Our Team

Music of Life was conceived and is led by a team of professional musicians who are passionate about making the joy if music and life-changing experience of performing on stage accessible to young people with disabilities.

Maria Teterina, CEO

Born into a musical family in Moscow I was surrounded by music from an early age and took it for granted. I never thought making music was any kind of privilege, for me it was many years of hard work and also a sense of pride that comes with performing on stage and getting recognition from audiences and fellow musicians. However, as my professional career took off, I found myself working with young people for whom the journey of music discovery wasn’t so straightforward. For many years my parents’ charity, “Mir Iskusstva” (“World of Art”), has been helping talented disabled children and young people from across the Russian Federation to study music and perform with some of the most illustrious musicians – from Montserrat Caballe to Cecilia Bartoli, delivering spectacular gala events at some incredible venues such as Vatican and Sochi Paralympic Opening and Closing ceremonies. Taking part in this work during my student years inspired me to conceive a similar organisation in the UK.

I came to London in 2002 to study on the postgraduate course at the Royal Academy of Music in London. It didn’t take me long to realise that problems and barriers faced by young people with disabilities in the UK are very similar to those in my native country. I started Music of Life in November 2003, and the launch in June 2004 featured performances of some amazing young musicians – some of them remain our close partners and advisors and enable us to learn what it takes to do a career in music if you have a disability from their first-hand experience.

As a Chief Executive, I am responsible for Music of Life’s general educational strategy, programmes and partnerships, fundraising and day-to-day project management. I am incredibly lucky to work with many talented and dedicated musicians – our teachers, workshop leaders, accompanists and singers – who are as passionate about making high-quality music education to children with special needs as I am. I also enjoy strong support from the Chair and Trustees and am immensely grateful for their guidance and hands-on approach to running what feels like a small charity with a great vision.

Suzzie Vango, Head of School Programmes

As a conductor, voice coach and singer I am lucky enough to get to work with children and adults from all over the world both as a performer and teacher in a huge variety of environments. What I particularly love about working with Music of Life is that there are no barriers in the creative process. The staff and children will always have suggestions for how to improve the performance and are so willing to participate, contribute and have fun. “Music of Life” days are my favourite days of the week.

Ruairi Edwards

Based in the Midlands, I divide my time between my work as a piano accompanist, choral conductor, and music arranger. I regularly accompany for organisations such as Ex Cathedra, CBSO, National Youth Choir of Great Britain and National Children’s Choir of Great Britain and conduct a range of choirs including BBC 2’s The Choir finalists Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Choir. I absolutely love working with Music of Life Foundation – I regularly visit Round Oak School in Warwick and have just started playing at Skilts School in Redditch. Seeing the happy faces of all the children singing music is an absolute joy and makes )me feel lucky to be doing music for my profession!

Jane Money

I am based in West Sussex and enjoy a busy career as a singer and teacher in the Brighton area. I am also conductor of the Brighton Chamber Choir, a founder of the Pyecombe Village Choir and an examiner and trainer for the ABRSM. I have been teaching for Music of Life for over 2 years and relish experiencing how music and singing can bring such a wealth of creativity and enjoyment into young people’s lives.

Cerys Purser

I studied voice at the Royal Academy of Music and am a professional singer and teacher. I am passionate about music education and educating through music and in particular through opera and classical song. I teach one to one with students in how to find and use their voices to tell their own stories and find new ones. Working with Music of Life is the most important and satisfying work that I have been involved in, as the unique and extraordinary journeys that the children and young people make go far beyond the learning of a new skill or instrument but into their whole development, academically, physically and emotionally.

Suzie Purkis

I am a classically trained singer and singing teacher with a busy performing and teaching practice both privately and at Edgbaston High School for Girls. Working for Music of Life Foundation I get the opportunity to bring a taste of operatic singing to children who might not otherwise be exposed to it, in a way which engages and involves them. When helping to lead the choir at Round Oak School, the energy and enthusiasm of the choir members is always a highlight of my working week.