Career Profiles


We caught up with some former students to find out about the different directions their careers have taken them since graduating from RWCMD.

Chanae CurtisChanáe Curtis

American soprano Chanáe Curtis studied at the Manhattan School of Music before graduating from the MA Opera Performance programme at RWCMD. Highlights include performing for HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace; with the Hallé Orchestra; and the role of Anna Gomez in The Consul at Welsh National Opera. This season, Chanáe makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York performing the role of Annie, whilst covering the role of Lily, in Porgy & Bess.


Alis Huws

Alis Huws became the new Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales before graduating from her course at RWCMD. Alis has also represented the Welsh Government in Japan and across Europe and is the Youth Coordinator for the World Harp Congress 2020, which will be held in Cardiff.


joanna_higginbottomJoanna Higginbottom

Joanne Higginbottom completed an internship with Tyler Bates in Los Angeles whilst in her final year of study. After graduating, Joanne went to work for Tyler and has since co-composed Primal, Samurai Jack, The Public (Emilio Estevez); score co-produced for The Spy Who Dumped Me; and provided additional music for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, John Wick 1, 2 & 3, Marvel’s The Punisher and Deadpool 2.


Tianyi LuTianyi Lu

Tianyi Lu is making a name for herself across the continents as Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the St. Woolos Sinfonia in the UK and from August 2019, she will be the Associate Female Conductor-in-Residence with Welsh National Opera. This international outset of her career includes collaborations with Hallé Orchestra, Dallas Opera Orchestra, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Symphony Orchestra, Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia.


Ollie HowellOllie Howell

Since completing his BMus at RWCMD, drummer Ollie Howell has established himself as a film/TV composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Ollie has written music for multi-award winning films and international TV series and his work has been screened at film festivals around the world. Ollie has also released two jazz albums and toured the world, receiving critical acclaim. A protégé of Quincy jones, whom he first performed for at RWCMD, Ollie is also the only ever jazz recipient of a prestigious Sky Academy Arts Scholarship.


Justina GringyteJustina Gringyte

Justina Gringyte is a Lithuanian mezzo soprano who completed her MMus studies at RWCMD, before going on to study at London’s National Opera Studio. She has performed in opera houses across the world, reprising the role of Carmen to critical acclaim, and was awarded Young Singer of the Year in the 2015 International Opera Awards. Justina also performs regularly with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow where her performances include Maddalena in Rigoletto and Marguerite in La damnation de Faust. Recent highlights include roles with Korean National Opera, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera as well as concert performances at Wigmore Hall and with CBSO at the BBC Proms.


Grant JamesonGrant Jameson

While studying at RWCMD, US-born Euphonium player Grant Jameson won the Best Soloist prize at the 2014 Welsh Open and the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award, among several others. Grant is a Besson Performing Artist and is also the Musical Director of the Severn Tunnel Band. He performs with his euphonium quartet, Eu4ia, arranges new works for euphonium, and does educational outreach work as a Yeoman of The Musicians’ Company.


Trystan GriffithsTrystan Griffiths

Welsh Tenor Trystan Griffiths studied for the MA Opera Performance at RWCMD, before completing his training at the National Opera Studio. He made his professional operatic début performing the role of Ferrando in Scottish Opera’s touring production of Cosi fan tutte and has since performed in productions with Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Opéra National de Lorraine and Zürich Opera, as well as appearing on the BBC Proms in 2016. He has performed with artists including Katherine Jenkins and Sir Bryn Terfel and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Upcoming highlights include roles with Garsington Opera, Scottish Opera and Dutch National Opera.


Edward-Rhys HarryEdward-Rhys Harry

After studying for his MA in Choral Conducting at RWCMD, Edward-Rhys Harry has gone on to conduct and compose for choirs and instrumentalists all over the world. He is currently the Conductor-in-Residence of the British Sinfonietta Orchestra, and he also runs a development programme for choral conductors through ‘The Harry Ensemble’, a choir dedicated to the performance and promotion of British choral music abroad.


Dave DanfordDave Danford

Percussionist Dave Danford works throughout the UK and abroad, playing in live concerts for Alfie Boe, Evelyn Glennie, Karl Jenkins, Bryn Terfel and Russell Watson. He has performed with professional orchestras, for West End theatre productions including Jim Steinman’s Bat out of Hell the Musical, as a soloist and in a variety of session recordings. His work also includes composition, arrangement and musical production and as an established orchestral contractor, he is responsible for managing the British Sinfonietta, the Cinematic Sinfonia and the Welsh Session Orchestra.


Dawn HardwickDawn Hardwick

London-based soloist, chamber, orchestral and contemporary pianist Dawn Hardwick, completed her BMus studies at RWCMD. She is now the member-director of the original six-piano ensemble, Piano Circus, who are at the forefront of commissioning and performing new works for multiple pianos. Dawn has wide experience as a soloist, most recently performing John Psathas’ double concerto View From Olympus for amplified piano and percussion with Dame Evelyn Glennie.


Joel GarthwaiteJoel Garthwaite

After completing his BMus at RWCMD, saxophonist Joel Garthwaite went on to postgraduate study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His performance work has centred on the Lunar Saxophone Quartet, which formed at RWCMD. His career also includes delivering seminars and event management. He is a Professional Development Consultant for the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), and the Founder and Co-Director of Bright Ivy Artist Management. He is currently the Head of Marketing and New Business at Invicomm.


Toks DadaToks Dada

While studying viola as an undergraduate at RWCMD, Toks Dada developed an interest in arts management and established the successful contemporary music ensemble, Sinfonia Newydd. He went on to complete an MA in Arts Management at RWCMD and is now Classical Programme Manager at Town Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Toks is also a spokesperson for diversity and inclusion within the music profession and a Non-Executive Director of Welsh National Opera.


Tic AshfieldTic Ashfield

Tic Ashfield is a BAFTA Cymru award-winning composer and sound designer who completed her BMus and MMus studies at RWCMD. Her work spans television drama and documentary, animation projects, theatre and dance collaborations. A member of John Hardy Music, she co-composed the soundtrack for the BBC One drama series, Hinterland. Tic is also an enthusiastic and inspirational music tutor and workshop leader.


Adam CrossAdam Cross

Adam Cross is a multi-instrumentalist who completed his MMus at RWCMD after gaining a BMus from the University of Birmingham. He works in theatre as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and also composes. Adam’s highlights include contributing music to the BAFTA nominated short film Marfa and co-writing music and songs for the play Busking It, which premiered at the Soho Theatre in Autumn 2018. Adam is the founder of the British band Klezmer Kollectiv.


David DoidgeDavid Doidge

David Doidge studied piano as an undergraduate at RWCMD before specialising as a répétiteur in opera and vocal coaching at postgraduate level. On completing his studies, he became a full time member of the music staff at Welsh National Opera. David has accompanied leading vocalists including Bryn Terfel and Rebecca Evans.


Helen NashHelen Nash

Helen Nash has been enjoying international success as the cellist in the leading electric string quartet, Escala. As a pianist, she has performed with Pink, Nicole Scherzinger, Jessie J, Robbie Williams and Olly Murs, and has appeared on some of the UK’s most popular TV shows including The Graham Norton Show, The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. She has played at venues ranging from The Ritz to the Royal Albert Hall, the Millennium Stadium and the O2 Arena.


Jonny BruceJonny Bruce

Trumpeter Jonny Bruce emerged onto the UK jazz scene as a member of the Dave Stapleton Quintet (Edition Records). His current projects include the Bruce/Ilett Big Band, The Zen Hussies, Moscow Drug Club, Swing Machine Jazz Orchestra, and Jonny Bruce Band: Tribute to The Trumpet Kings to name a few. Jonny is also in demand as a guest soloist and session player, both live and in the studio. As a teacher, he offers tuition on brass instruments across a range of styles.


Mark David BodenMark David Boden

After graduating from RWCMD, Mark David Boden completed an MMus in Advanced Composition at the Royal College of Music before returning to RWCMD as a member of the music staff. His work is published by Cadenza Music and has been performed by ensembles including the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. His music has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 3.


Nathan StoneNathan Stone

Nathan Stone is the cellist with the Vulcan String Quartet, which has collaborated on studio albums and stadium concerts with the Manic Street Preachers – he is pictured at their Cardiff studio. Nathan has worked on strings arrangements and recordings for more than 100 artists worldwide including Roger Daltrey, The Proclaimers and Charlotte Church.


Matthew WilliamsMatthew Williams

Matthew Williams studied for his BMus at RWCMD and as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music. He has appeared as Principal Trumpet with leading UK orchestras including BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.