Artistic Director: Professor Vanessa Latarche
Acting Managing Director: Paul Hughes
General Manager: Phil Gietzen

Board of Trustees: Sarah Kowitz DL (Chair), Jonathan Marten, Dr Richard Wray DL, Gill Graham, Mark Lam, Alistair Keith, Jenny Yeo MBE

Head of Marketing: Dominika Hicks
Friends and Patrons Coordinator: Mimi Scott
Volunteers Coordinator: Eunice Pugh
Accommodation Coordinators: Christina Gillett
Piano Coordinator: Martin Griffiths
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Professor Vanessa Latarche – Artistic Director

Paul Hughes – Acting Managing Director

After studying at the Royal College of Music and completing her training in the USA and Paris, Vanessa was awarded many scholarships and prizes from international competitions.

Vanessa Latarche’s concert career has taken her to Europe, the USA and the Far East, as well as many festivals within the UK, including Cheltenham, Harrogate and Huddersfield. Her interest in Bach led to a performance of the complete 48 Preludes and Fugues at the Lichfield International Festival in 1992, the performances being given over four consecutive evenings. She has performed as a soloist with international orchestras and those in the UK including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, working with many leading conductors. She is a Steinway Artist.

She has broadcast for over 30 years for BBC Radio 3 and has also broadcast extensively on the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4. She has been a juror for international competitions in China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Italy, New Zealand, and Hong Kong and has adjudicated the national keyboard final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year, which was broadcast on BBC television. In 2007 she was an advisor to the BBC TV programme ‘Classical Star’.

Vanessa frequently travels to give masterclasses, to such institutions as Moscow Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Beijing Central Conservatory, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore, Tokyo College of Music, Seoul National University as well as to other UK conservatoires and specialist music schools She is an advisor to Lang Lang’s music school, Lang Lang Music World, in Shenzhen, China, where she formerly held the position of Vice-Chairman.

Since September 2005, Vanessa has been Head of Keyboard at the Royal College of Music, having been previously a professor of piano at the Royal Academy of Music for 14 years, where she was made an Honorary Associate in 1997.

A renowned pedagogue, with many international piano competition prize-winners amongst her students, Vanessa was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, for outstanding services to music, an honour conferred on her by HRH Prince of Wales in May 2010. In September 2011, she was granted a Personal Chair at the RCM, which gave her the title of Chair of International Keyboard Studies. In 2017, as an extension to her keyboard faculty work, Vanessa was made the Associate Director for Partnerships in China, which involves managing the RCM’s collaborative work in China, particularly the RCM/SHCM Joint Institute in Shanghai.

Paul Hughes joined the BBC in 1999 and for 23 years was Director of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and of the BBC Singers. 
A graduate of Trinity College of Music where he studied piano, composition and conducting, Paul Hughes came to the BBC following a number of key roles with The Academy of Ancient Music (General Manager), IMG Artists, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Chief Executive) and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra (General Manager).  Under his directorship, the BBC ensembles toured the world, recorded extensively, expanded audiences live, on air and on social media, undertook a wide range of innovative education and audience development projects and championed new music, new composers and new artists.

Cultural change has been a hallmark of the ensembles Paul Hughes has managed, opening up access to new audiences and markets, and collaborating with the widest range of artists from the worlds of classical music, rock and pop, literature, and television, from Laura Mvula, to Neil Gaiman and the Monty Python team. 

In recent years, he played a lead role on the design and delivery of a new studio complex for the BBC ensembles, currently under construction on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, and due to open in 2025. 

A Governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for nine years, Paul has a passion for discovering and nurturing the next generation of musicians and audiences and is a guest lecturer at several of the UK’s leading conservatoires.    Paul is the recipient of honorary membership from Trinity College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the Royal College of Music and has recently been honoured by the Finnish government with the award of Knight First Class of the Order of the Lion, for services to Finnish music and musicians. 

Since leaving the BBC in July 2022, Paul Hughes has joined the charity Hastings International Piano for six months, as Acting Managing Director.  In addition, he is regularly invited as a juror for international competitions and is a mentor for the Max Music and Arts Exchange, for the Lead!Foundation in Finland, and for Music Norway.  

Phil Gietzen – General Manager

Whilst studying music at Bangor University Phil was heavily involved in the organisation of various different ensembles and events. It was during this time that he decided to pursue a career in Arts Administration and so in 2013 he started working in the Box Office at Garsington Opera in Buckinghamshire. Over the next 8 years he went on to be the Box Office Manager and, more recently, Operations Manager.

Whilst at Garsington Phil worked closely with the Board of Directors and the Senior Management Team in the planning and application of 8 opera seasons. As an opera fan Phil loved being involved in world-class productions using some of the best conductors, singers and orchestras in the world, a particular highlight being the 2019 production of The Turn of The Screw.  He relished the opportunity to work with the Learning and Participation department to help deliver various transformational projects most notably the world-premiere of Silver Birch by Roxanna Panufnik involving 180 singers from the local community.

As a musician Phil has sung with different orchestras in many of the top venues in the country including the Royal Albert Hall and the Southbank Centre whilst a member of The Bach Choir and has recently ‘dusted off’ his tenor saxophone to join local swing group Swing Street. Whilst at University he was the choral director for the Bangor University Music Society and directed the Bangor University Jazz Band and sang in the university’s annual opera performances.

Recently appointed as General Manager for Hastings International Piano, Phil has enjoyed returning to his roots in Sussex and is really looking forward to bringing his experience and knowledge to help the charity grow and develop its programme.


Sarah Kowitz DL – Chair

Born and educated in London, Sarah worked in journalism as
a reporter and editor before raising a family In New York and then East Sussex. She lived and worked in Asia and America for a number
of years and since returning to the UK has been an active supporter
of not for profit arts, education
and horticulture organisations.

She is a trustee of Hastings Contemporary, Hastings International Piano and the Fairlight Arts Trust, a Patron Governor of Ark Schools and a Founder director of Bridgepoint, Rye. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex, an Honorary Doctor of the University of East Anglia, and a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Jonathan Marten

Jonathan Marten studied organ, piano and orchestral conducting
at the Royal College of Music.
Prior to spending the past 30 years as a freelance Performer, Examiner and Adjudicator he was Director
of Music of a school in Hastings
and of Choral Societies as well
as Bexhill Parish Church where
he re-established an ‘all male’ choral tradition, formed the St. Peter’s Singers, the Bexhill Festival Choir and in 1969 began a separate girls’ choirs, parallel to the boys’ choir, possibly the first in what has become a trend in UK Parish Churches and Cathedrals.

In 1987 he was chosen by Chichester Cathedral to study the Lutheran Tradition of Church Music and training of organists in Berlin. Whilst there he attended the Berliner Kirkenmusikschule and played in various venues. He has examined throughout the world for the Royal Schools of Music and has also adjudicated piano and other classes in Festivals in the UK and abroad. He has sat on the Jury in Concerto competitions in Hong Kong and Hastings, of which he was the original inspiration for, and planner of, the first Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition in 2005.

Gill Graham

As Group Head of Promotion for the international family of Music Publishers the Wise Music Group, Gill works with today’s leading composers across all genres. Among them are Hans Abrahamsen, John Corigliano, Bryce Dessner, Philip Glass, John Paul Jones, Nico Muhly, Rachel Portman, Kaija Saariaho, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Joby Talbot and Rufus Wainwright. Her work as a creative producer, bringing composers together with artists in the neighbouring arts, has seeded collaborations with artists such as Martin Creed, Wayne McGregor, Michael Morpurgo, Patrick Ness, The Brothers Quay, Mark Ravenhill, Tal Rosner and Christopher Wheeldon.

Educated at London’s Trinity College of Music, Gill was Executive Director of the Society for the Promotion of New Music (SPNM) from 1997 to 2002. The organisation has worked with the UK’s top orchestras and performing groups, placing new work by emerging British composers at
the heart of the performing agenda. From 1999-2004 she was Vice-President of the International Society for Contemporary Music. Before joining SPNM, she was Head of Performance at the Royal College of Music and, previously, on the staff at Mountview Theatre School. She is an adviser and mentor for the medallists of The Cliburn Piano Competition, a music nominator for the Rolex Arts Initiative, and consults for many not for profit organisations in the U.K. and US. She is on the board of International Contemporary Ensemble in the USA and Pacitti Company, one
of Europe’s leading experimental theatre companies.

Dr Richard Wray DL

Dr Richard Wray trained as a Consultant Cardiologist and General Physician and worked for many years mainly in Hastings and at Kings College Hospital in London. Whilst working he noted how much appropriate music helped those in hospital, and so established the live music programme at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings which became one of the largest in any UK NHS hospital. A particular feature is the Young Musician in Residence programme.

Richard is also a Patron of the Young Classical Artists Trust which prepares young gifted potential international musicians for their future careers. He states that ‘I was asked to join the committee of HIPCC to channel some of my energy and enthusiasm into helping others more expert than myself into building up the competition into a major international event in the musical calendar. My longstanding appointment as one of the Deputy Lieutenants of East Sussex has been very helpful in that regard.
I work with and support the East Sussex Schools Music Service, a remarkable high quality organisation noted particularly for the expertise and dedication of its teachers who go far beyond the call of duty to enthuse young people from an early age.’

Mark Lam

Mark is an experienced board director and digital technologist with global experience in both private and public sectors. He is Group Chairman of Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, which operates three general hospitals in London, and is Chairman of East London NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental and community health services. Mark is also Vice-Chair
of UCL Alliance and Non-Executive Director of Social Work England. Mark began his technology career during the dotcom boom, training at web start-ups before moving into telecommunications and IT.

Mark’s longest association was with BT Group, where he was a senior executive, finishing his career there as Chief Technology and Information Officer of Openreach. Mark comes from Singapore originally and has lived in the UK for over twenty years.
He holds a degree in English Literature from Oxford University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has had a lifelong passion for classical music and is
a keen amateur pianist.