Naomi Butcher currently holds the Junior Conducting Fellowship at the Guildhall School, where she studied for her degree in Music, focussed on the Classical Saxophone. Born in Lewisham, Naomi studied in Orpington, followed by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and now lives in East London.
Passionate about education and outreach, Naomi is a qualified teacher who plays saxophone and piano. She is the founder and artistic director of Snaps Ensemble, an orchestra which performs classical music in unconventional settings. The Ensemble has most recently performed a series of school-hall concerts, playing bespoke interactive orchestral music to young audiences who might not otherwise experience live music.
She says ‘My work in outreach and education is increasingly important to me – mainly from the perspective of being the person who sees kids interact with music for the first time. I love the freedom of working with children – they don’t have any preconceptions about how music should be presented or how they should listen to it. My favourite part is the moment in each concert that we ask the kids to judge a fart battle between the Bassoon and the Trombone! The players and I definitely enjoyed it at least as much as the audiences.’
Naomi’s work to date has included an exciting and challenging new chamber opera, Sane and Sound, based on the records kept by the composer, Matt Geer, when hospitalised with psychosis. She conducted performances at the Grimeborn Festival and at the Barbican, and was assistant conductor/chorusmaster for the world première of this work in 2019. She went on to conduct the UK première of Paris, à Nous Deux in July, a chamber opera by twentieth century composer Jean Françaix, written for four singers and saxophone quartet.
This year she is looking forward to conducting Walton’s entertainment Façade at the Guildhall in the spring. She was thrilled to return to large-scale orchestral performance in 2021, joining conductor Takuo Yuasa in the Barbican Hall in Mahler’s Second Symphony, conducting the spine-tingling offstage band.
Following her appointment to the position of Music Director with Tonbridge Philharmonic Society, Naomi said, ‘I am thrilled to be joining Tonbridge Philharmonic Society as their new Music Director, and can’t wait to get started! The prospect of working intensively with a society that produces such high quality performances while displaying genuine enthusiasm for the music is incredibly exciting. It is a privilege to have been appointed, especially as the Society’s first female conductor.’