestra, The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and The London Philharmonic Orchestra the last of which she accepted.

During the next 10 years with The LPO, Rachel toured the world, recorded CDs, played for film soundtracks (including Philadelphia,Madame Butterfly,The Celland The Lord of The Rings) and gave many concerts, both solo and Chamber Music. Rachel also played 10 seasons at Glyndebourne and enjoyed many wonderful summers of opera and picnics!

Also during her time with The LPO Rachel became very involved with The orchestra's Education Department taking on the role of Education Co-Ordinator. Here Rachel gained vast experience in many different facets of music education including training with some of the country's leading Music Education Consultants; completing a course in Music Therapy; writing, planning and leading workshops in a wide variety of different schools; and taking projects as far as Germany, Austria, USA and South Africa.