The Viola Commissioning Circle
Viola Commissioning Circle

The Viola Commissioning Circle

The Honorary Artistic Adviser and lead performer is Lawrence Power

The trustees will be assisted and guided by Lawrence's agent Rachel Bertaut at Askonas Holt


Michael Gwinnell (chairman)

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Michael Gwinnell. As the guiding force and Chairman of the VCC, he will be dearly missed by us all. Our thoughts are very much with his family at this difficult time.

David Challen CBE

David is a music lover with particular interest in opera and is a trustee of Classical Opera and Mid Wales Music Trust.  He was an original contributor to the Lawrence Power Viola Trust.  A graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Harvard Business School, his distinguished career in the City of London commenced at J Henry Schroder & Co. of which he became Chairman. After Schroders’  investment banking business merged with Salomon Smith Barney he transitioned to senior roles in the European Investment Bank part of Citigroup, becoming Chairman of its EMEA Governance Committee.  He was Senior Independent Director at Anglo American and Smiths Group and recently retired as Deputy Chairman of the Takeover Panel.

Sir Christopher Hum KCMG

Christopher played the viola in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain but now focuses on the piano which he enjoys playing in chamber music with friends.  While Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge he hosted the “topping out” concert and lunch party for the Lawrence Power Viola Trust.   Like Michael, he was a trustee of Young Classical Artists Trust.  A graduate of Pembroke College, Cambridge, his distinguished career in HM Diplomatic Service culminated in his appointment as Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. He is Honorary President of the China Association, and in 2019 was awarded an MA in History of Art and Archaeology of East Asia by the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Peter Smart

Peter Smart has been a lifelong classical music enthusiast and regularly attends concerts and chamber music recitals, particularly by emerging artists. For over a decade he has supported a number of artists in buying their instruments through the Stradivari Trust and has been an underwriting member of the Viola Commissioning Circle since 2019. After studying classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, he has enjoyed a career of over 40 years in corporate finance. The first half was spent at Schroders in London, Hong Kong and Warsaw, and at Citigroup as a Managing Director; the latter half as a Partner at corporate finance advisory boutique Hines Associates. He is excited to join Lawrence and Michael’s innovative project to create a new corpus of modern works for the viola.  


Emily Granozio

In a new chapter, we welcome Emily Granozio to the VCC as project consultant. Emily has worked in the classical music industry for over 10 years, first as an agent for composers, conductors and instrumentalists at Rayfield Allied in London, before joining the Philharmonia Orchestra to manage Recordings and Projects. She was Interim Director for Avanti Arts Management and now runs a portfolio of projects through her own consultancy, Gratia Arts.

Advisory Council

Bob Boas

Music at Mansfield Street; Treasurer, The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust; Chairman, The Belcea Charitable Trust

David Butcher

Chief Executive, Hallé Orchestra

Formerly, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Britten Sinfonia

Sir Vernon Ellis

Distinguished musical philanthropist, currently Chairman, Live Music Now; Co-Chairman, Britten Pears Arts (formerly Benjamin Britten Foundation)

Sally Groves MBE

Formerly Creative Director, Schott Music

Sir Nicholas Kenyon CBE

Journalist and critic, formerly Managing Director, Barbican Centre

Susan Rivers

Chief Executive, Borletti-Buitoni Trust

Alasdair Tait

Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Young Classical Artists Trust