Governance of The Commonwealth Resounds

The Commonwealth Resounds is supported by a team of experienced artists and cultural practitioners representing all 4 regions of the Commonwealth. They help our projects and support young people all over the world share their musical cultures.

Africa

Louis Mbanefo

Louis Mbanefo

Nigeria

Louis Mbanefo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Notary Public of Nigeria is also a performing musician. He had his first piano lesson at the age of six from a local church organist in Onitsha. As a student at Marlborough College in England, he participated regularly in music competitions and won various prizes in the piano and cello categories. He studied African History for a year at the University of Ibadan in 1963, where he also won first prize for Piano in the Inter-Nigerian Universities music competition. Following this he moved to study at Queens’ College Cambridge, here he continued to combine his studies in law with his musical education. He is a Founding Member and Trustee of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). From 1983 to 2001 he was the chairman of the Artistes Committee of MUSON, in charge of concerts. He performed at MUSON over 100 times over a period of 18 years. He was the Vice-Chairman of MUSON for eight years and in October 1995 he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors of MUSON. He served as chairman for 6 years before being made a patron of the Society. In December 2013 he was again appointed Vice-Chairman of MUSON, a position he continues to hold. Louis Mbanefo was called to the Nigerian Bar over 40 years ago and was appointed a Notary Public of Nigeria in February 1978. After working for ten years in a joint partnership he set up a personal firm – Louis Mbanefo & Co. in 1984. Four years later in May 1988 he was conferred the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. (SAN) He is the president of the Nigerian Maritime Law Association and represents Africa on the Executive Council of the International Law Association, the first African ever to be elected onto the prestigious Council in it’s 115 year history.

South Pacific

Tony Maydwell

Tony Maydwell

Australia

Anthony Maydwell began formal piano tuition at 5, and the harp at the age of 10 and was a medallist in St Andrew’s Cathedral choir, Sydney. At 16 Anthony began playing regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with his first recordings and his concerto début for Musica Viva at 17. At 21 he was described as ‘a distinguished Australian musician’ (Sydney Morning Herald). While still studying Anthony Maydwell was already experimenting with the rarer parts of the repertoire conducting Restoration masques and late Renaissance Italian madrigal. Maydwell was one of the first broadcasters in Stereo FM in Australia as a compare on Classical Radio station 2MBS-FM from the first day of official broadcasting in 1974. In 1975, Anthony was awarded Student of the Year at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music. He was a member of AZ Music, The Seymour Group and regularly played with Opera Australia and Australian Ballet orchestras. After taking up the position as harpist with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Anthony Maydwell completed an MA at the University of Western Australia specialising in Trecento Madrigal, and later in 18th century performance practice. Anthony was a foundation staff member of the WA Conservatorium of Music from 1986 to 2008. He left to focus on his Bolivian research described below. He has toured with the Hallé Orchestra and the Budapest Symphony; conducted first Australian performances from Haydn to Pårt. For over a decade Anthony has directed the SUMMA MUSICA Chamber Choir which has won considerable acclaim performing both early and contemporary music including yearly performances of music for Holy Week not heard in modern times. Among the highlights of his performing career starting with his first commercial recording aged 17 of Eugene Goosens’ Trio for the ABC/World Record Club through to playing harp on the 2006 Naxos/Opus Arte DVD (OAF 4014D) of Britten’s Turn of the Screw are but two of many memorable performances. From the beginning of 2000 to 2003 Anthony Maydwell was principal harpist in the Singapore Symphony Orchestra performing in both Singapore and China including harp on a recording of the works of Richard Yardumian by the orchestra on the BIS label. He has maintained a direct link to his choral past through a profound interest in high renaissance liturgical repertoire involving the reconstruction, publication and performance of numerous autographs and early prints of works by Gesualdo, Lassus, Monteverdi, Gallus, Victoria, Morales, etc., and a large number of works found in Renaissance anthologies. He is considered to be one of a handful of experts in the music of Baroque Bolivia and continues to work on materials he has acquired in travels to that country. He has just completed a monumental edition of Michael Praetorius’ Musarum Sioniarum from 1607. Maydwell continues to teach in all areas of classical musicianship, conduct Summa Musica, has established a children’s choir in the Perth Hills, performs with all Perth’s orchestras and maintains musicological interests in choral music from the High Renaissance.

The Caribbean & Canada

Deodat Persaud

Deodat Persaud

Guyana

During the early 80s Deodat studied the master drummers of Africa in London under the influence of Naña Bafu Appiah. Whilst living in Brixton Deodat Formed his own band, KUDUM. KUDUM performed Afro Jazz music at many festivals including Notting Hill carnival, and many other venues. Most of the songs were composed by Deodat in his basement.

Deodat returned to Guyana in 2004 amidst a violent crisis that overtook the country and decided to form BUXTON FUSION to alleviate the hardship the children of Buxton were experiencing. Music was used as a therapeutic conduit to alleviate the trauma the children experienced. The group is now nationally recognised and has performed to large audiences across Guyanaas well as encouraging and supporting young musicians to attend a variety of international projects including the Commonwealth Resounds in Trinidad 2007.

Sharda Patasar PhD

Sharda Patasar PhD

Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Sharda Patasar straddles two fields, music and academia. She is a sitarist trained in North Indian Classical music and graduated in 2013 with a PhD. Cultural Studies. Sharda’s musical work comprises primarily fusion of the various genres of music in the Caribbean with North Indian classical music. Her position as a musical practitioner and performing artiste is one that provides her with intimate knowledge of the working of the musical landscape of Trinidad, where her father Mungal Patasar set the stage for musical collaborations with his pioneering work in fusion music that encapsulates the Trinidadian experience. Her academic writing and journalism are influenced by this heritage and her personal experience as an Indo-Trinidadian/Caribbean artiste.

Asia & Europe

Alison Cox OBE FRSA

Alison Cox OBE FRSA

United Kingdom - Trustee

Alison Cox has developed national and international links with an increasing number of professional ensembles and organisations including UNESCO, the London Sinfonietta, the Nash Ensemble, Endymion, the Royal Over-Seas League, EXAUDI, the International Federation of Musicians and many schools, conservatoires and musical organisations overseas. She also collaborates regularly with musicians and composers from all over the world.   She was awarded a Distinction in the 2010 National Teaching Awards. In 2011, she was appointed as a Community Champion by the Royal Society of Arts, and in June 2012 she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the community in the UK and overseas. For further information about Alison Cox click here
Naveen Fernando

Naveen Fernando

Sri Lanka

Naveen Fernando is the Principal Trumpet of the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka and the Chamber Music Society of Colombo. He is also the Leader of the Colombo Brass Ensemble. He began his studies in music and trumpet at age of 13 under the guidance of Daya Karunatilake (ex-official Sri Lanka Air Force). He was a member of the Western Band of St Peter’s College. Naveen continued his studies with Sita De Saram. To further develop his technique, he was assisted by Lylani Weerakoon, Lakshman Joseph–De Saram, as well as visiting artists including John De Jarnnet (Seattle Symphony), Roger Bernett (Seatle Ballet) and Robert Lennon (UK). At the age of 16, Naveen joined the Philharmonic Players’ Society where he performed as Principal Trumpeter from 1990-1995 under the guidance and direction of the late Rohan Joseph–De Saram. Naveen has been featured in many solo performances, in both classical and popular music. His debut classical solo was Henry Purcell’s ‘Overture -The Indian Queen’, performed with the Petite Philharmonique Orchestra in 1994. He has also performed G. F. Handel’s ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ and ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’ with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL). In 2004 he performed J.F. Haydn Concerto for Trumpet with the SOSL. In 2007 Naveen attended the Asia Week Festival in Japan, A festival of Orchestra Music with the SOSL. In 2009 he was invited to play with The Bombay Chamber Orchestra (BCO) in Mumbai. Since then he has been Guest Principal Trumpet with them. In 2012 Naveen attended a study tour to UK, where he performed with the Sidcup Symphony Orchestra at Johns Smiths square London under the Conductor Dr James Ross. In 2013, he became the chairperson of the newly established Colombo Wind Orchestra. Naveen is currently conducting training programmes for The University of Visual & Performing Arts, Colombos is a Lecturer for their Brass Department and a special instructor for the brass course with the Sri Lanka Navy Band and Sri Lanka Air Force Band.
Nicholas Oliver

Nicholas Oliver

United Kingdom - Trustee

Nick Oliver studied at the Purcell School and the Royal Academy of Music with Jean Anderson, followed by postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with Marjorie Clementi.   He has a varied performing career as an accompanist and chamber musician and has played in many of Britain’s major concert venues. Overseas tours have taken him to many European countries, as well as the USA, Canada, Asia and Australia. He has been on the staff of the RNCM and its Junior School and is currently Joint Head of piano accompaniment at Chetham’s School of Music. He is an examiner in the UK and internationally for the ABRSM. He is a founder member of The Commonwealth Resounds! and in that capacity has worked in Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean.
Sarah Oliver

Sarah Oliver

United Kingdom - Trustee

Sarah Oliver is sixth form co-ordinator within the academic music department at Chetham’s School of Music. She began her musical education studying the oboe in Manchester with Val Taylor, and later with David Theodore in London, whilst reading for a degree in music at Christ Church, Oxford. On graduating, she moved to Dublin and joined the vocal group Anúna (an integral part of Riverdance – The Show in the mid nineties), with whom she made a number of critically acclaimed recordings, before embarking on postgraduate study and subsequently a career in music teaching. She specialises in music from the 12th to 15th centuries and combines teaching, and being a senior examiner for the A level exam board AQA, with freelance writing work.   Sarah became involved with The Commonwealth Resounds! in 2009 and has been part of planning and running projects in Trinidad, Perth, WA and Sri Lanka.
Martin Wess

Martin Wess

United Kingdom - Trustee

Martin Wess studied sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art and theatre design at the Slade.   In November 2005, Martin successfully stage-managed all the inaugural performances of ‘The Commonwealth Resounds’ in Malta. Since 2007, Martin has produced the majority of the photographic documentation for all cross-cutural projects run by The Commonwealth Resounds. Martin lives in Norfolk, (UK) where he is pursuing his diverse creative interests as a visual artist. Martin’s wide-ranging experience enables him to respond creatively and perceptively to new situations, and relate comfortably to all kinds of people, invaluable when developing new Commonwealth partnerships and projects.

Young Commonwealth Ambassadors

Cecilia de Maria

Cecilia de Maria

Young Commonwealth Ambassador for the European Countries

Born in the UK to Maltese parents, Cecilia recently completed her Masters degree with distinction at the Royal College of Music where she was an ABRSM scholar, studying with Daphne Boden. Prior to this she graduated from the same institution with a First Class (Honours) undergraduate degree. Cecilia has been fortunate enough to travel extensively as a soloist to countries including; Italy, Spain, Portugal, Amsterdam, France and The Baltic States. Thanks to her Maltese heritage, she has been invited to perform regularly in Malta at venues including; The Manoel Theatre, St. John’s Co-Cathedral and San Anton Palace in the presence of His Excellency President Edward Fenech Adami. It has been an honour for Cecilia to work alongside fantastic musicians from all over the Commonwealth for the last ten years for The Commonwealth Resounds, having been fortunate enough to be involved with the organisation since its origins ten years ago.
Sarah Ndagire

Sarah Ndagire

Young Commonwealth Ambassador for the African Countries

Born in Uganda (East Africa), Sarah Ndagire singer-songwriter and travels around the world sharing the culture of her homeland, ‘the pearl of Africa.’ Watching and listening the energetic Sarah Ndagire perform is like taking the most relaxing trip across Africa without a visa. She brings out the true soul of an African, the Joy, Sorrow, pain, determination, intelligence and perseverance. She has built an impressive repertoire made up of the most rare, unique and varied Ugandan rhythms and instruments that hitherto were played in isolation by different tribal musicians. “Her music which combines Western influences with those of her homeland has won her a loyal audience abroad, Alice Muthengi,” BBC network Africa. Following in the footsteps of internationally famous artists such as Miriam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo and Mory Kanté she continues collaborate with musicians from around the world, combining the Ugandan folk music styles with different musical styles of the world and the result has been an interesting contemporary world sound.
Louis Perera

Louis Perera

Young Commonwealth Ambassador for Sri Lanka

Since making his public début at the age of seven, Louis Perera has played an active part as a pianist and conductor in Sri Lanka. Apart from giving solo recitals, he has also appeared as a soloist with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, and is highly sought-after as an orchestral pianist, chamber musician, and répétiteur. As a conductor, Louis began as Assistant Conductor of the Junior Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka. He later established the Colombo Classical Collective, which performed for the first time in 2014. Currently, Louis’s main musical interests lie in understanding historical performance practices to present fresh perspectives of musical works in performance. He particularly enjoys collaboration and performing music written for multiple musicians. Louis’s teachers over the years have been Gilmary Rodrigo, Sheryl Perera, and Eshantha Peiris. He currently studies with Paul Janes at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
Carson Becke

Carson Becke

Young Commonwealth Ambassador for Canada

Carson Becke (b. 1989) has performed extensively as a piano soloist and chamber musician, including performances in Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Latvia, and Trinidad and Tobago. For the past five years he has been the artistic director of Festival Pontiac Enchante, a concert series in Luskville, Quebec. In 2005, he moved to the UK in order to study at the Purcell School of Music. After graduating from the Purcell School, he studied on scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He completed his Bachelors degree in June 2011. Currently, Carson is reading for his Master’s degree in Music Performance and Musicology at the University of Oxford, with the generous support of the Sylva Gelber Music Foundation of Canada. He was the Music Scholar for the academic year 2013-14 at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford.
Vatche Jambazian

Vatche Jambazian

Young Commonwealth Ambassador for Australia and the South Pacific

“Vatche’s powerful communication drew the audience into this extraordinary soundworld”, (South London Concert Series.) Vatche Jambazian is an emerging international concert pianist originally from Sydney, Australia. He made his international Debut at the age of 16 in Yerevan, Armenia performing a televised recital as part of the Independence Day celebrations. His recent achievements have included the 2008 Fine Music Station Young Performer of the Year, reaching the semi- finals in 2009 at the International Russian Music Competition in San Jose, performing recitals in the International Holland Music Sessions in the Netherlands and winning the prize for the best performance of works by Chopin in the finals of the Australian National Piano Award in 2010. Vatche is not only a talented interpreter of the keyboard repertoire, both classical and contemporary, he has also founded a Piano Trio that regularly performs in Australia. In 2010 , they embarked on a successful tour of Paris and London. Following this Vatche was invited to perform the Australian Premiere of Frank Martin’s Second Flute Ballade under the guidance of Rien De Reede of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. During his association with the University of Sydney, Conservatorium of Music, he has learnt from Daniel Herscovitch, Natalia Sheludiakova and Nikolai Evrov and collaborated with other acclaimed international artists such as Stephen Hough, Paul Lewis and Boris Berman. Recent performances have taken Vatche to Handel’s House in London performing works of Handel and Bach, Solo recitals in the Foundling Museum, 1901 Arts Club South London Concert Series, The Royal College of Music in London, and Guest Performer, Adjudicator and Professor at The Piano Institute in Surabaya, Indonesia.   Vatche has also performed in venues such as City Recital Hall Angels Place, The Great Hall of Sydney University, The Independent Theatre, Shepparton Performing Arts Centre, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, La Petit Trianon in San Jose, Museum Kranenburgh in Holland and St.Croix Paris. In October of 2015 Vatche will be competing in the finals of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer Representing New South Wales.  Vatche has been featured on ABC Classic FM and 102.5 Fine Music Station.

Consultants

James Ross

James Ross

Artistic Advisor

James Ross studied at Christ Church, Oxford, with a D.Phil. on French opera. Training first as a violinist and studying singing, he was a 1998 BBC Philharmonic Conducting Competition finalist; since then he has conducted over 900 symphonic and choral works and operas in fifteen countries throughout Asia, Europe and North America. He has performed in leading UK concert venues including Symphony Hall, Birmingham, the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, and in London at St John’s Smith Square and Westminster Abbey.

For TCR he has conducted the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra, comprised of members of The Purcell and Chetham’s Schools of Music and London music colleges, at the Westminster Abbey Commonwealth Observance Service; in 2014 he worked with TCR and The Royal Over-Seas League on a tour of 40 UK and Indian musicians to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit. Here he conducted concerts in Galle and the first orchestra performance at Colombo’s Nelum Pokuna Theatre, in collaboration with The Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka. James Ross is a frequent speaker on music, including at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France; he has taught at Oxford University and contributed to several books and music journals. He has helped to raise over £1 million through concert-giving for charities, and in 2013 conducted English National Ballet at the London Guildhall at a gala performance which raised over £800,000 in aid of Save The Children.

Saleem Izhar

Saleem Izhar

Financial Consultant

Saleem Izhar was born in India (North-East Calcutta). Aged 11, he moved with his family to Tripoli, Libya for 4 years then spent 2 years in a Maltese boarding school. He came to England aged 17 to study for A levels and then to the Universities of Manchester, London and Bristol, achieving degrees in BSc, MSc and PGCE in Engineering and Mathematics. Saleem’s teaching career began in the London area. In 1993 he worked in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, then Istanbul, Turkey and New York. He returned to London in 2002 and settled in the Bushey area. For 4 years, Saleem taught at Queen’s School and as a supply teacher in Hertfordshire before joining the Purcell School in 2008, where he has worked as a Mathematics Tutor ever since.
Peter Banks MRSC

Peter Banks MRSC

Website and digital publicity manager

As a musician and teacher at the Purcell School Peter has worked with The Commonwealth Resounds previously in Perth, Australia and supported his students who have taken part in The Commonwealth Resounds projects ever since. As a Chemistry Teacher Peter is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Within the society he writes regularly for the magazine ‘Education in Chemistry’ and sits on their editorial board, is an elected member of the Education division council and secretary to the Educational techniques group. His interests include the interface between chemistry and music and producing online educational resources. Peter plays violin and viola and has performed all around the world. He also helps musical organisations with their web based activities including summer schools, youth orchestras and university music societies.