Our Team

Our highly experienced team give purpose and direction to NSSO, whilst helping to create an environment in which our members can thrive. NSSO provides children with the opportunity to experience the joy and fun of orchestras, often opening a lifelong connection to performing, whilst also encouraging creativity and boosting a child’s learning.

Nicole Wilson

NSSO Artistic Director

A student of Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music, Nicole joined the first violins of the London Symphony Orchestra after graduating and enjoyed a decade touring the world, playing the world’s greatest concert halls and playing on countless film and tv soundtracks including Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Subsequently, she became a principal violinist at English National Opera and is now a freelance leader in London, leading the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, The London Concert Orchestra and Dame Shirley Bassey Orchestra amongst others.

As a professor of violin at the Royal Academy of Music and Eton College, Nicole is also a trustee of Gallions Music Trust and ESTA (European String Teachers Association) and loves nothing more than connecting great music teachers to talented students. As a result she founded Musical Orbit Ltd 8 years ago, connecting teachers and students from around the globe through online learning.

Nicole has founded and managed several music courses with international faculty including Pinchas Zukerman, Augustin Haderlich, Robert DeMaine and Clio Gould and is thrilled to bits to be the new Artistic Director of NSSO.

National Schools Symphony Orchestra
National Schools Symphony Orchestra

Leandro Silvera

Conductor of NSSO Sinfonia and NSSO Philharmonic

Leandro was born in Argentina, graduated from the Buenos Aires Conservatoire and won a British Council Scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music. He moved to London in 2005 to become Head of Strings at King’s College School Wimbledon. He now holds the same post at Eton College, where he conducts the Symphony Orchestra and directs an extensive programme of chamber music, as well as teaching cello.

He has been Head of Chamber Music at the Royal College of Music Junior Department since 2014 and guest conductor of a number of youth orchestras, as well as running the Hannah Roberts Summer Cello Masterclasses.

Andrew McDade

Conductor of NSSO Academy

Andy works internationally as both a performer and teacher. His vibrant style, combined with an enthusiasm for championing contemporary compositions, consistently challenges out-dated perceptions of the tuba repertoire.

During his studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Andy achieved various accolades. He won both the Linda Mowat Brass Prize and the RWCMD Concerto Competition, and has since gone on to perform as a guest soloist with bands and orchestras throughout the UK and Europe.

Andy enjoys a busy freelance career as an orchestral musician, working with orchestras such as the Novello Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh National Opera and Birmingham Royal Ballet.

As an educator, Andy enjoys enthusing the next generation of musicians. He works as Tuba lecturer in Cardiff University and the Junior Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, as well as working as a visiting tutor in schools and county ensembles throughout the UK.

Instrumental Tutors

The strength of any youth orchestra is the quality of coaching offered, both at an individual level and in sectional rehearsals. Our Heads of Section are the backbone of the course team. Highly experienced and respected performers and teachers themselves, they lead a team of individual instrumental coaches which ensures that our orchestras are well prepared and musically engaged throughout the course.

Stephen McDade

Head of Strings

Stephen studied violin at the Royal Academy of Music under Clarence Myerscough, and tuba under Patrick Harrild and John Fletcher.  He later studied conducting with Peter Stark, ‘Tension in the Art of Performance’ with Kato Havas, and the Colourstrings Method with Géza Szilvay.

An active freelance violinist, Stephen has played in many West End musicals, orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, as well as many and varied solo and chamber music performances.

For many years, Stephen worked with the National Children’s Orchestra, as both violin tutor and conductor, and was the principal conductor of ENCORE for ten years.  Stephen also conducted and tutored the Senior Orchestra Course for Gloucestershire Academy of Music.

Stephen is regularly invited to adjudicate, and was honoured to have been one of three British adjudicators at the Young Musician of the Gulf competition, held in Bahrain in 2008.

Stephen is currently Head of Strings and Assistant Director of Music at Malvern College, where his work involves teaching violin from beginner through to diploma, academic teaching, coaching and conducting the orchestra and ensembles, as well as Kindermusic.

Stephen currently plays on a Nigel Harris violin, commissioned in 1990.

Simon de Souza

Head of Brass

Simon studied the horn with the virtuoso Ifor James at Colchester Institute, winning several prizes for chamber music, and gaining a Cert.Mus and G.Mus (CNAA) and then undertook postgraduate studies at Trinity College of Music in London. Since graduating, he has developed a busy schedule as a freelance performer with orchestras such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestras of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and The Bolshoi Ballet, West End and touring shows, chamber music and recitals.

Simon has performed virtually all the standard horn concerto repertoire, a highlight being a performance of the Britten Serenade in the Purcell Room on London’s South Bank. Simon has been the specialist horn tutor at Wells Cathedral School for thirty five years, and in September 2004 he also became Professor of Horn at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

As an orchestral and chamber coach Simon has worked for the National Youth Wind Orchestra, National Children’s Wind Orchestra, National Schools Symphony Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestra, IAPS Orchestras and many county orchestras.

Simon was the Vice-Chairman and educational consultant of the British Horn Society for ten years, and he has been the Head of Brass for NSSO since the orchestra was founded.

National Schools Symphony Orchestra

Rebecca Wood

Head of Wind

Rebecca started playing the oboe at the age of seven, was a member of the National Youth Orchestra becoming Principal Oboe in her final year, and was also a woodwind finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1992.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music she undertook post graduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she has been oboe professor in the Junior Department since 2010.  She has extensive performance experience, both as soloist and in various national orchestras and west end shows, and has coached and led the wind section of NSSO for many years.

National Schools Symphony Orchestra

Our Founder

National Schools Symphony Orchestra

David Evans

Founding Artistic Director

David has been involved in music education since the early 1980s. He worked for the IAPS Orchestral Board and subsequently founded the administration which was later to become NSSO, of which he was Artistic Director until 2014.

He is currently Director of Music at Hereford Cathedral School. NSSO is grateful to him for his vision and the energy which sustained the organisation through its first two decades.

National Schools Symphony Orchestra

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If you have an enquiry about any aspect of NSSO please feel free to get in touch:

NSSO, Malvern College, College Road, Malvern, WR14 3DF

T: 01684 581695

E: hello@nsso.org

Latest News

Welcome from NSSO’s new Artistic Director Nicole Wilson March 20, 2022

When Malvern College approached me to take over from the wonderful John Madden as artistic director for NSSO, I was thrilled to bits! Music courses were the highlight of my childhood. I lived from course to course with an actual count down on my wall to see how many sleeps until the next time I […]

A warm welcome from Leandro Silvera for NSSO Sinfonia members 2021 June 11, 2021

Dear NSSO Sinfonia 2021. I’m absolutely delighted that we will finally be able to meet in person this summer at Malvern College. It will be an amazing course! We have all missed playing together in orchestras (one thing that Zoom can never offer us!) so it will be a pleasure to see you all again […]

A warm welcome from Richard Dickins for NSSO Philharmonic members 2021 June 11, 2021

Hello NSSO Philharmonic members 2021. I’m thrilled that this year we can, after all, meet in person to make music at Malvern College. It will be a pleasure to see again those of you who have been on the course in previous years, and it will also be a great pleasure meeting the many new […]