Introducing Simon and Andrea, founders of Corporate Conservatoire
Between them, Simon and Andrea have gained over 60 years of professional experience in senior leadership, management and music - you can read more about their individual journeys below.
The seed of the idea from which Corporate Conservatoire has grown can be traced back to 2008 when Andrea was devising a development day for her university administrative team and wanted to present a final session that would be both enjoyable and inspiration whilst reinforcing her theme of the day which was the concept of the high-performing team. She asked Simon to deliver a workshop based on his experiences as a musician and conductor and the rest is, as they say, history. Since then many of her development events have involved Simon in some way with the themes varying from effective communication and teamwork to managing change and the development of leadership qualities. Convinced by the transformational power and lasting-effect of these events, Andrea and Simon have packaged the concept into Corporate Conservatoire so that other teams, leaders and organisations can benefit.
Simon and Andrea are, it may be said, an example of a high performing team in their own right as they have been married for 26 years! They met when studying music at the Birmingham Conservatoire and now live in a music-drenched house in the West Midlands, UK, with their two children - Dan (22) and Erin (19) - and their dog
Monty. They believe that their relationship adds yet another unique element to Corporate Conservatoire.
A professional musician for over 30 years, Simon has developed a successful career on the national and international stage as a musician, conductor and educator. A violinist, chamber musician, orchestral player and conductor he has worked with many household names including Russell Watson (for whom he was recently Musical Director for a time), Lea Salonga, Katherine Jenkins, Laura Wright, Alfie Boe, Barry Manilow, Alice Cooper, Chris de Burgh and Roger Daltry. In 2015 he was appointed as Chief Conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta, the state chamber orchestra for Slovakia, and in January 2018 Simon was honoured by the government of the Slovakia through the award of a 'Diploma of Appreciation' in recognition of extraordinary merits in the development of friendly relationships with the Slovak Republic. He is also a guest conductor with many eminent orchestras including the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, one of Russia's finest ensembles. He was recently awarded the Orchestra Prize in the Bucharest International Conducting Competition, a prize which brings with it the invitation to conduct the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra during the forthcoming season. Simon was Il Divo's conductor for three years which saw him traveling across six continents and performing in such iconic venues as the London Colisium, the Sydney Opera House and Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas. Simon's passion for music and his belief in its power as a tool is seemingly limitless and this passion is infectious through his enthusiasm when communicating with others whether from the conductor's podium, in a school setting or in a development session.
Find out more about Simon through his website www.simonchalk.co.uk
Andrea has amassed many years of experience of management and senior leadership across the arts and higher education sectors. A trained musician, she began her career in arts administration with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra where she worked for 14 years during which time she rose through the ranks from part-time receptionist to Assistant Orchestra Manager, a position which saw her interacting with many leading conductors and musicians whilst dealing with the logistics of moving an orchestra, with an international reputation, around the world. Her move to the higher education sector in 2006 has seen her operating in various senior leadership roles across three universities - highly complex organisations - gaining a varied and wide-ranging portfolio of management and leadership skills. She is now an Academic Registrar and has extensive experience of leading large teams which she has navigated through various major restructuring and change projects. Her experience is built on a firm foundation of training, learning and qualifications - she has attained a BA (Hons) in Music, diplomas in both teaching and performing, is a member of the CIPD, has gained a PG Dip in Human Resource Management and has participated in various senior long-term leadership programmes as well as a plethora of management workshops and development sessions. She has also operated at board-level. Although she has worked outside of the arts for many years, Andrea has never lost her passion for music and her deep belief in its power as a transformative force. For her, Corporate Conservatoire is the ideal fusion of all of her experience and knowledge and she is extremely excited about its future.
Find out more about Andrea through her LinkedIn profile
In case you're a little concerned that a Conductor and an Academic Registrar may just be a little on the boring side, let us try to convince you that although we work hard, we play hard too. We certainly don't take ourselves too seriously......and here's a little bit of proof: