“The help, advice and interaction with all the team at Voices Now makes it the friendliest festival I have ever been involved in. Being made to feel valued and part of the team has been a great experience” – Choir Participant
Creative Director – Clare Edwards
Clare is a multi award-winning creative producer who leads Voices Now as our Creative Director. Clare has worked with Voices Now since 2011.
Clare has dedicated her career to working with music and in particular choirs and her experience includes working with massed children’s choir project Young Voices both in the UK and in Europe, working at the World Choir Olympics in Sochi in 2016, producing the UK premiere of David Lang’s Crowd Out in 2014 as well as a number of smaller choir projects working with cathedral choirs through to community choirs since the mid nineties.
Clare is Music Director of her own choir Notorious that she founded in 1997 and Soprano in Ex Cathedra since 2001. In 2017 she was awarded the ‘Lady Hilary Groves Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Music in the Community’.
The Voices Now Board
Maurice Biriotti (Chair) has been the Chair of Voices Now since 2010. Until 1996, Maurice was a full-time academic, working at the Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham and Zurich. He left academia to set up SHM, a strategy and insight consultancy based in London, that he leads as its Chief Executive. SHM grew out of the insight that human motivation is at the root of all business success and is critical to business innovation and the delivery of competitive advantage. Maurice has applied this insight successfully across both the public and private sectors and it remains at the heart of all of the work the company carries out. He continues to maintain close ties with academia, holding posts at University College London and Yale University. Maurice Biriotti is also the Chair of Spitalfields Music and a Trustee of the SHM Foundation and of Body & Soul.
Hugh Brunt is co-Artistic Director and co-Principal Conductor of the London Contemporary Orchestra, winners of the Ensemble category at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards. Recent and upcoming guest conducting engagements include the New York Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra. He conducted the string and choir arrangements on Radiohead’s 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool. A collaborator of composer and guitarist Jonny Greenwood, he has worked on his scores for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, Phantom Thread, live screenings of There Will Be Blood, and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. Other collaborative work includes Thom Yorke, Imogen Heap, Beck, Actress, Foals and Matthew Herbert (most recently on the Academy Award-winning A Fantastic Woman). He has worked with Jed Kurzel on his last four film scores, including Macbeth and Alien: Covenant.
Rathi Kumar is Director of IT & Administration at the Young Vic, a theatre dedicated to making world class productions for diverse audiences. When she isn’t at her desk, she is assistant directing the award winning Roundhouse Choir or singing in and helping with the administration of SOUND. Rathi spent her formative years singing in the Kokopelli Choir Association based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which then led to her studying music at the University of Alberta. Rathi is passionate about all different styles of choral music being made accessible to as many people as possible, both as audiences and participants.
Kirsty Leith is Head of Public Affairs at Global, the media and entertainment group. She is an original member of the award winning, gin swigging, tv appearing, a cappella choir The Noteables. Kirsty worked for ten years at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport between 2003 and 2013 in a number of roles including Head of Arts and Head of Cultural Education. She even managed to get civil servants singing, starting up the staff choir there, which is still going strong today.
Kathryn Tickell is a musician, composer, educator and broadcaster. She took up the Northumbrian smallpipes at the age of nine, inspired by her family and by the music of an older generation of traditional musicians. Her work is deeply rooted in the landscape and people of Northumbria. Kathryn has released 15 of her own albums and has also recorded and performed with Sting, The Chieftains, The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Evelyn Glennie, Andy Sheppard, Joanna MacGregor, Jon Lord, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. In 2009 Kathryn was presented with The Queen’s Medal for Music, awarded to those deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to British music. She has twice won ‘Musician of the Year’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and was awarded the OBE in 2015. She lives in Northumberland.
Chris Samuel is a singer and choir leader from Bradford on Avon. He runs three mixed community choirs in Wiltshire who come together to perform as the mighty Wiltshire Wailers. He’s toured with Aussie festival favourites The Spooky Men’s Chorale across Europe for a decade and now performs with the UK-based ‘fun-sized’ version A Fistful of Spookies.
His own men’s choir The Magnificent AK47, became involved in Voices Now in 2013 and were delighted to find a festival which allows choirs from all different genres to work, sing and create together. They’ve subsequently performed at the Derry International Choral Festival and in 2018 are heading to the Cork International Festival. He’s one of the founders of Sing for Water West, a mass charity concert in Bristol which attracts up to 1,000 singers and by this year will have raised £250,000 for WaterAid. Chris is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioner’s Network.
Genevieve Sylva (Observer) was born into a large family in Birmingham with gospel music at its core. She grew up singing in church and then later professionally for renowned acapella group Black Voices with whom she toured the world and sang with luminary artists such as Ray Charles, Nina Simone and Destiny’s Child. An accomplished singer/songwriter Genevieve gained a BA Honours Degree in Music and Popular Music at the University of Wolverhampton as well as a PGCE secondary and continued as a music educator, head of music in a secondary school, vocal workshop leader including the Birmingham Opera Company, Voices Now (as featured on the BBC) and also a collaboration with Take 6.
Over the years, Genevieve has developed her own uniquely smooth but exuberant vocal style, with a confident presence on stage which has lead her to also be employed by some of the UK’s top pop acts including Lulu and X Factor winner Sam Bailey.