Joe Howson is a versatile and award-winning pianist based in London, working in a range of settings including
solo recitals, chamber music, orchestral playing, repetiteurship, pedagogy, dance accompaniment, outreach
work and improvisation. Joe’s broad and adventurous solo repertoire spans from the baroque to the present.
He is particularly interested in the neglected piano repertoire of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries,
from neoclassical and jazz-influenced music of the 1920s to post-minimalist and crossover genres of
He completed his MMus studies in 2019 at the Royal College of Music with Danny Driver, where he was
awarded prizes for Lieder and English Song accompaniment, contemporary music, was finalist in the Chappell
Medal competition, and performed concertos with the New Perspectives Ensemble and Wind Orchestra. Prior
to his time at RCM, he was an undergraduate at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where he now works as a staff
pianist for the vocal and wind departments. He has also trained with the BBC Symphony Orchestra ‘Pathways’
Scheme, Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, British Youth Opera, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
NEXT scheme, London Sinfonietta Academy, and the Philharmonia MMSF Instrumental Fellowship.
Recent performance highlights include: with Das Neue Ensemble in Hannover, multiple chamber performances
with Sinfonia Cymru, solo recitals at the Brighton and Lichfield Festivals, and residency as the Robert Turnbull
Piano Fellow at New Music on the Point in Vermont.
He is grateful to have received support from the Craxton Memorial Trust, Philharmonia MMSF, the Countess of
Munster Musical Trust, RCM Mike Rimmer Scholarship, and the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
Olivia Jago is a Welsh violinist currently based in Shropshire. Having graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2019, she has since worked with orchestras across the U.K. including the Orchestra of the Swan, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Sinfonia Cymru and the English Symphony Orchestra. For the last two years she has been part of the BCMG Next Musician Cohort and is really excited to performing today with her colleagues from the same project. Olivia is currently taught by Zoe Beyers, leader of the BBC Philharmonic.
Beth completed her postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2021, studying with Nicholas Cox, Raphael Schenkel, and Chris Swann, graduating with a Distinction. She enjoys orchestral playing, recently performing with the Halle in their season finale concert performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Sir Mark Elder. She has also performed this year with the Orchestra of the Light Music Society and Northern Film Orchestra on clarinet and bass clarinet. She is a regular dep in the orchestras at Chetham’s School of Music, last month playing E flat Clarinet in Stravinsky’s the Rite of Spring with conductor Ben Palmer. Beth enjoys contemporary music, and for 2021-2 was a NEXT musician on the side-by-side course with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Through this she has performed all over Birmingham, including at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, CBSO Centre, and Symphony Hall, performing on clarinet, basset clarinet, basset horn, and bass clarinet. Beth has played in composer workshops with Emily Howard and Michael Zev Gordon, leading to Beth playing the concert premiere of Michael Zev Gordon’s Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet in April 2021.
Rosie enjoys a varied musical career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. She is especially passionate about the integration of music into all communities and enjoys working with organisations such as TiPP (Theatre in Prisons and Probation), SoundUp Arts, The Messengers, Hackney Music Service, Hanson Community Arts and the Benedetti Foundation. In 2016, she began her undergraduate at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied with Hannah Roberts and Jennifer Langridge. She is currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Timothy Lowe.
Rosie is a founder of the Larisa Piano Trio, who are an award-winning chamber group formed in 2016 at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. Holders of the prestigious St James’s Prize as well as the Christopher Rowland Chamber Music Ensemble of the Year Award, they have had many competitive successes. The trio were invited to play in Wigmore Hall in a masterclass with György Pauk. Rosie has been accepted onto the NEXT scheme with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, with whom she performed in Birmingham Symphony Hall, BSO and the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Highlights of her orchestral experience include being invited to play with The Manchester Camerata as part of their professional experience scheme and playing in Leeds Town Hall as part of Nicola Benedetti’s Four Seasons Tour. She played again with Benedetti in a string orchestra under Leonard Elschenbroich, which was featured on Classic FM. Always eager to combine her love of the arts with her music making, in 2019 Rosie created the film and musical score ‘Lines’. She has recently composed a piece written for solo cello in collaboration with Colin Blundell, which she recently premiered the Belfry Centre for Music and Art in 2020.
Liz Grant is an Assistant Principal of the University of Edinburgh, the Professor of Global Health and Development and the Director of the University’s Global Health Academy. Liz co-directs the university wide Global Compassion Initiative, on the science and practice of compassion Her research spans global and planetary health and healthcare in contexts of poverty and conflict – and compassion as the value base of the Sustainable Development Goals. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) and a Fellow the Royal College of
Physicians in Edinburgh (RCPE).
She sits on the Scottish Government NHS Global Citizenship Board, and on the Steering Group for Health Information for All. Previously Liz was the Senior Health Advisor to the Scottish Government’s International Development Team working primarily in Malawi. She has worked for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) in the Public Health Directorate in Lothian. She is an advisor to a number of global health charities, and serves as a trustee for CBM Scotland and a member of the One Health FIELD work for Syrian refugees.
Derek Mitchell was born and raised in Ayrshire and has spent most of his working life in local government in a variety of management and public policy positions. He worked for the first Scottish Government as a Policy Advisor before joining COSLA in 2005, where he became a Chief Officer leading on work with both the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as other key stakeholders. He became Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) in August 2017. CAS is the national support organisation for Citizens Advice Bureaux across Scotland which has over 2500 volunteers and 1000 staff. The values and ethos of the service have stood the test of time and Derek’s passion and drive is to give a voice to people who otherwise would not be heard and ensuring policy makers understand the real needs of many people in Scotland when making decisions. He lives in Edinburgh.
Jason Leitch has worked for the Scottish Government since 2007 and in January 2015 was appointed as The National Clinical Director in the Health and Social Care Directorate. He is a Scottish Government Director and a member of the Health and Social Care Management Board. He is one of the senior team responsible for the NHS in Scotland and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Dundee. Jason was the 2011 UK Clinician of the Year and is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). He was a 2005-06 Quality Improvement Fellow at IHI, in Boston, sponsored by the Health Foundation.
Jason is also a trustee of the UK wing of the Indian Rural Evangelical Fellowship which runs orphanages in southeast India. He has a doctorate from the University of Glasgow, an MPH from Harvard and is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Jason was appointed to NHS England review group led by Don Berwick looking into the patient safety elements of the Francis Inquiry
Jenny Walter is Interim Director of Programmes, Mercy Corps. Jenny began working in humanitarian programmes in 2004 in northern Uganda, followed by roles in Sudan and South Sudan with UNHCR; and Sri Lanka with Norwegian People's Aid. Jenny began working for Mercy Corps in 2008, and has held several programme roles including Senior Programme Officer and Programmes & Partnerships Advisor. In 2014, Jenny led the agency Protection strategy in collaboration with Humanitarian Leadership Response and Gender Equality & Social Inclusion teams which helped further prioritise safeguarding and protection within the organisation. In 2020, Jenny took on the role as Senior Partnerships Advisor, including providing expertise on UK government requirements to Gender, Social Inclusion & Protection.
Jenny has an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London.
Dr Lesley Orr is a historian and activist for gender and social justice, and an honorary fellow of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh. Her current research interests (all with a focus on 20th century Scotland) include war resistance and peace movements, the history of Women’s Aid, and the historical relationship between faith, religious institutions and feminism. She teaches on the gendering of religion, violence and peacebuilding, and is currently working on a biography of Red Clydeside war resistance leader Helen Crawfurd. She has extensive experience of working in NGOs and the public sector, including the Scottish Government. Lesley has had longstanding involvement in movements to challenge gender inequality, violence and abuse in faith communities and wider society. She was consultant to the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010, is engaged in initiatives for active citizenship in Scotland and a longtime member of the Iona Community, which is committed to action for just and sustainable peace. She chairs Stellar Quines, the intersectional feminist theatre company.
Live Music Now was founded by legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1977, along with his close friend and philanthropist, Sir Ian Stoutzker. During the Second World War, Yehudi Menuhin played for the Allied Forces, often in the most challenging of circumstances, and directly experienced how music could benefit those who were sick, lonely, traumatised and reconcile differences between people and nations. learn more
Lesley Anne Derks graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1999 with a BA (hons) Fine Art Drawing and Painting. Her early work was inspired by the lights of the Grangemouth petrochemical complex and this influence led to her painting predominantly cityscapes at night. More recently she has begun to explore lights in a different way, focusing on interiors, in particular chandeliers and the different lights they can convey. She has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and abroad with her work appearing in leading magazines and newspapers such as The Strand Magazine, Artists and Illustrators, Fine Art Collector and the Scotsman. She regularly works to commission and has produced work for Scottish Power and the Royal Navy.
On the effects lockdown had on her work, she says:
‘Art was my solace throughout the pandemic as my mum sadly took ill at the beginning of the first lockdown and never fully recovered dying the beginning of 2021. A week after her death I found out I had caught Covid. The tragedy of losing my mum and the after-effects of Covid, made me seriously reflect on life and the fragility of it. Art is an integral part of my life, but my experience throughout the pandemic made me realise I had all these idea/plans that I had put on the back burner over the years. When the first lockdown was imminent, I entered an annual art competition I had always meant to enter and never got round to, and I got to the final. I also lecture and the way I taught changed substantially throughout the pandemic; adapting to teaching practical activities online was a huge learning curve and took a lot of time. It was a bit of a juggling act trying to adapt to these new experiences, but I realised I still had to address all those ideas I had for my art and bring these to fruition. I had always wished to paint an image of an interior I took in Budapest, so I started that, not for any show but just for me. I had sheets of aluminium I always intended to experiment on so began exploring that. I also had been looking at a course on resin for years, so I finally booked and attended it last year. I’m excited to see where all these ideas will take my art!’