Alan Fernie

Alan Fernie was born in the mining village of Newton Grange. From the age of 13 Alan learned to play trombone at school and with the local brass band. He went on to study music in Glasgow and London. Alan began composing and arranging whilst still a student and his music is now published, performed and recorded all over the world. After a short period as an orchestral musician, Alan moved into instrumental education, teaching brass in Scottish schools for over 20 years. At this time he began to conduct and has directed bands and orchestras at all levels, winning many awards. 

Alan now works as a freelance musician spending time to write, teach, conduct, adjudicate, perform and act as compere throughout the UK and beyond.

Ailsa Howarth

Ailsa was a multiple prize-winner at the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied the piano with Max Pirani. A Norwegian Government Scholarship enabled her to study Norwegian music at Oslo University, and she followed this with a degree in Music and Norwegian at the University of East Anglia. She has taught at Downe House School, Berkshire, Cheltenham College Junior School and Dean Close School, Cheltenham. Currently she teaches piano at Cheltenham Ladies' College, as well as in her highly regarded private practice. Her performance experience includes solo recital and accompaniment work in the UK and Europe. Fear of iPads (!) led to her recent retirement from examining Diplomas and Grades for the ABRSM after 35 years.

Fiona McLean-Buechel

Fiona is a founder member of NYOS and an alumnus of St Mary's Music School, studying at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since moving home to Scotland, Fiona is currently a lecturer in Violin at RCS Junior Conservatoire and recently stepped down from her role as Lead Tutor for Strings at Trinity Laban Junior Conservatoire in London. She is a specialist Strings Adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals and a guest faculty member for the London Suzuki Group International Summer Schools. Her previous teaching and coaching posts include Junior Guildhall School of Music, Goldsmith’s College, Dartington College of Arts and National Children's Orchestra.

In 2005 Fiona co-founded and was course director for a collaborative venture with the Dartington International Summer School, the Dartington Plus Summer Youth Strings Programme. She subsequently founded and is Creative Director of SouthWest Camerata which was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society for Education Award. Fiona is qualified to teach Mindfulness. She has developed a series of workshops and seminars for Musical Mindfulness, working with delegates from the British and International Federation of Festivals, teacher training days, UK conferences, universities, and the Musicians Union

Vivien Pike

Educated at Sheffield University and the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied singing, piano, and violin, Vivien has been involved with the festival movement since the age of 7: as a performer, a Festival Music Administrator and a General Adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals for over 30 years with much experience in solo singing and choirs. She is passionate about the value of the opportunities that Festivals present for all performers and has visited and revisited many festivals both here and abroad as adjudicator and also to lead choral workshops and solo singing masterclasses.

Vivien enjoyed a solo career as a soprano and conducted a female choir for 30 years who were winners in many national and international festivals, leading to tours and exchanges with choirs in Europe, Australia, Canada, USA and Scandinavia. A Churchill Fellowship in 2001 enabled her to study solo and choral singing in Sweden, Finland and Estonia and to lecturing internationally in Latvia, Slovenia, New Zealand, Ireland, and as a visiting professor to the Estonian Academy of Music in Tallinn.

She has been a national council member for both the Association of Teachers of Singing and the Association of British Choral Directors and has twice been the Artistic Director of ABCD National Conventions. She is also a Master Teacher for the AOTOS Teacher Training Summer School.

Vivien is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was honoured to be awarded a Fellowship of the British and International Federation of Festivals in 2013.