About the Association
The Association Council
The current Council comprises:
Richard Edgar-Wilson (Treasurer), Ruth Epstein, Jonathan Fishman, Louise Gibbs, Craig Lees (President-elect), Geraldine McElearney, Paul McKenna, Nimesh Patel, John Rubin (President), Sarah Wright-Owens.
Company Secretary: Kristine Carroll-Porczynski
For over 30 years Richard has been a tenor soloist in classical music. He has made more than 100 recordings and appeared in over 35 countries at venues such as La Scala, ENO, La Monnaie, the Wigmore Hall, the Palais Garnier and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. As both a singer and voice teacher he recognises the importance of the multi-disciplinary approach of the British Voice Association in ensuring good physical and emotional vocal health. In his teaching practice he integrates a physiological understanding to inform his work with singers at varying stages of development. Current students include professional soloists, conservatoire students, school-aged children as well as singers at King's College, Cambridge and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Richard has lectured on research techniques at the University of London (Birkbeck College) and has written book chapters, reviews and reports for among others, the journals of both AOTOS and the BVA.
Ruth Epstein PhD, MRCSLT
Ruth is Head of speech-language therapy services and Consultant speech-language therapist (ENT) at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, London . She holds various honorary fellowships and Senior Lecturer positions at UCL and other academic institutions in the United Kingdom , as well as creating and running a successful MSc course in Voice Pathology since 2003 at University College London. Dr Epstein is a past President of the British Voice Association and an elected member of CoMeT, Collegium Medicorum Theatri, the international association of laryngologists, voice scientists and speech pathologists. She is on the Board of the World Voice Consortium. She has published extensively on various aspects of voice and voice therapy; her special interests are professional voice users, occupational dysphonia and neurolaryngology.
Jonathan Fishman BM BCh (Oxon), MA (Cantab), PhD, FRCS (ORL-HNS)
Jonathan is an ENT Consultant and Laryngologist at the Royal National Throat, Nose & Ear Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Clinical Lecturer at University College London. He is passionate about treating conditions of the larynx. He was awarded a PhD in 2013 for his research. He has received numerous awards, grants, prizes and research fellowships and has published widely in the field of laryngology. He has lectured both nationally and internationally and has organised and chaired sessions at National, European and International meetings pertaining to laryngology. He is Senior Editor for the Journal of Laryngology & Otology.
Louise Gibbs LTCL, MA, MEd, FHEA
Louise Gibbs is a jazz singer, composer and educator, and graduate of Columbia University, New York. She has taught and given workshops on jazz performance, improvisation and voice at every major conservatoire and many universities in the UK. She currently teaches singing for the Universities of Leeds, Hull, Chester and Sheffield, and is a specialist examiner for the RNCM and RAM. She previously held course-leading roles at Leeds College of Music (Postgraduate and Jazz Programmes) and Goldsmiths, University of London (Adult and Professional: Music), GSMD, and RCM. She has active research interests in voice, pedagogy, improvisation and musical aesthetics. Louise continues to compose, perform and has recorded five acclaimed albums, the most recent being Seven Deadly Sings for voice and septet (2014). Her past Board membership includes Warden (Education) for the ISM, Jazz Services, Jazz Yorkshire, and Jazz North. Louise is a keen gardener, allotment-holder and sourdough bread baker.
Craig Lees BA(hons), MA(dist)
Craig is a contemporary vocal coach, choir director and arranger. He is a senior lecturer on the Popular Music degree at Leeds College of Music and founded the LCoM Contemporary Pop Choir in 2014. Craig also holds the post of 'Musician in Residence' for the West Yorkshire Playhouse program for young people where he directs the "Living Vocally" choir and facilitates several other community based projects. He has delivered projects for leading voice technology manufacturer TC-Helicon, 'Mind The Gap' theatre company (England's largest learning disability theatre house) and many other independent organisations. In 2016, Craig assisted on a collaborative music project with the internationally-acclaimed artist, Marc Almond. He is a regular contributor to "Voice Council Magazine” and was recently awarded the "Sing For Pleasure" Young Conductor’s Scholarship. He has presented at international conferences and delivered choral workshops throughout the UK.
Geraldine McElearney MA
After a 20-plus year career elsewhere, returning to the world of voice in 2013 to work as a singing teacher was a huge, unexpected delight. I'd reluctantly abandoned singing after college (GSMD), where my voice had become beset with problems. Now I'm building a new career working with singers of all ages privately, and as a school peripatetic. The years following (post-) graduation were spent in theatre front-of-house, arts publishing and advertising, marketing communications, and design, including 10 years in central government. I gained an MA in Design & Brand Strategy, researching alliances between commercial and arts organisations. The British Voice Association has been invaluable in helping me retrain, and enabled much personal insight, with its holistic, multi-disciplinary ethos. I'm especially interested in the 'whole' singer, and the support/interventions available to student singers when things go off-track. I am committed to ongoing learning and CPD as both teacher and performer.
Paul John McKenna is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist working in Clinical Voice Disorders and Singing Voice Rehabilitation at Wythenshawe Hospital (NHS) in South Manchester. Paul works alongside Sue M Jones in weekly professional voice users clinics, where high level voice users are assessed endoscopically and then rehabilitated via highly individualised voice therapy.
Alongside working primarily in the therapeutic rehabilitation of performers with complex voice impairments, Paul is a certified NLP practitioner and has a background in Hypnotherapy, skills which have led to a significant interest in the psychological factors impacting on vocal performance. Paul aims to continue developing in these fields over the coming years in the aim to provide insights that can further assist performers in the mastery of their voice use.
Prior to retraining as a Speech and Language therapist, Paul worked as a gigging musician for a number of years, as both a singer and guitarist. Experience that helps him to acutely appreciate the demands vocally and psychologically that professional vocalists deal with in their careers. This musical background has been the catalyst for focusing his career towards assisting high level performers in their vocal recovery. As well as being the secretary for the North West Voice CEN, which regularly provides specialist voice training to delegates in the UK, Paul also speaks publically on vocal care and annually provides bespoke workshops for local music colleges such as the Royal Northern College of Music to educate students on vocal health.
Nimesh Patel MBChB, MSc (Voice), FRCS (ORL-HNS)
Nimesh has been a Consultant ENT Surgeon at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust since 2004. During this time he has led the development of the Voice Clinic and Laryngology service into a comprehensive multi-disciplinary service that serves a large regional population. He is currently Lead ENT Undergraduate tutor, an academic supervisor for higher degrees, Lead Trust Clinician for Head and Neck Cancer, Chairman of the Head and Neck Cancer Network, Lead Clinician for Surgery at Lymington Hospital, Director of two limited companies, chief fundraiser of a charity and a council member of the Royal Society of Medicine Laryngology Section.
John S. Rubin MD, FACS, FRCS
John is a Consultant ENT Surgeon and Lead Clinician for Voice Disorders at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in London. He is an Honorary Consultant ENT Surgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Ear Institute (UCL). He is a member of a number of professional societies, assistant editor of a couple of peer reviewed journals, serves on numerous committees and professional bodies, lectures quite widely and is involved in research and teaching. He has published extensively in the medical literature, including articles in medical journals, chapters in textbooks, as well as being the editor of several books. He is a founding member of the European Academy of Voice. He has served as President of the BVA and also Treasurer. His interests include poetry, sculpting, looking at art and listening to music.
Sarah Wright-Owens GBSM, BSc (hons), SLT
Sarah performed professionally for many years in opera and music theatre. She sang for the BBC, with Opera Factory, D’oyly Carte, Birmingham Opera Company, Travelling Opera and English Touring Opera. She re-trained as a Speech and Language Therapist and then worked as an SLT for the Warwickshire PCT for a while before taking up the role of Clinical Vocal Consultant in the Professional Voice Users in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Sarah has regularly taught singing in schools and colleges and recently was course leader on a contemporary music degree which she is currently up-dating with the latest vocal pedagogy and voice science. Sarah still performs when she can; she teaches professional and amateur singers in many vocal styles, rehabilitates singers with vocal problems, mentors singing teachers and vocal groups and runs a Breathe Easy singing group for COPD sufferers in the West Midlands.