Our teachers


Nigel Goldberg, Artistic Director and Conductor

Nigel started learning the violin with the well-known Leeds violin teacher, Eta Cohen. His studies were sponsored by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and during that time he won first prizes at all the northern music festivals and also won the prize for the most outstanding performance at the National Festival of Music for Youth held at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon on three successive occasions.

Soon after gaining his ARCM diploma at the age of seventeen he won the Corporation of London Stringed Instruments Scholarship to study on the Advanced Solo Studies course with Professor Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. An award from the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund enabled him to continue his post-graduate studies with Emanuel Hurwitz. In October 1981 the Worshipful Company of Musicians promoted Nigel Goldberg’s London debut and the following month he won the third competition for Northern Musicians.

Since that time, besides studying with world famous musicians Artur Balsam, Denis Matthews and Hans Keller, Nigel Goldberg has been in much demand as a leader and chamber musician playing in many festivals and directing such groups as the London Gala Soloists and Versus Ensemble in Spain. He is also involved in films and television as a musical consultant and performer, this work taking him to Europe and the United States of America. From 1989 to 1999 he led the award winning West End show, Miss Saigon and led the Johann Strauss Orchestra as well as leading orchestras for Natalie Cole and touring with Shirley Bassey and Eric Clapton. Since August 2000 he has had the great pleasure of playing duos for violin and viola with his wife, Tatjana Goldberg and last year they formed the Tilanius Ensemble with Laura O’Gorman.

During all that time however, his constant and abiding passion has been working with young children. From being assistant to his first teacher, Eta Cohen in Leeds, to his present position as Artistic Director of Youth Music Centre he has always held teaching posts at institutions such as Watford School of Music, Highgate School and the Latymer School, Edmonton. He has also been an adjudicator at the North London Festival and a judge at the International Competition of Israeli Music in London. Although it is always enjoyable working with advanced students in the last 10 years he has increasingly worked with younger children and in many ways he has found this work the most rewarding. His three books of original compositions for young violinists called Sounds of a Rainbow and Three Concertinos in the ‘Olden Style’ are published by Spartan Press and received high critical acclaim.

Nigel Goldberg plays on a fine Italian violin by J. B. Rogeri, 1703.


tanja goldbergDr Tatjana Goldberg, Violin and Chamber Ensembles

Tatjana started learning the violin in Pula, Croatia with the Italian violin teacher Carlo Urbani, continuing her studies with Professor Petar Vrbancic in Zadar. As a young violinist she won several competitions and was sent to Moscow to study solo performance at the Conservatoire P. I. Tchaikovsky.

Tatjana graduated from the class of Boris Belenky in 1985 and the following year started to teach in Banja Luka University, Bosnia, where in 1987 she was named Teacher of the Year. In 1992 Professor Yfrah Neaman invited Tatjana to study in his class at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but she discontinued her studies to try to rescue her family in Bosnia. However after Tatjana tragically lost her family she escaped to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where she lived and worked from 1994.

Shortly after arriving in Rio Tatjana auditioned and was appointed co-leader of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra and also formed chamber ensembles who performed all over Brazil. In Rio she became one of the small group of musicians regularly working for film and commercial work as well as playing for the ‘O Globo’- Brazil’s biggest TV station. In 1998 Boris Belkin invited Tatjana to play in his chamber orchestra during the summer festival in Reims, France, and in 2000 she was also invited by Pierre Amoyal to play in his festival in Switzerland. In August 2000 Tatjana married the violinist Nigel Goldberg and came to live in the UK. Tatjana made her London concerto debut in June 2001 at St. John’s Smith Square playing the Bruch violin concerto. In October 2002 Nigel and Tatjana toured Bosnia and Croatia giving a series of violin and viola recitals which were very well received by public and critics alike.

During the last ten years, besides playing in BBC and other orchestras, Tatjana has found herself increasingly in demand as a teacher. She takes great pride in being able to develop children of all abilities and at the Youth Music Centre she takes a class of five-year old beginners for one year followed by individual lessons thereafter. In an incredibly short time she manages to turn them into young violinists many of whom reach Grade 8 level before their teenage years. She believes that the duty of a teacher, like that of a parent is to help a child reach their full potential and she is immensely dedicated to that task.

In September 2015 Tatjana became a member of staff at the Purcell School and also teaches at the Middlesex and City Universities. In January 2016 Tatjana was awarded a PhD from the City University for her thesis ‘Maud Powell, Marie Hall & Alma Moodie: A gendered re-evaluation of three violinists’.


sheenaSheena Mckenzie, Cello and Chamber Ensembles

Sheena began her ‘cello studies in Hong Kong at the age of 11. Three years later, she moved back to her father’s native Scotland where she attended the Douglas Academy music school. At the age of 16, Sheena was invited to perform Prokofiev’s Concertino with the junior orchestra of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where she went on to study with William Conway. She was then awarded a post-graduate scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London with Amaryllis Fleming.

Sheena has won prizes for ‘cello solo and chamber music playing, as well as piano solo and piano accompaniment prizes. An award from the Countess of Munster Trust enabled her to acquire her beautiful Barak Norman ‘cello, made in 1716.

Sheena has played in master classes with Pierre Fournier (at the age of 13), Paul Tortelier, William Pleeth and Alexander Baillie. She has enjoyed a playing career both as a chamber musician and as a freelance orchestral player but she now dedicates her time mainly to teaching.



Fiona Nisbett, Cello , Double Bass, Orchestra conductor and Chamber Ensembles

Fiona studied cello with Alexander Baillie and William Pleeth. She made her concerto debut at the age of seventeen and since then has performed most of the major concertos with orchestra. At the age of eighteen Fiona was one of five soloists selected to perform in the Youth Makes Music Rotary International Festival at The Royal Albert Hall.

She has given recitals throughout England, France, Holland, Germany, The Czech Republic and Italy including first performances of John McCabe’s Solo Partita for cello in Italy and Keith Beal’s Sonata No1 for cello and piano in Holland. Fiona has also taken part in several recordings and more recently performed in a chamber music concert with Raphael Wallfisch at Burgh House, London. Fiona has been the cellist of The Pentland Trio since its formation in 2010.



Peng-NianPeng Nian, Viola and Chamber Ensembles

Peng was born in Han Dan and brought up in a medium size heavy industry city called Fu Shun in north east China, which has a population of 2.2 million (small for China!). 

She started learning the violin at the age of four and a half in Fu Shun. The orchestra she played in as a school student won a number of first prizes and she was selected to appear when the orchestra played on TV over there.  She was offered a place as an orchestra member in the only music centre in Fu Shun and was one of two who were accepted without audition.

In 2000, she came to UK to study and, luckily, in 2007 she met Tatjana Goldberg as her violin teacher at Middlesex University. She loved Tatjana’s teaching style from the first lesson and later gave up an unconditional offer to study music at Manhattan college, New York, in 2008, because she felt that Tatjana was the right teacher who would direct her well for the future. Thanks to Tatjana, Peng received a music prize at Middlesex University in 2009. She then continued to study for a MA in Music Performance jointly at City University and Guildhall school of music and drama. During her studies she played one of Vivaldi’s violin concertos with the UK’s longest running chamber ensemble, Allegri String Quartet, and also had masterclass with the leader of the quartet, Rafael, and masterclasses with Sophie Langdon. 

Peng started as assistant to both Nigel and Tatjana since studying at Middlesex University and also developed her own teaching practise since that time. In 2008 she started working as a helper at YMC and she has very much enjoyed working as part of the teaching staff with Nigel, Tatjana, Fiona and Greg at YMC.  Before working at YMC, she taught Mandarin at Hackney Community for a number of years.

Having taught at primary schools in north London for several years, she is now enjoying a freelance career as chamber musician, orchestral player and choral singer. She has played at Burgh House, St Luke’s, on the South Bank and worked with Kings College. Peng is currently a member of the orchestra at Hertfordshire University. She also sang at St George’s, Hanover Square, and has organised children’s concerts and a musical in China, but she now dedicates her time mainly to teaching youngsters.


Gregory Emfietzis, Early Musicianship and Orchestra Conductor

Gregory Emfietzis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He played the violin and sang, performing in international festivals, concerts and operas, before taking a degree in Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia.

He moved to the UK to study for a Masters degree in Composition & Contemporary Music at Huddersfield University, and a PhD in Composition at Brunel University. He has been extensively working as a music teacher/lecturer (violin, ensemble/orchestra, early years, musicianship, composition), while developing a career as performer and composer.

Gregory has received a number of prizes and commissions, and has worked with ensembles/orchestras from around the world (such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Konzerthaus, Orkest de Ereprijs, London Sinfonietta, Greek National Opera House, Ensemble WienBerlin). He is also the artistic director of the Metapraxis Ensemble. www.emfietzis.com


Kristina Greally, Recorder and Recorder Ensembles

Kristina read Music at King’s College London and graduated in 2015 with a First Class Honours BMus. She is continuing her studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where she is on the Masters degree in Historical Performance programme under Pamela Thorby. She gained a piano diploma, the DipABRSM, in 2009, and was awarded the FTCL, a Fellowship in recorder performance from Trinity College London, in 2012. Kristina has six years’ teaching experience, and was recently awarded the Cert PTC teaching diploma from EPTA (UK). She places special importance on ear training in young children. Kristina also teaches piano and recorder at Watford Grammar School for Girls, and accompanies singers and instrumentalists.

William Cole, Voice/Aural and Choir conductor

William read Music at Clare College, Cambridge where he graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours. He has conducted student and semi-professional ensembles, including the Hampshire Sinfonia and all the Cambridge University ensembles, in a broad range of orchestral and operatic repertoire and is currently Musical Director of Opera Lyrica.

As a composer, recent performances of William’s work have been given by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved, the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra and members of the Britten Sinfonia. Future projects include a commission for the Britten Sinfonia’s 2013-14 At Lunch series, to performed at the Wigmore Hall and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

William is also active as a pianist, with future recitals in Cambridge and across the UK, and was a Choral Scholar at Clare College. Community work has involved workshops with young children in the south of England as part of the Elastic Band, collaborations with children in Soweto, Johannesburg, and projects with English Touring Opera.




teachers for 17/18


William Carslake – composer-traveller

After an MA in English with music scholarship (Cambridge) and an MMus in orchestral conducting (Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) Bill combined his passions for composing and the outdoors. As composer-traveller his compositions and journeys explore mountainous and ecological themes. He is published by Shorter House and distributed in Canada and the USA by Peters. He has held two composing residencies at Banff Centre, Canada. Recent works include: The Singing Glacier, inspired by an expedition in East Greenland and performed at the Totally Thames Festival and Aldeburgh Poetry Festival 2017; The Duel of the White-necked Ravens, inspired by Kilimanjaro; As Dewe, performed at St Paul’s and Worcester cathedrals; Hymn to the Virgin, for St John’s church, Peckham; Snowdon, performed on Snowdon; and Particle 2 performed by Alisios Camerata at Banff Centre. As musical director his work includes Elizabeth for The Royal Ballet, at the Linbury Theatre, 2016 and the Barbican, 2018. He is a trustee of the Elgar Foundation. (www.soundcloud.com/billcarslake)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy name’s Jamie Sperling and I’m currently in my second year at the Royal Academy of Music studying for a Masters in Choral Conducting. I am also Musical Director of the Cappella Singers of Upminster and Associate Conductor of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Music Society. I also love working and making music with young people, and am really looking forward to working with YMC this year in the choral and aural workshops!











Graham Bennett BMUS LRAM PGCE,
Music Theory and Composition

Graham studied piano, theory and composition at the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music in London where he was awarded the Associated Board Entrance Scholarship. During this time he won many prestigious prizes and performed extensively in the United Kingdom and abroad as a soloist and chamber musician.

In 2001 Graham studied for a PGCE at the Institute of Education, University of London to obtain Qualified Teacher Status which enabled him to broaden his teaching experiences working with students in mainstream schools across North London, and he is Head of Theory and Composition at the Youth Music Centre

Graham is also the author, composer and publisher of the ‘Music Master Series’, a collection of fun and easy to follow Educational Music Books specialising in composition, theory and performance.


David Evans, Flute teacher and Wind Ensembles

David studied the flute privately with Peter Lloyd before winning a scholarship to study with Geoffrey Gilbert at the Royal Manchester College of Music.

He has been a member of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra and in England has played with many national orchestras including the Halle and the BBC Northern Orchestras, Royal and Festival Ballets, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Liverpool Philharmonic.

David now freelances and teaches at the City of London School for Girls.





Emer Calthorpe, Music Theory

Emer Calthorpe is one of London’s most experienced violinists and teachers. Since returning to London from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra she has freelanced extensively with the major London orchestras, leading several chamber orchestras and working also in the film studios. She has performed concertos and quartets on the South Bank with her husband, the well known oboist Graham Salter. They live in Hampstead.
Continuing a family tradition that extends over 200 years, she started her teaching career with the exceptional appointment at the age of 18 as a Professor at the Irish College of Music / University College, Dublin. She teaches pupils both local and from the leading public schools, including Eton, Harrow and Radley, and was chosen as one of the founding violin tutors at London’s Centre For Young Musicians. Her pupils include several players now prominent in the London profession.
In recent years Emer has refined a ‘fast track’ programme to help gifted children attain their essential Grades in Music Theory, boosting their important school exam results. She is very pleased to join the distinguished staff at the Youth Music Centre, and hopes that her young students will benefit her varied experience and enthusiasm.


Henry Hargreaves, Cello Assistant

Henry Hargreaves is currently studying for a BMus at the Royal Academy of Music with Felix Schmidt. He has performed concertos in Spain, France, Italy and Germany and has won many prizes for his playing including Raphael Sommer Junior Prize, Norman Trotman Competition and Margaret Napier Cup. In addition he has performed solo and chamber recitals at venues including Cambridge University, Mozarteum Salzburg, St James Piccadilly, Marylebone Festival, Cantonigros Festival Barcelona, The Forge Camden and Kings College London. Since joining the Academy in 2015 he has been largely involved with the orchestral projects including performing at the senior Yehudi Menuhin Competition finals and the BBC Get Playing initiative. For 2 years he was a member of the National Youth Orchestra. He is cello assistant at Youth Music Centre and also teaches a small number of private pupils of all ages and abilities.   

Marina Solarek, Administrator and Violinist

Marina became administrator for the YMC in 2007. She came to England in 1986 to study violin with the late Prof. Yfrah Neaman. She has performed regularly in Britain and abroad with her Piano Trio, the Feinstein Ensemble and the Baroque Ensemble “Kontraste”. She has given concerts at the South Bank and has made several broadcasts for Classic FM and BBC Radio 3.

Marina was a member of the BBC Radio Orchestra and is now leading a busy freelance career, working with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, BBC Symphony Orchestra, West End Shows and for Film and Television. She is the co-founder and tutor for the residential viola course “Arpeggione” which she runs together with Jacky Woods. Marina  leads of the North London Sinfonia.

In her spare time she enjoys going to ballet classes in the Royal Opera House with Romayne Grigorova. Marina lives with her husband Martin and their daughter Natasha in Willesden Green.


Youth Music Centre Trustees

Ian Byrne
Penny Driver
Julia Edwards
Dr Amanda Craig
Michael Hurwitz
Amanda Sharpe
Stephen Warner