Board Members

Sarah Hennessy Chair

  Main Responsibilities 
  • Chairing committee members and general overseeing of the work of the committee
  • Organising the Summer School
  • Promoting the Orff Approach through writing and teaching

Having spent the first five years of my teaching career as a secondary music teacher I then reinvented myself as an advisory teacher for primary music mainly working with class teachers. This led me to attend various courses - the best and most influential for me was the Orff Summer School in York 1991. I was a teacher educator and researcher at Exeter University until 2015 when I retired. I now work as a freelance teacher and researcher. I have found the Orff Approach to be the most effective and enjoyable way of working with both specialists and generalists. The courses run by the society renew my own practice and keep me in touch with the national and international Orff community.

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Angelika Wolf


Responsibilities: Course Development and Teaching

When I started my studies at the Carl Orff-Institute with the age of 21, it felt like a dream becoming real. I have discovered Orff Schulwerk - a pedagogy rooted in the rhythmical determination of the human being - as a rewarding principle in my teaching of music and dance, and in my everyday life.

I have been teaching since 1994 working with music education and social pedagogy students, practicing teachers, children, choir singers and conductors, musicians and performers in Austria, recently in England and internationally (Hongkong, South Korea, Turkey, Finland). Recent studies in Yoga and Laban Bartenieff Movement Analysis have deepened my experience in the holistic field of music and dance and my interest in the research of the possible roles of music and dance in the Orff Schulwerk pedagogy. I am currently developing a concept introducing the versatile role of movement and dance to the music classroom teacher, awakening the experience that rhythm, rhyme, song, the slap on a drum, the tone on a xylophone and any other musical activity might be approached from movement - inner and outer - following Carl Orff’s principle of the Elemental.

Gary Hanratty


Responsibilities: Website management

I have work in Hackney primary schools for the past five years as a Music specialist teacher and Performing Arts Coordinator. I use the Orff approach in my day to day teaching. I enjoy teaching creatively and seeing first hand children's creative responses to learning. I completed the PGCE with Music Spcialism at at Exeter University in 2011 when I began my training in the Orff Approach. Over the last five years I have developed my practice through attending Orff courses in the UK. I have been a member for 5 years and joined the board in 2015 first being co-opted and now an elected member.

Nadja Kraft

  Main Responsibilities

  • Courses coordinator for London and the South East, teaching.
  • Advocacy work
  • Leading workshops

I completed the Bachelor and Master Programme “Elementary Music and Dance Education” at the Orff-Institute in Salzburg, department for Music and Dance Education at the University “Mozarteum”. During my Master Programme I went to Helsinki, Finland, for 2 years to be an Exchange Student at the Department for Music Education at “Sibelius Academy”, and studied with Soili Perkiö from the Orff Society Finland ’Jasesoi’. When I moved to London, I found out about the Orff Society UK and got in touch with Margaret Murray to see what sort of Music and Movement Education is going on in this country. I’m a member on the Committee and was teaching “Music in Action”, a music club for 4-5 year olds, at the Sunflower Montessori School in Twickenham for the past 2 years. I am currently on Maternity Leave but will be back to teaching soon and am looking to set up some Orff style Music and Movement Classes in the North West area of London.

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Dr Ian Shirley


Responsibilities: Publications group

I am a Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Edge Hill University, where I lead primary music education and other foundation subjects. I am an experienced primary teacher and have contributed to many publications about music teaching and primary education more generally. From 2007 to 2011 I was editor of Primary Music Today.

I am particularly interested in creative approaches to music education which encourage children to make musical decisions. I have been a member of the Orff Society board since 2013 and have led workshops for the Summer schools. As well as guest editing the Orff Times. Through my role at Edge HillI have developed relationships with a number of local music education hubs, providing inservice training for teachers and music service teams. I have a great love of singing and was involved with Sing for Pleasure for many years. In 2017 I completed my doctorate at Sheffield University. MY focus was on primary music pedagogy, music psychology and education policy.

David Wheway (Treasurer)

  I started my teaching career in 1977 in primary schools with responsibility for sport and music, then later for computer technology. I joined the Leicestershire Music Advisory service in in 1989 and then worked as an advisory support teacher. I then became a freelance music adviser in 1991, and later also a part-time education adviser for Northamptonshire. I particularly focus on supporting generalist primary teacher, classroom and early years’ practitioners and parents, through offering professional development courses and publishing books and materials. I enjoy creative music making with children in all its forms – from junk to digital technologies. I have been a member of the Orff Society for a number of years and became Treasurer in 2015.

Kate Buchanan Orff Times, Editor

  Main Responsibilities 
  • Editor of the Orff Times
  • Course Tutor
Having taught music for a couple of years, I knew that I wanted children to have a creative input into their music making through improvisation. So it was fortunate that Marjorie Ayling who had been involved with Orff Schulwerk since the early 1960s, suggested I might like to join an introductory Orff course. In 1982, I undertook a year-long par-time course at Southlands College and was fortunate to be taught by Margaret Murray, Francine Watson Colman and Anne Woolfe-Skinner. 

During the eighties I taught many different age groups and levels of experience ranging from adult musicianship and flute classes, inter-generational community work and all kinds of classroom work across the primary age range and applied the principles of Orff Schulwerk in all these settings. In the nineties I worked with orchestral musicians, teachers and students in a wide range of projects many of which focused on composition and improvisation alongside skill development which I believe is central to Orff Schulwerk. 

It wasn't until 1995 that I re-joined the Society and became a member of the committee taking the role of Chair between 200-2007. 

I currently work at the Royal Northern College of Music where I introduced a module entitled: Orff Schulwerk: its growth and practice in the UK, Europe and beyond from 1960s to the present day. I am working on a biography of Margaret Murray which is drawing on interviews with Margaret and many of the colleagues she worked with through the 1960's, 70s and 80s to the present day both in the UK and beyond. 

In March 2013, the Orff Society UK had an exciting opportunity to present a short presentation of Orff's Schulwerk at the South Bank Centre, London. I was invited to introduce the children's performances and place it in context of the year-long festival based on Alex Ross' book 'The Rest is Noise.'

Orff Times Vol. 4 No 1. November 1982: article about the Southlands Course with a photo which includes me on page 1.

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Sue Forrest Membership Secretary

  Main Responsibilities 

  • Membership Secretary
  • Printing and distributing of Orff Times
  • Manages enquiries and bookings for the International Summer School

I took my 'Music Teachers Certificate' (the equivalent of today's Post Graduate Certificate of Education) at the Institute of Education in 1970. After a few years I wanted to update my music teaching skills and so I attended a week long Orff Summer School course held in Wimbledon . This 'caught' me and so, throughout my teaching life I continued to attend Orff Courses for development and inspiration. When I retired I wanted to give something back to the society as a 'thank you' and so volunteered to be Membership Secretary when the position became vacant.

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