Bader International Study Centre


at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.



at Herstmonceux Castle, U.K.

site header

Musicians in Residence

A photo of Dr. Shelley Katz and Diana Gilchrist

Who are they?

Dr. Shelley Katz and Diana Gilchrist are Canadian musicians who have been based in Europe for over twenty-five years. They have a regular weekly presence at the BISC and lead the choirs, give concerts, lecture-recitals, workshops and/or master-classes.

Shelley, who conducts the choirs and leads the concert series, is a pianist and conductor with Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Julliard in New York. He is also a music technologist, with a PhD from the University of Surrey, and an inventor who holds several patents. Shelley is the principal conductor of the Symphonova™, and his performance career takes him around the world. He is a past Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Diana, who teaches Opera (MUTH 232) and Classical Music (MUSC 102), is an opera singer who founded Ottawa's Opera Lyra and was its Artistic Director until moving to Europe to pursue her singing career. Her performances take her to many capitals of the world. She currently combines performing with her work at the BISC and PhD studies at the University of Edinburgh. 

What do they do at the B.I.S.C.?

Musical activities at the BISC are tailored each term according to the specific skills, talents and interests of each new intake of students. Students who enjoy music are encouraged to make themselves and their interests known to Diana as early as possible each term. Diana and Shelley will be introduced to students at Orientation which is a good opportunity to discuss music and musical activities before the term begins.

Choir is always offered and most terms there is also a Chamber Choir and other musical ensembles.

Diana and/or Shelley also provide one major professional event such as a concert, lecture recital, workshop or master-class in each term. They are sometimes joined by other classical musicians which gives students an opportunity to experience performances or pedagogical experiences with world-class professionals.

Each term Diana directs a Student Showcase as part of the End of Term Celebrations. Auditions for this Showcase take place before the mid-term trip and then rehearsals and coaching sessions are arranged during the second half of the term in preparation for the Showcase performance.

Dates for some musical activities or events (such as the End of Term Showcase) are scheduled prior to the start of each term and can be found on the BISC website and from Student Services.

Activities and events that have been offered in previous years include:

  • choir, chamber choir and other vocal ensembles
  • trips to Cambridge or Oxford for joint performances with other choirs
  • student performances at the castle and in other UK venues
  • opportunities to make music with members of the local community
  • opportunities to be involved with and/or perform with cutting edge music technology
  • orchestral and instrumental ensembles (the BISC does not have any orchestral instruments so students wanting to play in ensembles are asked to bring their own instruments or to rent instruments locally while they are here)
  • master-classes for students who already play an instrument or sing
  • music theatre and drama workshops
  • music technology and electronic music workshops
  • lecture-recitals
  • trips to opera, ballet and other classical performances in London, Glyndebourne and at local venues
  • preparatory lectures for opera and ballet trips
  • opera viewing evenings
  • a concert series featuring international professional musicians

Students may request private singing lessons with Diana and she can help arrange instrumental lessons or singing lessons with other teachers in London or locally. Advanced piano students may request piano lessons with Shelley. The hourly charge for private lessons is linked to the Queen’s School of Music rates. Please contact Diana for further details. (

Lift Thine Eyes sung by Kathleen Chayer, Lucie Zhang, and Megan Siddall

Facilities on-site

Bader Hall Music Room: this room has a Baby Grand Piano and music stands. It serves as a practice space for individuals or small groups of singers or instrumentalists. Permission to sign up for key privileges to this space must be given by Diana. A list of students with permission to use the Music Room is held at Bader Reception and Student ID must be given in exchange for the key. Rules of use apply. 

The Dovcote in the Castle: this is a turret on the top floor of the castle in the same corridor as Diana & Shelley’s office (204). Permission to sign up for key privileges to this space must be given by Diana. A list of students with permission to use the Dovcote is held at Castle Reception along with keys which can be signed out. Rules of use apply. 

Contact Us

Diana and Shelley can be contacted at: 

or found in: Room 204 (ext. 4487)

or making music in any of the above spaces! 

BISC Instruments

Grand piano in the Elizabethan Room: This instrument may be played by any student, faculty or staff member when the Elizabethan Room is not otherwise in use. The piano, which is also used for functions, is kept regularly A photo of students with Dr. Shelley Katz on the pianotuned and users are respectfully asked not to mistreat it!

Baby Grand Piano in the Bader Hall Music Room: This instrument is on loan to the BISC so piano students who wish to practice in privacy may ask Diana for permission to use it. A list of those allowed to use the piano will be kept at Bader Hall Reception where the key may be signed out in exchange for student ID. 

Digital Keyboard: Student Services has a portable digital keyboard which can be used for Open Mic nights in the pub and other events. Students wishing to have access to the keyboard should contact Student Services.

Guitars: Student Services has various guitars that are available on loan from Bader Hall reception. Anyone interested in borrowing one should contact Student Services.

Yamaha Digital Grand: This instrument belongs to Shelley and Diana and is currently housed in the Film & Video room. It is used primarily for teaching purposes but can on occasion be accessed by students. Please let Diana know if you are interested.

Broadwood Concert Grand: This instrument belongs to Shelley and Diana and is housed in the Faculty Lounge of David Smith Hall. It may only be accessed by faculty and enquiries should be directed to Shelley or Diana.

Steinway Concert Grand: The Steinway Concert Grand which is housed in the Ballroom is a splendid instrument. It is reserved for concert and professional use and students will be able to hear professional performances on it during the year. While the Steinway is not for student use there may be certain special musical occasions when, with Shelley's permission, and under his guidance, advanced piano students may be able to perform on this wonderful instrument. Any questions about the Steinway may be addressed to Shelley or Diana.

Instrument rental or purchase

There are music stores in Eastbourne, Brighton and London which will rent instruments, usually on a termly basis. When purchasing from Bonner's Music in Eastbourne, it may be possible to have a sell-back arrangement with the store.  Contact Diana for more information.  It should be mentioned that occasionally, it may also be possible to borrow instruments from local individuals or schools, but this is never a certainty.

Music lending.  Shelley and Diana keep some piano, instrumental and vocal music in their office and are happy to lend it out. Please contact them if you’re interested in seeing or borrowing it.  Otherwise, pretty much all repertoire can be accessed online.

A photo of a decorative wood carving from inside the BISC depicting some musical instruments


Rehearsals are held on Mondays at 7 pm in the Ballroom each week during term time.  All interested students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the first rehearsal.  The choir is open to anyone and you don’t need to read music. Smaller advanced vocal ensembles and an auditioned Chamber Choir are also offered.

Chamber choir

Auditions for the Chamber Choir will be held early in each term.  Prospective participants are invited to bring a song to sing for the auditions and be prepared to do some sight-singing.  Chamber Choir is a small choral ensemble which s

pecialises in more advanced music than the full Choir. Participation in Chamber Choir requires a regular commitment to two rehearsals each week.


At the beginning of each term, students who have brought instruments with them are invited to contact Diana or Shelley, who are happy to establish and work with small groups depending on student interest.


Rehearsal schedules will be e-mailed at the beginning of each term and posted outside the Dining Hall. Choir and other music ensembles normally rehearse on Monday evenings and during the lunch break several times a week.

Musician in Residence (MIR) Rep

Serving as the MIR Rep on Student Council allows a student who is interested in arts administration to gain useful practical experience by helping to plan, organize and manage a number of musical activities each year. Weekly mentoring meetings are held with Diana. The MIR Rep should also be a member of the choir, where he/she will be responsible for choir music and folders, and for communicating rehearsal/concert information, and for helping to organize extra rehearsals and concert preparations for on and off-site performances.

Backstage and front-of-house

Anyone who is interested in helping out with the Ballroom concerts each term is very welcome to volunteer to help with stage management, lighting, hosting, etc.


Diana and Shelley are on site every Monday and one or other of them is also on site most other days of the week. They can normally be found either in Faculty Office 204, the ballroom, or the Film & Video room.  They welcome questions via e-mail.

A photo of some students with Diana Gilchrist