Music Staff


Dr Oliver Leaman BMus (Hons), Prix, PhD was educated at Norwich Cathedral School. Having won both the Bernard Burrel Memorial Prize and the John Pollard Scholarship for Musical Performance he went on to study Music at the University of Edinburgh where he won the Tovey Memorial Prize for Musical Performance. While at university Oliver worked with the organisation Warchild in Bosnia Herzegovina, working with children suffering from trauma caused by the Balkan war. Having been awarded a Buchar Scholarship from the University, he completed a Masters in Saxophone Performance at the Montréal Conservatoire of Music, Canada. Appointed as Head of Music Technology in the Junior Department of Trinity College of Music, London in 2003, he was subsequently appointed to the Composition Department of the Senior College and lectured at various other universities. His PhD in pedagogic composition was awarded by Brunel University in June 2011. Recent compositions and commissions have included pieces for The Southbank Sinfonia and Winchester Cathedral. He has also written two musicals on Quantum Physics and is a published author of analysis of symphonic works for Naxos.

Miss Alice Grant BA, PGCE studied Jazz Saxophone and Conducting at Leeds College of Music and then went on to study for a PGCE in Secondary Music at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Alice teaches Music across the school from year 7 to GCSE and A level as well as running the Big Band and other ensembles. Outside of school she is currently studying for a Masters of Education in Research from the University of Cambridge.

Mr O.J. Tysoe BA, DipABRSM, Durham [Profile coming soon.]



Sam Armstrong BMus RNCM has performed at some of the world’s most important concert halls including the Royal Festival and Wigmore Halls in London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, Esplanade in Singapore and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, as winner of the Nadia Reisenberg Recital Award. He made his South American debut with performances of the Schumann Concerto with the National Symphony of Ecuador. He has also appeared at international music festivals such as Ravinia, Banff, Prussia Cove, Aldeburgh, Ryedale, Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, Muensterland and Les Heures Musicales du Haut-Anjou. His performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio, French Television, Radio Suisse-Romande/Espace 2, Radio New Zealand, Radiofusau Portugesa, and WQXR New York. Sam has been a top prizewinner in national and international competitions including the Beethoven Society of Europe Competition in London (2003) and the Porto International Piano Competition in Portugal (2004).He was also laureate of the Epinal International Piano Competition in France (2001) and in 2007 was among the last six pianists in the prestigious Concours Clara Haskil in Switzerland. Sam recently completed his studies at Mannes College of Music in New York where he earned a Master's Degree and Professional Studies Diploma and was awarded the Newton Swift Piano Award upon graduation. He previously studied at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Alexandra Berry ALCM has taught at Blundell's since 1987. She was taught by the renowned Reginald Thompson under whose tuition she took her performance diploma. She also teaches at Blundell's Prep School and at Exeter Cathedral School. Her musical interests also include playing the violin, as well as coaching theory. She has a thriving private teaching practice where pupils learn piano and theory.

Colin Pettet BA, MA, ARCM, ARCO, FRCO studied organ with John Pryer at Birmingham Cathedral, gaining his F.R.C.O., then went on to read music at Worcester College, Oxford on an organ scholarship, playing for services and directing the chapel choir. After graduating, he did two years of postgraduate piano studies with John Barstow at the Royal College of Music, doing a variety of freelance work. He then spent twenty five years as Assistant Musical Director and first keyboard in the West End production of Les Miserables. He has since MD’d Don Giovanni (London fringe), Pippin and Thoroughly Modern Millie for Chichester University, where he taught on the Musical Theatre course. He is also a keen jazz and rock and roll pianist. Since moving to Devon he has been teaching and working as a freelance organist and pianist.

Bridget Tosh BA, Dip MTPP studied Music and English at Reading University. She taught English in a school in Reading before moving to Tiverton. She built up a practice of piano teaching in Tiverton, and after achieving the Diploma in Piano Teaching in Private Practice from the Associated Board became a mentor for the course. She has been much involved with local music, playing for the Tiverton Operatic Society, as well as accompanying for other events and festivals. She plays the organ at St James Church and is involved in Diocesan music.

Greta Tucker LRAM, ARCM, Dip MTPP was a pupil of Harold Craxton, editor of piano music especially for the Associated Board. At 16 she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where she studied piano and cello studying with Gordon Green and Joan Bonner, and later with Kenneth von Barthold. She worked in London as accompanist and pianist before moving to the West Country. She plays the cello in a folk group, the double bass in a jazz band and the organ in the local village.



Linda Marshall Cole ARCM trained with Ruth Packer at the Royal College of Music and was coached by the great lieder specialist Walther Gruner. Later she worked with Wynna Evans who imparted a profound appreciation of vocal technique. Fascination with the study of the human voice led to the completion of stages 1 and 2 of the Estill Voice Training Systems and the prescribed study of human anatomy. She is interested in a wide range of styles and she has performed many operatic roles, including Lady Macbeth, Aida, Tosca and Carmen. Her performances have also included oratorio (Verdi's Requiem, Britten's War Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah as well as Strauss’ Four Last Songs).

Eamonn Mulhall MMus, PG Dip, Grad Dip, H Dip Ed, BMus, BA studied Music and French Literature in Dublin before continuing his studies at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio in London. He is a highly accomplished opera tenor and baroque and classical oratorio soloist. Eamonn’s operatic engagements include Prince Safir in Offenbach’s Barbe bleu (Grange Park), staged Messiah and After Dido (English National Opera), Jacquino in Fidelio and Soldier in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Opera Theatre Company) as well as Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (co-productions Opera Ireland / DIT College of Music), Massimo in Ezio(London Händel Festival), Aumônier in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des carmélites (RCM) and understudying Bajazat in Händel’s Tamerlano (Scottish Opera), Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (ENO) and Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Welsh National Opera). He also teaches at Trinity College of Music in London.

Rosie Bruce B.Ed graduated from the Froebel Institute having studied for a B.Ed degree with Music as her main subject. She has taught at, and been formerly responsible for all the music at Blundell's Prep School for many years. While she has taught music to all age groups, singing is her main practical expertise and Rosie has sung with many groups, taking on solo roles. Presently she sings with Con Spirito which performs regularly.

Sarah Coucher Dip MusEd, LRAM studied music at Chichester College and the Royal Academy of Music where her tutors included Clara Taylor (now chief examiner for the Associated Board), Michael Wakeham (D'Oyly Carte), Bill Ives (composer and Kings Singer) and Peter Gelhom (German lieder). Sarah has worked with international directors and conductors (Carlo Rizzi and Nicholas Cleobury) and sung many roles including Papagena, Susanna, Musetta. Her recitals and concerts have included working with Glyndebourne soloists and Welsh National Opera. Former pupils have performed in West End shows, and won scholarships to the music and drama colleges.



Dave Cartwright played the snare drum from the age of 7 and at 12 was the Junior World champion. He became a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain playing in Prom concerts at the Albert Hall as well as in the Barbican, and Usher Hall in Edinburgh. He studied at the Leeds College of Music, and after graduating signed to EMI recording company. He played in the West End at the Talk of London, spent three years with David Essex and played and recorded with Bucks Fizz. He appeared in the film, Churchill the Hollywood Years with Christian Slater and Harry Enfield. He has also played on cruise ships, performed in pantomime, and in summer shows.

Kathryn Banks BMus (Hons) started playing percussion at the age of 12 in the various South Glamorgan County Orchestras, Windbands and Jazz Ensemble before becoming a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. Aged 16 she was awarded an instrumental scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, before gaining a degree at Birmingham Conservatoire. During her career she has performed with Welsh National Opera, Orchestra of the Swan, What You Will Theatre Company, BBC Concert Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera. She has performed with renounced soloists such as Julian Lloyd Webber and under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. Her experience comes from teaching percussion and drum kit in various counties up and down the country to students of all ages from beginner to diploma level and also directs many percussion ensembles. Her skills and enthusiasm has inspired many young players who have won various music awards including percussion finalist of the BBC Young Musician of the year and gained places in prestigious music colleges and followed into the professional field.



David Cottam (Classical Guitar) AGSM studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and as well as being in demand as a teacher is a solo performer and composer. He performs a wide variety of guitar music and has written extensively for the instrument. Some of his pieces have been used for ABRSM examinations and some for the new Music Medals scheme introduced recently by the Associated Board. His recordings include four solo CDs and one of flute and guitar. His most recent, Dreams and Dances, includes music from Cuba and South America as well as original compositions.

John Small (Guitar/Electric Guitar) BA (Hons) has a wealth of experience as a solo performer and is well known as the leader of the band Honest John which performs in London as well as locally. He has produced several CDs with his band. He studied at the Dartington College of Arts graduating not only in Performing Arts but also in Music and Arts Management. Besides his guitar tuition which includes acoustic and electric, he also teaches bass guitar.



Will Hall (Trombone and Trumpet) Dip RAM, PG Dip RWCM studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Chris Mowat where he gained an Honours Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma with Distinction. During his time there he was awarded the Richard Clarkson Memorial Prize for the best all round musician, and also won the Linda Mowat post Graduate brass prize. He was then awarded the South Square Trust award to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Dennis Wick and Ian Bousfield where he graduated with Distinction. Will is an active performer and amongst others has performed with The Bristol Ensemble, The Sinfonietta, Welsh National Opera, British Sinfonietta and the West of England Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also recorded for the BBC and ITV including a performance with McFly at the Royal Variety Show. As well as teaching at Blundell's, Will teaches at Cheltenham Ladies College.

Tom Taffinder (French Horn) BMus, MMus RWCM graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a BMus (First Class Hons) in 2013, and MMus in 2015. During this time, he won the Simon Clarkson Memorial Prize for outstanding all-round musicianship, and the McGrenery Chamber Music Competition and June Emerson Launchpad Prize with his wind quintet, New British Winds. Tom performs regularly with Orchestras such as the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (including performances at the Proms) and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, and works on shows including Billy Elliot the UK Tour. He teaches the Horn at the RWCMD Junior Conservatoire (where he is also the performance health lecturer) and across the south west of England, including Bristol Cathedral Choir School. He is also manager of the Newly formed Bristol Centre for Young Musicians.



Hilary Boxer (‘Cello) AGSM cert Ed studied cello performance atthe Guildhall School of music with Stefan Popov and Christopher Bunting. With her pianist, she won a piano and cello duo prize and went on to freelance with London ensembles such as Ballet Rambert and toured with the Scottish National Orchestra. Hilary had previously had the honour of playing with the International Youth Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Stokovski at the Royal Albert Hall. Since moving to the South West, Hilary plays frequently as a professional chamber musician and orchestral player. She has founded, managed and promoted many different chamber ensembles and is the cellist in the Clifton Quartet, Classical Ambience and Trio Exe. She tutors the Somerset Youth Orchestra cellos and has a broad experience of teaching curriculum music in primary and secondary schools, most recently at Heathfield Community College, Taunton.She conceived, created and continues to direct the Kentisbeare Children’s Orchestra.

Julie Hill (Violin) LRAM studied for a degree in music before being awarded a Laura Ashley Foundation Scholarship to pursue postgraduate performance studies at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has studied with Sophie Langdon, Susanne Stanzeleit and Margaret Faultless, and appeared in masterclasses with the Brodsky Quartet and Ivry Gitlis. She combines her teaching of violin and viola (at the Exeter Cathedral School too) with a variety of performing ensembles including the Devon Baroque and a string quartet.



Katie Hole (Clarinet) BMus won the Exeter Rotary Club Young Musician of the Year in 2009, and was awarded a bursary from the La Motte Charitable Trust. Having graduated in 2013 from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class honours degree, Katie continued to study for a Masters in Orchestral Performance at the RWCMD, with Robert Plane and Timothy Lines. During her time in Cardiff Katie has played with a variety of ensembles, including Sinfonia Cymru, Cardiff Sinfonietta, Welsh National Youth Opera and the RWCMD Symphony Orchestra. In 2013 she was the winner of the Howarth of London Single Reed Prize. Since graduating from the RWCMD Katie has freelanced with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, English Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Bute Clarinet Quartet.

Lucille Burns (Flute) MA (Hons), PG Dip TCM Having studied at Edinburgh University, Lucille completed two years of post-graduate study at Trinity College of Music with Wissam Boustany and in Paris with Janne Thomsen. In 2004 She was a finalist in the Royal Overseas League competition. Lucille has worked as a tutor for the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain, the Ingenium International Summer School, Beauville Arts, France, as professorial staff at the University of Reading and Trinity College of Music and outreach work for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Student groups under her coaching have won both the National Youth Music Festival and the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Festival. Her playing has lead her across Europe and Lucille has been a soloist at St George's, Bristol, the Stratford International Festival, St James' Piccadilly, for the Southern Sinfonia and at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff as well as a wide variety of music societies across the UK. Lucille was a selected artist for the Concert Promoters' Network under Making Music for the 2010/2011 season.

Nick White (Saxophone) BA (Hons), ARCM, Dip RCM studied at Chetham's specialist music school, Worcester College, Oxford, and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was taught by Thea King and Colin Lawson. He has had a diverse career playing with the Northern Ballet Orchestra, the Pasadena Roof orchestra, the Syd Lawrence Orchestra and Zippo's Circus Band among others. He has worked extensively as soloist as well. Currently he works with The Charleston Chasers and the Anglo-Sax Quartet. He has taught at Exeter University and Dartington College of Arts. He also works as an arranger, mainly for saxophone quartets and dance bands.



Jenny Sampson qualified at the Oxford Alexander Technique training course in 1993 and has been teaching ever since. Her past and present pupils range in age from 7 to 99 and come from all walks of life, musicians, riders, sportsmen or women and those referred by their GP. for various aches and pains. Alexander Technique is a method of educating you to recognise and challenge your habits. You learn to be aware of your body and mind in a clearer and more effective way. In particular, for musicians this means being able to breathe more freely despite nerves and anxiety, being able to let go and allow uninhibited expression of the music.