ABOUT US

At Peak District Music Centres we believe in inspiring young people with a life-long passion for music-making. With the enjoyment and enthusiasm that comes from being part of an ensemble, and encouraged by a wonderful team of experienced and dedicated directors and players, our young musicians gain in confidence and skill with every rehearsal. We want all our young people to achieve their full potential and we constantly strive for excellence; our concerts and performances are renowned across the Peak District and beyond. Many of our young musicians continue their music for years to come, some in successful careers in music and the arts.

We want every young person to be able to experience music making, whatever their background, and we are able to help in cases of financial hardship too. In the “PDMC family” young people and parents alike find a warm and encouraging welcome.

WHY MUSIC?

Music and music-making have been proven to positively impact the lives of those who take part. For children and young people this can include:

 

ENSEMBLE DIRECTORS

CHRIS BURGE
Hope Valley Beginner Winds

Chris developed an early passion for jazz, inspiring him to study at Leeds College of Music, specialising in Jazz Performance on the trombone. His career highlights include performing at the Royal Albert Hall, with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, recording soundtracks and playing for touring theatre shows.

 

Chris teaches all brass instruments, working with whole-class and one to one instrumental tuition from beginner to post Grade 8. 

KRISTINA CRAVEN
Training String Orchestra

Kristina has always been an enthusiastic musician, playing cello, piano and writing her own music. Kristina studied music at the Purcell School of Music, The University of York and gaining a PGCE at the University of Cambridge. Kristina teaches the Hope Valley Beginner Strings and Training Orchestra and is Head of Music at Hope Valley College.

 

Highlights include performing Chamber Music at the Wigmore Hall and having a composition premiered at The Sage Gateshead! 

JASON CURTEIS
Buxton Beginner Strings & Intermediate String Orchestra

Jason has been involved in PDMC since a child and went on to study viola at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After playing professionally in Portugal, Jason has been teaching in the area for over 25 years. His PDMC highlights have been the tours with the PDSO, visiting Granada, Belgium and most recently Ireland.

 

He has been fortunate to teach pupils from beginners to advanced levels including some who have performed in The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

JOHN MILNER
Peak District Big Band (PDBB)

John loved big bands since an early age – obsessed with Duke Ellington and setting up his first band aged 15, he has been running one ever since.

 

As a drummer he was heard on BBC Radio’s Pick of the Week; his Ellington piano recital was the Daily Telegraph’s Pick of the Day, and he had a brief diversion playing at Glastonbury with a ska band. John has a PhD about a famous American big band leader (guess who...).

 

His highlight of the regular PDBB calendar is playing at the Leek Arts Festival.

Ben Simnett
Buxton Beginner Winds

Ben is a clarinettist and teacher. Since completing a Masters in performance at the Royal Northern College of Music, Ben has performed with a number of Chamber ensembles and currently with the Marsyas Quintet. 

Ben has worked in a broad range of education settings, from individual lessons to whole class secondary music. He particularly enjoys bringing together aspiring performers and helping them to develop their skills together in ensembles, small or large.

JANE TAYLOR
Bakewell Beginner Winds & Intermediate Wind Band

Jane is a clarinettist and a woodwind teacher, with a particular enjoyment of chamber music, performing regularly with the Muskoka Wind Quintet. Jane teaches individual and group lessons in schools and delivers whole class instrumental programmes. Jane is also the Clarinet and Saxophone tutor for the Derbyshire City and County Youth Wind Band.

As a long-standing member of PDMC, Jane enjoys inspiring a love of music in young people.

GAVIN USHER
Peak District String Orchestra (PDSO) and Youth Choir

Gavin has worked extensively as a music director, including with the award-winning Barnsley Youth Choirs and founding his own musical theatre company based in Sheffield – Cutting Edge. Gavin enjoys freelancing as a violinist and has worked extensively in education, recently being the music lead on Opera North’s acclaimed In Harmony initiative.

 

He is now PDMC’s Strategic Director of Music and his favourite moment was taking PDSO on tour to Belfast in 2018.

GARETH WIDDOWSON
Peak District Wind Band (PDWB)

Gareth studied music at Sheffield University, graduating with a Music degree and PhD in composition. He plays the piano but is most at home playing percussion in large ensembles. Gareth teaches whole class percussion in Derbyshire and conducts the Sheffield University Wind Orchestra. He has conducted the PDWB since 2016.

 

Gareth is most proud of the joint concerts PDWB do with Dark Peak Concert Band and the tour to the Netherlands.

 

PDMC IS A CHARITY

In brief, our Objects are to advance musical education, principally of school age young people in an area bounded by Buxton, Bakewell and Hope Valley, by the provision of:

 

  • structured music ensembles to enable participation and progression and to develop confidence and enjoyment

  • regular rehearsals, performance opportunities and enrichment activities such as tours and workshops

  • opportunities for teamwork and leadership

TRUSTEES

Peak District Music Centres has a dedicated group of trustees which oversee the running of the organisation.

David Brindley (Chair), Jon Kilpatrick (Vice-chair)

Helen Payne, Simon Marrow, Hannah Watson, Amanda Whittlestone, Nick Buttle, Michelle Birch, Cath Pitts

 

Quality music | Lifelong impact

GET IN TOUCH

Please get in touch if you want to find our more about joining one of our ensembles

admin@pdmc.org.uk

registered charity no. 1187080

REGISTRATION

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