The people of Gloucestershire Academy of Music


Kirsty Winnan Executive Director

After graduating in music, Kirsty's career has straddled both formal education and community arts.  Following her role as assistant to the Finance Director at Kent Opera, she did a PGCE and spent her early career as a primary school music specialist, eventually becoming Director of Arts and Media and Assistant Headteacher at a large secondary school in Wiltshire.   

Kirsty has also had a freelance arts education career, working as a regional officer for Youth Music and Vocal Strategy Coordinator for Gloucestershire Music. After years as a vocal animateur and arts education lecturer, trainer and advisor, Kirsty was appointed Director of Artsmad in Swindon where she had the opportunity take part in the Clore Leadership Programme.  Kirsty has written music curriculum materials for Youth Music, Channel 4 and the RSA who invited her to become a Fellow in 2009.  She has sung in many amateur vocal ensembles including BBC Symphony Chorus, Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir and The Oriel Singers. Kirsty has volunteered as a school governor and teacher of English as a Foreign Language and plays in our adult gamelan group.  She volunteers for Mindsong, leading a community singing group, the Wallace House Warblers.

Glyn Oxley Artistic Director

Glyn graduated from Edinburgh University with an honours degree in music. He studied conducting and took part in several education projects which had a profound influence on him during his time in Scotland.  He then worked as a freelance orchestral player, conductor and lower strings teacher in the North East before moving to Gloucestershire in 1993 after meeting Caroline Lumsden at a string teachers conference and began what has been a lifelong relationship with Gloucestershire Academy of Music. 

Glyn has since worked with ensembles of all ages and abilities, including the National Children’s Orchestra, Junior ESTA, Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra, Gloucestershire Youth and Youth Chamber Orchestras and Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra.  Glyn is now Artistic Director of GAM, and director of the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year competition. He continues to teach the cello and perform regularly. He lives in Hartpury with his wife and four children. 

Sophie George Programme Manager

After graduating from University of Birmingham in 1999, Sophie began her career in arts management at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire firstly as Assistant Concert Manager and then as Assistant Head of Professional Development.  In 2007 she moved to Cheltenham Festivals to work on delivering the Jazz Festival. This was followed by two years as Centre Manager for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra before returning to Gloucestershire in 2011 to work at Cheltenham Literature Festival.  She moved to University of Gloucestershire in 2014 to assist in the set-up of The Growth Hub, before taking a 12-month contract to expand the National Orchestra for All.  Sophie has been delivering Gloucestershire Young Musician with Viv Hargreaves since 2015 and started working at GAM in April 2018.

Sophie is a busy mum of three daughters and is married to Ian, Director of Festivals at Cheltenham Festivals. 

Jess Smith Finance Officer

Jess finished Sixth Form with 2 As in Music and Maths before studying for her Grade 8 Music Theory exam which she passed with distinction. She sang and played saxophone in school ensembles and was a member of the Gloucester Cathedral Youth Choir. Jess is currently Newsletter Editor for the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud where she helps out backstage during productions.

Jess has been working at GAM since 2019 and was instrumental in developing the GAM online zoom platform during the covid-19 pandemic, enabling over 90% of GAM's students to continue to access music making remotely.  In December 2020 Jess took over as Finance Officer and oversees all the day-to-day finances involved in running the organisation.

Shelagh Silmon-Clyde Administrator

Shelagh graduated in 1995 with a BA (HONS) in Psychology & Sociology, followed by a PGCE.  She worked in Gloucestershire Primary schools as a Class Teacher and SENDCo for 14 years before becoming a SEN teacher at a Steiner School, working with KS2, KS3 and KS4.  In 2011 Shelagh trained to be a Dyslexia specialist, gaining a Diploma in Dyslexia & SpLD and Advisory Teacher status.  She has a wealth of experience of working with children with Autism, Social, Emotional & Behavioural Needs, Hearing Impaired and those dealing with Bereavement and Mental Health. Shelagh has focused her work to provide consultation, assessment, strategies and advice to teachers to remove barriers to learning, promoting the achievement of individual pupils. 

Shelagh has been our Cheltenham Administrator since September 2018 and has more recently been involved with String Zone on a Monday evening and GYCO Inspire.  She has also been part of the Big String team for the last three years.

All three of Shelagh’s children have been involved with GAM for several years.  

Cath Woodman Reception Administrator

Cath worked as Financial Administrator for GAM between 1988-2020, before taking a step back to concentrate on providing a reception service on a Saturday at GAM Junior Department, Gloucester.  She was born and raised in Gloucestershire and has been involved with several charitable organisations in the local area. Between 1989 and 1995, she was the Chairman of the Governors for a local School.

Cath trained at a solicitor’s and for the Clerk of the Peace of Gloucester.  She has held administrative roles at two local businesses

In 1988, Cath retrained as an educational teaching support assistant, for children with special needs, working in several schools, specialising in delayed language development and Asperger syndrome.  She has completed several special educational courses, including Makaton sign language and LEA Grade 5.

Jacqueline Kingsley Development Consultant

Jacqueline has been working as a professional fundraiser in the cultural sector for the past 30 years.  She brings vast experience of managing complex capital and revenue campaigns to GAM, specialising in grants from trusts and foundations and gifts from individuals.  Her clients have ranged from large national to small local charities, and includes organisations dedicated to music, opera, theatre, dance and visual art (and everything in between).  She has recently moved to Gloucestershire and has spent the majority of her career raising funds in London and the South West.  She is a former Trustee of the RWA in Bristol and Engage (the national association of gallery education) and is currently at Trustee of Spike Island.  Jacqueline is music graduate and enjoys printmaking in her home studio.


Rob Jones, Schools Manager

Rob grew up locally near Stroud, where he had violin lessons from Beatrice Scott and James Coles.  He studied Music in Cardiff under the professorships of Alun Hoddinott and Michael Robinson, and practical studies with Peter Stark.  After graduating, he enjoyed touring with British Youth Opera, leading the Midland Sinfonia, and currently plays professionally with Regency Sinfonia as well as teaching violin and viola.  After gaining a PGCE in Secondary Music, he worked in Worcestershire, and for the last 13 years has been working in Birmingham, becoming a leading exponent of Whole Class Instrumental Teaching.  Rob has been involved with the Junior and Senior department here at GAM for many years as well as The Big String and the summer courses.  He works as the Education Manager for GAM on Mondays.  He is married, with two daughters who have grown up at GAM and are currently members of Inspire (GYCO).  He still maintains an ambition to climb the Matterhorn.

​Becky Chevis Stand By Me Project leader

Anne Summers Early Music Administrator

GAM Barbican House Tutors

Rebekah Allan violin

Tom Allan brass

Becky Chevis flute

Jo Chew-Sanders violin

Polly Davis recorder/flute

Matt Denton violin

Wes Duggan clarinet/saxophone

Laura Galletta violin/viola

Roz Gladstone cello

Rachel Hobby piano 

Pauline Jones theory

Rob Jones violin

Gwynneth (Sam) Keen Scutterbugs

Caroline Lumsden violin

Dan Neville violin/viola

Shulah Oliver violin/viola

Glyn Oxley cello

Nick Perfect voice

Chris Roberts guitar

Catherine Smith violin

Jenny Steele brass   

Juliet Tomlinson cello

Marcel Zidani piano

GAM Schools Music Tutors

Alex Baltyn gamelan

Becky Chevis Stand By Me

Jo Chew-Sanders violin/Ready Steady Play

Miranda King piano

Sarah Loveridge Ready Steady Play

Simon McCarthy guitar/drums

Glyn Oxley cello

Jessi Pywell Ready Steady Play

Christopher Roberts gamelan/guitar

Jonathan Roberts gamelan

Sophie Shone Ready Steady Play

Kate Skeet gamelan/Ready Steady Play

Oliver Stanton Ready Steady Play  

Phil Storer brass

Hannah Wrieden wind

Board Members


Viv Hargreaves Chair

Viv has immersed herself in musical education and music making in Gloucestershire since stepping down as a local newspaper editor following a 40-year career in newspaper and magazine journalism. 


Married with two sons and four grandchildren, Viv was a bursary student at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London and went on to read Chemistry at Leeds University. She later trained as a sub-editor at the Morgan Grampian Group in London before branching out into regional newspaper journalism in Cambridgeshire and later Gloucestershire. She was editor-in-chief of a county magazine group based near Bristol before becoming editor of the then Northcliffe-owned The Forester newspaper, sister paper of The Citizen and Echo. 

She is also chair of Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra and the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year competition, which both partner with GAM in many of its activities. She was last year’s chair of the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra in her home patch and has sat on the boards of Gloucester Culture Trust and Marketing Gloucester Ltd.  Viv was appointed a Deputy Lord Lieutenant in 2018 and is a member of the Honours Group. 

Derek Aviss OBE President

Derek studied the Cello at Trinity College of Music and was subsequently known, professionally, as the Cellist in the Ariosti Piano Trio and the Cantilena Soloists Ensemble.  

Appointed to teach the Cello at Trinity at the youthful age of 28 he  

went on to have a long career at the College carrying out roles, successively, as of Head of Strings, Deputy Principal and Principal.    

After the merger with the contemporary dance college, Laban, he became the Joint Principal and later Executive Director of Trinity Laban Conservative of Music and Dance, where he is, currently, Professor Emeritus of Higher Education.      


A dedicated musician and educator Derek Aviss has held and continues to hold numerous positions in professional and educational charities and is particularly proud of his role as President of Gloucestershire Academy of Music.  

Caroline Lumsden Founder

Caroline trained as a violinist and singer at the Guildhall School of Music and then as a primary school teacher.   In 1981 she moved to Gloucestershire with husband Alan and their 4 children, where they founded Beauchamp Music Group.  This was followed by Beauchamp House International courses and Musicland Publications (1984). Caroline & Alan travelled the UK and to Hong Kong and Australia running teacher-training courses on their holistic Musicland ’Approach’.  In 1991, this became the Gloucester (now Gloucestershire) Academy of Music to cater for those advanced pupils who needed more intense training.  


Caroline lectured for the European String Teachers’ Association and founded Junior ESTA (1993) to link pupils and teachers from around Europe. Many happy GAM European tours followed.   In 2005-2011 Caroline taught in London for Junior Guildhall and then for Junior Trinity, developing a programme for 3-11 year olds.  With many publications to her name and happy to be back in Gloucestershire, Caroline now divides her time between writing and teaching for GAM. 

Stephen Belinfante Vice-Chair

Following a degree in Fine Art and Music from Reading University, Stephen decided to combine his career as an artist and musician with teaching. 

Stephen taught art and music at Cleeve School in Gloucestershire until 1998. During that time he was seconded for two years to work with the county arts education team and was also the Art subject coordinator for the Post Graduate Teacher Training Diploma at the University of Gloucestershire. 

In 1998 he was appointed School Arts Inspector for Worcestershire Children’s Services.  In this role he led the Worcestershire Music Services and Arts Education teams.


During his career, Stephen has also worked as education consultant, Ofsted inspector and GCSE examiner .

As a musician, Stephen is a keen singer and horn player and conductor of Cheltenham Philharmonic and Cantilena Orchestras. As a dedicated painter he has exhibited across Gloucestershire, and has presented solo shows at the Gardens Gallery Cheltenham and the Curve Gallery in Churchdown. 

Meurig Bowen

Meurig was born and brought up in London. He was a violist in the London Schools Symphony Orchestra and studied Music at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. His first job in arts management was at a London music agency, where he managed The Hilliard Ensemble.  


In his late 20s, he spent six years in Sydney working for the Australian Chamber Orchestra as their Artistic Administrator.  Returning to the UK to become Director of the Lichfield Festival, he has subsequently worked as Head of Programming at Aldeburgh, Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival (2007-18), Head of Artistic Planning for BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales and, from August 2020, CEO and Artistic Director of Britten Sinfonia. 


Meurig has written extensively about music over the years – including CD booklet and concert programme notes, features for the Guardian and BBC Music Magazine and, most recently, a children’s music book The School of Music, published in April 2017. He has been a judge for BBC Young Musician 2014 and 2016 on BBC Four. 

Gayathiri Gowri Shankar

Gayathiri is a Chartered Environmentalist and an Architect. She is a Fellow of IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment). She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from University of Madras, India, and a Masters of Architecture in Sustainability from the University of East London, UK.  She is currently studying for a PhD (Landscape). 


Gayathiri is the founder of Nethra Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA in Gloucester/Cheltenham area.   She volunteers as a teacher of Indian Classical Dance.  She is the founder of Indian Women in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury (IWGCT) – an initiative to bring together Indian communities living in these areas, reaching over 200 members.  Other charity and community commitments include organising cultural programmes locally and community fundraising. 

Janet Hall

Janet’s background is in banking.  She ran her own floristry business for many years, and later, worked in advocacy for adults with learning difficulties.   She learnt the piano as a child, but took up the recorder and clarinet when her four children were at school. She also enjoys family history, writing and painting, and is chair of The Friends of the Dean Heritage Centre.  


Janet has been involved with the organisation (originally Beauchamp Music Group) since 1982 when her youngest son started violin lessons.  Soon after, another son and Janet were members of the first wind band at BMG.  In the intervening years the majority of her 11 grandchildren have been involved with music lessons and sessions, and Janet still plays clarinet in the adult orchestra.   

Flavia Jones Company Treasurer

Flavia is a qualified actuary with almost 20 years of experience in the insurance sector.  Originally from Rome, Flavia moved to the UK after achieving a 1st class degree in Business and Economics to study for an MSc in Statistics.  


Over the years, Flavia has lent her financial expertise to local community clubs as their treasurer as well as volunteering for a number of fundraising activities via her employer. 


Flavia got involved with GAM over 10 years ago as a Chair of the parents committee.  In this role Flavia helped GAM fundraise over the years and later joined the board of trustees as treasurer developing their current accounting processes and systems. 

Damian Kenny

Damian worked for 3 years as a District Health Officer in Malawi before becoming a GP in Gloucestershire in 1991. Damian was also a tutor in General Practice, working with GPs and other health workers to promote consulting skills, facilitating skills, teaching skills, etc. He retired in 2018 but continues to do some freelance educational work and is a tutor for medical students on the Effective Consulting course at Bristol University. 


Damian has always enjoyed playing music and plays violin with the Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra and European Doctors’ Orchestra. He enjoyed teaching music to his three children and accompanying them on the piano for exams and concerts. Recently, he enjoyed playing weekly ‘Live on the Drive’ concerts with his daughter, for neighbours who listened from their own drives!  Following retirement, Damian joined the GAM board and enjoys seeing young people develop their musical talent as they make music together. 

Tony Veazey Company Secretary

Tony is a retired solicitor.  Educated at grammar school, he has an MA in law from Cambridge University.  Tony qualified as a solicitor and has practiced as a partner in private practice and has been company secretary for various private companies.  As an amateur string player, he enjoys his role of GAM’s company secretary and serving as a Trustee.  He is also a supervisor at the Gloucester and District Citizens Advice Bureau. 

Jim Webster Chair of Finance Committee

Jim read mathematics at Oxford University before spending a year travelling in Asia.  He qualified as a chartered accountant with Touche Ross in London and went on to work for an oil trader as a deal accountant.

In 1996, Jim and his wife moved from London to Gloucestershire and he worked for an advertising agency before spending thirteen years at a helicopter engineering and pilotage company providing services to the Police and Air Ambulance communities, where he was Finance Director.  In 2013, Jim took early retirement, became a trustee of GAM in 2017, and is currently chair of the finance committee. Jim lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and two sons, both of whom have studied with GAM, and enjoys travelling and woodwork. 

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