Woodwind

We have six woodwind teachers working at the NMC teaching flute, clarinet and saxophone (alto & tenor).

Helen Wright B.Mus (Hons) (Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone)

Helen began playing the clarinet at the age of 11 and within 2 years started playing flute and saxophone. Whilst at college Helen studied under the direction of Jennifer Murray then went on to successfully complete her BMus Undergraduate Degree at the University of Wales, Bangor. Helen has almost 20 years performing experience not only as a soloist, but also playing in various orchestras, wind bands and local ensembles. She has been a woodwind teacher for over 15 years and has taught at the NMC since December 2002. In addition to her work at the NMC Helen works for Durham Music Service, providing tuition on the full range of woodwind instruments, and teaches privately.

Rachel Dawson BA(Hons) MMus DipABRSM CTABRSM (Flute)

Rachel has been studying flute since the age of eleven and later began piano. In 2006 she completed her undergraduate degree in music at the University of Newcastle, receiving first class honours in performance as well as gaining her performance diploma. She gained her master's degree the following year specialising in flute performance. During her studies Rachel was principle flautist for the University Symphony Orchestra for three years consecutively, including a performance of Britten's War Requiem at The Sage Gateshead. Rachel continues to enjoy performing both as a soloist and as part of ensembles. Past performances include a solo recital at the Literary & Philosophical Society as well as ensemble work with Teatro de Nieve both at The Sage and Caedmon Hall. As well as working at Northern Music Centre, Rachel teaches privately and in local schools.

Gary Turner B.Mus (Clarinet & Saxophone)

Gary started playing the saxophone at the age of twelve . He graduated from the Newcastle College Jazz course in 1992 . He has played in a variety of bands ranging from function bands to latin/salsa and jazz bands, and currently plays with The Pilgrim Street Jazz Ensemble based at the Hoochie Coochie Club in Newcastle. Gary also teaches privately and for Northumberland Music Service.

Alex Saxon B.Mus (Hons) (Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone)

Alex began playing flute and saxophone at the ages of 7 and then 10. In 2013 he graduated with an honours degree In Jazz Popular and Commercial Music from The Sage Gateshead. Alex has played in a variety of big bands, wind bands and orchestras, picking up two outstanding soloist awards and coming second in the North West Music for Youth competition. He actively enjoys performing up and down the country but is predominantly based in the Newcastle area where he teaches and performs regularly.

Faye MacCalman B.Mus (Hons) (Clarinet and Saxophone)

Faye started playing clarinet at the age of 8 and ten years later, picked up the Tenor Saxophone at the age of 18.  In 2015 Faye graduated with a First Class Honours degree from Newcastle University, specialising in performance and receiving tuition from the innovative saxophonist Phil Bancroft. Faye also studied Jazz Performance for one year in Montreal, Canada, studying with some of North America's finest musicians and improvisers such as Ellwood Epps, Gary Schwartz and Frank Lozano. Faye enjoys playing across a variety of performance styles and assemblages, with past experiences ranging from a concert for the Dalai Lama in Usher Hall, Edinburgh, to a morning television appearance on GlobalNews in Montreal. She is currently working towards recording her first album with her quartet 'Archipelago' while preparing for future performances which include a duo with revered percussionist Charlie Collins for the Jazz North East 'Women Make Music' series in 2016. Faye also teaches clarinet and saxophone privately, and is assisting in facilitating new workshops encouraging creative music making in Gateshead.

Kieran Szifris B.Mus (Hons) (Flute)

Kieran began making music with the family band in Birmingham, playing his first paid gig at the tender age of 13. His classical training began at the age of 11 and, after gaining Grade 8 flute, led to a place on the Traditional and Folk Music Degree course at Newcastle University. He pursued and learned flute styles from all over the world under first class tutition from musicians such as Niall Keegan, Kathryn Tickell and Brian Finnegan. At University he started his own band, The Monster Ceilidh Band, which has gone on to tour all over the world, including Russia and Malaysia, playing in front of thousands at the UK's largest festivals. After University, Kieran became a professional musician, playing flute in his own innovative folk-based line ups, and with some of the country's very best musicians at various festivals. Kieran has won “The New Roots Award" and received many glowing reviews in the UK's national press and music web sites. He also plays mandolin, and continues to enjoying learning bluegrass style for mandolin from Mike Marshall, one of the world's leading players. In his spare time Kieran loves to run and play at his weekly folk music session which has been running in Newcastle for the past 8 years.