Musical Director

Jim Pywell has recently returned to live in London after a long period working abroad. He hopes to bring to this role his diverse experience of working with adult community groups and young people, together with his commitment to performing original wind band music. 


His enthusiasm for wind bands began whilst growing up in the London Borough of Croydon in the 1980s when he was a bassoonist in the Croydon Schools' Centre for Wind Players during the later years of David Kendall's tenure. Kendall's passion for original repertoire introduced young musicians to some of the great works for the genre. Jim remembers taking part in one of the earliest performances of Guy Woolfenden's Gallimaufry in the composer's presence at the Royal Festival Hall and being equally engaged with and challenged by other original works such as Reed's Armenian Dances, Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy and Milhaud's Suite Francaise. 


Jim went on to study conducting as part of his music degree at Huddersfield Polytechnic where he made wind ensemble conducting his specialist area. Then following up with a term of lessons with Timothy Reynish at the Royal Northern College of Music and further studies in wind band conducting at Canford Summer School of Music. As a member of BASBWE for many years, Jim received a commission to write a symphonic wind orchestra piece, Yellow Stripe, which was published by Maecenas. 


Jim's experience as a musical director spans a wide variety of genres and types of ensemble. During the 1990s he directed musical theatre orchestras in productions such as West Side Story, Anything Goes and The King and I. He also conducted YON ensemble, a university-based contemporary music ensemble, and was the founding musical director of Huddersfield People's Choir, a community group created for people who were not music-readers. After completing an MA in Composition at the University of Huddersfield, Jim was appointed as a Fellow in Music at the University of Bradford where he conducted student and community ensembles and directed large-scale collaborative projects such as Soundings, which connected a symphony orchestra with a Balinese gamelan orchestra, a West African djembe ensemble, folk musicians, bhangra musicians and Indian classical musicians. 


Jim has long-established connections with music education development in Kenya, where he lived for 13 years. He taught music in several schools, trained Kenyan music teachers at Kenyatta University, set up the country's first BTEC music training courses, taught conducting and composition at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music, and co-founded the National Youth Orchestra of Kenya in 2010 where he was Musical Director until 2014. He also conducted and played in the Nairobi Orchestra before moving to take up a school teaching post in Bucharest, Romania.


As well as playing bassoon, Jim plays saxophone, melodica and several African instruments. He was a member of contemporary song band Nankivell's Optet, which toured the north of England and recorded several albums. He also led the Kenyan band Kachumbari Seven, which combined musical influences from Kenya, India and Europe. Most recently he has performed as a member of Bucharest Saxophone Quartet. 

Former Musical Directors

Lucy was our Musical Director from January 2022 until July 2023, helping us reform after the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Lucy is a London-based composer-conductor, who writes orchestral, chamber and choral works in addition to music for theatre, opera and dance. Her music has been performed at Vale of Glamorgan, Cheltenham, Aberystwyth and Dartington festivals, and often draws on early music and folksong. Lucy is a pianist and composer-in-residence at Middlesex Dance School. She is Musical Director of the Harrow Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, Contemporary Music For All (CoMA) and Sussex Ensemble. She is completing her Master's in Composition on a full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music.


Shea Lolin was our Musical Director from 2009 until 2020 and conducted our 10 year anniversary concert in 2019.


Shea studied at the Colchester Institute School of Music with Charles Hine and Angela Fussell for performance, Alan Bullard for composition and Christopher Phelps for conducting. While at ‘The Institute’, Shea won several awards including the John Myatt Cup for Solo Woodwind.


Shea was also Musical Director of the Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble and the East London Clarinet Choir in addition to freelance conducting engagements for rehearsals, concerts and recordings and his schedule has placed him throughout Europe. In 2014 Shea conducted the Czech Philharmonic for a recording devoted to the woodwind orchestra. Shea has conducted several world premieres, having secured funding from all the major awarding bodies.


He is passionate about music education; Artistic Director of the ‘Woodwind Orchestra Play Day’ at premiere venues throughout the country, providing amateur musicians with valuable playing opportunities. As a liturgical musician, Shea is the Director of Music and organist for the Catholic parish of Manor Park.


See for further details.

Guest Conductor

David Smith enjoys working with a number of ensembles in London and programming pieces from unusual corners of the repertoire alongside the great classics. He is Music Director of South East London Orchestra and the City of London Symphonic Winds.

He also regularly conducts London Repertoire Orchestra and has worked as guest conductor with many orchestras across the south of England and in London. David has a long history of conducting wind ensembles and is delighted to be named City Wind Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor from 2014. He has been Music Director of the City of London Symphonic Winds since 2011; previously directed Barnes Concert Band (2008–13) and Southampton University Symphonic Wind Orchestra (2001–04); and was assistant conductor for Kew Wind Orchestra (2004–08).

His concert performances in London have taken in venues such as Trinity College of Music, Hampton Hill Playhouse, the Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington, and St. James’s Park for performances in The Royal Parks series. Work abroad has involved concerts at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, Poland, and in Italy as part of the International Festival of European Youth Orchestras.

David studied Music and then Musicology at the University of Southampton, where his tutors included David Owen Norris and Michael Finnissy. He studied conducting with Robin Browning and Denise Ham. Alongside conducting and his increasingly rare trombone playing, David works as a marketing director in the music industry.


Please see for further details. 


Concert date: Saturday 6th July with new Musical Director

Jim Pywell

Current vacancies: 






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