The Conductors

Robert Hodge

Musical Director

Robert is a conductor known for his considerable skill, clarity of technique and good rapport with musicians. He devises exciting programmes that are enjoyable and challenging for players and audiences.

Alongside Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, he is the Musical Director of the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra and Essex Symphony Orchestra. Robert conducts the Sinfonia at the Royal College of Music Junior Department, works regularly with the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and is also Conductor in Residence at St Albans High School. Guest conducting engagements include Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Oxford University Orchestra, Malta Youth Orchestra, Yorchestra, Oasby Music Group, Benslow Music, and Music for Everyone in Nottingham.

He teaches conducting at the Royal College of Music at undergraduate and postgraduate level and at the Junior Department. He regularly gives workshops and training in ensemble conducting technique for schools and music services.

For three years Robert was Musical Director of Nonesuch Orchestra, conducting an extensive series of outreach concerts and appearing at London festivals including the St Jude’s Proms in Hampstead. He has toured the UK with aerial theatre company Ockham’s Razor, directing choirs for their critically acclaimed production, Not Until We Are Lost. In past seasons, he has conducted King’s College London Symphony Orchestra, Suffolk Sinfonia, Havant Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Philharmonia, Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, Finchley Symphony Orchestra, and Tallis Chamber Orchestra.

Born in Pembrokeshire, Robert studied at Royal Holloway, University of London before winning a scholarship, funded by the H R Taylor Trust, to the Royal College of Music where his teachers were Peter Stark and Robin O’Neill. At the RCM he prepared the orchestras and acted as assistant to conductors including Lorin Maazel, Bernard Haitink and Vladimir Ashkenazy. In 2011 Robert was selected as a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra, playing orchestral piano and celeste for their European tour.

Naomi Butcher, Training Orchestra Conductor

Naomi Butcher is an emerging conductor based in London, who spends her time
conducting choirs and orchestras regularly in the south-east of England. As well as
Tonbridge Philharmonic, she is the Musical Director of the Reigate and Redhill Choral
Society in Surrey and has recently enjoyed guest conductorships at the Lydian Orchestra
and Blackheath Halls Youth Opera.

Last year, Naomi concluded her prestigious Junior Fellowship in conducting at the
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, during which time she was fortunate enough to
conduct in the Barbican Centre as part of a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony,
in addition to various smaller projects, including a twenty-strong saxophone ensemble
and a world premiere of a children’s opera. Passionate about education and
outreach, Naomi is an experienced teacher who plays saxophone and piano. She is the
founder and artistic director of Snaps Ensemble, an orchestra which performs classical
music in unconventional settings.

Naomi’s work to date has included an exciting and challenging new chamber opera, Sane
and Sound, based on the records kept by the composer, Matt Geer, when hospitalised
with psychosis. She conducted performances at the Grimeborn Festival and at the
Barbican, and was assistant conductor/chorusmaster for the world première of this
work in 2019. She went on to conduct the UK première of Paris, à Nous Deux in July, a
chamber opera by twentieth-century composer Jean Françaix, written for four singers
and saxophone quartet.