Press and Public Relations
Founder & Artistic Director
Director of Operations
Composer In Residence
NIGEL HESS & DEBBIE WISEMAN OBE
POLO PIATTI - FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Polo Piatti is an award-winning British-Argentine neo-romantic composer and concert pianist and one of very few high-profile international musicians concentrating exclusively on the creation, performance and promotion of melodic classical music. Polo's compositions have been premiered all over the world. Polo Piatti chose to live and work in the UK for a big part of his life, becoming a decisive figure in the cultural landscape in the south of England for several reasons. Apart from writing some fabulous music, Piatti is the founder and Artistic Director of some of the most relevant and respected music related organisations in the region. They include the very successful International Composers Festival, the very popular Hastings Sinfonia orchestra as well as ClassicUs, a growing organisation that encourages and promotes the creation of universally appealing classical music. Around three years ago he opened a very beautiful 700 seats new venue in central Hastings, named the Opus Theatre. Among many other works, Piatti has composed Libera Nos the world’s first ever multi-faith oratorio to be premiered by the renowned London Mozart Players next April. Last year has seen some of other mayor works being premiered, including his highly romantic Bohemian Concerto for piano and orchestra in Virginia Beach, USA. Most recently Piatti finished several commissions, including his Christmas Concerto for guitar and orchestra and the Old World Concerto for violoncello and orchestra. Piatti is a member of the Royal Society Of Musicians Of Great Britain, the Ivors Academy and the British Music Writers Council, among many other prestigious organisations. He is presently working on his first large scale opera.
JOHN ANDREWS - Chief Conductor (2018)
Born in Nairobi and raised in the UK, John Andrews is one of the UK's most exciting conductors. John is currently guest conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, touring China with them in 2017, and Artist-In-Residence with the English Symphony Orchestra, whom he conducts regularly at the English Music Festival. He has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and is currently making a series of world-premiere recordings with the BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Chorus. For more information about John, please visit the official website here
SANDRA GOODSELL - Director of Operations & Chair of the Committee
Sandra has many years of experience in several areas of management including Finance and Marketing. She was Director of Operations for the International Composers Festivals in 2018 and 2015 and one of the organisers in 2013, she is also chair of the Festival's Management Committee. In the past, she has acted as music manager for Polo Piatti. Sandra is currently chair of the Hastings Sinfonia responsible for organising their many diverse concerts. She is a violinist and plays with several local orchestras.
NIGEL HESS - Festival Patron
Nigel studied music at Cambridge University where he was Music Director of the famous Footlights Revue Company. He has since worked extensively as a composer and conductor in television, theatre, film and the concert hall. Works include the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Classical Brits Nomination for Composer of the Year), commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales in memory of his grandmother, and premièred and recorded by internationally-renowned pianist Lang Lang, and a new ballet based on The Old Man of Lochnagar, a children’s story written by the Prince of Wales in 1980, commissioned and premièred by the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain. A Christmas Overture was commissioned by John Rutter and premièred by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall; an orchestral version of his choral work Jubilate Deo was commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra recently premièred Nigel’s Celebration Overture, again at the Royal Albert Hall. Nigel has composed numerous scores for both American and British television productions, including A Woman of Substance, Vanity Fair, Campion, Maigret, Dangerfield, Just William, Wycliffe, Ballykissangel and New Tricks. He has received the Ivor Novello award twice for Best TV Theme (Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Testament), and is well-known to Classic FM listeners for his film soundtrack to Ladies in Lavender played by violinist Joshua Bell and the RPO which was nominated for a Classical Brits award.
Nigel was honoured to be asked to arrange and direct the music for Her Majesty the Queen’s private 90th birthday celebration at Windsor Castle and has recently received an Honorary Fellowship from St.Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Please visit Nigel's website here
DEBBIE WISEMAN OBE – Festival Patron
One of the UK’s most successful female music ambassadors, Debbie is in demand as a composer and conductor. Her credits, over 200 of them, for the big and small screen, include Wolf Hall, Wilde, Dickensian, The State, A Poet In New York and Father Brown. Debbie has been nominated for two Ivor Novello Awards, a Grammy Award, and has won a TRIC Award, a Music & Sound
Awardand two RTS Awards. She was awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters. Debbie was Kirsty Young’s guest on Desert Island Discs, and in March 2015 Debbie presented Same Tune, Different Song on Radio 4, as well as a two-hour special of her favourite music on Radio 3’s Saturday Classics. Debbie was honoured in the Queen's New Year's Honours list with an MBE for services to the music and film industry. She was awarded Honorary Fellowships at both colleges where she studied, Trinity College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The CD album of Debbie’s original score for the acclaimed BBC series, Wolf Hall, entered the UK’s Classic FM chart at Number 1. Debbie was one of 11 composers chosen to compose music for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on June 3rd 2012 when she conducted her movement of “New Water Music” on The Georgian barge. She was commissioned to compose the Overture and Finale music for the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration in May 2016. Debbie is Classic FM’s Composer in Residence and her first album commissioned by Classic FM - “The Musical Zodiac” - reached Number 2 in the UK Classical Chart in September 2016. She is currently working on her second album commission for the station, for release in March 2018. For more information, visit www.debbiewiseman.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @wisemandebbie
PAUL LEWIS - Composer In Residence
Avoiding Academia, Lewis worked in his teens in music publishing, composing the first of 150+ TV scores at twenty. Now he concentrates on concert music, with over 100 published works from orchestral and chamber to solo harp. His scores for adult and children's TV drama and iconic comedies such as The Benny Hill Show and Monty Python have circled the world and his concert music features on CDs of English music which are broadcast worldwide. Commissions come from England, America, New Zealand, France, Italy, Turkey and Brazil, in most of which countries Lewis has conducted concerts of his own music.
LEONARD TAN - Associate Conductor
Leonard Tan is Assistant Professor of Music at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Music Director of the Philharmonic Winds (Singapore), and Principal Conductor of Ensemble de la Belle Musique. A prolific conductor, he has conducted orchestras and wind ensembles across all age groups, including the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore National Youth Orchestra, National University of Singapore Wind Symphony, and the Royal Hawaiian Band. He has worked with artists such as the Boston
Brass, and conducted performances at Vienna’s Golden Hall of the Musikverein, New York’s Carnegie Hall, and Sydney Opera House. He has adjudicated in festivals throughout Asia and the USA, and champions the works of living and Singaporean composers. In addition to his prolific schedule as a conductor, Prof Tan is also an internationally renowned scholar in music education, having published his research in top scholarly journals and lectured/presented in universities around the world.
JUSTIN PEARSON - Festival Ambassador
Justin is one of London’s busiest and most versatile musicians. He is principal cellist and artistic director of The National Symphony Orchestra (UK), guest principal cellist of the Royal Philharmonic and English Sinfonia Orchestras. Justin is also Artistic Director and manager of the Locrian Ensemble of London, one of the most sought after, and often-recorded ensembles in Britain today. In the world of theatre, Justin currently plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Old Vic theatre in London's West End and Edinburgh Festival, recently featured as solo cellist in Matthew Warchus' production A Christmas Carol and Alan Acykbounre's The Divide. Justin has written award-winning scripts for plays with music that have been performed in London’s West End, also at many festivals in both Britain and abroad. He has recorded CDs for many labels: Hyperion (Schubert), Naxos (Malcolm Arnold - a “Gramophone” award winning disc, and chamber works of Martinu), Beethoven Quintets and the complete chamber music of Volmar Andreae (Guild), ASV (Mozart and Schubert Viola and Cello Quintets), Dutton Epoch (5 discs: Rebecca Clarke, Walter Leigh, Richard Arnell, Arthur Benjamin, Clifford and Bainton), Carlton Classics (Piazzolla) and the Limerick-based composer, Osborne, for the Irish Lyric fm label. He has produced independent programmes for BBC Radio 3, featuring the chamber music of Ginastera and Gliere. He plays a Francesco Ruggieri cello, made by the great Cremonese maker in 1695. For more information please click here
ADRIAN CHARLESWORTH - Leader, International Festival Orchestra
Adrian has worked with most major orchestras in the UK as well as abroad, being one of London’s most requested musicians not only due to his abilities, reliability and experience but also for his most friendly and approachable character. Among several national and international roles, he is the principal violinist of our International Festival Orchestra. For more information please click here
NOBUYA MONTA - International Affairs Representative
Nobuya Monta was born in Osaka, Japan. He studied oboe at Kyoto City University of Arts and then received master’s degree specializing in composition from Osaka Kyoiku University. Nobuya completed his composition studies with Tim Ewers and Edward Gregson at Goldsmiths’ College in 1991-1992.
In 2014, choral suite ‘Conflict and Peace’ was premiered by Winchester Consort in Winchester Cathedral. In 2015, opera ‘OTOHIME’ (full orchestral version) was premiered at the 3rd International Composers Festival. In 2016, his newest opera ‘NARIHIRA’ was premiered in Kyoto and performed again in Tokyo in 2017.
Publication: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano No.2 & No.3, Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano (Armelin Musica–Padova), Netherlands Fantasy, 5 Sketches of Holland for Two Alto Recorders, Kuroda-bushi for Two Oboes and English horn (Recorder JP). His soundtrack, written for the exhibition ‘Wordsworth and Basho: 'Walking Poets’ at the Wordsworth Museum was released in 2014. Nobuya was appointed to Composer in Residence at the International Composers Festival in 2013 and 2015 and is our current International Affairs Representative. www.nobuyamonta.webs.com
OLIVER POOLE - Youth Ambassador
Oliver believes in making the world a better place through music. He has enchanted audiences around the world, from leading stages to millions on live TV concerts, with his uniquely phenomenal artistry, electrifying drive and sensational improvisations. Oliver frequently collaborates with today's biggest musical figures and has composed for pop stars, world-renowned visual artists, international charities, enjoys giving masterclasses, pioneers world-firsts in music technology and has served as a juror on international piano competitions. He composed the music for 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s play 'Enchanted By Death' and also exclusively performed for the global launch of Haig Club by David Beckham.
DAISY NOTON - Junior Ambassador
Daisy Noton is one of the most promising musicians of her generation. She studies flute with Susan Torke at the Royal Academy of Music and has won numerous prizes as a soloist, including the Hastings Instrumental Championship Trophy in 2015. Daisy is a loyal member of the local Hastings Sinfonia orchestra and has performed her first professional solo concert with the renowned London Mozart Players at the Opus Theatre in 2019. Other orchestral performances include playing under the baton of Ed Gardner in the Barbican Young Orchestra. Daisy is a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Listen to 'That's It, I'm Off To Cuba' by composer Thomas Hewitt Jones, performed at the Grand Opening Concert 'Passion' at the Opus Theatre in
Hastings on Friday 21st September at 7pm