Staff & Tutors

Chris Gayford - Conductor


Christopher Gayford studied at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music with Timothy Reynish. He has worked with many major orchestras and opera companies, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as assistant conductor, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera North and Scottish Opera.Internationally, he has taken part in master classes with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Ilya Musin and Peter Eotvos and competed in two international conducting competitions. In Cadaques, he won second prize, and in Besancon, joint first, leading to concerts in Spain, France and Austria.


As a founder member of the new music group Psappha, he was involved in education project work that now forms one of his chief areas of interest, and is at present working on a long-term audience development project based on listening; “feeling sound”. Chris has led a series of three "feeling sound" concerts at the Barbican with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, conducting Mozart's last three symphonies. Recently, he has been involved in a research project at Trinity College of Music with Professor John Sloboda, investigating listening and performance skills.

Julia Bradshaw - Lower Strings

Julia Bradshaw began her musical life in Bedfordshire, where the County Youth Orchestra sparked a lifelong love of orchestral playing.She took a Performers course at the Royal Academy of Music where her teachers included Florence Hooton and Lilly Phillips. She spent many hours receiving invaluable coaching in string quartet and piano trio ensembles from Sidney Griller.


In 1979, within 18 month of leaving the RAM, she was offered a post in the BBC Concert Orchestra in London. The ten years spent there were a constant reminder of the necessity of being versatile as a musician as the repertoire was diverse – one moment “Broadway”, the next Beethoven.In 1989 she moved north and became Assistant Principal Cello of the BBC Philharmonic based in Manchester. After 24 years in this position, having had the privilege of working with many international conductors and soloists, both in concert and on CD, toured extensively in Europe, North and South America, given a concert for the Sultan of Oman and played in the desert in Morocco amongst other unusual venues, Julia decided it was time to scale down her work schedule and so gave up her full-time position with the orchestra in March 2013.


She will continue to work as a freelance player with the orchestras based in the North West, and as a teacher for students of all ages. She has always found coaching young cellists very rewarding and exciting. From her own earliest Youth Orchestra days to the present, she has enjoyed the friendships that unite musicians, whether they are from the orchestral world, or from the cello ensembles that have sprung up spontaneously to have fun making music together.

Martin Cropper - Violins

Martin was born in Sheffield into a musical family: his great-grandfather was leader of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and his great-uncle was principal viola player in the BBC Philharmonic for thirty-five years. His father, violinist Peter Cropper, founded the Lindsay Quartet and his mother is the violin teacher, Nina Martin. Until the age of five he thought everyone played the violin! He began lessons with his mother until he was awarded a scholarship to study with Howard Davis at the Royal Academy of Music.


Martin is passionate about chamber music and has been fortunate to study and perform with some of the world’s most inspiring chamber musicians. He has played many of the major concertos with orchestra and continues to enjoy sharing music throughout the UK and beyond. Martin has always been interested in education, and has taught the violin since he was 16. He enjoys a varied career and shares his energy and enthusiasm for music between Oakham School, Rutland where he is now in his eleventh year as Head of Strings, and Sheffield’s Music Academy where he was recently appointed Musical Director. Martin regularly gives workshops for Music in the Round and the European String Teachers Association (ESTA).

Kris Garfitt - Brass

Kris graduated in the summer of 2015 from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, with a First Class Honours Degree. During his time at Guildhall he took regular lessons with Eric Crees, Peter Gane, Christopher Houlding and Simon Wills. He is now taking regular lessons with Fabrice Millischer. Kris has been lucky enough to be a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and travel extensively throughout Europe, performing at places such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.


Kris works with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the English National Ballet, Opera North and the Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg (the orchestra of Freiburg theatre). He has worked with some of the best conductors in the world including the likes of Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Vasily Petrenko and Gianandrea Noseda and undertaken masterclasses with many of the best trombonists including Stefan Schulz, Olaf Ott, Jorgen Van Rijen, Michel Becquet, Nitzan Haroz, Matt Gee, Tobias Hasselt, Aline Nistad and James Maynard.


He was also awarded first prize in Guildhall's Brass Prize (funded by the Armourers and Brasiers) in May of 2015.

Tim Page - Horns

Tim is a former member of CSYO who is now based back in Sheffield, where he works as a freelance horn player. Tim studied at the Royal Northern College of Music for 5 years, graduating in 2002 with a Masters Degree in Performance. In the same year he was also awarded the British Reserve Prize for Horn in Memory of Sydney Coulston.


As a freelancer Tim has worked with many orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, Halle, Manchester Camerata, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Opera North and Welsh National Opera. Tim is also active as a chamber musician and teacher, and teaches horn for the Sheffield Music Hub. 

Keith Slade - Woodwind

Keith studied both clarinet and conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music and subsequently clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music. Keith has worked with orchestras including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic and regularly tours with London Festival Opera. West End shows include The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins. Previously Head of Wind and Brass at the Birmingham Conservatoire Junior School, in 2010 he was appointed Music Director of the Worcester Symphony Orchestra.  In recognition of his services to the orchestra, he was invited by the Office of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to meet the Queen at a royal gathering in Worcester to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. Keith also enjoys conducting engagements with the National Schools’ Symphony Orchestra and Endellion Festival.

James Douglas - Violas

James Douglas was raised in Rutland, the smallest county in England where he learnt the violin with Martin Cropper at Oakham School. He moved to Greenwich to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with Diana Cummings, but after two years, succumbed to temptation and swapped his primary focus to the viola. In doing so he transferred to The Royal College of Music to finish his degree, studying with Susie Meszaros. He performed with every orchestra during his time at the College, from Brandenburg Concertos with the Baroque Orchestra on the Baroque Viola to the Rite of Spring with the Symphony Orchestra on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall. James spends a great deal of time playing in a wide range of chamber groups of all different sizes. James is a past member of CSYO, starting at the back of the firsts before migrating to the viola section, which he now coaches.

Gemma Wareham - Director

Gemma took over as Director of CSYO in December 2016. She was a member of CSYO and principal cellist until 2005. Gemma studied at the University of Manchester and then went on to complete a Masters in Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music.  Shortly after she completed her studies, Gemma moved to London to take up a place in Britain's young orchestral academy, Southbank Sinfonia.  It was during that year that the Berkeley Ensemble was formed, a chamber ensemble of mixed winds and strings, which now has a number of acclaimed discs under its belt, curates a festival each year in Little Venice, London, and performs regularly across the UK. Gemma has performed with many orchestras across the UK including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Gemma has taught cello and double bass in schools over the last 15 years as well as privately in London and Leighton Buzzard and has worked with many education organisations as a workshop and project leader. 


She is thrilled to be working with the orchestra that helped solidify her career dreams and has exciting plans ahead.

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