Trombonist and conductor Richard Ward and opera singer Rachel Nicholls have been appointed as Head of Brass and Head of Voice respectively

VOCALISTS and brass players at the University of Huddersfield now have their studies supervised by one of the most exciting opera singers of her generation, and by a trombonist who has played with leading orchestras and conducted at the Royal Albert Hall.

The new Head of Voice is Rachel Nicholls, a soprano who has performed and recorded a wide range of operatic and concert repertoire under conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle and Valery Gergiev.

The new Head of Brass is Richard Ward, who has played for West End shows as well as appeared with orchestras that include the Royal Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony.  He has also recorded film soundtracks and directed the brass band in residence at the Royal College of Music, taking part in the National Championships at the Royal Albert Hall.  In 2015, it gained the highest marks ever scored by a London-based band.

The Deputy Head of Music and Drama at the University of Huddersfield, Dr Lisa Colton, is delighted by the two new appointments, designed to bolster her department’s established reputation for the teaching of singing and brass playing.

We are looking forward to the opportunity to work with Richard and Rachel, whose international profile as performers can help us to ensure that our music courses attract the very best singers and brass players nationally and from around the world

Dr Lisa Colton, Deputy Head of Music and Drama

At Huddersfield, Rachel and Richard will advise on the performance curriculum, assist and lead recruitment and admissions-related activities, and act as advocates for brass and voice at the University.

They will also work closely with the rest of the performance staff at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Music.  They include leading performers such Emily Worthington (woodwind), David Milsom (strings), Jonathan Fisher (keyboard) and Toby Martin (pop instruments).

Rachel Nicholls

Rachel Nicholls

New Head of Voice Rachel Nicholls states that she is a “is a passionate advocate of music education” and combines it with a performing career that has earned her an acclaimed reputation in the works of composers that range from Monteverdi and Mozart to Bach and Beethoven.  As a dramatic soprano, she has also made her mark in the operas of Wagner, winning praise for her Brünnhilde in a complete Ring cycle for Longborough Festival Opera in 2013.

Her recordings include major Bach works, and Rachel has frequently sung overseas.  She has also appeared as a guest soloist with Huddersfield Choral Society, when it performed Haydn’s Nelson Mass.

Richard Ward

Richard Ward

New Head of Brass Richard Ward is from Yorkshire and is a fourth-generation brass player.  He studied at Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music and has been a London-based trombone player for over twenty years.

In addition to playing with major long-established orchestras he has also appeared with some of the leading new generation of ensembles including the Aurora, Heritage and Mahler Chamber Orchestras. 

He has performed in over two dozen West End musicals, and in addition to film and television soundtracks he has taken part in recording sessions for chart-topping pop and classical albums.

As an educator, Richard has worked with Trinity Laban Conservatoire and the Palestine Youth Orchestra and has been musical director of Zone One Brass, at the Royal College of Music in London.  He also conducted professional ensembles, including the Philharmonia Orchestra.