About Us

Kew Music Academy has been established in 2012 by two local professional musicians with a 
passion for ensemble playing and diversity.

Spencer Down

Spencer Down

Spencer is Musical Director and founder of the Docklands Sinfonia, an exciting symphony orchestra which has become a major cultural force in London’s Docklands. He has conducted performances by Docklands Sinfonia for BBC1 and BBC Radio 3 and has commissioned and performed dozens of works by leading British composers.

Spencer has been orchestral director for high profile events including concerts for the Queen in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace and the world premiere of Grammy award-winning singer Imogen Heap’s ‘Love the Earth’ at the Royal Albert Hall.

In June 2012, Spencer was honoured to conduct the Mayor's Jubilee Band - made up of young musicians from London's top four music conservatoires  - on one of the music barges taking part in the spectacular Queen's Jubilee Pageant on the river Thames.

He is Associate Conductor of the Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, where he also heads up the brass department, conducts the brass band and is professor of euphonium.

Passionate about educational work, Spencer is a mentor for Music for Youth and has conducted members of both the London Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra in educational projects. He is also proud of his association with the Hackney Borough Youth Orchestra.

Spencer has taught conducting at the Royal Academy of Music summer school and has designed the Trinity Guildhall euphonium diploma syllabus.

He has appeared on Channel 5’s ‘Milkshake’ coaching presenter Naomi Wilkinson to conduct and was a first round judge on BBC2’s ‘Classical Star’.

Spencer is founder and musical director of the Kew Music Festival and is artistic director of the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensemble's (BASBWE) London festival.

Under his leadership, he established the Kew Wind Orchestra as one of Britain’s leading wind ensembles winning multiple national and international awards.

Spencer gained an honours degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied euphonium and trombone and specialised in conducting. 


James Hayes

James Hayes

Jazz pianist, composer and arranger James Hayes has been teaching piano and Woodwinds for more than 10 years.

An engineer by trade, James has studied Jazz piano in Paris with Jeff Gardner for two
years. In 2001, he decided to leave his City job and become a full-time musician, enrolling on Mark Bassey's composition course at the City Lit and the Jamey Aebersold summer school with pianist
Phil de Greg and sax player Frank Griffith.

Since James has been playing in many venues with some of the most talented Jazz musicians in the UK, sharing the stage with Steve Waterman, Nigel Hitchcock, Art Themen and many more.

When not leading his own Quintet at venues and Festivals, James is playing piano for the 144 club and London based Big Bands.

James is also an active workshop leader. For the past 5 years, he has been running JazzCats -  a Jazz workshop at Queens Primary as well as a keyboard club and the Pop & Jazz choir at Kew College.