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Musical directors

All of DMU's ensembles are led by professional Musical Directors, who all bring a wealth of skills and expertise to their ensemble, and provide opportunities for DMU musicians to work alongside some of the finest national and international musicians.

Adrian Varela

 Adrián photo 

DMU Music are delighted to welcome internationally-renowned conductor and violinist, Adrián Varela as Musical Director of the DMU Orchestra. Adrián studied conducting with the legendary Lorin Maazel at Interlochen, USA and is the Conductor and Artistic Director of The Polish National Youth Orchestra and the One Tree Hill Sinfonia, London. Adrián has a remarkable past having lived through civil unrest and the military dictatorship in 1970’s Uruguay and also joined thousands of others to help tear down the Berlin Wall in 1989.

A member of the Philharmonia Orchestra since 2002, Adrián combines his role as first violinist in the Orchestra with his Prog-rock, Post-Tango band ‘Laberinto’.

Adrián has performed with the DMU Orchestra on several previous occasions, most notably during the summer 2017 performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. He made his début as Musical Director of the DMU Orchestra during the 2018 Summer Concert with the DMU Orchestra and Chorus.

Willard Welsford

Will photo

Will started his musical career when he came to study at Leicester University in the 1980s. During this time he acted as a Songman at Leicester Cathedral, where he made many of the musical connections he still uses today.  Later, as the Founder and Music Director of the East Midlands-based ‘The Ensemble’, he was involved in performing contemporary music.His love of music directing, and encouraging people of all ages to participate, has led Will to work with several choirs across the Midlands, including The Bardi Chorus, The Leicester University Choral Society, Sinfonia Viva, Leicestershire Chorale, Leicester Bach Choir and for many years as the Music Director of St Andrew’s Church, Aylestone.

He has acted as Musical Director for both the Leicester College of Performing Arts and Leicester College and could be found in the orchestral pit working with Choreographer and Director Greg Pichery on a variety of shows.  Will also finds time to teach in several schools, and has supported many students in taking their music exams. In 2014 Will was instrumental in re-launching the New Leicester Youth Chorus and continues as Music Director to this day.

Will joined DMU Music as Musical Director of the DMU Chamber Choir in 2017.

Gareth John


Gareth is a professional brass player and singer, bandleader and educator,  currently work as Head of Brass at the Mead Trust, based at their flagship school, Rushey Mead, where he teaches all their brass students and is Musical Director of their jazz band, which we set up with external funding last year. He also works across the city and county teaching brass, vocals and keyboards as well as leading ensembles, and is a major advocate of collaboration between different organisations to get the best out of music education.

As a musician, he works nationwide and across the continent with his own solo singing career and debut album released last year, as well as leading one of the UK's premier New Orleans brass bands, and playing trumpet and flugelhorn for The South (formerly Beautiful South) since 2012.