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Meet our trustees

Our team of trustees oversee the governance of Sound Connections and guide us on our mission to achieve our charitable objectives.

Chris Brannick

Chris Brannick

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Chris Brannick’s career has, so far, encompassed mathematics, music, writing, singing, acting, life coaching and business management. He has a maths degree from Imperial College, London, and an honorary degree from the Royal Academy of Music as well as a Masters’ Diploma in Executive Coaching.

As a percussionist, he is in demand as a soloist and chamber musician and was principal percussion for Glyndebourne Touring Opera for 15 years, before leaving to concentrate on chamber music, while his acting credits include stage and screen roles. He has taken his cabaret bands The Favoured Few and The Brannick Academy to New York. He was one of the founder members of the iconoclastic contemporary percussion quartet ensemblebash with whom he has performed at venues worldwide. He has written a book World Beats (published by A&C Black), which is a complete resource for primary school classroom teachers exploring drumming styles from various cultures around the world.

Chris has been both the Joint CEO and Interim Senior Director for the Newham Music Trust (the Music Education Hub lead organisation for Newham) where he is currently Chair of the Board.

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Cliff Manning

Cliff Manning

Cliff Manning is a creative project lead with twenty years experience developing digital initiatives that enable people to create, connect and learn. Cliff has a long standing interest in youth voice and music education. He managed NUMU, a platform for young musicians, led development of the ‘Next BRIT Thing’ platform for the BPI and set up an online community for music teachers. His previous roles include: Digital Engagement Manager for the Children’s Commissioner, Digital Manager for Royal Opera House Bridge and Director of Communications at Makewaves, the safe social learning platform for schools.

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Gemma Knox

Gemma Knox

Gemma Knox is an experienced marketing & business professional with over 12 years of brand and communication experience across Europe. Gemma has worked in both large networks and small independent companies in the creative industries, in London and Amsterdam. In her role as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Sunshine, a next-generation entertainment company, Gemma has helped grow the business exponentially since its inception in 2012. She spearheaded Sunshine’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction partnership, orchestrating a string of retail, media and talent partnerships. Outside of work, Gemma is an ardent campaigner for flexible working and an active mentor at Bloom, a professional network for women in communications. She is also in the process of launching a jigsaw business. Gemma is fiercely passionate about the power of the arts and believes that everyone should have the opportunity to play and make. She sings and plays the piano badly.

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John Leahy

John Leahy

John Leahy is an experienced music industry executive who has worked for some of the UK’s biggest record labels, including Polydor and EMI, as well as one of the country’s leading independent companies, Domino Records. John is an experienced marketeer, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, who has worked with some of the biggest domestic and international recording artists of the last 15 years. Successful campaigns John has been involved in include artists as diverse as Lady Gaga, Eminem, Robbie Williams, Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys. John’s consultancy, Instrumental, was established in 2010 and works with music clients including Noel Gallagher, The Coral and Primal Scream as well as photographers, designers and technology companies. Additionally John has worked as a lecturer teaching music industry studies for clients including ICMP and the University of Hertfordshire.

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Max Mizzi

Max Mizzi

Max Mizzi works in Financial Services Strategy, currently as a Technology Strategy Manager at Accenture, and previously as a Vice President in Technology Strategy and Innovation at Deutsche Bank. He has experience in developing business and technology strategy, delivering industry research and managing technology projects. He joined the Arts and Business ‘Young Professional on Arts Boards’ scheme in 2012, and has since been applying his professional experience to working with charities in the Arts sector. He has always been passionate about music, with broad interests across genres and disciplines, from his own endeavours as a saxophonist to involvement in the live music scene in London. Max also holds a degree in Computer Science from King’s College London.

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Nick Rampley

Nick Rampley

Nick Rampley, after studying music at the University of Oxford has followed a career in education management which has included over ten years as Director of Finance and Administration at the Purcell School. He has been Vice Principal of Morley College since March 2009. Nick has a MBA degree from Imperial College of Science and Technology and the Institute of Accountants Diploma in Charity Finance and is a trustee of the Open College network London Region. He continues his musical interests as principal bassoon of the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (where he is also a trustee), as the bass guitarist in a soul covers band and as an occasional writer of programme notes. He is also a trustee of Nonclassical.

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Nina Fine

Nina Fine

Nina Fine has a breadth of experience in the music industry and music education sector ranging from being an active Music Leader – assisting Early Years workshops with Creative Futures and soon-to-be training with Spitalfields Music, as well as being a Mentor for School Ground Sounds charity, co-organising and curating Women In Jazz platform and festival and also participating in Young and Serious programme 2018. Nina has embedded herself in the London music scenes, both in the Jazz community as a journalist for EZH and wider music scenes, volunteering and working in communications with Sofar Sounds London. She has worked in events production for festivals including Love Supreme and Jazz FM Awards and continues to perform as a Soul Singer-Songwriter.

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Paul Bell

Paul Bell

Paul Bell has worked across the arts and charity sector for over ten years gaining experience of live music, youth engagement programmes and charity governance. Following University, Paul co-founded a music merchandise company and cited his time on the youth engagement programme Young Enterprise for giving him the confidence to do this. After five successful years a desire to become engaged in youth music led Paul into the charity sector. This developed into charity governance roles and Paul is currently the Company Secretary at Alzheimer’s Society.

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Sahar Summer Bayer

Sahar Summer Bayer

Sahar is fairly new to the industry but has already made a lasting impact. She is a writer for GRM daily, a renowned platform at the epicentre of UK Urban music and culture, as well as being a promoter for DICE, a revolutionary ticketing app, and Academy Music Group. She has had experience in festival production, participating in acclaimed festivals such as Field Day, Wireless and All Points East. She values the arts and education sector, having participated in running focus groups for Wired4Music and Wigmore Hall. Her passion lies in advocating for mental health, in which she has facilitated workshops for young people alongside the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Sahar is in her second year studying Sociology and Politics and plans to have a well-established career in music or education after. She is an avid reader and enjoys playing guitar. She has yet to master barre chords though!

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Shoubhik Bandopadhyay

Shoubhik Bandopadhyay

Shoubhik Bandopadhyay began his career at Scottish charity Impact Arts where he worked with young people in challenging circumstances, using the arts as a means of developing social, employment and independent-living skills. He then joined contemporary chamber ensemble London Sinfonietta, delivering mass public participation events, creative school music projects and artist development programmes with partners including Southbank Centre and Central Saint Martins, before moving into the formal education sector with Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service as Projects Manager. He has recently joined Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning and Culture Partnership Manager, where he chairs the East London Cultural Education Partnership.

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