Music Staff

Music Staff


Mr Adam Assen- Director of Music

Mrs Helena Richards- Assistant Director of Music, Head of Dance, Composer in Residence

Mr Tristan Hall- Head of Academic Music

Dr Christopher Brammeld- Head of Instrumental Music

Mrs Sara Clark- Music Department Administrator


Visiting Music Teachers (VMTs)

Over 25 Visiting Music Teachers visit Caterham School throughout the week providing first-class tuition on all orchestral instruments, voice, guitar and drums. 

For more information about lessons visit the Music Lessons page…



Adam Assen BMus (Hons) Director of Music
Adam enjoyed a diverse musical upbringing learning the piano from a young age whilst being a regular performer of Mauritian folk music on percussion and drums. He went on to study music at University of Surrey and later undertook postgraduate studies in Choral Education at the University of Roehampton. He is an experienced conductor and has toured most of Europe with choirs performing in some of the most prestigious venues. He has also worked extensively with the Prague conservatoire orchestra. Adam has run a variety of choirs including a local choral society ‘Downland Chorale’, Barisons Chamber Choir and his own choir, The Accendo Singers. The latter recorded a single for Absolute Radio which was released to raise money for Help The Heroes. As a composer, Adam has written a wealth of material for schools including commissioned musicals such as ‘Perseus and Medusa’. University of Hertfordshire has commended his compositions specifically written for children with autism. Adam returns to Caterham School after spending a year as Director of Music at Ewell Castle School.

Helena Richards BMus (Hons) – Assistant Director of Music, Composer in Residence, Dance
Helena began playing the piano and ‘cello at the age of five, followed closely by the harp a couple of years later. She joined the Junior Academy of Music in 1992, where she quickly developed a keen interest in composition. As a music scholar at Guildford High School from 1993-’98, she was a member of The National Children’s Orchestra as well as the National Children’s Chamber Orchestra. She gained a place at the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music in 1998 where she frequently performed with ensembles and orchestras, as well as having many of her compositions played at school, and for the general public. Winner of the Composers’ Prize in her final year, she went on to study composition at The Royal College of Music with William Mival, graduating in 2004 with a BMus honours degree. Having completed her PGCE, she began her first teaching post at Caterham as Assistant Director of Music.

Tristan Hall BMus (Hons.), PgDip (Prof. Perf.), DipABRSM (Piano) – Head of Academic Music
Tristan Hall began to play the piano at the age of four.  Throughout his time as a music scholar at Wrekin College he developed both his musicianship and love of music, not just through the piano, but through playing the violin, organ, composing and conducting.  Tristan studied at Birmingham Conservatoire where he received his Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree.  Following this he studied at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music, and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Performance (piano) at Birmingham Conservatoire.  Tristan was the first prize recipient in the Dr Maclure Music Competition (2005); he has also been a finalist in the David Brooke’s Piano Prize (2007) and the Beryl Chempin Beethoven Prize (2008).  In October 2012 Tristan released his debut album ‘Nil Desperandum’ which has sold internationally, and is commercially available.  Following on from this success, he also released a single, “Unitas”, in 2014.  Further to his performing, Tristan is an avid composer and arranger.  He specialises in solo piano compositions, both original material and virtuosic transcriptions.  Although Tristan’s repertoire is hugely varied, his specialism is that of solo pianistic works by composers of the late romantic era, such as Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninov.  Tristan is currently the Head of Academic Music at began teaching at Caterham School in 2013 following studying for his PGCE at the University of Bristol.

Chris Brammeld BA (Hons), MMus, PhD, FTCL, PGCE – Head of Instrumental Music

Chris’s compositions include chamber, vocal and choral works, as well as two ballets, orchestral compositions and arrangements, wind band music and music for children and amateur performers. His music has been performed in the UK, Europe, Asia and North America, at Presteigne Festival, Penkhull Festival, Cambridge University, Kettle’s Yard, the Hertfordshire Chamber Music Series, the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham and St John’s, Smith Square. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by artists and ensembles as diverse as VOCES8, the Tippett Quartet, pianist Simon Callaghan, saxophonist Amy Dickson, baritone Julien Van Mellaerts, and the National Youth Chamber Choir. Chris read Music at the University of Nottingham, before taking an MMus in composition and music education at Sheffield, and a PhD at Cambridge, where his composition portfolio was entitled Constructing Landscapes: Towards a Hybrid Tonality. His composition teachers have included Nicholas Sackman, George Nicholson, Peter Fribbins and Richard Causton. His music is published by Forton Music (forthcoming, 2022).

Chris joined Caterham School in 2022 as Head of Instrumental Music. He has previously taught music at Bedford School and the Royal Masonic School for Girls. He has also worked extensively as a Visiting Music Teacher, most recently teaching piano at Gayhurst School and Edge Grove School. A first study clarinettist, Chris also plays saxophone, piano and guitars. He has conducted many choirs and orchestras and has a particular interest in chamber music.

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