Musical Director – Emma Kent
Emma Kent studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire with Janet Hilton (clarinet) and Andrew Mogrelia (conducting). During her time at the Conservatoire she won the Ludlow Philharmonic prize and Conservatoire Concerto Competition with her performance of the Copland Clarinet Concerto. She was also awarded the exclusive clarinet placement on the prestigious CBSO Woodwind Training Scheme working with conductors Sir Simon Rattle and Parvo Jarvi. Emma was also awarded joint conductorship of the Birmingham Conservatoire Sinfonietta, an orchestra specialising in twentieth century repertoire.
Emma graduated in 1999 with First Class honours and moved to London where she took a postgraduate Diploma in Orchestral Studies at the Royal College of Music in association with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
She then moved to the South West of Englabd where, in September 2004, she took up the post of Director of Music at West Buckland School. Alongside the demands of full-time teaching and being conductor/founder of NDS Emma is also the proud mother of two energetic children!
Leader – Dan Kent
Born in 1976, Dan started to learn the violin at the tender age of 3 and went on to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire with Gabrielle Lester (CBSO & RPO), graduating in 1999.
As well as playing with the college orchestras, he was a member of the Thallein Contemporary Music Ensemble, Avison Chamber Orchestra and New Mannheim Orchestra, as well as national Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, Mid Wales Opera (where he met his wife Emma) and Britten-Pears Orchestra. He has worked with many distinguished conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Mark Elder, Genadi Roshdetsvenksy, Pinchas Zuckerman, Paavo Jarvi, Tadaki Otaka, and Oliver Knussen.
After graduating, Dan chose to follow a career in management accounts but he has continued to play regularly with orchestras and ensembles, freelancing for a while in the London area and later playing as a member of the New Bristol Sinfonia and Brandon Hill Chamber Orchestra. Since moving to North Devon in 2004, Dan has been been leader of the North Devon Sinfonia, and has also enjoyed playing with many other groups across the South West.