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Odyssey Festival Orchestra

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Inspiring young people on their musical journey

Meet The Team

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Peter Ash

Artistic Director

Peter Ash’s career as conductor has been characterised by ambitious new projects: from first performances at the Salzburg Festival with members of the Berlin Philharmonic and Haydn operas at Garsington, to the premiere of Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox for the Los Angeles Opera. Recent projects have included the world premiere of Jamaican-born Eleanor Alberga’s Trumpet Concerto at the Barbican Hall and an immersive production of Richard Strauss’s opera Salome in the USA. Born in Iowa, Ash has been resident in London for over forty years, where he is passionately committed to high standards, imaginative programming and broadening audiences for classical music. He has taught at London’s Centre for Young Musicians for forty years and for twenty years he was Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra.  As a composer, he has written two family operas: Keepers of the Night and The Golden Ticket, based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He is thrilled to be beginning a wonderful new musical Odyssey. 

Donald Sturrock

Executive Director

Donald Sturrock joined BBC Television's Music and Arts Department in 1983, where he worked as writer and director, making over thirty documentaries, several of which won major international broadcasting awards. Since leaving the BBC, he has continued writing and directing for television and live theatre. His work includes seven opera librettos, two with Peter Ash as composer, including the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Fantastic Mr Fox at the Los Angeles Opera, conducted by Peter and with designs by Gerald Scarfe. He has a long association with the work of Roald Dahl. He has made two television documentaries about the writer and adapted a number of his stories for the concert hall. His critically acclaimed biography, Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl was published in 2010 and shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize. Love from Boy, a collection of Dahl’s letters to his mother, was published in 2016. From 2018-2022, he was Chair of Trustees of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. He is currently Chair of the Fantastic Peach Foundation. 

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Gill Tarlton

Orchestral Manager

Gill studied violin and organ at the Royal College of Music. Her first professional position was with the orchestra of La Fenice in Venice. This was followed by work with such orchestras as the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, D’Oyly Carte, The London Mozart Players and The Bournemouth Sinfonietta. She gradually moved into the world of teaching, building up work with private pupils and in various school music departments. In 2008, she was appointed Head of Strings at the Centre for Young Musicians, a job which she enjoyed for 13 years. During this time, she was also Orchestra Manager of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra.


Hilary Sturt

Lead Instrumental Tutor

Hilary Sturt studied the violin with Sheila Nelson, David Takeno, and Felix Andrievsky, graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music with solo, chamber and contemporary music prizes. As a violinist and violist she performed and recorded worldwide with Ensemble Modern for 20 years, including notable projects with Frank Zappa, Peter Eotvos and Pierre Boulez. She has been guest leader of many British ensembles and chamber orchestras, a member of the Rasumovsky Quartet and Apartment House, winners of the Philharmonic Society Award for the Most Outstanding Chamber Music in 2011. Hilary is much in demand as a teacher, adjudicator, and conductor, sitting on many audition and interview panels throughout the UK. She is Head of Strings at St Paul's Girls' School, Head of Chamber Music at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music, Instrumental Teaching Tutor and mentor to the MA Ed course at the Senior RCM, and was a Diploma examiner for the ABRSM. She was awarded an MA from the Institute of Education in 2018. Hilary recorded the violin syllabus Grades 1-4 for the ABRSM in 2015 and was on the advisory panel for the 2020 ABRSM violin syllabus.


Martha Neugarten

Social Media and Sustainability Officer

Martha is a recent Natural Sciences graduate from UCL with a passion for sustainability and championing diversity. She's a violinist in Odyssey orchestra and works to promote the orchestra's projects to professional and aspiring musicians alike. She can't play double stops.


Clara Neather

Outreach and Website Officer

Clara is a recent maths graduate from the University of Bristol, where she was President of the Music Society. She's currently studying for her maths Master's at Imperial College London. She is also a cellist in Odyssey Festival Orchestra.


Odyssey Festival Orchestra

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Inspiring young people on their musical journey

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