Dr Claire Mera-Nelson

Director of Music


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

Tel: +44 (0)20 8305 4456

Email: [email protected]

Area of Work

The Director of Music is responsible for the leadership of the learning, teaching, research and performance activity of the music faculty of Trinity Laban.
Claire Mera-Nelson


Claire Mera-Nelson joined the staff of Trinity College of Music in 1999 and has since also taught at Birkbeck College (University of London), the Open University and the Wigmore Hall amongst others. At Trinity College of Music she was Course Leader of the MMus in Performance Studies from 2001 to 2007; Claire has also held the roles of Head of Postgraduate Studies, Head of Research and Dean of Studies during her time at Trinity. Following the merger of Trinity College of Music with Laban, Claire became Director of Creative Futures, Trinity Laban’s centre for research, enterprise and academic enhancement, from which she led a range of research and enterprise projects investigating the roles of music and dance in modern society, as well as initiating staff and curriculum development activities. She has a particular interest in the creation of opportunities for access and diversity within the small specialist higher education sector and is a passionate advocate for conservatoire education. In 2008 she became the Dean of Quality Enhancement, in which role she played a leading role in determining institutional academic strategy. Until recently an active period instrument performer, Claire has performed extensively in Europe, Australia and Asia with ensembles including English Touring Opera, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium, the Gabrieli Consort, the London Handel Orchestra, and in particular The Sixteen with whom she performed regularly for more than 15 years.


BMus (Hons)
MMus (Dist.)
DMus: 'Creating a notion of 'Britishness'; the role of Scottish music in the negotiation of a common culture, with particular reference to the 18th century accompanied sonata' 


Born in Scotland, Claire Mera-Nelson commenced her musical studies as a violin pupil of Ian Tyre, former leader of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Palm Court Orchestra. Later leader of the Strathclyde Schools Symphony Orchestra and National Youth String Orchestra of Scotland, she was also a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Camerata Scotland.

She later studied violin and baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music, London, with Frances Mason and Catherine Mackintosh. The recipient of numerous prizes and awards at the Royal College of Music, she completed her doctoral studies on 'Creating a notion of 'Britishness'; the role of Scottish music in the negotiation of a common culture, with particular reference to the 18th century accompanied sonata'.

Teaching Experience

Claire is an experienced lecturer and academic who has taught music history, harmony and counterpoint, study skills, performing practice, editorial techniques at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In addition to supervising numerous Masters level projects on topics including baroque music, nationalism in music and music pedagogy she has supervised and examined doctoral projects as follows:

Lucy Wallis, 'Morris Dancing in David Bintley's Still Life at the Penguin Cafe' (2010)
Andrew Tait, 'The Piano Music of Samuel Coleridge Taylor' (title tbc, ongoing)
DMus/PhD Examiner: Royal College of Music, Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and Trinity Laban/City University

An academic assessor for the British Federation of Women Graduates, Claire is also active as an External Examiner and Advisor, has undertaken advisory roles for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

She has also coached a range of young, amateur and professional baroque ensembles.

Creative Outputs


  • 'Preparing for the Profession: Creating a mentoring model for the performing arts?' in Creative Enterprise in Higher Education (Lancaster: PALATINE Press, 2006)
  • 'Tea-table Miscellanies: Song culture in late eighteenth-century Scotland' (Early Music 28/4, 2000, 596-618)
  • 'The creation of a British musical identity: The importance of Scotland's music in eighteenth-century aesthetic and philosophical debates' (Contexts 22, 2001, 111-120)
  • Various biographical entries for Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart and The New Dictionary of National Biography, 2001-2002
  • 'Perspektiven künstlerischer Forschung vor dem Hintergrund aktueller Bildungstrends in Großbritannien' (Kunst Curriculum 99: zu bildungideal und berufsrealität, 2000, 58-62 & 66-68)
  • 'The Party of the Century: Lord Stanley's Fête Champêtre' (The Consort 55, 1999, 30-45)
  • Various reviews in The Consort, Early Music and Eighteenth Century Music (1999-)
  • Timothy Jones (RAM) and Claire Mera-Nelson (TL), 'Academic study and the Performer', Musicians in the Making: Pathways to Creative Performance, (ed. John Rink, forthcoming 2013)

Conference Presentations:

  • Panelist, 'Britain's Got Talent?', with Gretchen Amussen (Deputy Director of External Affairs and Communications, Conservatoire de Paris), Julian Clayton (Chief Executive, The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland), Christina Coker OBE (Chief Executive, Youth Music), Michael McGeary (Chair, Heads of the Instrumental Services Scotland), John Wallace OBE (Principal, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) (Chair), Association of British Orchestras Conference, Glasgow, April 2010
  • Keynote pre-dinner speech, 'All our Futures: A Provocation', Conservatoires UK Biennial Conference, Manchester, October 2009
  • Keynote panelist, 'Creative Connections: Linking Education to the Creative Economy' with Tom Campbell (Head of Creative Industries, LDA), Kate O'Connor (Executive Director of Policy & Deputy CEO, Skillset), Hugh Tollyfield (HEFCE Employment Engagement Adviser), Sid Hughes (Principal, NewVIc), Creative Way Lifelong Learning Network Conference, London, July 2008
  • 'Learning by doing: Rejuvenating the assessment process in creative practice-based contexts', Higher Education Academy Conference, Harrogate, June 2007
    'Moving in an antediluvian world?: New horizons, new boundaries for musicians', Royal Northern College of Music: Teaching, Learning & Performing Music, Manchester, June 2006
  • 'Interfacing the Profession: Mentoring in Music', Guildhall School of Music & Drama: The reflective conservatoire: Apprentices and Sorcerers, London, February 2006
  • 'Preparing for the Profession: Creating a mentoring model for the performing arts?', PALATINE Creative Enterprise in Higher Education Conference, Lancaster, 2005
  • 'The creation of a British musical identity: The importance of Scotland's music in eighteenth-century aesthetic and philosophical debates', MUSICology 2001: 24th National Conference of the Musicological Society of Australia, Melbourne, 2001
    'Approaches to Music Education in the United Kingdom', Kunst Curriculum 99, Linz, Austria, 1999

Performances, Recordings & Broadcasts:

  • Baroque violinist with The Sixteen/Symphony of Harmony & Invention, English Touring Opera, Florilegium, The Gabrieli Consort, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Brandenburg Consort, The London Handel Orchestra, The Deller Consort, Fiori Musicali etc. (1994-2009)
  • The Sixteen (Handel: Coronation Anthems, The Sixteen, The Orchestra of The Sixteen, Harry Christophers, Coro, 2009)
  • The Sixteen (Handel: Messiah, Sampson, Wyn Rogers, Padmore, Purves, The Sixteen, The Orchestra of The Sixteen, Harry Christophers, Coro, 2008)
  • The Gabrieli Consort (Haydn: Creation, Piau, Padmore, Davies, Persson, Harvey,
  • The Gabrieli Consort and Players, Paul McCreesh, Archiv Production, 2007)
  • The Symphony of Harmony & Invention (Heroes and Heroines, Sarah Connolly,
  • The Symphony of Harmony & Invention, Harry Christophers, Coro, 2004)
  • The Gabrieli Consort (Handel: Solomon, Andreas Scholl, The Gabrieli Consort and Players, Paul McCreesh, Archiv Production, 1998)
  • Crispian Steele-Perkins (Let the Bright Seraphim, Jennifer Bern, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Carlton Classics, 1998)
  • Various live and pre-recorded radio & television broadcasts as violinist in the UK, France and Germany (1997-2009)

External Appointments 

  • 2012- Member, Qualified Music Educator (QME) Steering Group, Arts Council England
  • 2012  External Auditor (Subject Specialist): Validation Panel, MA Music, Codarts School of Fine Arts (Rotterdam)/Hobéon (the Hague, the Netherlands)
  • 2011- External Examiner: Module AA302 'From composition to performance: musicians at work', Open University
  • 2011  External Advisor to the Academic Board, BA (Hons) Music validation, Leeds College of Music (University of Bradford)
  • 2010-2012 Member, Music Nation Steering Group, London 2012 Cultural Olympics
  • 2010  Member, Advisory Board, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), Higher Education Academy
  • 2010  External Advisor: BA Hons valiation, Academic Board, Leeds College of Music
  • 2010  External Consultant: MA in Music Performance and Professional Practice, Guildhall School of Music & Drama / Institute of Education
  • 2009  Fellow, The Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • 2008  External Member (Subject Specialist): Validation Panel, MA Music Performance, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (University of Glamorgan)
  • 2007- Specialist Reader/Assessor: NTFS Individual Awards & Senior Fellowship (SFHEA), The Higher Education Academy
  • 2007-2011 External Examiner: PG Dip/MMus (Music), Birmingham Conservatoire of Music (Birmingham City University)
  • 2007-2011 Board Member: The Creative Way (Thames Gateway Lifelong Learning Network)
  • 2007-2010 Member: HE Advisory Group, 14-19 Creative & Media Diploma Development Partnership
  • 2007  Member: QAA Subject Benchmark Review Group (Music)
  • 2007  Chair, Curriculum Development Forum, Conservatoires UK
  • 2006- Reviewer: NTFS Project Strand, The Higher Education Academy
  • 2006-2012 Lay Governor & Member: Audit Committee, Ravensbourne (College of Design & Communication)
  • 2006-2009 External Adviser: School of Music & Performing Arts Board, Bath Spa University
  • 2005-2009 External Examiner: MA Music (Performance), University of Chichester
  • 2005-2007 Trustee: Mendelssohn on Mull Festival
  • 2005  Member: Advisory Group, QAA Code of Practice: Section 10 (Admissions)
  • 2004- Member, Research Forum, Conservatoires UK
  • 2004- Trustee: Emerton-Christie Charitable Foundation
  • 2004- Member: Royal Society of Musicians
  • 2004-2010 Assessor (Music, Dance & Psychology): Academic Awards Committee, British Federation of Women Graduates Charitable Foundation
  • 1994- Musicians Union


  • 2008  Co-applicant, Leverhulme Trust: 'Music & Dance Science: Optimizing Performance Potential via an interdisciplinary music and dance screening and profiling programme'
  • 2008  Principal Investigator, Arts Council England / The Creative Way Research Commission: 'HE Training for Applied Arts Practice'
  • 2008  Principal Investigator, Arts Council England / Arts Award Research Commission: 'The Arts Award within Further and Higher Education'
  • 2008  Co-applicant, Leverhulme Trust: 'The Identification and development of contemporary dance talent in young people'
  • 2007  Learning Skills Foundation Fellowship in Creative Practice
  • 2007  Lead Researcher, Creative Way (Thames Gateway Lifelong Learning Network) Development Award: 'All the way to the West End'
  • 2007  Lead Researcher, Creative & Media Diploma Development Award: 'Gateways to Creativity'
  • 2006  Lead Researcher, Higher Education Academy Small & Specialist Colleges Assessment Project Grant
  • 2006  Co-investigator, NESTA 'Making Waves'
  • 2004  Lead Researcher, Palatine PACE Innovations Fund Grant
  • 2004  Lead Researcher, Trinity College London Trust
  • 2001  British Academy Overseas Conference Grant
  • 1998-2001 British Federation of Women Graduates Bursary
  • 1998-2001 Emerton-Christie Charity Award
  • 1996-2001 Scots' Trust Bursary
  • 1994-2000 Various prizes and awards, Royal College of Music