- Category: Conductors
Andrew Porter was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and attended Chethams School of Music in Manchester, completing his A levels before attending the Royal Northern College of Music completing a BA in musical performance. Andrew enlisted into the Army in January 2003. He began his career as a euphonium player, and his first assignment was to the Band of The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). During his time with the REME, Andrew toured most of Europe and in 2006 Andrew was invited to Washington DC to perform recitals at the United States Army Band Tuba and Euphonium Conference (TUSABTEC), returning in 2007 to perform a concerto, in the presence of the composer, with the United States Army Orchestra. In June 2007 Andrew was selected as the Principal Euphonium of the British Army Brass Band.
In 2007 Andrew was selected to attend the Student Bandmasters’ Course at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. At the end of the three year course, he gained a first class honours degree and received awards in conducting and the overall Academic prize. His first assignment as a WO1 Bandmaster was to the Band of The King’s Division. Whilst with the King’s Andrew worked closely with the local communities, enhancing the bands outreach programme and performing with the band regularly on BBC Radio Lancashire. In 2012 he took part in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and with the band, led the British Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Andrew deployed on Op HERRICK 18 In May 2013 and was assigned to the Afghan National Army Officers Academy (ANAOA) in Qargha, Kabul. As the Course Development Warrant Officer Andrew worked closely with the education departments and mentors, writing and collating lesson plans. He also had to manage the Translation Pool, ensuring that lessons, minutes of meetings and doctrine were all translated accurately and on time.
After his deployment, Andrew was assigned to the Household Division as Bandmaster of the Band of the Irish Guards in February 2014.
When he is not making music, Andrew is a keen fun runner and when the opportunity arises will compete in fun runs. Recently he tok part in Mens Health Survival of the Fittest, London Urban Obstacle Course Race. In his spare time Andrew enjoys working with and helping community based bands in their musical output and activities.
- Category: Conductors
A post-graduate of the Royal College of Music and a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Jonathan is a seasoned musician and performer. As a trumpet player he has enjoyed success and acclaim in competition; he is a concerto prize winner having performed Hummel's Trumpet Concerto in the Duke's Hall, Royal Academy of Music. Jonathan was selected to take part in the Erasmus overseas music exchange programme. In Leipzig, Germany he performed Bach's Weihnacht Oratorium in Thomas Kirche and Mozart's Die Sauber Flöte in Leipzig Opern Haus. Other professional associations have included WNO, BBC NOW, Sinfonia Cymru, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Opera House, Royal Covent Garden.
Jonathan is currently the Bandmaster of the Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Logistic Corps. His career in army music started as a member of the Band of the Irish Guards. He enjoyed a busy musical schedule with them, both in the UK and abroad, completing tours of the USA, Canada and Germany. Jonathan was a featured soloist at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, 2013, performing 'War Horse'. He is an active freelance player, especially in the London area, performing in orchestras, operas, musicals, recordings and brass groups throughout the year. Whilst maintaining a varied performance schedule, he is an active teacher; working in schools and privately.
Jonathan commenced his appointment, with Surrey Brass as Musical Director, in February 2016 and is enjoying a busy rehearsal and concert schedule with them. He is in demand as a conductor and clinician working with numerous chamber ensembles in London. Since it's conception in 2010, Jonathan has been the Musical Director and manager of the London Productions Ensembles. The London Productions Orchestra and Brass Ensemble have a busy schedule, they are the featured ensemble at the annual Insider Insurance Honours Awards at Old Billingsgate.
In 2019 Jon was appointed Bandmaster of The Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and following his posting abroad in Summer will be unable to conduct Surrey Brass regularly, however he intends to renew the performing relationship whenever his military duties permit.
Jonathan is married to Corinne and they have 2 children, Max and Autumn. Corinne is a professional lyric soprano, Max is a keen singer and violinist and Autumn enjoys anything to do with music, dance and James Bond!
- Category: Conductors
William Petter is a freelance choral director, tenor and singing teacher based in London. He began his musical life as a chorister at New College, Oxford, under the direction of Edward Higginbottom. Whilst studying for a degree in Neuroscience at University College, London, he started singing as a tenor, and went on to study as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music, for which he gained the highest award, distinction with DipRAM.
He has been musical director of Concordia Voices since 2011, and also directs the professional choir of St Magnus the Martyr, and chamber choir Sine Nomine Singers. He previously directed the Orpington and District Free Church Choir, performing many great works with them including Bach Easter Oratorio, Handel Messiah, Stainer Crucifixion, Mendelssohn Elijah, as well as Mozart Requiem, Solemn Vespers K339, Piano Concerto no 23 in collaboration with Forest Philharmonic. He teaches singing at Orchard House School and St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, as well as having a flourishing private practice.
As a singer, he enjoys a busy oratorio career, working for groups including Oxford Bach Choir, Oxford Harmonic Society, Hull Bach Choir, Queens Park Singers, Chigwellian Singers and Benson Choral Society. He gives recitals and has performed Die Schöne Müllerin in Oxford, Petts Wood and Burgh House, Hampstead, and an English song recital in Oxford, for which he was given an award by the John Ireland trust. He also enjoys consort work, working with groups including The Sixteen, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Philharmonia Voices, Britten Sinfonia Voices, London Voices, Westminster Abbey Choir, Westminster Cathedral Choir and other London church choirs. Future plans include recording the St Magnus Choir’s first CD, leading a choral workshop of Fauré Requiem for Arts Richmond and singing the part of the Evangelist in Bach St Matthew Passion for Carshalton Choral Society.
We are sorry to report that William passed away in September 2016 after following a 3-year battle with cancer. He was 34.
- Category: Conductors
Levon Parikian has been described as a 'brilliant young conductor' by the Sunday Telegraph, 'the most stylish batsman I have seen at this level' by his cricket captain Ken Saberi, and 'dadadada' by his son Oliver.
These statements have all undergone rigorous forensic analysis by crime scene experts like what you see on the telly, and they have all been found to be mostly accurate, depending on your point of view.
The second statement, for example, is hotly disputed by his brother, and unkind critics have suggested that the use of the word 'young' in the first statement represents, at the very least, a discreet massaging of the truth. The veracity of the third statement is not in dispute.
Lev's hobbies include avoiding housework, trying to remember why he came upstairs, and making retaliatory hoax calls to call centres.
Surrey Brass has trusted him to wag a stick for our Carols By Candlelight concerts, and hope to be able to invite Levon back to do other things in future.
Levon has been associated with a very large number of orchestras, some of whom keep asking him back, including:
- Kingston Philharmonic Orchestra
- Nova Symphony Orchestra
- Camden Chamber Orchestra
- The Rehearsal Orchestra
- City Of Oxford Sinfonia
- The Brent Symphony Orchestra
- West Forest Sinfonia
- The Phoenix Orchestra
- Category: Conductors
Robin Smith was the first Musical Director of Surrey Brass, and was influential during its founding. In 2001 he was approached by John Goodwin, who asked him to lead the brand new ensemble. Robin was extremely enthusiastic and was highly influential in getting the new ensemble "off the ground" and conducted it for several years. He returned in 2019 to resume conducting the ensemble.
He is the third generation of his family to be a brass player: his grandfather was a renowned cornetist with the Gloucester Salvation Army and his father, Malcolm ‘Smudge’ Smith was Principal Trumpet with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
Robin studied the trumpet at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Today, he is a professional trumpeter and educator in London having performed and recorded with most of the major London symphony orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Further afield he has worked with Guildford Philharmonic, The Ulster Orchestra and Orquesta Symphonica de Tenerife.
Robin’s main passion in music is education. He specialises in coaching brass ensembles currently having six under his baton, including the Dulwich Brass Collective. He is Head of Brass at Dulwich College. Robin has also taught at The Centre for Young Musicians in central London.
Living in South East London, Robin has taught the fourth and fifth generations of Smiths to play the trumpet, his sister Katie and children Erin & Toby.