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Simon Toyne

Executive Director, David Ross Educational Trust

Monday 4 July, 1215 

TRACK: Arts & Culture

"Discovering the purpose of music education"


Born in Exeter, Simon Toyne received his musical training as a chorister in Exeter Cathedral Choir, a music scholar at Eton College, and as Organ Scholar of University College, Oxford.


For 24 years, he was Director of Tiffin Boys’ Choir, preparing them for projects with the major conductors in the world, including Pappano, Rattle, Gergiev, Maazel, Elder, Masur and Salonen, leading the choir on over twenty foreign tours, including to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Russia, and conducting the choir in concert with the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Sinfonia Britannica and Philharmonia Orchestra.


As Director of Music at All Saints’ Church, Kingston, a post he held consecutively with that of Assistant Head & Director of Music at Tiffin School, the choir broadcast on BBC1, Radio 4 and World Service Radio, and over 20 choristers gained choral scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge. Since 2015, he has been Executive Director of Music of the David Ross Education Trust, where he is responsible for the development of a music programme for over 13,000 children across 34 state primary and secondary schools in the East Midlands.


His work at DRET has included the award-winning Singing Schools programme for primary schools, developing a Trust-wide primary and secondary music curriculum, fostering a network of partner organisations, including Gabrieli Roar, Nevill Holt Opera, Sing Up, the Royal Opera House and the Voices Foundation, creating a team of professional musicians in residence, establishing a talent development programme.


He was a member of the Government’s Expert Panel for developing a model music curriculum, and was the most recent President of the Music Teachers Association (2019-21). His chapter on curriculum music in the recent book What Should Schools Teach? was published in January 2021 and is available as an open access pdf from UCL Press.


He is currently serving on the Expert Panel to oversee the new National Plan for Music Education. He is a Director of the Rodolfus Foundation Choral Courses and conducted their most recent broadcast of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3.

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