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Introducing new Wind, Brass & Percussion teaching staff

Fri 17 November 2023

We are delighted to welcome Matt French, John Roberts, Matt Skelton, James Turnbull, and Matthew Lewis to TL’s roster of distinguished artists and educators as members of the music faculty professorial staff.

An accomplished percussionist, Matt French enjoys a varied career performing with world-renowned orchestras—including the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and BBC Concert Orchestra—and playing in several musicals in the West End. While studying at the Royal College of Music, he won the Sabian Percussion Prize and received the prestigious Archer Scholarship, where he played with Bobby Lamb’s Trinity Big Band. He later went on to teach at the Royal College of Music Junior Department. As an educator, he has given classes to the Royal Marines. He actively participates in large-scale education projects, including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Big Bash.

John Roberts is the principal oboe of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Having studied with the Royal Opera House’s principal oboe, Christopher Cowie, John performed internationally and toured extensively with ASMF. He also worked with the London Winds, the Gaudier Ensemble, Zarek Chamber, and London Sinfonietta. His recent recordings include Poulenc’s Sonata, Trio and Sextuor with the pianist Mark Bebbington, and a solo number in John Rutter’s I Sing of a Maiden EP.

Matt Skelton enjoys an illustrious international career already spanning three decades. A drummer excelling in modern and vintage Jazz, he accompanied many leading Jazz luminaries and recorded with internationally acclaimed singers. Having been Sir Richard Rodney Bennett and John Wilson’s drummer of choice, he has most recently performed with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, and The Hong Kong Philharmonic. He has also toured internationally with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra. His theatrical credits include the 2017 Broadway transfer of An American In Paris at the Dominion theatre and the 2021-2022 performances of Anything Goes at the Barbican. A sought-after educator, Matt was an interim Head of Jazz and teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, while giving masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Hailed by the Independent as “a worthy champion” of contemporary oboe music, James Turnbull is a multi-talented and renowned oboist. He launched the New Oboe Music Project in 2015, promoting 21st century oboe repertoire worldwide. He is the founder of the Léon Goossens Prize for Emerging Composers (specific to the oboe). An accomplished chamber musician, he holds the position of Artistic Director of Ensemble Perpetuo while also performing with ensembles like the Berkeley Ensemble and the Allegri String Quartet. His solo recordings credits include Toccata Classics, Champs Hill Records, Quartz Music and the ABRSM, with Gramophone Magazine describing his debut recital disc, Fierce Tears, as a “notable debut” and the Classical Music Magazine selecting it as the Editor’s Choice Recording.

The Royal Academy of Music recently awarded him an ARAM for his outstanding contribution to the music profession. In his role as an educator, he has launched the website, making learning the instrument infinitely more accessible, while also teaching at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.

Matthew Lewis enjoys a vastly successful and diverse career as a trombonist and educator. Graduating from the Royal Academy of Music with a BMus(Hons) and MA, he performed with several British youth ensembles and as principal trombone of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. In 2020, Matthew became the principal trombone of the BBC Concert Orchestra, with whom he also performed as a soloist. Matthew has performed as guest principal trombone with other world-class orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, to name a few. As a freelance trombonist, his projects have ranged from touring Europe with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, to performing at large scale club nights with the Heritage Orchestra in arenas across the UK.

More recently, Matthew has been awarded an ARAM for his contributions as an educator. He has featured on the soundtrack of many films including Mission Impossible, Death on the Nile, and the latest Wonka film. A regular guest in the UK’s top music schools and conservatoires, Matthew is professor of trombone at St Paul’s School and Dulwich College.

To find out more about our teaching staff and programmes, visit the Wind, Brass and Percussion department page.