The 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:
Patron – Huw Edwards
Since January 2003, Huw Edwards has been known to millions of viewers as presenter of the BBC’s Ten O’Clock News and he accepted an invitation to become the Patron of the National College of Music in 2005. As a result of his acceptance, he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the College.
Formerly Chief Political Correspondent for BBC News 24, Huw spent 12 years reporting politics at Westminster. He combined this with presenting a range of programmes on classical music on BBC TWO, Radio 3, Radio 4 and S4C. He is an organist, pianist and oboist, and in his youth had hopes of becoming a concert pianist, before deciding to focus on things academic.
In recent years he has presented The Story of Wales, Songs of Praise, and hosted coverage of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Huw has presented a wide range of BBC programmes, including Newsnight, Panorama and Breakfast News.
Born in August 1961, Huw was raised in Llangennech, near Llanelli, and attended Llanelli Boys Grammar School.
He graduated, with a first class honours degree in French, from the University of Wales, Cardiff. He is also a Fellow of the University.
Huw is married and lives in South London.
Dr. Elizabeth Stratford - BMus(Hons) MA DipABRSM FGCM FGMS HonFFCM - Principal
Elizabeth 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 MIMgt HonFNCM Cert Ed - Vice Principal
In addition to a successful career as a musician, Paul Cheater has enjoyed a wide-ranging and distinguished teaching career that has embraced all aspects of education, from primary to university level, in the United Kingdom and overseas. He has held many positions of responsibility, including that of head, in several schools since he was appointed to his first teaching post at Papplewick School in Ascot in 1973.
Paul was inspired by two teachers while at Kingswood School in Bath: the first was Roger Pope, MBE, who became the Warden of Trinity College of Music, and the second was Dr John Byrt, former organ scholar of St John’s College, Oxford, who left teaching to become a highly acclaimed composer. After 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, the late Dr John Webster. He also studied the piano with the Oxford-based pianist, Vernon Mann, and vocal studies with Dr 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 became a research fellow of Monash in 2008. His involvement with this project led to him giving a number of television and radio broadcasts and also 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, becoming Principal of the college in 2015. He is very much involved in active music-making, being the organist and choirmaster of two churches in the West Country, making him a popular choice as a recitalist in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America.
Paul is a fully qualified teacher, an Associate of the College of Teachers and a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers. He lives with his wife Diana, also a teacher, and two black Labradors, in West Dorset.
Dr. Andrew Wilson – B.Mus.(Hons), Hon.FNCM, PGCE, MISM - Director of Studies
“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), 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 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.