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. Butterworth 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. In 2002, Butterworth was appointed an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music. Tanya has a BA (hon) in Music and a Post Graduate Diploma in Early Years Education.

Tanya is a vibrant member of the Nelson Arts Community - Founder of Samba de Sol Collective Trust, 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 Buskadura (an eclectic fusion group), and teaches free beginner violin classes at NCMA.

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 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 now 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).

Prior to teaching, Kim held lead roles in musical theatre productions and studied piano, and also plays a few other instruments (piano, recorder, ukulele, guitar) with the typical basic primary teacher knowledge!

Kim works individually with children, using music and other tools to build resilience and self-worth and lessen anxiety.

Kim is the Venues Manager at NCMA.

If you have any questions about hiring spaces at NCMA, please get in touch with Kim at: venues@ncma.nz

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.

Sophie Winnington, Customer Liaison Administrator, Nelson Centre Musical Arts Sophie Winnington
Customer Liaison Administrator

Sophie is the smiling face and cheerful voice behind our front desk and has been with NCMA since the reopening in 2018. Born in Nelson she spent her senior school years at Nelson College for Girls. Sophie has her ARSM performance diploma in violin, Grade 8 in piano and Grade 7 in cello.

She has been a part of string quartets and trios, played with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra, Senior Youth Orchestra, NCMA Chamber Orchestra and is currently involved in a local Ceilidh Band.



Jojo Gary Receptionist Nelson Centre of Musical Arts

Jojo Gary

Jojo has been involved in the Nelson music scene since she was young and recently returned home to Nelson and joined the team here at NCMA.

Jojo attended the Nelson School of Music when she was younger and grew her passion for music theatre and singing.

After High school, Jojo attended the Australian Institute of Music where she gained a Bachelor in Music majoring in musical theatre.

After living and performing in Sydney for 2 years she took off to explore the world, she used her music skills in various job positions including being a children's party entertainer as 'Elsa' from the hit Disney movie Frozen.

Jojo has since moved home to Nelson and you will surely get to know her in our reception area.

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.