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 Foundation’s young participants in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London. Exceptional talents, determination and stamina of Music of Life’s beneficiaries made Evelyn willing to associate her name with our charity and its work that echoes with 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 Glenie evelyn.co.uk

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)

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 is also on the boards of War Child UK and Therfield School.

Harvey Jones

Harvey became a trustee in 2015 with a view to use his entrepreneurial background in order to help Music of Life achieve its goals. He founded and currently runs a business consultancy.

He is passionate about all genres of music and is a firm believer in the power it has to enrich lives. Amongst other things he is a Fellow of the RSA, and subscribes to its tenet of encouraging the release of human potential to address the challenges that society faces.

Christopher Newstead

Chris joined the board of Music of Life in 2015. He is head of internal communications at the Wellcome Trust. He’s married with two daughters (and two cats). A long-lost musician he conducts a choir of colleagues at work, and plays clarinet in a dixieland jazz band. He believes passionately that learning to play and perform music can help everyone to develop, discover and connect.

Catherine Clarke

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

As a former student of violin and piano at 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.

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.

Jeff Sutherland-Kay

Jeff Sutherland-Kay has been a musician since the age of 5 and has an MA in music from the University of Oxford, where he was a choral scholar at Christ Church. Despite his training, Jeff has followed a 40-year career in the retail banking/financial services industry and also has 20 years’ experience of the charity/not-for-profit sector. Jeff is a customer-centred interim manager, business consultant and change agent, specialising in leadership and delivery in strategic, business and change planning. He has held a number of board appointments at both financial services companies and charitable trusts. But music is never very far away, with Jeff continuing to sing with professional chamber choir Ex Cathedra.

Robert Blencowe

Robert has a background in finance, currently working in strategy consulting in the creative & technology sectors. Music has always played an important role in his life and he was looking for a charity that would enable him to use his professional skills for the benefit of young people whose access to music is very limited. Robert joined the Board in early 2019 with a view to adding value to the governance and strategic direction of the charity.