With qualifications in Applied Foreign Languages & European Politics and EC Law, Samantha began her career as Policy Advisor in the European Parliament. This was followed by nine years as CEO of Scottish Business in the Community, led by HRH the Prince of Wales.
Since then, she has been appointed to the advisory board of Scottish Power (2007), the board of Iberdrola (2008), and spent nine years on the board at Right Track, a Scottish youth employability charity.
She is currently a Vice Chairman of the 2020 Group on Climate Change, an advisory board member for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and a board member of the Scottish European Education Trust, as well as undertaking consultancy and business coaching.
A finalist and runner-up in the IoD Scotland NED of the Year Awards in 2012, she was listed as one of the ‘Top 100 Women to Watch’ in the FTSE list compiled with Cranfield University in 2013 and 2014 and is also a member of the prestigious Global Scot and Global Board Ready Women networks.
She became Chairman of Scottish Ensemble in February 2015.
Andrew Berridge was born on the Wirral and grew up in Leeds, where he studied violin from the age of 5.
After further studies with Peter Mountain and Eta Cohen he read Law for a year at the University of Liverpool before transferring to Music. He won an Arts Scholarship that enabled him to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, first on violin with Ben Holland and then viola with Roger Bigley and Scott Dickinson. There he won prizes for viola and chamber music before embarking on a freelance career in the north of England, playing with all the major orchestras.
He joined the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2003 – its youngest member at the time – as co-principal viola.
Andrew became a member of Scottish Ensemble in 2012 and freelances regularly with the other major Scottish orchestras, as well as teaching viola and chamber music at the RCS. See his full profile here.
Originally from Aberdeen, Morag has worked with international NGOs and foundations for over 20 years in Honduras, the Dominican Republic, New York, London, Mexico City and most recently Tbilisi, Georgia. She now lives in Edinburgh, from where she consults on charity governance, organisational change and strategy. She is deputy chair of the innovative, London-based Lankelly Chase foundation, working to change systems that perpetuate disadvantage.
Morag began her career in arts management and worked with the Edinburgh International Festival and Riverside Studios in London. She is passionate about the performing arts, is a former member of the RSNO Chorus and, whenever possible, attends live performances across a broad range of art forms.
Jeff Fergus was born and educated in Glasgow and has spent most of his career in advertising and marketing. After university he joined the London office of Leo Burnett, a large American advertising agency whose clients included Cadbury, Proctor & Gamble and Kellogg, among many others.
Having spent seven years as CEO of the London office he joined the main Board of the company and moved to Hong Kong as CEO of the agency’s Asia Pacific operations. He later returned to London to take responsibility for all of the company’s global operations outside America. Following retirement from the advertising industry he has continued to work as a marketing consultant for the Unipart Group. He is also Chairman of the trustees of Ronald McDonald House Charities and was a member of the Court of Strathclyde University for nine years.
Rachel is a senior civil servant in the Scottish Government. Her 25-year public service career has included executive and non-executive policy, operational and change management leadership roles across such sectors as economic development, justice, international development, and European policy.
Rachel has had a life-long interest in music and the arts, and was awarded an Exhibition in music at Oxford University. She is also a non-executive director of Scottish Ballet, a Chartered Director and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
Laura was born in Kirkcaldy and began playing violin when she was 11. After completing a law degree at Dundee University, she returned to music by entering the RCS (formerly RSAMD), studying with Jerre Gibson under the Stevenson Scholarship. During this time she performed with all of the Scottish orchestras, as well as leading the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, NYOS Camerata and Jeunesse Musicales World Youth Orchestra during its tours of the Far East, Denmark and Germany.
After completing her studies at the RSAMD, Laura joined the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra where she met her husband, Yann, and now has two daughters, Chloe and Anna. Laura has been performing with Scottish Ensemble since 2001. See her full profile here.
Neil Kelly is a lawyer by profession but with a deep passion for music and opera.
Neil was described in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession (2015) as ‘an outstanding advocate of construction and contract law’. He has over thirty years experience specialising in advising employers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants, suppliers and their insurers in the Construction Sector.
Neil has been Head of the Construction Group at MacRoberts since 2003 and was Chairman of the firm between 2011 and 2014.
Reflecting his involvement in the Construction Sector, Neil was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in 2007 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) in 2012. In April 2016, the Chartered Institute of Building presented Neil with its Open Award for services to the Construction industry. Neil is Convener of the Adjudication Society, Scottish Region, and is also a past Chair of the Voices Festival held annually in St Andrews, and a past Chair of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
James is the CEO & Co-Founder of Encore, one of the world’s largest online booking platforms helping musicians earn money playing at events, concerts, weddings and recording sessions. Since founding Encore, the company has helped musicians earn over £5 million in gig fees.
Before starting Encore, James studied the cello at the Music School of Douglas Academy in Glasgow and led the NYOS cello section at their BBC Proms performance with Nicola Benedetti in 2012. In his spare time, James competes in Ironman triathlons, blogs online about starting and growing businesses, and writes his own music.
A Board Director with over twenty years experience in supporting innovation and growth, executing mergers and acquisitions, and developing people, Stella has held a number of senior appointments within the FMCG and Drinks industries, working with Scottish & Newcastle PLC, the C&C Group and, most recently, Genius Gluten Free Foods.
She is currently CFO of Inverleith LLP, and is a keen cellist and concert-goer.
Jonathan Morton is Artistic Director and Leader of the Scottish Ensemble, and enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, leader, soloist and teacher. His versatility finds him equally at home in the core classical repertoire, 20th and 21st Century music, and in collaborations with musicians from different musical traditions. His eclectic and engaging programming has won praise from audiences and critics alike, offering fresh perspectives on familiar repertoire as well as introducing little-known gems and championing new works. See his full profile here.
Tom Service presents The Listening Service on BBC Radio 3, and has presented Music Matters since 2003, as well as Hear and Now, the Proms, and documentaries. For BBC TV, he presents the Proms, and has made films about Shostakovich, Handel, Verdi, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Pierre Boulez, Peter Maxwell Davies, and John Tavener.
He writes about music for The Guardian, where he was Chief Classical Music Critic. His books Music as Alchemy: Journeys with Great Conductors and their Orchestras and Full of Noises, interviews with the composer Thomas Adès, are published by Faber.
He was Guest Artistic Director of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2005. His PhD, at the University of Southampton, was on the music of John Zorn.
Lesley Watt was born and educated in Aberdeen and qualified as a solicitor before switching career and re-training as a Chartered Accountant with PwC in Edinburgh. For almost twenty years she has held CFO/ Finance Director posts across a number of sectors including the Health Service, the National Trust for Scotland and the private sector including five years at the Wine & Spirits Division of Scottish & Newcastle (now Heineken), a number of private companies in the Care Sector and is currently the Interim Finance Director for the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service. She has served as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh Leisure as well as the Disciplinary and Charity Committees of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. In her spare time Lesley enjoys keeping fit, contemporary music (previous Vice-Chairman of Edinburgh Police Choir) as well as classical music (piano and ex-French Horn player).
Amy Woodhouse (joins March 2021)
Amy was born and raised in Edinburgh. She is currently Head of Policy, Projects and Participation for Children in Scotland, the national network organisation improving children’s lives. She has responsibility for the organisation’s policy work and engagement activities with children and young people; this has included high profile events like First Minister’s Question Time: Next Generation. She previously worked as a researcher in the mental health sector for over 10 years, with the Mental Health Foundation and Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health. She has a particular interest in how music, and the arts more widely, can be used to promote mental health and wellbeing.
In her free time, Amy is committed to homemade arts, and will usually have some form of art project on the go. She is an enthusiastic attender of live music performances across all genres. Amy is looking forward to bringing her understanding of mental health improvement and participatory approaches to the Board, to support Scottish Ensemble’s wider influence and impact.
Originally from Canada, Nicolas Žekulin moved to the UK in 1999, working initially for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the International Artist Managers’ Association and then Scottish Opera. In 2005, he joined the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as Head of Artistic Planning, growing the programme of visiting artists, concerts and projects as well as overseeing scheduling for the incredibly diverse performance calendar at Scotland’s third busiest music venue.
Since February 2017 he has had the honour of being the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, working with a dedicated team to deliver world class learning pathway for talented instrumentalists in jazz and classical music.
Nick studied classical singing at the Universities of Calgary and Toronto, performing extensively with the likes of Tafelmusik Orchestra and Opera Atelier, while also hosting an early morning jazz radio show. He is proud to be a trustee of the world-leading Scottish Ensemble, and the ground-breaking Nevis Ensemble.