Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society

The Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society Limited was established in 1941 to promote and assist the study, practice, knowledge and appreciation of music, and generally advance the cause of music.

It aims to bring pleasure to the local community through providing high quality, varied classical music programmes, professionally performed, at realistic prices to the audience, within the Society’s available resources.

The principal forum for these activities is the Brighton Dome, where the Society presents an annual series of professional orchestral concerts by the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra.


Annual General Meeting

The 79th Annual General Meeting of the Society will take place on Sunday 1 December 2019 in the Founders Room at Brighton Dome. There will be three vacancies on the Board and we will be electing a new Chairman and Honorary Treasurer. (Please contact Catherine Stead, General Administrator, if you would like to contribute to a leaving collection for our out-going Chairman Nicolas Chisholm, MBE and Hon. Treasurer Sue McHugh)

Below are links to the Notification of the AGM and Agenda and a set of the Full Examined Accounts for the Society for the financial year ended 31 March 2019, including the Trustees’ Report.

The 78th Annual General Meeting took place on Sunday 2 December 2018. The Minutes of the meeting appear below along with a set of the Full Examined Accounts for the Society for the financial year ended 31 March 2018, including the Trustees’ Report.

Accounts Full (D) – 31 Mar 2018

Mission Statement
Our Vision
Enriching the lives of people in Brighton & Hove, and beyond.
Our Mission
The Brighton & Hove Philharmonic Society provides the opportunity for the widest possible audience in the South East to experience and enjoy high quality orchestral music by:
  • delivering varied, innovative, engaging and accessible concert programmes, performed at the very highest level by the professional musicians of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • putting our belief in the power of music into effect by reaching out to diverse audiences, including those who would not normally listen to orchestral music, and making educational activity a priority.

The Society’s Mission Statement (September 2018)

Over the past few months the BPO Board has been thinking hard about the direction the Society should take in order for it to thrive in a time when financial resources are increasingly scarce, as Trustee Chris Thomson explains below:

“Thanks largely to our Chair Nicolas Chisholm’s initiative we’ve been making good progress in reaching out to schools, inviting children to enjoy watching the orchestra rehearse and encouraging potential sponsors to support our concerts.

This has provided the impetus for the Board to review the Society’s Mission Statement and ensure it is fit for purpose. We’ve recently agreed a new wording (see below) and we’d very much welcome hearing your views on it.

We’ve tried to identify the two things which we think your Board should be concentrating on. The first of these – no surprises – is to continue to provide really great performances of a range of orchestral music. We certainly won’t be able to thrive in future if we overlook the quality of the content and the quality of performance of our concert programmes!

The second topic builds directly on the lead which Nicolas has given in suggesting that we need to work harder yet at reaching out to potential new audiences and encouraging folk who might otherwise not have done so to come along to BPO concerts.

There is much more to the work we’ve done on the Mission Statement than mere tinkering with words. A sharper sense of purpose will help guide the Board better, providing a constant reminder of what we need to be working on. It will also make it easier to attract sponsorship and other sources of funding because we’ll be able to explain more succinctly and clearly who and what the BPO is.

It’s especially in regard to those who are newcomers to orchestral music that our new Mission Statement may assist us. It is outward-looking and bold in suggesting that we should understand what the BPO does, not simply as organising an annual concert season, but acting as a force for good for everyone in the community.

Great music lifts people’s spirits, gladdens their hearts and lights up their lives. So let’s throw the doors open and, as well as we can, make the joy and inspiration of great orchestral music available to all!” 

Friends of the Phil are invited to comment on the new Mission Statement by emailing or writing to Catherine Stead, General Administrator at: or 41 George Street, Brighton, BN2 1RJ.

Directors/Trustees of BHPS

Daniel Bhattacharya

Elected to the Board 2013

Previously a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Daniel has been playing with the BPO for 20 years and is currently Principal Second Violin, whilst also enjoying a career performing and teaching throughout the world.

Daniel studied as a scholar at the Purcell School of Music, Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music (Canada). As a soloist and chamber musician, Daniel has performed at the Wigmore Hall (London), Carnegie Hall (New York), Sheldonian Theatre (Oxford) and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London).

Formerly Head of Strings at Stowe School he is now violin tutor at Lancing College and Peter Symonds College, Winchester. Daniel works with many Youth Orchestras nationally and internationally and regularly coaches at the Royal College of Music.

Daniel lives in Brighton and is co-founder and artistic director of the Alfriston Summer Music Festival.

Nicolas Chisholm, MBE (Chairman)

Elected to the Board 2010

Elected as Chairman November 2014

Until his retirement in 2010, Nicolas Chisholm was Headmaster for 22 years of the Yehudi Menuhin School, a Specialist Music School which educates 70 gifted young musicians from all over the world. It was his experience as a professional musician as Tenor Lay Clerk in Chichester Cathedral Choir and as an academic that took him to the Yehudi Menuhin School.  Before then he was Head of Classics and a housemaster at Hurstpierpoint College.

Nicolas Chisholm began his musical training while at Christ’s Hospital School from where he won a choral scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge. He studied with Wilfred Brown, Sir Peter Pears, Ryland Davies and Jane Manning. He attended the Britten-Pears School in Snape in 1980 and 1981, specialising in Oratorio and English Song.

Nicolas Chisholm continued to maintain a professional singing career whilst running the Yehudi Menuhin School. He has sung with many of the choral societies in the South of England, and recently given a number of solo recitals. He was a founder member of New Sussex Opera singing several roles, and before that was with Opera 70 singing the eponymous hero in Britten’s Albert Herring and Captain McHeath in the Beggar’s Opera. He also directed Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

In addition to being Chairman the Brighton Philharmonic Society he is a council member of Brighton Early Music Festival. As a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, he has been involved in taking the young professional musicians who are Yeomen Prize winners of the Company into primary schools for interactive music workshops in London.

He is a governor of St Paul’s Girls’ School and chairman of the Education Committee. Last year he was President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and until recently he was a Governor of the Royal Ballet School and Chairman of the National Association of Music and Dance Schools.  He ran the Stoke d’Abernon Festival in 1996 and 2006, and in that same year completed a Concert Hall at the Yehudi Menuhin School in memory of its founder, Yehudi Menuhin.

He was awarded the MBE in 2011 for services to Music Education.

Apart from his passion for music, he is interested in print-making, archaeology, photography and classic cars.

Ken Childerhouse

Elected to the Board 2015

Ken is a retired University academic (relating education policy and development to business administration) who currently chairs the Brighton & Hove Council’s Independent Remuneration Panel.

Ken has had a keen interest in music since he was a choirboy and member of the school choir, which was fuelled by teenage visits to the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Rosebery Avenue. Living in Maiden Lane meant being able to enjoy opera on a regular basis at the ENO and he became a Friend of Covent Garden. Other hobbies included playing club cricket for many years and travelling round Europe exploring its history and local cuisines.

In retirement, Ken has continued his European travels with his wife Asta, enjoying visits to a variety of Opera Houses and Concert Halls including Drottningholm, Vienna and Berlin. They have also enjoyed bringing their garden into mature fruition. Since living in Brighton they have become regular Brighton Philharmonic concert-goers as well as making the most of their proximity to Glyndebourne.

Andrea Cifelli

Elected to the Board 2017

Andrea was born and raised in Scotland and has a degree in Biomedical Science, initially pursuing a career in academic research that brought her to London. A move into the pharmaceutical industry eventually led her to Sussex and to her current career as a freelance consultant in medical communications.

Despite the scientific leanings to her education and career, Andrea has had a lifelong passion for all kinds of music and – having taken up brass and reed playing in adulthood – is a player and committee member in a number of local brass and wind bands. She and her Brighton-born husband have supported the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra since moving to Brighton in 2002, and she remembers fondly her first concert – a wonderful performance with London Brass joining the orchestra for the opening movement of Janacek’s Sinfonietta.

Andrea is delighted at the prospect of being able to give something back to the organization that has given her so much pleasure over the years!

Neil Huzinga

Elected to the Board 2018

Studying and performing music has been a part of Neil’s life since the age of five. Never a professional musician, Neil has sung and played with world-renowned artists such as Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Sir Michael Tippett as part of amateur and semi-professional orchestras and choirs.

Professionally, Neil began his career in the City of London, working as an underwriter for a large American insurance company. However, since 2000 he has started and grown a series of small businesses in the financial services sector.

Most recently he left the business he co-founded in 2003, after selling it successfully to private equity investors in 2014, and now spends his time working with owners of other small businesses to help them get the most out of what they already have, as well as to create and take advantage of opportunities to help shape their future.

Blending both music and business in his own life, Neil is keen to see talent in or experience of music consistently recognised as not just a hobby, passion or vocation, but as a life-skill that brings huge benefit to even the most scientific or technical of professions.

Norman Jacobs

Elected to the Board 2017

Norman is the founding Artistic Director of MOOT (music of our time), a registered charity organisation promoting music arts education in Brighton & Hove.

MOOT has created over 100 events in several series: ‘The Musicians Body’, ‘Music is for Everyone (Music & Disability)’, ‘Sounds of War – Instruments of Peace’, ‘Music for Curious Minds’, ’Crossing Boundaries: Music at the Edge’ and ‘Listen America!’ ‘Music for Two Pianos’ was a key local Parliament Week event in 2017 featuring 21 pianists including local MP Caroline Lucas. Last year, a MOOT event was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 for the programme ‘Hear & Now’.

Norman, a pianist and occasional percussionist, is keen to attract local amateur musicians from age 6 to 60+ to engage actively in playing, singing, listening, composing and learning about music.

Norman is a member of the Strings Attached committee. He recently stepped down as a lunchtime concerts curator after two years of running weekly concerts at St Nicholas’ Church, Brighton.

Sue McHugh (Honorary Treasurer)

Elected to the Board 2010

Elected as Honorary Treasurer December 2011

Sue is a Chartered Accountant who is currently employed as Chief Operating Officer at the University of Brighton where her responsibilities also include estates, information services, student accommodation, philanthropy and health and safety.  She started her career in the private sector working for several large firms of accountants in audit and management consultancy before moving into the health service and then local government.

Chris Thomson

Elected to the Board 2012

Chris Thomson recently retired as Principal of Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) a post he had held since 1998. Prior to this he spent four years teaching in Italy and subsequently at sixth form colleges in the UK.

Attendant at Board meetings

Ian Brignall (Artistic Administrator)

Ian became BPO’s Concert Manager in October 2009 after a career as a professional Violinist, working with the Philharmonia and other London Orchestras performing great music with great musicians in venues all over the world. This was followed by a second career as an Orchestra Manager, firstly with the Orchestra of English National Opera and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and short spells as Personnel Manager at the Philharmonia and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. His job title was changed to Artistic Administrator in 2018 to more accurately reflect the work he does engaging guest artists to perform with the Brighton Phil.  In addition to his role at the BPO Ian works as a concerts and tours manager working with the English Chamber Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and as a tours manager for IMG artists.

Simon Keane (representing the John Carewe Brighton Orchestra Trust)

Simon attends Board meetings as a non-voting member representing the John Carewe Brighton Orchestra Trust of which he is a Trustee.  Simon, who is a retired accountant, has previously served as a full member of the Board from 1992-2001, was the BPO’s Stage Manager for 25 years and was a founding member of the Young Phil in the 1950s.  He was also a Trustee of the Brighton Youth Orchestra Trust from 1993-1998.

Catherine Stead (General Administrator/Company Secretary)

Elected as Company Secretary November 2014

Catherine joined BHPS in June 2014 as part-time General Administrator, having previously managed the Conferences & Events department of the University of Sussex for nearly 20 years. A keen singer, she performs with the Brighton Orpheus Choir and Women of Note, a ladies choir. She was elected as Company Secretary at the Society’s AGM in November 2014.

Officers of BHPS

Conductor Laureate:
Barry Wordsworth, D.LITT

John Lill, CBE

John Carewe, David House, Jackie Lythell, OBE, Karen Platt, Ronald Power, MBE

Nicolas Chisholm, MBE

Hon. Treasurer:
Sue McHugh

Artistic Administrator:
Ian Brignall

General Administrator/Company Secretary:
Catherine Stead

Accounts & Renewals Administrator:
Glynis Leaney

Charles Strickland

Mark Attwell

David Gerrard, ARPS

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