Project Team

Each project is run by a talented team of professional musicians. When not working on Making Tracks they play in bands of their own and tour the globe.

Nick HayesNick Hayes, Project Leader
It’s a great pleasure to say that I have been working for the Irene Taylor Trust since the beginning. It’s an amazing experience to be able to work intensively and collectively for short periods of time to create sets of amazing songs. The work is invigorating, inspiring and challenging both personally and creatively. I have had some profound experiences in this work, such as helping fledgling musicians move forward an inch, where for them it would seem to be miles, having arrived there through sheer graft and determination.

For the past few years I have been living in Brussels working for ReMuA (Réseau de Musiciens-intervenant en Ateliers), the bulk of the work consisting of co-directing, and making musical arrangements for, projects that bring together young, new musicians from disadvantaged backgrounds together with professional musicians such as the National Orchestra of Belgium.

Rex Horan, Project LeaderRex Horan, Project Leader
I am yet to meet someone for whom music means nothing – who doesn’t have a favourite song, band or style of music. Because of this commonality, it is an ideal starting point and conduit for work which has the potential to be truly transformative.

Over the past eleven years I have conducted more than 150 projects for the Irene Taylor Trust. I have been affected in the most profound ways by every single one of them. They have been at once wondrous, baffling, hilarious and touching. I have been privileged to witness the very best from the people I have toiled, created and performed with; people who are commonly coming to the projects bereft of hope and self-belief.  I consider myself extremely lucky to play a part in this process month after month. I’m always learning and growing as a musician and, I hope, as a person through this work.

I also play bass in the Neil Cowley Trio, and have recorded with artists such as Laura Marling, The Staves, Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.

Charles Stuart in actionCharles Stuart, Project Leader
A singer-songwriter and musician, who enjoys working with both analog and newer digital technologies. As a freelance music tutor I have also been involved with Epic Arts and Lewisham College.  More recently I have been performing in ‘The Fish Police’ a band made up of both disabled and non-disabled musicians from the Heart n Soul creative arts company, in addition to playing in Grace Jones’ band.

There are so many inspiring people and things that can happen in an ITT project across a very short 4-and-a-half-day week. Some inspirations are huge and some are very small but I am constantly inspired by meeting people who at the beginning of a project week may only have a non-musician’s appreciation of music. These people very openly trust us, the project team, to gently guide them through the madness that is creating pop music whilst learning how to play an instrument in what amounts to only a few hours! We ask a lot of the participants and they pretty much always deliver.

Emma Williams, Project Leader
I love the diverse range of people that we get to work with on projects. Walking into a room and meeting a group for the first time knowing that we are about to create, record and perform new music that is a true mix of everyone’s personalities and tastes is such an exciting feeling. It comes with its own challenges but this is all part of the process; it can be an emotional roller coaster!

I have had the absolute pleasure of working for the Irene Taylor Trust for over 5 years now and alongside these projects I teach the Electronic Music elective to undergraduate students at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama as well as running workshops for various organisations.  I love to sing and write songs and am fortunate enough to have an active performing career as a keyboard player and backing vocalist.  I’ve worked with a number of groups and artists, most recently with electro-pop singer Kyla La Grange.  I am also a member of Urban Voices Collective, a fashion-led London based choir who have worked with artists such as Paloma Faith, Gary Barlow and Labrinth.

Rob with trumpetRob Willson, Project Leader
I’ve been fortunate enough to work on music projects with people from a diverse cross section of the community in a variety of settings. Past projects have included those in SEN schools, pupil referral units, centres for homeless people, care homes and children’s hospices. In every case, I have witnessed first-hand music’s ability to connect people, to break down barriers, and to bring renewed focus, energy and confidence to people whose lives are in need of a boost. The projects that the Irene Taylor Trust has pioneered are unique in their ambition and quality, and I feel very privileged to be involved in such an inspiring organisation.

I trained as a classical trumpet player. As a freelance musician I work with a number of orchestras and chamber ensembles, and am a founding member of Meridian Brass. In the world of pop and rock, I work regularly with my function band, Brando, and have recently been performing and touring with Public Service Broadcasting and the Old Dirty Brasstards.

Here’s what participants had to say about them:

 “They were very encouraging and inspiring”

“They were all really lovely and they understood my type of music and flow and really helped me with the performance.”

“They were all very encouraging and helped everyone gain confidence”

“Nice people and you can learn a lot from them.”

“They were really good! They took time to explain what we had trouble with and were really encouraging.”

“I thought they were great as they were open, friendly and seemed to really enjoy making music. This made me enjoy the week more and I liked that they were accepting towards everyone.”

“Wonderful people that I will like to work again with them. Very humble and patient people and they were open with us and that helped us to give our best.”

“All the teachers were lovely, helpful, understanding and non-judgmental! They were wonderful!!”