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Andrew Penny MBE

Andrew Penny MBE was born in Hull and entered the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1971 to study the clarinet with Sidney Fell. He was the first holder of the Rothschild Scholarship in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music, studying with Sir Charles Groves and Timothy Reynish, subsequently receiving the Ricordi Prize. He gained invaluable experience with the Opera Unit during this time and was associated with many of the operas presented by the College in its early years both in Manchester and Sadlers Wells Theatre. Since 1992 he has made over thirty recordings for the Naxos and Marco Polo labels, appearing on a further twenty compilations. His complete cycle of the nine symphonies by Arnold was produced in time for the composer’s 80th birthday in October 2001 and became the BBC Music Magazine’s top recommendation. His recordings of eleven Shakespearian Overtures by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco were released in two volumes on Naxos in 2010. Andrew has been on the Instrumental Music Staff at Hymers College since 1977 and has been Musical Director of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra since 1982, the longest serving occupier of that post. He is also Chairman of the Beverley Chamber Music Festival and a board member of both the East Riding and Hull Music Education Hubs. He has been the chair of the judges for the East Coast Musician of the Year Competition for the past nine years. He was awarded the MBE for services to music in 2014.


Dr Elaine King

Dr Elaine King is Senior Lecturer in Music at the Department of Drama and Music, University of Hull. She obtained her licentiate diploma on the piano from the Guildhall School of Music in 1993 and then a BA (hons) degree in Music from the University of Durham in 1995. She was awarded the Michael James Scholarship for gaining the highest marks in examinations and the Eve Myra Kirsch prize for musical excellence.  Afterwards, she achieved a Master’s degree in Music (Theory and Analysis) at King’s College, London, and attended the Royal Academy of Music as a postgraduate student, receiving lessons on the cello from David Smith of the Alberni String Quartet. 

She completed her PhD thesis on ensemble rehearsal and performance at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2000.  Elaine has published widely on different aspects of performance (her recent co-edited books include Music and Gesture in 2006, New Perspectives on Music and Gesture in 2011, and Music and Familiarity, forthcoming). She is a Member of Council of the Royal Musical Association (RMA) and the Conference Secretary for the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE). She is an experienced performance tutor and examiner both within and outside the University sector.


Geoff Allanack

Geoff is a freelance musician in great demand with dramatic societies from Newcastle to Sheffield. In addition he works with schools supporting teachers with special responsibilities for music. His main instruments are piano and electronic keyboards although you will see him playing guitar and other instruments from time to time. He holds the post of Musical Director of the Bridlington Spotlight Theatre where he trains and develops local talent in musical theatre. Geoff brings to our judging panel that unique experience highly suited to assess and encourage our “Young Performers of the Year” competitors.

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