A Music Festival For The Tees Valley

The adjudicators for the 2018 festival will be:

John Gough


John Gough was born and bred in Chester and enjoys a busy and varied career. Engagements have taken him to America (including Carnegie Hall), Denmark and throughout the United Kingdom. He has given frequent broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and also recorded for Radio 2, Classic FM, World Service, S4CTV and BBC TV.
As a soloist he has appeared with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halle soloists. He has performed at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall on several occasions and at the Buxton and Chester Festivals.
Following his studies with Marjorie Clementi and Gordon Green at the Royal Northern College of Music he won several scholarships and prizes including the John Ireland Centenary Piano Competition at the Wigmore Hall.
As a chamber music player he has given live broadcasts of the complete piano quartets of Brahms, Dvorak and Faure.
He has given recitals at the Ribble Valley international Piano Week, a live broadcast from the Bridgwater Hall, Manchester and for many seasons was the soloist with the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra in concerts at many stately homes throughout England. He made his screen debut with a brief appearance in the film “Hilary and Jackie”. He has appeared under such conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Edward Warren and Timothy Reynish and in concert with Martin Roscoe, Jane Irwin , Louise Winter and Janet Hilton.

He is currently Senior Tutor in Piano at the Royal Northern College of Music, Tutor at Chetham’s School of Music, RNCM Junior School, and Manchester University.  He has examined at the Royal Academy of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and more recently at the Birmingham Conservatoire

Caroline Clemmow


Caroline Clemmow, ARCM, LRAM, ARAM, was awarded a piano scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she won many prizes for both solo and ensemble playing. As a chamber musician she collaborated with many instrumentalists and singers, and became a founder member of the Hartley Piano Trio, which gained international recognition by its concert and festival appearances, broadcasts and numerous recordings, including the complete trios of Spohr on the Naxos label.
While also performing concertos and giving recitals as a soloist Caroline derives particular pleasure from the field of chamber music; she has worked with such diverse groups as Serenata, Kaleidoscope and the Koenig Ensemble, and has covered an extremely wide repertoire, ranging from the classics and romantics to complex twentieth-century works. In addition to this wide range, collaboration with Evelyn Glennie has resulted in the performance of percussion-and-piano repertoire. Her many activities have led to numerous London concerts, regular broadcasts and invitations to major festivals.
An important part of her work was the celebrated piano duo with the late Anthony Goldstone, who died in 2017. Described by Gramophone as “a dazzling husband and wife team”, they were critically acclaimed for their pioneering broadcasts and CD recordings which number over forty, including a ground-breaking seven-CD cycle of the complete original piano duets of Schubert. Their B.B.C. broadcasts often included first hearings of unjustly neglected works, and they built up an international following.
As a teacher, Caroline is experienced in advanced tuition, with former pupils pursuing music studies in prestigious London institutions and at Oxford University. Adjudication (including B.B.C. Young Musician, International Young Concert Artists etc.), coaching (various summer schools) and examining (for the Associated Board) also form part of her varied career.


Kevin Thraves

Kevin Thraves was born in Cheltenham and studied at the Royal College of Music.
As a freelance repetiteur, Kevin has worked for many leading opera companies including Scottish Opera, Opera North, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Essential Scottish Opera, Clonter Opera, Batignano Musica nel Chiostro (Italy), Scottish Opera-Go-Round, Essential Scottish Opera and the Buxton Festival.  He has also worked alongside many of the UK’s leading orchestras including the Hallé, the BBC Concert Orchestra - during the Proms season at the Royal Albert Hall, the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, The Academy of Ancient Music and the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, Barry Wordsworth, Sir Richard Armstrong, Tugan Sokhiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Peter Robinson and Edward Gardner.  
His work as an accompanist and repetiteur has led to many recordings and broadcasts for radio and television both in the UK and abroad for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Classic FM, EMI Classics, Chandos and Global TV. Kevin has recorded and worked on the soundtracks for various films and television dramas, one of which received a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Music.
UK concert appearances include Wigmore Hall, The Purcell Room, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, St John’s Smith Square, St Martin in-the-Fields, The Royal Albert Hall, St David’s Hall in Cardiff and The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
Kevin has a busy and varied recital career which has led to performances at many of the leading international music festivals including Wratislavia Cantans (Poland), Longborough Festival Opera (UK), Making Music (Malta), Culture and Charity Festival (Jordan), Festival de Musique d’Uzerche (France) and the Mananan International Festival of Music and the Arts (IOM) where he is the current musical director of the annual international opera festival.
Kevin is Deputy Head of Opera at the RNCM where he has worked on many of the award winning operas as music staff, repetiteur and as the RNCM Opera chorus master.

Simon Fidler  

Simon Fidler is a choral conductor based in the north east of England.  Educated in Newcastle upon Tyne and Sheffield, Simon is the music director and founder of Voices of Hope, the award winning chamber choir.  With premiere performances of new works by Agustin Fernandez, Ian Stephenson, Kathryn Tickell and John Kefala Kerr, and collaborations with Sage Gateshead, Northern Chords and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, the choir has become one of the most sought after in the UK.
In 2015 Simon has prepared the chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia for performances of Beethoven’s ninth symphony with Nicholas McGegan and Queen Symphony with Tolga Kashif.  Later this year he will prepare choruses for a new opera collaboration between Music in the Minster and Sunderland Football Club (written by David Almond and Marcos Fernandez) and for a commission from Durham Council for new choral works to commemorate World War 1.
Simon is one of three British musicians involved in Singing Cities, and worked throughout Europe in 2014/15 to work with other conductors, performers and composers on schemes to make singing accessible to all. Simon trains six choirs across the different singing programmes at Sage Gateshead, Sunderland University Choir and is a regular guest conductor with the University of Newcastle Symphony Orchestra and All Saints Choir, Gosforth.  He has also directed Leeds College of Music Choral Society, Lemington Male Voice Choir and the university choirs of Northumbria and Newcastle. Whilst an undergraduate Simon also founded Newcastle Sinfonietta, a chamber orchestra intended to bring student musicians together with players from the wider musical community. 
Simon’s Come and Sing days are in demand - he delivers them regularly for Sage Gateshead, 20,000 Voices and U3A and this year for Leeds College of Music and the West Cumberland Choral Society.  
Simon was nominated for an Arts Foundation Fellowship 2015, for choral conducting.  He is a Lay Clerk at Newcastle cathedral and studies singing with Alison Barton and Rebecca Coulson. This year he is studying choral conducting with Peter Broadbent.

Emily Smith  

Soprano Emily Smith studied opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and then returned to her North East roots where she began teaching singing to children and adults in many different educational establishments and community projects. She is a keen advocate for taking classical music into unlikely settings, from teaching opera to homeless people to running GP referral choirs. She runs the Teesside University Rock and Gospel choir and Middlesbrough Community choir and is currently works for ‘Sing Up’ in Primary schools throughout North Yorkshire and the Northeast. She is Vocal animateur and artist in residence for the education departments of Opera North and Scottish Opera and vocal coach for the Youth and Children’s Choir of Andalucía, the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain and Director of Children’s Choir at the Sage, Gateshead. As well as maintaining a busy teaching schedule, Emily regularly performs recitals, oratorios and operas throughout the UK and Spain.


​Clive Harries

Clive Harries began his adjudicating work whilst still a student at King’s College, Cambridge, in
1971. He adjudicated at the Hastings Festival for 3 days on the recommendation of a very
experienced adjudicator who was taken ill, and thereafter was invited back to the Festival for many
years. One choral director says he remembers the adjudicating remarks ab
out his school choir to
this day; Clive Harries remembers identifying the potential of a 6 year old girl who broke down in
her singing class but still sang very sweetly. He encouraged her to continue, gave some advice on
finding notes and keeping going, and was delighted to be approached by her about 15 years later at
the Hastings Festival, told she was studying singing at the Royal Academy of Music and that she
remembered the encouragement when she received her first adjudication
when she was 6. He
became the youngest Life Adjudicator-Member of the British Federation of Festivals in 1972.
More recently, he has adjudicated for 7 successive years in the Rotary Young Musician of the Year
competition in York, and is also invited to adjudicate this year once more.
His music studies were principally organ at Eton College where he studied with Philip Moore,
(who became Organist at York Minster) and at King’s College,
Cambridge, where he studied with
Sir David Willcocks for his Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He had won
an Open Choral Scholarship to King’s in 1979, where he sang in the world-famous choir for 4
years, studied for his MA degree, diplomas and teaching qualifications, and studied singing, piano
and harpsichord with international teachers.
Post-Cambridge he worked in the professional singing, conducting and organ playing world. He
ame Organist and Master of the Choristers at Christchurch Priory a teacher at renowned
independent schools, a music examiner and conductor. Presently, he sings in Ripon Cathedral and
York Minster, and periodically assists locally with organ playing in Ripon and Middlesbrough
Cathedrals. He has also ventured further afield, such as Brunei, Bangalore and Hong Kong, where
he was Artist in Residence, particularly associated with playing, conducting and teaching for St
John’s Cathedral and St Paul’s College.
Over the years, whilst conducting choirs and orchestras such as the
York Early Music Choir and
English Renaissance Orchestra, his teaching has encouraged many pupils to study in Cambridge
and the universities as Choral and Organ Scholars. Two of his four sons sang as Choristers at
King’s, and another was at Durham Cathedral.
Last summer he returned to King’s College where he gave an organ
recital on the newly renovated
Chapel Organ. In October last year he visited USA for playing and singing, where he inaugurated
the 25th Anniversary series of recitals in Chestertown, NJ, his having played in the inaugural
series of recitals 25 years ago when the fine new instrument by Harrison Organs was installed.
He has adjudicated in Middlesbrough and Stockton festivals and is looking forward to the pleasure
of supporting the work of Shine Festival. He wishes the Festival every success in its exciting early

Jenny Hesford - Accompanist

Having studied music at Edinburgh University, and later in Würzburg, where she occupied the position of staff accompanist at the Musikhochschule, she has performed extensively, both here and on the continent as an accompanist and chamber musician. She enjoys teaching and accompanying various local choral groups.