Rodney Slatford, OBE, FRNCM, Hon.RCM


Rodney Slatford is the founding Chairman of the Yorke Trust. He enjoys an unparalleled reputation as a former double bass player and teacher. Touring the world extensively as a lecture-recitalist, he gave over 1000 performances. As a founder member of the Nash Ensemble of London he played with the ensemble for thirty years, recording and broadcasting all the mainstream chamber music with them. With the English Chamber Orchestra, as co-principal bassist for 10 years, he worked with most of the world’s great soloists of the day. He recorded one of the first solo discs by a British bass player, with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, with whom he also played principal for some years. His mission to raise standards of double bass playing led to the world’s first Isle of Man International Double Bass Competition and Workshop in 1978 which he founded and directed.



At the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester Rodney began teaching in 1980, leaving a post at the Royal College in London that he had for seven years. He was appointed Head of School of Strings at the RNCM in 1984, taking early retirement after working in Manchester for over two decades, during which time he also served on the College’s governing body and various national committees. He was Chairman of the British Branch of European String Teachers’ Association from 1992-1996.


Whilst he was head of department a number of innovatory projects were put in place, including the creation of an entire complement of baroque stringed instruments (probably the first time such a set had been commissioned from a single luthier since the seventeenth century). The Junior Strings Project was another visionary scheme that now enables young children from the age of six to train under supervised student teachers within the conservatoire. This programme has served as a model for similar schemes both within Britain and overseas. It won the College a coveted Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 1998, the only one in that year for the arts.

Since retiring he has been able to devote more time to The Yorke Trust. His Yorke Mini-Bass Project, that received Gulbenkian Funding in 1986, has had a major impact in encouraging children to begin playing the double bass years earlier than was thought practical. Many who began in the scheme are now working in professional orchestras.

From quite early in his career Rodney began broadcasting, an interest he pursued for over fifteen years as a presenter of concerts and drive-time programmes for Radio 3. His London garden won awards and featured both on TV and in books: the restoration of a large period cottage in Norfolk and the creation of a potager from a derelict garden are current projects. He also runs a small music publishing company Yorke Edition, dedicated to music for the double bass. Since he began, over forty years ago when the edition became the first specialised catalogue in the field, over 100 publications have been edited or commissioned. He has completed two books in the Time Pieces series for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, for whom he also examines diplomas.

Rodney Slatford was awarded the OBE in 2007 for services to music.



Alexander Crowe

(Easter course director) was born in Edinburgh.  After attending the Edinburgh Academy he went up in 1966 to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, as Organ Scholar.  He remained at Cambridge as a Research Student until 1973, spending nine months as a Finnish Ministry of Education student at the University of Helsinki, carrying out work on the early unpublished works of Sibelius.  In 1973 he became Solo-Repetiteur at the Lower Saxony State opera at Hanover, assuming overall responsibility for the on-stage bands there and becoming Head of Music Staff a year later. 


He joined the Opera Department of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in 1981 and became Head of the School of Vocal & Opera Studies in 2001.  Since retiring this year he continues to enjoy an active free-lance life outside the College, as Organist & Choirmaster at Altrincham Parish Church, as an accompanist for various choral societies in North Cheshire, and he has been appointed an external examiner at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama.


Jennifer Hamilton

trained as a singer at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with the late Sylvia Jacobs, and began her career with Opera North.  She subsequently abandoned the opera stage to raise a family and now enjoys a varied teaching career that has involved working in schools with young children and in a number of conservatoires where she is frequently invited as a guest tutor.  She has recently been appointed a full time member of staff at the Dublin Institute of Technology.  


For some years she was on the staff of the Royal Northern College of Music where she was invited to produce a number of operas, several of which won coveted national awards.  Her work at the RNCM involved in-depth drama training, in which she has a special interest.  In Norfolk she has produced an opera every year for the Yorke Trust since Purcell’s King Arthur in 1997.  She has also coordinated and taught on the Trust’s Pied Piper! scheme for children.  More recent activities have included delivering a course in 'Voice' at the Madder Market Theatre in Norwich, and giving master-classes at the Jewish Music Festival in London.