Claire Hawkes (Musical Director)

Claire’s musical career began at the age of ten when she won a Buckinghamshire County Music Scholarship. She was awarded a Foundation Scholarship to study clarinet and piano at The Royal College of Music in 1997 where she won the RCM Clarinet Prize and Thurston Competition and gained her Diploma in solo piano. After leaving the RCM, Claire embarked on a busy freelance career as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician for ten years, which took her playing and coaching all across England, Europe and Africa and included various performances on TV and Radio. During this time she also held posts as Junior Fellow at RCM and chamber music coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Following two years studying for a Masters Degree in historical performance in France, and a year working at Kampala Music School, Uganda, Claire set down roots in the South West and was Director of Music at Leweston School, Sherborne, for seven years. No stranger to directing choirs, she led the chapel choir on a tour to South Africa and injected the Choral Society with inspiring and challenging works such as ‘Zimbe’, Ellington’s ‘Scared Concert’ and Mozart’s Requiem. Claire is also a Trustee of Friends of Kampala Music School.  Becoming Director of Music at St Joseph’s School, Launceston in 2017 gave the opportunity to run four very different award-winning choirs, and coach for Royal Schools of Church Music singing awards.  Claire was Musical Director of The People’s Choir, Yeovil for five years and enjoyed exploring an eclectic range of choral music with them. 

Claire is currently studying for the British Kodaly Academy Certification and revisiting her early career roots as a freelance musician and choir director in Oxfordshire. Claire loves to bring people together through singing and assist them in discovering their talents through choral and solo performance.  She is delighted to be taking the Avon Singers forward into the future beginning with this inspirational and beautiful programme. Claire is Mummy to two small children who keep her busy with baby and toddler tunes!