Find out more about our Director of Training, and the team of tutors who lead and support our courses

Amy Bebbington, Director of Training

Amy is a passionate advocate for choral singing and choral conductor training. She is sought-after for her dynamic and engaging teaching style, and her wealth of choral pedagogical experience. Graduating with First Class Honours and a Master's Degree in Piano Performance (UK), Amy went on to be awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts, specialising in Choral Conducting, from Texas Tech University (USA). She is the Director of Training for abcd, tutors on their extended courses, sits on its advisory council and was the Artistic Director of its annual convention in Winchester, 2016.

Amy is a founder of the inaugural London International Choral Conducting Competition, and sat on the jury of its inaugural event, which took place at the RAM in October 2018. Amy is also a co-founder of Wavelength, an organisation established to serve and celebrate women in all areas of choral leadership. Amy has taught choral conducting for The University of Cambridge, Sing Ireland, Sherborne International Summer School, The Royal College of Organists, the Military Wives' Choral Association, the ISM and the Hallé Youth Choir. She has successfully established her own Choral Conducting Masterclass Series, which has taken place in Surrey, Durham and London. Amy has worked closely with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain as Course Director, Musicianship Tutor and Guest Tutor. She has adjudicated for festivals in the UK and Ireland, is a published composer, and in great demand as a choral clinician, animateur and teacher. Amy currently directs The Royal Academy of Music Aural Skills Choir, Corra Sound, Harlequin Chamber Choir, Holmbury Choral, Sir William Perkins's School Chamber Choir and Nota Bene.

Peter Broadbent

Peter Broadbent is one of Britain's leading choral conductors, known for his consistent commitment to contemporary music. In 1988, he formed the Joyful Company of Singers, which rapidly established itself as one of Europe's leading chamber choirs, winning an impressive list of National and International Competitions. Performances in the UK have included most of the major music festivals, including several "Proms" appearances, and they have given concerts throughout Europe and the USA. The JCS repertoire includes over 30 first performances, including works by major composers from the UK as well as composers from France, Hungary, Russia and Finland. The JCS discography extends to over 25 CDs, and recording continues to be an important part of its activity.

In the UK he has conducted the London Mozart Players, the English Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southern Sinfonia and the BBC Singers, broadcasting frequently on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. He works as a guest conductor throughout Europe, giving masterclasses and adjudicating at international competitions. He was the first Director of Training for abcd, having helped to instigate and design the curriculum for its conducting courses, and received the Chair's Award for his contribution to choral life in 2017. He was awarded the "Pro Cultura Hungarica" Medal by the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Hungary, and more recently the Knight's Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit for promoting and strengthening British-Hungarian cultural relations.

Susan Hollingworth

Susan studied voice at The Royal Northern College of Music. In 1990 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for her work with choirs and studied in Hungary. In 2008, she won The BBC Choir of the Year competition with The Scunthorpe Cooperative Junior Choir. With this choir, she performed at the opening ceremony of the Millennium Dome and at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2010, she was awarded Choir Master of the Year by the Gramophone Magazine and 2013 she received a Royal Philharmonic Award for co-directing and commissioning Cycle Song, a huge community opera for the Cultural Olympiad with over 1000 participants. She has directed her own family Prom in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms.

She is musical director of the Sine Nomine International Touring Choir, a choir in which the majority of the singers are themselves choral directors. This choir regularly performers at the The Presteigne Contemporary Music Festival and international festivals abroad. She also conducts the Scunthorpe Choral Society and the Lydian Choir

She is in demand as a conductor trainer, workshop leader and choir trainer and is a visiting lecturer for the Royal Northern College of Music. Susan is a vice-president of the Association of British Choral Directors. In 2018 this organisation awarded her the Chair's Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to choral music nationally. In 2019 she was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to music.

Sarah Tenant-Flowers

Sarah directs a versatile array of professional and amateur choirs both in the UK and abroad and has conducted the Hilliard Ensemble, Chamber Choir Ireland, Cape Town Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, the Kantorei der Friedenskirche Düsseldorf, English Baroque Choir, Reading Bach Choir, Granada International Festival Choir, Harlow Chorus, the RWCMD Chamber Choir and College Chorus and, as General Manager, worked worldwide with The Sixteen. As guest chorusmaster Sarah has prepared numerous choirs including the BBC Symphony Chorus and currently works with CBSO's SOVocal and chamber choir VoxCantab. She is artistic director of professional choir Singscape and chamber choir NC3, and directs the Dubai Opera Festival Chorus which made its debut at the 2019 BBC Proms Dubai singing Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

In huge demand as a teacher,Sarah tutors choral conducting worldwide as well as for Trinity, Jesus and Hertford Colleges in Oxford, Sing for Pleasure and the Association of British Choral Directors. She ran abcd's first convention in Oxford and subsequently served as a manager and director of the organisation. She featured as conducting mentor to actor Bradley Walsh on BBC2's popular TV series 'Maestro' and is a choral conducting tutor for the Royal Philharmonic Society's women conductors programme.

As a singer Sarah performs throughout the UK with leading professional female consort Papagena whose Christmas album The Darkest Midnight topped the 2018 download charts. Recent concerts have included performances at the Edinburgh, Christchurch and Three Choirs festivals and collaborations with the Orchestra of the Swan in Stratford and Birmingham. Its third album Hush! was released on the SOMM label in February 2020. www.papagena.co.uk

Jo McNally

Jo is a music educator from the USA who has made her home in the UK. She has had a varied career as a teacher, animateur, singer, clinician, and conductor. Jo has helped abcd to develop and deliver their conducting courses since their inception. She has worked on special projects for the Education departments of ENO/Bayliss, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne and the BBC Singers and has taught The Art of Choral Direction for the Sherborne Summer Music school.She is a sought after clinician and adjudicator not just in the British Isles but also internationally. Jo has presented for AMIS (Association for Music in International Schools), ISME, TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) and the Maryborough and Melbourne Music Conferences in Australia. Her published works include Young Voiceworks (Oxford University Press) and Junior Choral Club (Music Sales).

Lucy Hollins

Lucy Hollins is one of the most respected conductor-animateurs of her generation. Having studied and won several prestigious prizes in the UK and Canada, her leadership experience ranges across vocal and instrumental music-making with professional, amateur, youth and adult ensembles at the very highest level of each. It has seen her appear on TV and radio, premiering new works, adjudicating competitions, touring extensively throughout the UK and internationally, and working alongside some of the world's finest musicians and directors. Lucy is Acting Director of Music at the University of Warwick, Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra's Junior Choir and Associate Conductor of the London Symphony Chorus. She is a leading expert in the field of music education and engagement, specialising in vocal outreach. As a conducting teacher, Lucy enjoys working with musicians of all ages and stages to enable them to be their most confident and effective. She is also a passionate concert designer and presenter, creating exciting performances for young people with many organisations, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Warwick Arts Centre and London Symphony Orchestra.

Liz Garnett

Liz Garnett is a choral clinician and musicologist whose research and praxis both explore the theme of music and its social meanings. She studied music at the Universities of Bristol (BA Hons, 1st class) and Southampton (PhD, 1995). She taught at Colchester Institute's School of Music and Performance Arts for four years, before moving to Birmingham Conservatoire, where she was Head of Postgraduate Studies. After the publication of her second book, Choral Conducting and the Construction of Meaning: Gesture, Voice, Identity, in 2009, she left academia to develop her work as a freelance choral clinician, performance coach and close-harmony arranger.

She now has a well-established coaching practice working with choirs and vocal ensembles throughout the UK and around Europe. Her work with choral conductors has included training sessions for the British Kodály Academy and the National Youth Choirs Young Leaders Programme, as well as leading courses for abcd, private mentoring and one-to-one lessons. As Chorus Director Development Specialist for the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers, she leads a national education programme for current and aspiring chorus directors, and in 2018 she was the first British educator to be invited to join the faculty at the Barbershop Harmony Society's Harmony University in Nashville.

She regularly reflects on her work at www.HelpingYouHarmonise.com where her blog offers a rich resource of both practical and theoretical ideas built up since 2008.

Martin Seymour

Martin Seymour is the Director of Music at Romsey Abbey, a Council member and tutor for abcd as well as a choral composer. He has tutored and led abcd Initial courses alongside Amy Bebbington, Sarah Tennant-Flowers, Jo McNally and Peter Broadbent. Martin trained at Colchester Institute studying composition under Alan Bullard. Martin has spent his career to date training choirs and teaching singing and piano and has returned to his love of writing music. In 2019 Martin was appointed as the Director of Music at Romsey Abbey where singing and worship has continued for over 900 years. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the post and maintains the boy and girls' choirs, a choral and organ scholar programme alongside a lively concert series. Martin trains an a cappella choir in France in each year and has also worked with the Drakensberg Boys' Choir in South Africa.

Alan Tavener

A music graduate of the University of Oxford and an educational research graduate of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (for which he focused on the social and health benefits of group-singing), Alan Tavener's working life has always centred on choral leadership, ranging from 'community'-style choirs through to the professional vocal ensemble Cappella Nova, which has toured worldwide and recorded extensively.

Whilst Director of Music at Strathclyde University, Alan founded (and continues to direct) Strathclyde University Chamber Choir, the choir for which James MacMillan composed eleven of his fourteen Strathclyde Motets and, whilst Director of Music at Jordanhill Parish Church, formed Jordanhill Community Choir and Liturgical Choirs. Most recently, he has co-founded the St Columbkille's Schola, embarked upon the leadership of a dementia-friendly choir, and assumed the role of Director of Music at St Bride's Episcopal Church. He also leads the choirs in the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Strathclyde University and The Scottish Plainsong Choir, Cappella Nova's own community choir. All of these choirs represent a wide range of aspirations and abilities, and including many novices to choral singing.

In 2008, Alan was invited to direct a Masterclass for student choral directors at the Moscow Conservatoire, since when he has mentored Apprentice Conductors for abcd. In 2015, he was awarded Associateship of the Royal School of Church Music for his "considerable contribution to church music in Scotland, particularly in his ecumenical approach and, in the 2020 New Year Honours List, the BEM for "services to choral music in Scotland".

Other tutors on the team include:

  • Martin Cook
  • James Davey
  • Neil Ferris
  • Mark Jordan
  • Tom Leech
  • Janet Lincé
  • Keith Orrell
  • Patrick Russill
  • Suzzie Vango