Our Team

Our small, friendly team is dedicated and passionate about NCMA. 

James Donaldson, Director, Nelson Centre Musical ArtsJames Donaldson
Director NCMA

James brings to the position a broad range of professional skills including in the fields of management, music education and music performance.

Prior to his role at NCMA, he was Head of Department of Music at Auckland Grammar School, one of the most prestigious secondary schools in the country. Since graduating with a teaching diploma in 2003 has undertaken a wide array of professional learning opportunities across many genres from choral conducting to music technology.

James graduated with a Bachelor of Music (with honours) from the University of Canterbury in 1998 and went on to gain a Master of Music with Distinction in Dissertation from the University of Manchester in 2006.

He worked as a professional cellist for eight years when he performed with orchestras, chamber music and jazz ensembles and contemporary music groups.

James has studied cello under Peter Dixon, Principal Cello BBC Philharmonic Orchestra (UK), Galina Zelinskaia (Ukraine /NZ) and Prof. Dr. Alexander Ivashkin and Natalia Pavlutskaya (Russia/NZ/UK).

James brings proven leadership as well as a great passion for a wide range of music to the position here at NCMA.

Tanya Nock, Education Coordinator, Nelson Centre Musical ArtsTanya Nock
Education Manager

Tanya studied violin at Dartington College of Arts under Oliver Butterworth who was Senior Lecturer at Dartington College of Arts and later Professor of Violin at Trinity College of Music from 1989 until 2008. He was also Artistic Director of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra from 1990 until 2001. Tanya gained a BA Hons (II 1) in composition and world music and went on to Exeter University to complete a Post Grad in education.

Tanya is a vibrant member of the Nelson Arts Community - Founder of Samba de Sol and Nelson Voice Collective, School Music Advisor, Central School Children’s Choir Director, Arts Festival Carnival Organiser, Fabtive Children’s Holiday Programme Manager and of course, recipient of the Nelsonian of the Year Arts Award in 2016.

Tanya plays several instruments including violin and percussion in Klezoum (fusion group), and teaches free beginner violin classes at NCMA. She has recently taken on a Project Manager's role at Cultural Conversations 222 Hardy St which is a Make Shift Space where former refugees and migrants lead the way with creative workshops and performances. Tanya featured on TV1's "Neighbourhood"series (NZ on air) in 2017 which features people who bring colour and diversity to communities.

Tanya is our designated "go-to" person for our accredited teachers and focuses on their needs and all things educational at NCMA.

, staff, Nelson Centre for Musical Arts NCMAClare Monti
Operations Manager

Clare has been involved with NCMA / Nelson School of Music most of her life, playing piano from the age of 6, later violin & percussion. She performs regularly with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra as well as accompanying students of musical theatre. Clare has also worked for the Adam Chamber Music Festival since 2008 and is Chamber Music New Zealand Concert Manager for Nelson.

Clare has a BA and a LTCL in piano.

Clare is responsible for the day to day operations of NCMA.

Kim McCormack
Venues Manager

Kim is the NCMA Venues Manager.

Kim has been with NCMA in various roles since the reopening in 2018 (as part of the Admin Team, the Education Team, Board Secretary, Bar Manager, and Venues Manager).

Kim is also a registered teacher and has worked in primary schools for the past 25 years, some of this time as a music teacher (running music programmes, directing school musicals, choirs, ukulele and recorder groups). She also plays a few instruments (piano, recorder, ukulele, guitar) with the typical basic primary teacher knowledge, and in her college years, held lead roles in musical theatre productions.

If you have any questions about venue hire or running events at NCMA, please get in touch with Kim at: venues@ncma.nz

Olivia Starrenburg
Office Administrator

Olivia grew up in Nelson and has been involved in music since she was young.

After leaving Waimea College Olivia studied opera singing at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, gaining both a Bachelor of Music and a Postgraduate diploma. She is a lyric soprano and her favourite language to sing in is Russian.

After living and working in Scotland for 2 years she has returned to Nelson to be closer to family and because it is such a beautiful place to live.

Joel Bolton, piano teacher, flute teacher, NelsonJoel Bolton
Orchestral Pathways Manager

Joel has been associated with the NCMA since 1986, as a respected piano and flute teacher and orchestral conductor. He began his flute studies at 12 and piano studies at 14. After 4 years he passed grade 8 piano with distinction after which he went on to pass ATCL and LTCL. He also completed a degree in flute performance at Auckland University and played 1st flute in the Auckland Youth Orchestra.

In the early 90s, he established the Greenhill Community Orchestra which he continues to conduct. As Director of the Orchestral Pathway Programme, he also conducts the NCMA Senior Youth Orchestra and the NCMA Junior Youth Orchestra, as well as leading the Victory School Music Programme. He regularly arranges festivals with other regional orchestras and is an enthusiastic promoter of youth talent.

Joel received the Queen’s Service Order (QSO) for services to music in 2017.

JR Richardson
Venue Technical Manager

JR Richardson is a professional freelance audio engineer and production technician based here in Nelson.

He provides a range of audio engineering, technical management, and production services to performing artists, events, venues and festivals.

JR is the present Venue Technical Manager of The Theatre Royal, the Technical Director of Nelson Fringe, and the Head of Sound for Nelsons Arts Festival.

Having been associated with the NCMA since 2010 as a regular venue technician and lighting engineer for our Winter Music Festivals, JR co-ordinates our technical department and spearheads the production aspects of the events we host.

If you have any questions about our spaces and their technical capacity, don't hesitate to get in touch with JR on tech@ncma.nz.

David Winnington

David Winnington

You may see David around NCMA usually with a screwdriver in one hand and a vacuum in another! He is our 'jack of all trades' and does a fantastic job keeping our building sparkling clean and running efficiently.

David is not new to the caretaking role and has worked in various companies and organisations throughout Nelson over the years. His attention to detail and high standards are valuable skills David has, and we are very lucky to have him part of our team.