Musical Director:
Simon Toyne
Born in Exeter, and now local to Northampton, Simon Toyne received his musical training as a chorister in Exeter Cathedral Choir, later becoming Organ Scholar of University College, Oxford. For 24 years, he was Director of the Tiffin Boys’ Choir, preparing them for projects with the major conductors in the world, including Pappano, Rattle, Gergiev, Maazel, Elder, Masur and Salonen, leading the choir on over twenty foreign tours, including to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Russia, and conducting the choir in concert with the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Sinfonia Britannica and Philharmonia Orchestra. As Director of Music at All Saints’ Church, Kingston, a post he held consecutively with that of Assistant Head & Director of Music at Tiffin School, the choir broadcast on BBC1, Radio 4 and World Service Radio, and over 20 choristers gained choral scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge.

He has worked as a chorus master for the London Symphony Chorus and Royal Choral Society and assisted the music staff for the Royal Opera in productions of Lohengrin and Tosca. He has conducted most of the oratorio repertoire with the 250-strong Tiffin Oratorio Choir, including the Bach Magnificat, John and Matthew Passions and Mass in B minor, Handel Messiah, Requiems by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Fauré and Duruflé, Elgar The Dream of Gerontius, Tippett A Child of our Time, Mendelssohn Elijah, Janacek Glagolitic Mass and Walton Belshazzar’s Feast. As Music Director of Riverside Opera, his operatic conducting included La traviata, Nabucco, La Forza del Destino, Carmen, Macbeth, Eugene Onegin, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Samson et Dalila and La belle Helène.

Since 2015, he has been Executive Director of Music of the David Ross Education Trust, where he is responsible for the development of a music programme for over 14,500 children across 34 state primary and secondary schools in London, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber. His work at DRET has included the award-winning Singing Schools programme for primary schools, developing a Trust-wide primary and secondary music curriculum, fostering a network of partner organisations including Gabrieli Roar, Nevill Holt Opera, Sing Up, the Royal Opera House and the Voices Foundation, creating a team of professional musicians in residence, and establishing a talent development programme.

Simon currently serves on the monitoring board for the National Plan for Music Education, having been President of the Music Teachers Association and a member of the Government’s Expert Panels for both the National Plan for Music Education and the Model Music Curriculum. His chapter on curriculum music in the recent book What Should Schools Teach? was published in January 2021 and is available as an open access pdf from UCL Press.

Simon has been a Director of the Rodolfus Foundation Choral Courses since 2012, directing courses for singers aged 16-24 each summer, including broadcasts of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3. He was appointed Music Director of the Northampton Bach Choir in May 2023: his first season includes Haydn Creation, Arnold Song of Simeon, Bach St John Passion, Verdi Requiem and a summer concert of opera choruses.