Patrons & Trustees

Inspiring role models and experienced professionals from an array of fields, our Patrons and Trustees oversee the charity’s dynamic development and provide an invaluable contribution to its day-to-day running.

Dame Evelyn Glennie DBE, Patron

The great feature that we have within Music of Life is that the youngsters are given an excellent platform to develop and display their musical aptitude alongside seasoned professional musicians and share with them the responsibility and the sense of occasion. This experience has a great impact that doesn’t just last for the length of the rehearsal or the length of the concert but becomes a life-changing thing for many people, including myself.

Evelyn became Music of Life Patron in December 2005 following three concerts she performed with the charity’s young musicians in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London. Exceptional talents, determination and stamina of Music of Life’s first beneficiaries made Evelyn willing to associate her name with the charity and its work that echoes her own passionate belief in the importance of accessibility of music for all children and support for musicians with disabilities.

Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2007 Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. As one of the most eclectic and innovative musicians on the scene today she is constantly redefining the goals and expectations of percussion by creating performances of such vitality they almost constitute a new type of performance.

For more about the extraordinary life and work of Dame Evelyn Glennie please visit 

Denise Leigh, Patron

If only Music of Life was around when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t have had to wait for a TV reality show to become a professional singer.

Denise is the winner of channel 4’s Operatunity: a nationwide search to find an amateur singer who could sing the role of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto at the home of ENO, the London Coliseum.

Since her operatic debut in 2003 Denise has gone on to sing all over the world, appearing in opera and oratorio throughout Europe. She has recorded two best selling albums on the EMI Classics label, and continues to appear regularly on TV and radio.

Denise performed as headline talent in the London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Charles Abell. For many years she has been providing Music of Life with an invaluable insight into everyday challenges faced by a professional blind singer enabling us to enhance our services and advice to our students.

Denise was a Trustee for Music of Life Foundation for over two years. From October 2012 Denise has assumed, alongside Dame Evelyn Glennie, the role of a Patron for Music of Life.

Ray Longbottom, Chair of Trustees

Ray joined the Music of Life Foundation in 2008. His mission is to help the charity grow and thus to provide steadily increasing opportunities for disabled youngsters to develop their musical talents and perform in public.

Ray’s business career was mainly spent at 3M Company so brings experience of leading teams and building businesses. Ray is an executive coach and mentor and served many years as a trustee on the boards of War Child UK and Therfield School.

Catherine Clarke, Vice Chair

Catherine became a Trustee in 2016. She is a lawyer and co-founded a corporate governance advisory partnership.

As a former student of violin and piano at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music, Catherine is a passionate music lover and is firmly committed to helping the Charity grow to provide life enhancing musical opportunities to young people who might not otherwise have access to such experiences. Catherine was appointed Vice Chair of Music of Life in June 2020.

In October 2020 Cathy has become a member of the Council of the Royal College of Music.

Sarah Kolkman, Treasurer

Sarah became a trustee in March 2019. She is a qualified chartered accountant with many years of experience in the fast moving consumer goods and publishing industries.

Sarah is retired and splits her time between various charitable organisations, particularly enjoying being a Room Guide at a National Trust property.

Stefano Filippi

Stefano holds two MSc in Finance and in Economics, has worked in finance roles throughout his career and brings experience of building and growing businesses. Stefano has been passionate about music since a young age, having attended a specialist music school as a violinist, and he is now learning to play the piano. Stefano believes music has the power to enrich children’s lives and has invested countless hours supporting his children’s musical interests.

He is now committed to help Music of Life grow and improve the quality of life of an ever increasing number of young people with disabilities and special needs.


Sophie Bruggemann

Dr. Phil. Sophie Brüggemann

Sophie joined Music of Life in 2020. She is a Data Lead and Researcher in the fields of media analytics and behavioral science.


Sophie graduated at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich with a doctorate degree in musicology and media science. Her established methodology harnesses consumption preferences and audience typologies on music streaming platforms.

Over the course of the past 7 years, Sophie has acquired an intuition for data management and consumer analytics within the media & entertainment industry (Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group). As Senior Data Analyst at WMGs Spinnin’ Records, she developed analytics and reporting capabilities to optimize business intelligence strategies across marketing and product departments. In addition to her primary job functions, Sophie regularly shares her expertise on data psychology and media analytics, as keynote speaker (eg Berlinale’20, KarajanMusicTech’19), guest lecturer and co-author of scientific literature.

Alex McHardy

Alex joined Music of Life Foundation in 2023.

He is a charity fundraiser and sits on the Senior Management Team of the national charity Living Streets, as Head of Commercial Development.

Before joining the third sector he spent a number of years working in music, including at record labels and in commercial radio.

He is passionate about promoting access to music for all children and young people.

Tristen Hennigs

Tristen joined Music of Life in 2023

She is the Arts Officer for a local government and is a partner in programming arts for well-being initiatives across Surrey.

Before her work in the public sector, she worked in Communications, Promotion and Development for Sony Classical, IMG Artists and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Following her degrees of MA Labour & Human Resources, Business and BA Psychology & Music from Ohio State University, she began working for Very Special Arts, supporting arts programmes for people with disabilities.  She has remained committed to access to all arts for everyone since that time.

Lily Harriss

Lily is a responsible and motivational leader, enthusiastic about delivering access to arts and education.  In her work life, she is Director of Development at the Royal College of Music London.  Before that, she had over 30 years of senior management experience in arts, heritage and education.

She has a deep understanding of the arts, particularly music ( a variety of styles), with a specific passion for and knowledge of the science of music performance and the study of music and well-being.

She became involved in Music of Life as a Trustee because she believes in their vision of music-making to advance education and improve the health and well-being of disabled children.