The NCM College Council is effectively the College Management Team.  It meets three or four times annually for discussion and policy-making decisions.  It will  review syllabuses, introduce new subjects, revise or introduce new procedures, appoint examiners, consider honorary awards, and address all matters pertaining to the organisation and development of the college.

The Patron and principal officers of the College are as follows:

Dr. Elizabeth Stratford - BMus(Hons) MA DipABRSM FGCM FGMS HonFFCM - Principal
NCM College Copuncil – Dr Elizabeth Stratford - PrincipalElizabeth began studying voice with James Ashworth and piano with Tom Edmondson aged 17 and went on to read for the degree of Bachelor of Music at the University of Huddersfield. She began learning the organ whilst acting Assistant Director of Music at Christ Church, New Mill, Huddersfield. After graduating with honours in the year 2000 she undertook postgraduate studies in the form of a Master of Arts in Liturgy and Music at the University of Leeds, specialising in organ performance, choir training and composition. Her tutors included Dr Gordon Stewart, Dr Simon Lindley and Dr Philip Wilby. During this time she was awarded a Thalben-Ball Organ Scholarship, was made a Duchess of Leeds Millennium Scholar and was the recipient of other scholarships for voice and composition.

She became the Organist and Director of Music at St Paul’s Church, Shipley in February 2000 and held positions as singing tutor at a number of different centers of education whilst training at the Royal Northern College of Music with Henry Herford for a year following her MA studies.

In October 2002 at the age of 23, Elizabeth was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Arundel Cathedral, West Sussex. As such she was the first female to hold this level of position in the UK and also the youngest Cathedral organist in Britain appointed to date. Following her appointment she created places for 20 choristers in the Cathedral choir and has concentrated on developing the choir’s repertoire, membership and musicianship. Between 2004 and 2006 she oversaw the rebuilding of the Cathedral’s historic Hill organ by David Wells Organ Builders.

Elizabeth is a member of the board of CHIME (Churches Initiative in Music Education) and the committee of the Conference of Catholic Directors of Music and pursues a busy teaching and solo career alongside her Cathedral commitments. In November.

In 2005 she was admitted to Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians following examination and was admitted to the Fellowship of the Faculty of Church Music Honoris causa in 2009.

Paul Cheater – BA MA HonFNCM FGMS FFLM Cert Ed - Chief Executive Officer
NCM College Council – Paul Cheater – BA MIMgt HonFNCM Cert EdBefore retiring form the classroom, Paul was a full-time teacher who enjoyed a wide-ranging and distinguished career that embraced all aspects of education, from primary to university level and beyond. He held many positions, including that of head, in several schools and he now works with two international educational consultancies, combining his work as an educational consultant with his role as CEO of the NCM.

Paul was inspired by two teachers while at Kingswood School in Bath: the first was Roger Pope, MBE, who became the Warden of what is now Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and the second was John Byrt, former organ scholar of St John’s College, Oxford, who left teaching to become a highly-acclaimed composer.

After winning the prize for general musicianship at Kingswood, Paul went on to train as a teacher with the Oxford University Education Department and concurrently to study the organ at University College, Oxford with the university organist at that time, John Webster. He also studied the piano with Vernon Jones, and vocal studies with Olga Wilson.

Paul was one of the founder members of the team from Monash University in Melbourne that set up the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and he was a research fellow of the university from 2008 to 2014. His involvement with this project led to him giving a number of media broadcasts and being invited to speak about the project in many different forums.

He was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the National College of Music and Arts in 2003 for services to music and he has been a member of the College Council since that time. He is very much involved in active music-making, being actively involved in music in the West Country, where, in addition to being a popular choice as an accompanist or répétiteur, he is the organist choirmaster and director of music at two West Dorset churches. He is a fully qualified teacher, an Associate of the College of Teachers and is a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers and the Faculty of Liturgical Musicians. As a recitalist he has performed in cathedrals and churches of all sizes in the UK, Northern Europe and the USA.

Paul lives with his wife Diana, also a former teacher, in West Dorset.

Dr. Andrew Wilson – B.Mus.(Hons), Hon.FNCM, PGCE, MISM - Vice-Principal
NCM College Council – Dr. Andrew Wilson – B.Mus.(Hons), Hon.FNCM, PGCE, MISMAndrew M. Wilson was born in 1960 in England and studied music at Trinity College of Music and London University. He was Director of Music at Kelly College, Tavistock until becoming the Director of Studies of the National College of Music, London in 2015. He is a very busy composer. His orchestral, chamber choral and solo instrumental works have been widely recorded, published and performed all over the world, from Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, and London’s Royal Albert Hall to the San Francisco Conservatory. His works are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has won many awards for his compositions, including the City of London Harvest of the Sea Prize, the Bournemouth Sinfonietta Celebrating Dorset Prize, the Project Trio Composition Award in NYC, the University of Alabama Chamber Ensemble Competition the Luciano Casalino Prize 2020 and the North California Viola Society Composition Competition 2021.

“A Requiem for Peace”, was premiered in St Andrew’s Minster, Plymouth, by the South West Chamber Choir with funding from the Vaughan Williams Trust and other recent major commissions include “The Pilgrim Fathers” in Southampton, England for the city’s Mayflower 400 celebrations and “The Morgowr” for the Cornwall Youth Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary concert in Truro Cathedral.

He lives in Tavistock, Devon and is the conductor of the Callington Singers in Cornwall. In 2021 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi University, Miami, Florida.

Michael Feben Smith – B Ed (Hons) MA HonFNCM FGMS - Director of Finance and Compliance

Michael began his musical career by winning a place at Westminster Abbey as a chorister, where he sung for many prestigious occasions. He then further enriched his musical skills while a student at Hereford Cathedral School, where he continued to develop both his vocal studies and to progress his viola playing. Later, as a student, he managed to combine his educational training as a teacher with numerous musical activities, graduating with an honours degree in Education from the University of Southampton in 1978. Although now a retired teacher after a highly successful career, he combines his work as Finance Director of the NCM with that of private tutor.

Michael is a founder member of The Orlando Singers, one of Dorset’s most celebrated chamber choirs and it is he who is responsible for the administration of its annual itinerary and finances. He is also a member of the prestigious Purcell Club, which organises monthly lecture-singing tours in Westminster Abbey. He was elected as a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers in 2008.

During his first teaching post at Summer Fields School in Oxford, Michael was invited to try his hand in business and he headed for London, where he was appointed as Company Secretary to two property development firms for ten years, responsible for all of their financial affairs. It is this unique mix of commerce, education and music that makes Michael a perfect fit as Finance Director of the NCM.

Michael lives in Dorset and is married with one child and a Golden Retriever. He continues to keep several business interests active.

Paul F Woods – LLCM, LTSC, L Mus

Paul’s association with the NCM goes back to the 1970s, when he was one of the youngest people to gain the college’s fellowship diploma in piano playing. He is the longest-serving member of the College Council, having served under two previous Principals. He is predominantly a pianist and he is also a proficient church organist, and a teacher of both piano and organ using both standard notation and tonic-sol-fa. He holds a licentiate’s diploma from the College of Tonic-Sol-Fa.

Paul is a highly qualified musician, holding fellowship diplomas from the London College of Music, the National College of Music, and the Victoria College of Music in which he was awarded a Pass with Honours. He has also received honorary fellowship diplomas from the Council of Sacred Music and the North and Midlands School of Music, and he was awarded a Gold Medal from the world-famous London Academy of Music, Drama and Art.

He is much sought after as a teacher of piano, organ, the theory of music, and speech, and he is passionate about the methodology of music teaching and liturgical music.

Paul lives in Caerphilly, being a Welshman born and bred, where in addition to his musical portfolio, he gives of his time to working for charity.