Caroline TressChief Executivecaroline@sinfonia.cymru
I grew up in a family of musicians and music organisers, playing the piano and viola (if you can tell me a viola joke I haven’t heard before, I’ll buy you a coffee!). After studying at Cardiff University, I went to work as an accountant with a large financial services firm, but quickly realised I missed being involved with music and musicians, so ran away to start a career in the arts.
Since then, I have worked for Welsh National Opera and English Touring Opera, and was General Manager of Oxfordshire Youth Arts Partnership, an organisation that empowers young people to make positive changes to their lives and their communities through arts projects. From 2017 to 2022, I was General Manager of Vale of Glamorgan Festival and then Music Theatre Wales, both organisations which specialise in contemporary classical music.
I joined Sinfonia Cymru in October 2022 – it’s an organisation I’ve followed and loved for many years, and I’m really delighted to be a part of the ethos here of creativity, collaboration… and adventure!
Tammy DalyGeneral ManagerTammy@sinfonia.cymru
I grew up in North Devon and decided I wanted to play the french horn after seeing a wind quintet concert and thinking it looked pretty interesting! I was never brilliant at it but went on to music college in Cardiff and then Manchester where I soon realised my skills were better suited to the logistics and management side of music making. My first job was with Sinfonia Cymru as Orchestra Manager in 2008, before heading to the bright lights of London for 7 years and then returning to Sinfonia Cymru in 2017. I love the variety of music and performances that this orchestra does, and the energy, excellence and positivity that all the wonderful musicians bring to each project. In my spare time I love live music of all different genres, and enjoy the great outdoors!
Joseph EvansConcerts and Projects ManagerJoseph@sinfonia.cymru
I’ve always much preferred reading and talking about music to playing it (my trumpet has remained firmly in its case for at least two years now) and spent most of my time at university in Oxford and Cambridge obsessing over fugues. It’s great that I can continue to chat to people who love music and be part of planning exciting and diverse projects, working with such interesting musical personalities. I also grew up and had all of my first musical experiences in Cardiff, so I’m glad to be part of the musical culture here again. When I’m not thinking about music, I love to work my way through my increasingly large collection of recipe books, which is currently pushing fifty.
Becky MercerAudiences & Communities Cofirstname.lastname@example.org
I grew up in Fife, Scotland where the only reason I began playing the horn is because I wasn’t tall enough to play the trombone! I completed my undergraduate degree at University of Aberdeen before moving to Cardiff to complete my Masters in Orchestral Performance at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. One pandemic and a year as Students’ Union President later, I’m at Sinfonia Cymru! I love the music scene in South Wales and when not immersing myself in it, I love spending time with my dog and going to the theatre.
Heulwen DaviesMarketing Consultantheulwen@llaiscymru.wales
Shwmae, I’m Heulwen and through my business Llais Cymru, I’ve been leading the Marketing for Sinfonia Cymru since September 2021. I love music, I love singing, it relaxes me, makes me feel happy & alive, but I can’t for the life of me succeed to play an instrument! I tried the trumpet but couldn’t get any pleasant sounds out of it, my recorder and Irish whistle were banned from the family home, my violin teacher said my singing was much better, so I spent my violin lessons singing instead! In my 30’s I tried again with piano lessons alongside my 5 year old, I didn’t get anywhere! Instead, I’m focusing on my own strengths and enjoying the opportunity to share the stories of our amazing musicians and this fun orchestra that is Sinfonia Cymru. Musicians, I raise my hat to you!
Simmy SinghCreative Associates.email@example.com
I was born and raised in Llandybie where I was taught music by my wonderful mother. I headed for Chetham’s School of Music when I was 16 and went on to the RNCM after that and now enjoy a colourful and varied life as a freelance classical and crossover violinist. I am passionate about pushing boundaries and believe variety really is the spice of life and try to live true to that in my freelance career. From co-founding the Manchester Collective, to leading the Kaleidoscope Orchestra, recording strings for electronic producers and playing with some of the countries most exciting jazz artists with my quartet, Amika, I love every part of what I do. Until recently, when I reached the age cap, I was a long-standing member of Sinfonia Cymru and it really has helped shaped me into the musician I am today. I’m delighted to be able to continue the journey with this amazing family in my role as Creative Associate and to keep pushing, exploring and growing together, to give back all they have given me and to bring it all back home!
Caroline HarrisDevelopment Consultantdevelopment@sinfonia.cymru
Music in all its forms has always been a huge part of my life, the more out there the better and crossing all genres. I still play (very amateur) clarinet, although it’s harder when you spend your life listening to the pros! Careerwise, I started life as a lawyer but not-so-secretly always wanted to work in the arts. In 2009 I made the move, working for six years at the Barbican Centre and four at Aurora Orchestra, and as a trustee of social drumming project Drum Works. It’s been everything I’ve hoped for – to “work” watching a rehearsal from inside an orchestra, or listening to world-class artists tuning up backstage? Nothing better! I believe passionately in creating opportunities in music and I’m thrilled to be contributing to that at Sinfonia Cymru.
Gareth JonesFounder & Artistic Advisor
Sinfonia Cymru was founded in 1996, by Welsh conductor Gareth Jones, and played an important role in Wales as a training orchestra for young musicians. Gareth has been an important figure for Sinfonia Cymru throughout its history. He was the first Principal Conductor for the orchestra and since 2018, Sinfonia Cymru’s Artistic Advisor. He has conducted the orchestra in many prestigious performances, including, most recently, a tour of Wales and the UK with Sir Bryn Terfel in Autumn 2022.
I was born and raised in the Netherlands. After failing miserably in learning to play the violin, I switched to a clarinet, hoping that would suit me better. However, I concluded soon it was best for me and anyone in earshot that I stop playing an instrument altogether and moved to London in 1982 and on to Wales two years later. My early career was in stage and theatre management, working for such companies as Made in Wales, WNO, Hijinx Theatre (where I did finally manage to play a few tuneful notes in one production), Theatr Clwyd, The Sherman Theatre and Theatr Hafren. After gaining an Art History degree with the Open University I joined CBAT the Arts & Regeneration Agency in the early 1990s as a Project Manager and later Commissions Director for public realm art projects. In 2003 I became CBAT’s Director and, following a merger four years later, the founding Executive Director of Safle, CBAT’s successor agency. During this time I was responsible for many successful public realm creative projects and art commission programmes across Wales and the rest of the UK.
Over the last decade I worked as a freelance art consultant and an occasional translator. Following the EU membership referendum in 2016 I campaigned for the protection of EU Citizens rights as an advocate for the3million. I drafted and provided easy to follow immigration guidance in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme in the UK for vulnerable EU citizens and helped secure funding for immigration advice in Wales, which was instrumental in establishing the charity Settled, which now provides free of charge immigration advice to EU citizens and, more recently, Ukrainian refugees throughout the UK.
Now semi-retired, I’m a Non-Executive Director of the housing association Caredig and a Trustee of Settled, as well as Chair of Sinfonia Cymru, of which I was already a great fan before I joined as a Trustee in 2018.
Fflur JonesBoard member
I am a Partner at Darwin Gray and head of their Employment and HR team. I advise on all aspects of employment law and have a particular expertise and interest in discrimination law. I’m a regular contributor to radio and TV programmes, run training events, and speak at functions and conferences on issues surrounding mental health in the workplace. In 2016, I helped establish the Wales HR Network and the annual Wales HR Awards to encourage best practice in the employment sector and celebrate the achievements of HR professionals across Wales.
Jo MarriottBoard Member
I’m the Marketing Manager for audiences at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, where I promote around 300 events each year.
I’ve worked in arts marketing for over a decade including roles at Wales Millennium Centre and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and as a marketing consultant for Sinfonia Cymru, Hijinx Theatre and Ongl Design. Originally from West Wales, I studied Music at Cardiff University, and I still love to play music with friends when I can.
Simone Willis TansleyBoard member
I studied violin at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where I graduated in 2014. I still do some teaching and playing but I have recently focused on research, undertaking a PhD at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I am researching workplace stress, coping and well-being of professional classical musicians and conservatoire music students. Alongside this, I am a Systematic Reviewer at Cardiff University, developing the evidence base to inform policy and practice in health and social care.
Ali VennartBoard member & Sinfonia Cymru Member (2012-2021)
If you’d asked me in my early teens what I’d be getting up to as an adult, there is absolutely no chance I would even mention Classical Music! You’d be lucky to get the word ‘Music’ even, although, I was listening to all the bands of my day: SOAD, Papa Roach, Sum41, Nirvana, etc, while skateboarding, slightly hating school, gaming, all the standard teen stuff really. I started playing Viola when I was 9, I started enjoying music a lot from about 14, and fell completely in love with it by the age of 16, just in time to get all my grades together for applying to university. It is exactly our journey that gives us all a unique voice in this world, which brings me to the best part about being a musician – it is a journey never ends, and I look forward every day to what might be coming round the next corner…
Catrin PlumleyBoard member
Having been educated in a disadvantaged secondary school, I have witnessed at first-hand the importance of access to the arts for all. If it were not for the opportunities awarded to me through youth arts programmes, including the National Youth Choir of Wales in particular, I would not have been able to develop as a musician and individual. My passion for music developed at a very young age and I have been lucky enough to participate extensively in the arts in Wales for most of my life. I am a trained singer, as well as playing the clarinet and piano, spending my spare time singing as part of Cantorion John S. Davies Singers and teaching singing. I studied Law at Bristol University and spent the early part of my career working in Commercial Property Law. I have since become a qualified Project Manager working in higher education and fundraising. I am delighted to be able to assist Sinfonia Cymru in delivering a transformative impact for communities that are currently underserved by classical music, particularly reaching into the hearts of rural communities across Wales.
Llinos MadeleyBoard member
I am a Parliamentary Clerk at the Senedd, specialising in scrutiny and good governance. I began my career as a committee adviser at the House of Commons. In recent years I have been seconded to work in fragile and post-conflict states as an expert in parliamentary strengthening, contributing to projects in Sudan, Egypt and Iraq. I was born and raised in Caerffili, and attended Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni before graduating in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Trinity College, Oxford University. My love of music began at school, but my playing is now confined to the living room and performances left to the professionals!
Russell BrightBoard member
My career was originally in Chemical Engineering, and then as MD or CEO of several companies in chemicals and in water technology; the last one was to develop a technology to get algae to remove pollution from wastewater to clean up our rivers, and at the same time locking away carbon to help reverse climate change. So, I hope to bring my commercial experience to the board of Sinfonia Cymru. On the music side, I grew up surrounded by classical music and continue to find it moving today. I prefer listening as I am not skilful enough to perform, but I do play the guitar, have been in Am Dram (see photo!), and am a member of Barry Male Voice Choir.