Senior Tutors

  • Rosie Biss, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
  • Sebastian Comberti, London Mozart Players
  • Emma Denton, Carducci Quartet
  • Pierre Doumenge, Guildhall School of Music
  • Penny Driver, Wells Cathedral School
  • Leonid Gorokhov, International Soloist and professor at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover, Germany
  • Lionel Handy, Royal Academy of Music & Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • David Kenedy, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • Zoe Martlew, Soloist, ensembles, creative performance, composer
  • Robert Max, Junior Academy & Barbican Piano Trio
  • Robin Michael, Soloist & Chamber Musician
  • Aaron Minsky, Soloist & Composer for Oxford University Press
  • Natalia Pavlutskaya, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • Miriam Roycroft, Royal Irish Academy of Music
  • Matthew Sharp, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Leandro Silvera, Head of Strings Eton College
  • Shirley Smart, Junior College, City University & Beyond Cello, London Cello Society
  • Eduardo Vassallo, Royal Northern College of Music & Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Alison Wells, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Aitchison & Mnatzaganian, Luthier in Residence

Junior Tutors

  • Sheida Davis, Cellos Rock!
  • Thomas Gregory*, Centre for Young Musicians & Vamoosh
  • Dan James, Junior Trinity
  • Alice Jones, Junior Trinity
  • Alison Moncrieff-Kelly, Soloist & Chamber Musician
  • Helen Neilson, Head of Strings, Latymer Upper School & Suzuki Teacher
  • Anita Strevens, Junior Trinity
  • Daisy Vatalaro, Junior Guildhall

Commission Composers

  • Thomas Gregory*, Centre for Young Musicians & Vamoosh
  • Dominic Murcott*, Head of Composition & Music Technology at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Teaching the Young Cellist

  • William Bruce, Head of Strings, Junior Guildhall
  • Ben Hughes, BBC Concert Orchestra
  • Selma Gokcen, Junior Guildhall, Cello and Senior Guildhall, Alexander Technique
  • Rob Wells, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance
  • Drusilla Redman, Guildhall School of Music
  • Simon Trentham, Cello Babies
  • Tim Wells, Head of Strings, Bromley Youth Music Trust

Advisory Committee

  • William Bruce
  • Penny Driver
  • Helen Neilson
  • Miriam Roycroft
  • Matthew Sharp
  • Alison Wells


Go Cello! Directors

  • Selma Gokcen
  • David Kenedy
  • Oliver Mansfield

*Hargreaves and Ball Trust commission award

Senior TutorsJunior TutorsGo Cello! Commissioned ComposerGo Cello! Luthier in ResidenceTeaching the Young Cellist

Senior Tutors

Rosie Biss

In addition to her role of Principal cello of Welsh National Opera, Rosie enjoys a busy and varied career as chamber musician, soloist, guest principal, and teacher. Rosie studied at Cambridge University and The Cologne Musikhochschule under Maria Kliegel. Now a keen educator, Rosie teaches cello and chamber music at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, coaches for the National Children’s Orchestra, and gives masterclasses annually at Cellofest.

Sebastian Comberti

Born in London, Sebastian Comberti studied in Italy with Amedeo Baldovino and later with Derek Simpson and Sidney Griller at the Royal Academy of Music. He was a founder member of the Bochmann Quartet until 1983 when he became principal cello with the London Mozart Players. He plays with a number of chamber groups including Trio Goya and Divertimenti.

Emma Denton

Emma studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where she was awarded the Louise Child Prize for the highest overall degree, the David Martin/Florence Hooten Concerto prize and numerous chamber music prizes. She was selected to perform alongside Rostropovich at the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and is cellist of the Carducci Quartet, with whom she performs over 90 concerts a year worldwide.

Pierre Doumenge

Cellist Pierre Doumenge enjoys a busy career divided between solo work, chamber music and teaching. From 2001 to 2005 he was a member of the Dante String Quartet performing at major venues in Europe and making regular radio and commercial recordings. Pierre has also worked as guest principal cellist of the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is a professor at the Guildhall School of Music.

Penny Driver

Penny Driver is a versatile cellist, equally at home as a solo performer, chamber musician and orchestral player. She is also one of the most respected teachers of talented specialist cellists in the UK.  She teaches at Wells Cathedral School, one of the UK’s four specialist music schools, attracting students internationally. Penny has had a long association in particular with three orchestras with whom she continues to perform all over the world – the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Leonid Gorokhov – Sponsored by Stringers

Leonid Gorokhov returns frequently to perform in his home city of St Petersburg. Current and recent engagements include appearances at the Athens’ Megaron and BargeMusic New York as well as a recital tour of Japan and concerto engagements with the Thailand Philharmonic and the Croatian Radio Orchestras. His highly acclaimed duo with Nikolai Demidenko continues to meet with resounding success; in addition to numerous invitations from UK music societies, highlights to date include recitals at the Bastad & Petworth Festivals, Wigmore Hall and Munich. In 2004 he joined forces with his distinguished compatriots, violinist Sergey Levitin and violist Alexander Zemtsov, to form The Hermitage String Trio. Leonid is a Professor at the Hochschule Für Musik,Theater und Medien in Hannover,Germany, since 2008.

Lionel Handy

Lionel Handy studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He was awarded first prize in the Muriel Taylor Competition by Jacqueline du Pre and with several other important scholarship awards he was able to continue his studies with Janos Starker in Banff and with Pierre Fournier in Geneva. He has been professor at the Royal Academy of Music since 1982, and also teaches at the Birmingham Conservatoire in addition to summer schools in Europe. Many of his former pupils hold important positions in orchestras throughout the UK. He was recently awarded F.R.A.M. from the Royal Academy of Music.

David Kenedy

David was a founder member of the London Mozart Trio and the London Piano Quartet. David has received renown for his recordings, and had the honour of being invited to perform in Jaqueline du Pré Memorial Concerts in Lambeth Palace and the Wigmore Hall. He recorded the complete Bach solo ‘cello Suites, released by Signum Classics in 2007. David directs the String Chamber Music Programme at Trinity Laban, where he has taught since 1990. Most recently, he recorded Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Chopin’s Cello Sonata with his wife, Rianka Bouwmeester, released by Signum Classics in June 2017.

Zoë Martlew

Cellist, performer, composer, media commentator and educator, the increasingly un-categorisable Zoë Martlew performs and records around the world as soloist and with some of the world’s most renowned contemporary music ensembles, improvisation, film, electronica, multi-media, pop, rock and jazz artists, dance and theatre companies.

Robert Max

Robert enjoys a varied career as solo cellist, conductor and chamber musician. An Associate of the Royal Academy of Music — he has taught at Junior Academy since 1992 — he is also an Honorary Professor of the Rachmaninov Institute in Tambov, Russia. As cellist of the Barbican Piano Trio for more than 25 years, he has performed on four continents and made several acclaimed recordings. Robert is the principal cellist of the London Chamber Orchestra and conducts the Oxford Symphony Orchestra. He is the President of the North London Music Festival and coaches chamber music at MusicWorks.

Robin Michael

Robin Michael studied at the Royal Academy of Music with David Strange and Colin Carr and later with Ferenc Rados. He is principal cellist in Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Solo cellist with Orchestre Les Siecles (Paris) as well as regular guest principal cellist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, RTE Concert Orchestra, English Baroque Soloists, English National Opera and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Aaron Minsky – Sponsored by Stringers

American cellist, Aaron Minsky, is among the most influential string musicians of his generation. His “celtar” style (which combines cello and guitar technique) has entered both the popular and classical worlds. His over a dozen music books, published by Oxford University Press, have become standard repertoire, his music appearing in the curriculums of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, U.K., the American String Teachers’ Association, the Australian Music Examinations Board, and many others around the world. He composed the first classical arrangement ever approved by the Grateful Dead’s publisher: “Dead Cello” (Latham Music). Aaron has given masterclasses and performances in the United States, England, Ireland, and Australia. He conducted the world premiere of his “Legends of Cellandia” for cello orchestra (commissioned by the London Cello Society) at the Royal Academy of Music, London. And, marking a great milestone, Minsky debuted his cello concerto, “The Conqueror”, with the Staten Island Philharmonic.

Natalia Pavlutskaya

Well known as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher, Natalia has established one of the finest cello classes in Russia. She also taught at the conservatoires in USA, Australia and New Zealand. Since 1999 Natalia lives in London, where she is a Professor of Cello at the Trinity Laban and at the Specialist Purcell School. There are a number of prizewinners of International competitions among her students. Natalia performs in UK, Russia, Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand and makes recordings on ‘Chandos’ label.

Miriam Roycroft

Dublin-born Miriam Roycroft studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Donald McCall.  Upon graduation, she won the Muriel Taylor Cello Competition in London and was a prize winner in the Overseas League Competition in London.  Further studies included a period in Banff, Canada with Aldo Parisot. Miriam was a member of the Orchestra of Opera North in Leeds until September 2006 when she left to join the String Faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin where she was Head of Strings between 2012 and 2015.  Her solo, chamber, orchestral and educational commitments take her worldwide.

Matthew Sharp

Matthew brings his unique breadth and depth of performing and artistic experience to his cello teaching to offer students an inspiring and potent balance of provenance and adventure in their pursuit of a career in music in the twenty-first century. Matthew has appeared as solo performer with the RPO, LPO, RLPO, CBSO, Orchestra of Opera North and many more. In opera, he has performed principal roles for Opera North, ROH, Almeida Opera, Mahogany Opera Group, amongst many others. In theatre, he has performed principal roles at the Young Vic and National Theatre Studio, collaborated with Kneehigh, Complicité and, most recently, with legendary illustrator and film-maker, Dave McKean, on Black Dog – The Dreams of Paul Nash, a major 14-18NOW commission.

Leandro Silvera

Leandro has worked as a freelance cellist with BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Brighton Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Golden Age (on baroque cello) and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He developed a passionate interest for teaching soon after graduating; since then he has given cello masterclasses for European String Teachers’ Association, the Violoncello Society of London and the Oxford Cello School, and worked at Bowdoin Summer Music Festival (USA) as Performing Assistant to Steven Doane. Between 2000-05 Leandro taught cello and coached young chamber ensembles at Chetham’s School of Music. He is now Head of Strings at Eton College.

Shirley Smart

Shirley has had an unusual and diverse career. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, made a concerto debut at the Heritage Museum in St. Petersburg and gave a concert of trios with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Barbican. She performs with her own projects, which include an duo recital programme drawing on her various musical infleuces, her jazz trio and world music band Melange. In 2016 Shirley was invited to lead the “Beyond Cello” program of the London Cello Society, imcorporating workshops in improvisation, jazz, world music and more.

Eduardo Vassallo

Eduardo Vassallo began his studies in his native Buenos Aires, Argentina, and by the age of 17 he was a founder member of the String Quartet of the National Radio, and the solo cellist of the National Symphony Orchestra. He then came to Europe to continue his studies at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad, Switzerland, working closely with Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Alberto Lysy. In 1989 he became Principal Cellist of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, firstly under the musical direction of Sir Simon Rattle, then Sakari Oramo and now Andris Nelsons.

Alison Wells

Alison Wells recently returned to the UK after many years in the United States, where she was on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Peabody Institute. Before that she taught at Trinity College of Music and The Purcell School in London and on the specialist music scheme at Wells. A graduate of Cambridge University, the Royal Academy of Music, and Yale University, she studied with Ralph Kirshbaum, David Strange and Aldo Parisot. She is passionate about teaching and the physiology of cello playing and has been involved with many technique workshops, including annual contributions to the Aria International Festival.

Junior Tutors

Sheida Davis

Sheida began learning the cello at the age of four with Wendy Max and her teachers have included Joan Dickson, Florence Hooton, David Strange and Stefan Popov. In July 2000 she graduated with first-class Honours from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was awarded the Peter Latham Leaving Scholarship. She has since completed a year of study at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne with Maria Kliegel and a Master of Music degree and Orchestral Studies Diploma (with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) at the Eastman School of Music in the USA with Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott. Her studies were supported generously by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, the Eastman School of Music and the P.E.O. Sisterhood International Peace Scholarship Fund.

Thomas Gregory

Thomas Gregory is the creator and composer of the Vamoosh series.  In a desire for new material that would inspire his young string students, Thomas began writing a wealth of accessible and motivating pieces that would form the basis of Vamoosh.  Thoughtfully presented with engaging backing tracks, the format became an instant success reaching far and wide. Thomas studied cello at the Guildhall School of Music in London before continuing his studies in the US where he lived for four years.  He continues to perform regularly as soloist and chamber musician.

Dan James

Dan is a cellist, conductor and educator, whose musical career has taken him from Brighton to Bangalore. As a cellist, Dan completed his Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, after gaining his Bmus Hons at Trinity College of Music. With his cello quartet, Dan recorded the critically acclaimed “Time and Place” album, with the jazz vocalist Claire Martin OBE for her record label, Linn records. Aside from his conducting work at Junior Trinity, Dan is principal conductor of the Hayes Symphony Orchestra and has has also worked with the Brighton Youth Orchestra, Musicians of All Saints, Greenwich Sinfonietta and in 2014 he was invited to Africa to conduct the National Musicamp of Zimbabwe’s orchestra on their 50th anniversary course and concert.

Alice Jones

Alice Jones specialises in music for Early Years and cello teaching. She has over 10 years experience working with young children and has taught Early Years music classes in South East London and Kent since 2011. Alice is a qualified Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher and uses these skills to devise the Trinity Teenies classes for the String Time programme. With over twenty cello students ranging in age from 5 to 70 years old, Alice is an experienced and adaptable cello teacher. Her creative working style stems from training at Dartington College of Arts (BA Hons) and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (MMus). As a cellist Alice performs in a variety of contexts around the UK and abroad.

Alison Moncrieff-Kelly

Daughter of the Academy’s former Head of Keyboard, Alexander Kelly, and cellist Margaret Moncrieff, Alison Moncrieff-Kelly was a cello pupil of Antonia Butler before winning a scholarship to the Academy to study with Florence Hooton and subsequently with Pierre Fournier in Geneva. She has performed and broadcast all over Europe and the UK as soloist and chamber musician. She has recorded the complete piano trios of Hummel, the piano trios of Clara Schumann and Saint-Saens, the complete cello and piano works of Stanford and three discs of solo cello repertoire. In 2005 she was awarded the Heinrich Boll fellowship, the first musician to be given this honour – mostly given to writers, poets and artists of note. Alison has an impressive record of nurturing successful cello pupils. She is an ABRSM grade and diploma examiner, and repertoire and content consultant for their cello syllabus.

Helen Neilson

Helen Neilson is a freelance cellist and double bass player and cello tutor based in London. She combines an active performing career with regular teaching commitments in some of London’s most prestigious schools and a busy home teaching practice in South London. She is interested in working with students from a variety of backgrounds at all stages on their cellistic journeys. Helen is a qualified Suzuki teacher to level 4 and holds an MMus in Performance Studies. Her own cello studies included time working with Anna Shuttleworth, Melissa Phelps and Naomi Butterworth.

Anita Strevens

Anita Strevens’ career is a varied mix of orchestral, chamber music and solo performance, teaching, workshop leading and adjudicating. She has played with most of the London chamber orchestras – City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Orchestra of St Johns, Primavera – and is a member of Accordare Quartet and Trio Vita. Recent solo performances have included Haydn’s C major Cello Concerto and all six Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites in JAM on the Marsh Festival and in Garway Bach Festival. She teaches cello and Dalcroze Eurhythmics at Junior Trinity and Sevenoaks School and is a visiting lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire, teaching pedagogy.

Daisy Vatalaro

Daisy teaches Dalcroze Eurythmics and chamber music at Junior Guildhall and Pro Corda, has coached quartets at the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music, and has taught at the National Youth String Academy and Cadenza. She is also Outreach Co-ordinator for Pro Corda, has run courses for Lambeth Inharmony and leads creative musicianship workshops for children with Special Educational Needs. She has taken part in outreach/education work for Wigmore Hall, Spitalfields Music and the Florestan Festival and has run a residential course at Pro Corda for Lambeth In Harmony.

Go Cello! Commissioned Composer

Dominic Murcott

Dominic Murcott is a composer, percussionist, curator and educator based in London. Much of his work combines acoustic instruments with computer work and other media. He has a continuing interest in work that is personalised for specific performers and has created acoustic/electronic pieces for trumpeter Noel Langley, percussionist Joby Burgess, clarinetist Joan Enric Lluna, harpist Sioned Williams and the Elysian String Quartet among many others.

2013 marked the tenth anniversary of his becoming Head of Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The Composition Department has become renown for its inventive ‘fine arts’ approach to music making and the integration of traditional and sonic arts within the curriculum.

Go Cello! Luthier in Residence

Aitchison & Mnatzaganian

Aitchison & Mnatzaganian Cello Specialists offer an exceptional service to cellists throughout the world.  We are dedicated to providing the highest level of professional support to cellists, including the set up and sound adjustment of instruments and the production of world-class cellos in our workshop.  Robin Aitchison is a renowned cello maker and his instruments are played by professionals and soloists.  There is currently a 12 month waiting list for his instruments which are close copies of original instruments by Stradivari, Montagnana and Guadagnini.

Teaching the Young Cellist – Sponsored by


William Bruce

A passionate music educator, William is much in demand in the UK for masterclasses, workshops, summer schools and insets and he runs a residential summer school for cellists each year at Hindhead Music Centre. In addition to many years experience as an adjucator, William is a Consultant Moderator for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music where he is involved in the training and moderating of examiners, syllabus development, presentations and tours. This work has taken him to Hong Kong, the West Indies, South America, Africa, Sri Lanka and Iceland.

Ben Hughes

Benjamin studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire before taking up an invitation to study with Alexander Baillie in Bremen. During this time he gave solo recitals and concerto performances, broadcasts for Radio Bremen and Deutschland Radio Berlin, and also performed with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and the Bremen Philharmonic. He went on to study with Steven Doane at the Eastman School of Music before returning to the UK to complete his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating in 2004. Principal Cello of the BBC Concert Orchestra since 2007, he is building a reputation as one of the UK’s leading instrumentalists. A versatile musician, he appears regularly on BBC Radio and Television and performs as a concerto soloist on BBC Radio 3.

Selma Gokcen

Currently residing in London, where she teaches cello and the Alexander Technique at the Guildhall School. Her workshops, called The Well-Tempered Musician, address movement and coordination in string playing and the quality of attention in performance (www.welltemperedmusician.com). She is also co-chair of the London Cello Society, a registered UK charity (www.londoncellos.org) and a regular contributor to the CelloBello website (www.cellobello.com).

Rob Wells

Robert Wells is an internationally experienced educationalist and workshop leader. He has taught in a range of formal and non-formal settings from primary education to prisons. Some of the UK’s best known ensembles and orchestras have used him as a facilitator for their education projects and organizations as diverse as the Royal Festival Hall and Transport for London have asked him to design and lead education projects for them. Recognised as an expert in the field of non-formal music education, Robert has advised on several national music education projects including the Wider Opportunities teacher training programme and Musical Futures.

Robert was Programme Leader at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama between 2005 and 2012, managing an undergraduate programme that focussed on collaboration, professional skills development, and education. During his tenure he helped develop the first joint international Masters programme in music working with other conservatoires across Europe. He has created and managed numerous innovative projects in the UK that have been the focus of research for institutions and organisations including the Institute of Education, NESTA, and Youth Music. He currently teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Trinity Laban, is Director of Learning for Trinity Laban’s Animate Orchestra and works part time as a music teacher in a North London Primary School.

Drusilla Redman

I have worked in many areas of physiotherapy; with athletes, dancers, children and the elderly but the last seven here at GSMD and three at BAPAM have been some of the most rewarding. Having taught ballet for several years I look at musicians and singers with the same ‘eye’. Their postural anomalies often give rise to tension, pain and chronic aching. Instruments are not always body-friendly and bodies are not always built for the chosen instrument. Five years ago I was instrumental in developing the GSMD BMus 1st year module ‘Performance Matters’ which offers an holistic approach to the health of the musical body. Three years ago I created a 3rd/4th year & PG elective module on health, ‘Body Matters’, which been successfully integrated into the curriculum.

Simon Trentham

Simon Trentham has taught cello in a wide variety of settings, from group teaching for music services to conservatoire junior departments. His main aim is to build confident musicians who both intellectually understand music and have developed their own musical intuition. For string teachers at this time we are fortunate to have a wealth of resources and ideas; from Dalcroze, Kodaly and the many practitioners on our own instruments from whom we can draw inspiration. Kay Tucker’s Stringbabies has helped Simon develop his approach for “pre-reading” age cello students who can now begin their musical journey with secure understanding.

Tim Wells

Cellist, avid composer, inventor and arranger, Tim has composed music for television, is the inventor of the BowGroover and his works have been published in several volumes. He is regularly asked to adjudicate at festivals and, in addition to examining nationally and internationally for the ABRSM on both the graded and diploma panels, he is kept busy with other aspects of the Board’s work including syllabus selection, composition commissions and recording projects.