Professor Helena Gaunt is the Principal at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, the National Conservatoire of Wales. Her strategic vision and leadership are at the core of the vibrant, multidisciplinary College’s ethos of creative excellence, its global position and future-focused ambitions.
A professional oboist for many years and founding member of the Britten Sinfonia, her career in higher education has spanned teaching, academic development, research and enterprise. Before joining RWCMD in 2018, she was Vice Principal and Director of Innovation at Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
She currently has a leading role in the European Association of Conservatoires’ (AEC) project ‘Strengthening Music in Society’ funded by Creative Europe and is a member of the Peer Review College for the AHRC. A qualified leadership coach and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she is also a council member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, and a Welsh learner.
Helena was an Associate of the Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her extensive international academic profile has included a visiting Professorship at the Sibelius Academy University of the Arts Helsinki, a Lectorship with the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague, and collaborations with the University of Music and the Arts Vienna, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, and the Centre for Excellence in Music Performance Education at the Norwegian Academy of Music. She also chaired the Innovative Conservatoire project, a programme of international professional development for conservatoire teachers for many years. Helena’s research, especially through her collaborative partnerships, has had a decisive impact on how conservatoires have evolved their learning environments and underpinning pedagogies to respond to the demands and opportunities of contemporary contexts.