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Rachel Landon - CEO

Rachel, having worked for a number of years at Highbury Grove School and more recently The City of London Academy Highbury Grove, brings to MiSST considerable senior leadership experience. Rachel was the founding chair of the Highbury Grove School Foundation and raised significant sums of money to enhance the educational experience of the students. She has a BA and PGCE from Loughborough University and an MSC from CASS Business School in voluntary sector management. She is also Vice Chair, Lead for Safeguarding and Lead for Pastoral Committee Governor at an Inner London Primary School. Rachel has a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) and is currently undertaking her National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership ( NPQEL).

David Rich - Chief Operations Officer

David has held a range of middle and senior leadership posts in diverse and highly successful secondary schools in Luton and London. His responsibilities have spanned areas such as staffing and performance management, behaviour and pastoral care, curriculum and timetabling, and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. He enjoyed helping to shape a brand new high school community in West London from its inception in 2006, latterly holding the post of Deputy Headteacher for six and a half years. The school received two ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection judgements during his time at the school.

In 2017 David joined a leading London university as National Education Co-ordinator for the Department for Education’s official First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme, where he worked to provide pupils and teachers from 2500 schools across England with a high-quality educational experience on the Western Front. He has also worked on a variety of initial teacher training programmes, in particular working with Teach First to develop trainee history teachers to raise aspirations and achievement in the disadvantaged settings in which they work. He has tutored over 60 teachers and other education professionals to successfully complete a Masters in Education / Educational Leadership course and has provided consultancy and training services to school staff, leaders and governors.

Stephanie Bissell – Director of Music: Curriculum

Before joining the MiSST team, Stephanie was a music teacher at the founding MiSST school since 2014. Stephanie plays the clarinet and piano and was educated at Chethams’ School of Music in Manchester. Following this Stephanie was awarded a scholarship to at the Royal College of Music where she studied with Tim Lines, Michael Collins and Richard Hosford. During her four years at the Royal College of Music Stephanie played in a number of masterclasses with world renowned clarinettists such as Maximiliano Martín; a variety of ensembles under the baton of prolific conductors such as Vladimir Ashkenazy; studied in for five months as part of the Erasmus programme and won the clarinet prize in her third year. Upon graduating Stephanie was elected student president for a year and worked closely with the Director of the College Colin Lawson and President of the College Professor Lord Robert Winston. After leaving the Royal College of Music Stephanie enrolled on the Teach First program and was placed in the founding MiSST school, Highbury Grove. Stephanie completed the Teach First masters in Educational Leadership with UCL and IOE and applied leadership theories studied to her previous role as Head of House at City of London Academy Highbury Grove. Stephanie regularly performs with the Academy of St Mary le Bow and London City Orchestra.

Jonathan Gibson – Director of MiSST: Excellence Programmes

Jonathan is an alumnus of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (MMus, cello) and the University of Manchester (MusB) and has been working as a professional musician and music educator since graduating from the UoM in 2014. Noted for his enthusiasm, commitment and versatility, Jonathan is in high demand as a cellist, conductor, composer and arranger, with numerous concerts, recordings and studio releases throughout the year. In addition, Jonathan is also music editor for composer Leo Geyer, Orchestral Cello Tutor for the English Schools Orchestra and Orchestral Manager for the London Contemporary Music Festival.

Jonathan joined MiSST in September 2017, where he took over the running of the charity’s Saturday Music School, and became Director of Excellence Programmes in September 2020. As someone committed to offering the highest quality classical music experiences to students who wouldn’t otherwise have had access, Jonathan is proud of the way the Saturday Music School has grown and the way the Excellence Programmes have developed in order to positively impact more and more of our young people. Jonathan looks forward to continuing with this mission and to relaunching MiSST’s Saturday provision with the Junior Conservatoire-model MiSST Music Academy starting this September.

Marta Gonçalves – Deputy Director of Music and Professional Development

Originally from Portugal, Marta is an experienced flute tutor and performer. Marta started teaching the flute at Highbury Grove School in 2006, where she still currently teaches, and since then has developed her teaching skills in several other schools around London. She actively supported the development of the MiSST programme from the very start at Highbury Grove School and feels very passionate about making music learning as accessible and inspiring as possible. Marta was very fortunate to see two of her former students at Highbury Grove School, further their musical education at University level, one reading Music at Oxford University and the other studying flute at the Royal College of Music.

As a performer, Marta holds a BMus (Hons) and a MMus (Distinction) from the Royal College of Music, where she studied modern flute with Jaime Martin and then went on to receive specialisedtuition on baroque and classical flutes with Rachel Brown. Since graduating, Marta performs regularly with all the major period instrument orchestras and ensembles such as, Academy of Ancient Music, Florilegium, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, English Touring Opera, London Handel Orchestra and Gabrieli Consort and Players. She has given masterclasses on baroque playing, participated in several broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and recorded under the label of Hyperion and Chandos, amongst others. Marta was also awarded the Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2009.

Natalie Wild – Director of Research and Professional Development

Natalie is a violinist and pianist based in North East England. She graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she led both the Royal Holloway Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Holloway Philharmonic Orchestra, which she also performed with as a soloist. Natalie also led numerous university chamber ensembles, gave regular recitals, and led the RHPO on its tour to Hungary. 

Since completing her PGCE in 2013 at the UCL Institute of Education, Natalie has built up extensive experience as a successful Head of Music in various inner-city schools which now informs her work with MiSST. Her research focuses on the role a classical music education can play in breaking down social barriers.

As well as playing violin with several orchestras, Natalie is the co-author of The Symphony: from Mannheim to Mahler (Faber Music 2022) which aims to bridge the gap between pedagogical approaches in secondary school and university music departments. 


Emma Cunliffe – Director of School Partnerships & Pathways

Emma studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the University of Birmingham. She has a PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University. Whilst still at university Emma decided her heart lay in music education and she started out as a secondary classroom music teacher, moving on to be Head of Department in a comprehensive school of 2000 students. From there she joined the BBC Philharmonic team and from then she has worked at The Bridgewater Hall, The University of Huddersfield, Chetham’s School of Music running learning and engagement programmes and as a consultant for a number of other organisations. Emma is seconded to MiSST from Chetham’s and very excited about working with them to develop the programme in the North of England.

Paul Gilbert - Chief Finance Officer

Paul worked at Highbury Grove School for 15 years, originally as the Business Enterprise Coordinator and then as an Assistant Head. Paul trained as a PE teacher and has been Head of PE in Schools in Kent, Ethiopia and Brunei. He has been a member of two leadership teams, both in the UK and abroad and has extensive financial and budgeting experience within these roles. He returns from four years in Thailand, where he had responsibility for Outdoor Education, Health and Safety, Educational Visits, IB CAS coordinator and the whole school Operations team. Paul actively supports Outdoor Education and has led multiple sports tours, ski trips, Outward Bound visits and adventurous trips to Ethiopia with sixth form students.

Epsie Thompson – Social Media and Administration Lead

Epsie studied the flute at the Royal Academy of Music and Chetham’s School of Music. Over the years, Epsie has had many competition successes winning the prestigious Bryn Terfel Scholarship, a televised arts competition in Wales, the under 30s International Young Musician of the Year Competition at the Llangollen Eisteddfod and the instrumental solo under 25 Competition at the Urdd National Eisteddfod. She has also received scholarships from the Countess of Munster musical trust, Split Infinitive trust and Loan Fund for Musical Instruments. 

Epsie is an active freelance musician and enjoys performing all kinds of music. As a soloist, she has performed at many festivals and events throughout the UK. Epsie has been seen playing jazz on S4C and also recorded solo flute works ‘Where the Waves Rise’ and ‘Elegy’ on the album ‘The Courting Rites of Cranes’ by Michael Parkin. She is a keen chamber music player and was a founding member of the experimental music group ‘4/12 Collective’, ‘Abingdon Quintet’ and the ‘Hiraeth Trio’ with whom she has performed in venues across the UK, including London’s Wigmore Hall. 

Teaching has been an important part of Epsie’s career. She holds a Licentiate from the Royal Academy of Music and enjoys teaching people of all ages and standards. Before joining the MiSST team, she had been teaching in MiSST schools since 2019. 

Nicole Vardon-Martin - Operations and Events Manager

Nicole has worked extensively in project management and operations for several London based and national music education charities and organisations, from small to large, across genres and age groups. Most recently, Nicole has worked with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, jazz re:freshed and community theatre organisation Studio 3 Arts. One of her favourite projects was working with the Roma Community for the Roma Bridging Sounds Orchestra in Newham. Outside of music education, Nicole works as a librettist in musical theatre and is an active member of Book, Music & Lyrics and Mercury Musical Developments in London. 

Outside of all of this, her life is ruled by 2 very demanding cats. 

Megan Roberts: School Support

Megan is a professional Trombonist and Educator. Originally from Hull, she moved to London to study with Lindsay Shilling and Byron Fulcher at The Royal College of Music. As someone who is passionate about music education, Megan began teaching while still studying for her Master’s Degree. Since graduating, she has been in high demand as a brass teacher and has worked with numerous schools and Music Services throughout London. Megan has conducted ensembles for Enfield Music Services and coached on several courses such as The English School’s Symphony Orchestra and The Brass Academy. In 2019 she began working as the Lower Brass Tutor at Highbury Grove School and became aware of MISST.

As a trombonist, she has played with numerous Orchestra in the UK and beyond. Highlights include the 2015 Woolf Works production with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, performing in India with Ajay-Atul and Thursford’s Christmas Spectacular. Megan enjoys playing a wide range of music and regularly plays with the Leeds based band Hope and Social.

Cordane Richardson- Create Lead (Composition/Music Production)

Cordane is a composer, orchestrator, and music producer hailing from Anguilla. He holds a BA from the University of California, San Diego, and an MM from the Berklee College of Music, having completed interdisciplinary studies on computer music and composition. Among other projects completed while studying in San Diego, Cordane composed music for augmented reality projects at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. He was an audio technician and assistant sound designer for various plays at the La Jolla Playhouse. At Berklee, he composed and conducted original music for orchestral ensembles in Spain, Hungary, and the UK.

Since moving to England in 2019, Cordane has collaborated on projects with other creatives from Anguilla, the UK, the US, and the Netherlands. He worked as an orchestrator on the video game "Horizon Forbidden West" and composed music for "Lellobee City Farm: Grandma Mei's Fantastic Folktales" on Audible. Cordane also composed music for short films like "Triggerman" and "We Were Meant To", which had successful runs at festivals like Sundance and LA Shorts. Also, he regularly helps to prepare students from Anguilla for their CSEC music exams.

Outside of music, Cordane appreciates the friendly competition of sports, board games, and video games. He also enjoys travelling and learning new things about the world.

Laurie Turville- Choir Director

Laurie is a London based freelance vocal facilitator and repetiteur , originally from Merthyr Tydfil. She had a musical childhood growing up in Wales, competing in Eisteddfodau from the age of 5 and beginning piano lessons at the same age. In 1999 she joined the Junior Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where she studied voice with Marilyn Rees. She completed her postgraduate studies in music with distinction in 2012 at Royal Holloway University of London. 

Laurie has worked with a variety of operatic and choral groups in and around London, including London Youth Conservatoire, Finchley Children's Music Group, British Youth Opera, Fulham Opera, Opus Opera, Melos Sinfonia, Helios Collective, Opera de Bauge, London Armenian Opera, Opera Prelude, Opera Room, Euphonia Opera, Opera Lyrica and Hampstead Garden Opera. 

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