Born in Reading, Andrew started his musical training at the age of 7 as a chorister of Earley St. Peter’s Church under the direction of the late Gary Turner. Other early musical influences were his wonderful piano teacher, Anne Nunn, and the late Roger Johnson at Reading Blue Coat School, who encouraged Andrew to learn the oboe. Under the guidance of Hazel Todd and Sophia McKenna this became Andrew’s main instrument, but while reading music at Cardif University he also began to learn the art of conducting with Huw Gareth Williams.
In 2002, Andrew returned to Reading and set up the Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) with some like-minded friends. He was chairman of APO until 2005 and remains its music director, having conducted over 50 concerts, with repertoire ranging from Albinoni and Vivaldi (directed from the oboe and harpsichord, respectively) through to directing nearly 150 performers for Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony. He is committed to promoting young musicians and new music, overseeing the commissioning of 28 pieces by APO Young Composers Award winners in 16 years, conducting the world premiere of 24 of them.
Away from APO, Andrew has made three appearances with Tewkesbury Camerata. In 2017 he made his debut with the University of Reading’s Festival Sinfonia, returning in 2018 and 2019. He is an active supporter of the local arts scene, supporting Reading Youth Orchestra and promoting international collaboration as a committee member of the Reading-Düsseldorf Association. He earns his crust developing training for train drivers and can still occasionally be seen at the controls of the green machines of Great Western Railway. In November 2019, Andrew was presented with a Pride of Reading award for his cultural contribution to his home town.
Assistant Music Director – Mel Le Breuilly
Mel has been a member of APO since she was persuaded to join by her friend Anne in one of the early seasons. Ever since her first rehearsal she was hooked, drawn in by the friendly, supportive community of people all passionate about making great music.
When she’s not in APO, Mel is a violin and piano teacher based in Wokingham, where she loves helping a wide range of students to play their choice of music. Mel is passionate about youth music in the area, and runs the Reading Youth Orchestra as well as co-running Henley Music Centre.
Mel’s love of music stems from her own youth ensemble experience, learning violin and quartet technique with Cristian Persinaru, and playing in various string and symphony orchestras inspired by the conducting and expertise of Paul Cox, Ron Colyer and Robert Roscoe.
She is now delighted to be able to give back to other musicians in some way at APO, whether through playing violin or other musical development activities.