Many of Mary's former pupils now have successful careers in music. 

Click on their names to visit their websites.





Jacqueline Gourlay Grant was Mary's first singing pupil.

She took singing lessons between 1973 and 1976. 

Mary was lucky to have Jacqueline as her first singing pupil as she was an enthusiastic and talented pupil, with a vibrant coloratura voice. 

During her singing studies Jacqueline became the first of Mary's pupils to be entered for an ABRSM examination.  So it was entirely down to her own unique talent that she achieved a distinction with exceptional marks in her Grade 8 singing examination.

She also gained a place to study singing at The Royal Academy of Music in London.

Jacqueline now lives in Hong Kong where she is a successful singer who continues to perform, teach and direct in many different genre. 






Peter Cousens was a singing pupil of Mary while he visited the school on a two term stay in 1975.  He sang solo in the school's first production of 'The Magic Flute'.  He was a charming and talented pupil, with an exceptional singing voice.

After leaving School he spent a year reading Arts at St Paul's College, Sydney University before studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), graduating in 1978. 

Though an actor, Peter Cousens is probably best known for his work in musical theatre. Major roles include The Phantom in London's West End production of The Phantom of the Opera, and Marius in Les Misérables and Chris in Miss Saigon in the Australian productions. He has received a number of Variety Club of Australia awards for his work.

As a professional singer Peter Cousens has made a number of cast and solo albums. He sang the role of Chris on the International Symphonic Recording of Miss Saigon.

He has worked in television, both as an actor and presenter. In the 1980s he guest starred in a number of major Australian television productions, including The Sullivans, The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters and The Restless Years. He then went on to take a leading roles in Under Capricorn and Return to Eden.

As a professional singer Peter Cousens has made a number of cast and solo albums. He sang the role of Chris on the International Symphonic Recording of Miss Saigon.In September 2006 he launched Kookaburra: The National Musical Theatre Company, a non-profit theatre company based in Australia, dedicated to musical theatre. As of January 2009 the company ceased trading.

In 2012/13 Peter Produced and Directed the feature film Freedom, starring Cuba Gooding Jr, Bill Sadler and Sharon Leal.The film was produced by Production One Inc and due for release in Australia in August 2014 where it will have its world premier.




Anne was a pupil of Mary between 1976 and 1980.

While studying with Mary she passed an ABRSM singing examination Grade 8, 
with distinction, prior to gaining a place to study singing at The Royal Academy of Music in London.

After college she sang as a professional solo singer, many of her performances being in the West End and BBC.

Anne Stuart continues her professional career as a singer and teacher in Hitchin, Herts. 



Isobel Rose won a music scholarship in singing in 1978.  

In 1979 the composer, David Bedford was commissioned to write an opera, The Death of Baldur, for the Gordonstoun School Music Department.  The long and demanding role of Loki was created for Isobel.  The Death of Baldur, (libretto, Terry Bagg), was set to the story of the God Baldur, taken from Norse Mythology.

There were performances of the Death of Baldur in the Chapel at Gordonstoun as well as the  Benedictine Abbey of Pluscarden.

David Bedford composed two more operas for the school, making the group into a trilogy of operas, to be performed by young musicians.  Major roles were written for Isobel in all three operas, exploiting her powerful voice and fine musicianship.

They were:

THE DEATH OF BALDUR (1980) March 20th -22nd.
Instrumentation: orchestra, two choruses, soloists, pebbles
Text: Terry Bagg, story from Icelandic myth
Duration: 60 mins.

Commissioned by: Gordonstoun School with the assistance of the Scottish Arts Council.

Published by: Universal Edition

Isobel sang the role of Loki, the evil god.


 FRIDIOF'S SAGA (1981)  

Here the composer David Bedford and the original cast of Fridiof Saga take a curtain call. 


Instrumentation: orchestra, chorus, soloists, pebbles, drums, wine glasses

Text: Terry Bagg, story from Icelandic myth
Duration: 60 mins.
Commissioned by: Gordonstoun School
Published by: Universal Edition

Isobel sang the role of Asmund, Fridiof's squire.


Instrumentation: orchestra, two choirs, soloists, bottles, rattles
Text: Terry Bagg, story from Icelandic myth

Duration: 60 mins.
Commissioned by: Gordonstoun School

Published by: Universal Edition  

Isobel again sang the role of Loki, the evil god.  

In 1984 Isobel sang the role of Zita in the school's production of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.







Anne Harley was a pupil while at Gordonstoun School in 1984.  She sang the role of Nella in the school's production of Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. 

A native of Toronto, Anne Harley holds a degree from Yale University (Voice Performance), attended the Boston University Opera Institute and received her Doctorate in Music from Boston University (Historical Performance with a concentration in voice) in 2006. She has taught at Longy Conservatory and Boston University.

In 2006, she was invited to join an international voicework exchange for teachers of voice at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia and at San Diego State University.

She is a specialist in contemporary and early music, and has appeared across North America and Europe with Opera Boston, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Opera Unlimited, The American Repertory Theatre, The Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and Boston Camerata.

She has spent several seasons performing new works at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Alberta, Canada) and at the Tanglewood Festival. 

She debuted in Europe at Amsterdam's Conzertgebouw as the lead in Handel's Acis and Galatea, and has since toured in Europe several times. In conjunction with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and Oberlin College, she performed the leading roles in the modern-day premiere of Royer's Le Pouvoir de l'Amour.

She joined the music faculty of University of North Carolina at Charlotte as Assistant Professor in 2006.



Robert Ames was a singing pupil of Mary's between 1985 and 1987.


  This photo was taken in 1987 when Robert performed the title role in Gordonstoun School's production of Mozart's
The Marriage of Figaro





After leaving school he continued his studies by majoring in singing at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

  While at Rice, Robert was the winner of many singing awards, the most notable being the prize winner at the Metropolitan Opera Regional competition in Kansas City.

Between 1902 and 1904 Robert obtained a Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Vocal Performance from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

After leaving University, Robert moved to Massachusetts where he continued his vocal studies with the tenor Richard Cassily.

 It was also during this time that Robert became Sale Manager at the company 'Opera World'.  Here he gained his first experience in the use of computer data.  

In 1996 Robert moved from Massachusetts to Washington DC where he joined the Washington National Opera.  As well as singing Robert was developing experience in IT and he was given the opportunity to join PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior consultant.

After several seasons with the Washington National Opera in 2002 he obtained full time employment in IT by joining IBM.

Robert is now Director and Deputy CTO of IBM Federal.




 Phil was a pupil of Mary from 1986 to 1988. 

He was a talented singer with a natural gift for acting.
He performed the principal role of Fred Graham in
Gordonstoun Schools production of Kiss me Kate in 1988. 


He continued his theatrical training at  Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and the

 Academy of the Science of Acting & Directing.

Since leaving college he has had a successful and varied
career in both Film and Theatre.

Phil Pritchard is currently performing in the critically acclaimed, Menier Chocolate Factory production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's musical A Little Night Music, directed by Trevor Nunn, at the Garrick Theatre.



 The photo below is of the cast of Gordonstoun School's 1990 production of 

ALBERT HERRING by Benjamin Britten. 


  The first three performances were given in St Christopher's Chapel, Gordonstoun, with a further performance at Haddo House Hall, Aberdeenshire.

All the pupils in the opera, and in the photo above were singing pupils of Mary Nicholson.







Alycia Fashae was a pupil of Mary from 1985 to 1990 when she was a pupil at Gordonstoun School. 

                             During her time at the school she performed in Musical Theatre as well as Opera productions.

                                                        Below: Alycia singing the role of Pamina at Gordonstoun School in 1989

As well as performing the role of Pamina in the school's production of The Magic Flute, the following year  Alycia Fashae performed the contrasting role of Miss Wordsworth in the schools production of Albert Herring.  

 While studying with Mary, Alycia was successful in the singing examination, 'Guildhall School of Music Advanced Certificate'.  (The equivalent now is 'Trinity Guildhall College London Diploma').

From Perthshire,  in Scotland, Alycia Fashae then went on to study singing at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Centre de Formation Lyrique de L'Opera National de Paris. While in Paris, she made her debut for the Opera National de Paris in Rigoletto, subsequently performing in Lulu and Bataclan while understudying the role of Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito.  Alycia toured extensively with the Centre and also France Opera, singing in many provincial Theatres, in such roles as Pamina, Servilia, Adina, Fiordiligi, Lucia, Clorinda, (La Cenerentola); Juliette, and Constance, (Dialogue des Carmelites).  

Since returning from France, Alycia's roles have included: Musetta La Boheme English National Opera, Mid-Wales Opera; Leila, Les Pecheurs de Perles for English National Opera, Swansea City Opera, Frasquita Carmen, English National Opera; Donna Anna, Don Giovanni, Diva Opera, Opera des Azuriales,Theatre de Neuchatel, Switzerland and the Festival de la Vezere, Mid-Wales Opera, Opera a la Carte and The Water Music Festival of Ireland; Violetta La Traviata,The European Chamber Opera, Mimi La Boheme Diva Opera, European Chamber Opera; Gilda Rigoletto for The European Chamber Opera, Pamina Die Zauberflote, Diva Opera; Antonia Les Contes D'Hoffmann, Diva Opera; Gianetta, The Gondoliers, Carl Rosa Opera; Adele, Die Fledermaus, Opera Box; Alice Ford, Falstaff  and Rosalinde, Die Fledermaus, Opera Project, and Norina, Don Pasquale, Opera a la Carte.

In the United States of America, Alycia toured 29 states in the title role of The Merry Widow for Columbia Artists and participated in the Bermuda Festival.

Other Concert repertoire includes- Beethoven's Missa Solemnis; Rossini's Stabat Mater; Carl Orff's Carmina Burana; Handel's Messiah; Schubert's Mass in A flat; Brahms Requiem; Strauss' Four Last Songs and Konstanze in Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.




Kelly Pritchard was a pupil of Mary from 1987 to 1991.


While at Gordonstoun she performed the role of

'First Lady' in Mozart's 'Magic Flute', and 'Mum' in Benjamin Britten's 'Albert Herring'. 
Under Mary's tuition she also gained an

ABRSM Grade 8 with distinction.

 After leaving Gordonstoun she went to study singing at 'Wells Cathedral Music School' and then on to the Junior Guildhall School of Music in London.

Recently she formed the group 'Chasing Storms'.  Kelly, Mike Hynes and James Murphy write all their own material. Mike is a very experienced guitarist, with a particular love of Flamenco having lived in Spain.  James received several prizes whilst studying for a degree in composition at The Birmingham Conservatoire.

Chasing Storms have played across the region, including an audience of over 9,000 at the Cambridge 'Cancer Research UK Race for Life'event in July 2010.

Kelly is sister of actor Phil Pritchard.




Sophie was a pupil at Gordonstoun School between 1986 and 1991.

She sang the part of 'The Second Bridesmaid'

in Gordonstoun School's production of
'The Marriage of Figaro',
'Queen of Night' in the school's production of

'The Magic Flute'

and Lady Billows in the Benjamin Britten opera, 'Albert Herring'. 

Sophie is now a writer for film, television and theatre.

She is also a freelance journalist, translator and author.
Her latest novel
Thinkless is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.





Jo was a pupil of Mary's at Gordonstoun from 1986 to 1991. She was a talented singer with an exceptionally beautiful voice.

While at the school she Performed the role of 'Second Lady' in Mozart's 'Magic Flute', and 'Florence' in Benjamin Britten's 'Albert Herring'. 



   Jo, in costume, at a rehearsal weekend at Haddo House, in 1990.


Jo Hamilton is the daughter of a Jamaican mother and Kenyan father, although both families trace their roots back to Scotland. The first decade of her life was spent in the Scottish Highlands,  Between stints abroad, Hamilton attended Gordonstoun School, near Elgin in Morayshire, Scotland, to which she was awarded a music scholarship aged 12. 

She went on to study viola at Napier University in Edinburgh, and then won another scholarship to read viola performance at the Birmingham Conservatoire, in the city where she is based. 




Jo's latest albums 'Gown' and 'Winter Is Over' demonstrate her continuing development as an exceptional singer and musician.

         Gown                                    Winter Is Over


The Independent writes about Gown:

"In a world of La Roux, Little Boots and Lady Gaga, this is an unashamedly grown-up record that dares to step out of the boxes we have reserved for our female singer-songwriters."



Jo with the Airpiano




In April 2010, Hamilton revealed she was the first artist in the world to be working with a prototype Airpiano, a non-contact electronic instrument being developed by Berlin-based inventor Omer Yosha.  Jo Hamilton had been looking for a way to recreate some of the intricate textures from Gown live without resorting to backing tracks, and had stumbled upon Yosha demonstrating a very early version on YouTube. She travelled to Berlin to meet Yosha and collect a prototype instrument from him which he'd made specially for her to experiment with it and give feedback to Yosha. The result was a short film entitled 'A New Instrument' about Hamiton's trip to Berlin and her resultant work with the instrument. The film received over 30,000 views on YouTube in the first three weeks, and was eventually syndicated by over 200 technology and music websites worldwide. In September 2010 she appeared live with the Airpiano at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London, assisted by Gown producer Jon Cotton and bassplayer Chaz West, to demonstrate and talk about her work with the instrument.

2011/12 appearances with the Airpiano included playing on BBC World Service's 'Click' January special to several million listeners, appearing on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends, on Channel 5's Gadget Show and in the UK's Wired Magazine., and finally on the main stage at TEDGlobal 2011.






                        Richard was a pupil of Mary when he was at Gordonstoun School between 1988 and 1990. 
  In 1989 Richard sang the role of Tamino in the school's second production of Mozart's 

The Magic Flute

   Because of his exceptional singing talent, a production of Britten's opera

'Albert Herring' was staged the following year, with Richard performing the long and demanding title role.




                          Haddo House 1990.

              Richard during rehearsals of Albert Herring. 






 While studying with Mary, Richard Rowe achieved a 'Guildhall School of Music Advanced Certificate'. 

After leaving Gordonstoun School he pursued a career in business before studying at the Royal Academy of Music where he received a Dip RAM, attended the Opera Course and was awarded the Charles Vestey Award. He has participated in master classes with Richard Van Allan, Robert Tear, Alan Opie and Malcolm Martineau.

A finalist in the 2008 Opera Rara Bel Canto and Richard Lewis prizes, Richard Rowe was also the recipient of the Leverhulme Award, the Worshipful Company of Musicians medal and was supported by the Josephine Baker Trust.


After leaving school Richard Rowe studied Geology at the Royal School of Mines in London and pursued a career in business before returning to his initial love, singing.

He has undertaken many principal roles including Tamino in The Magic Flute; Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte; the title role in Albert Herring; Gustavo in Un Ballo In Maschera; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus. Richard has also undertaken lead roles with British Youth opera and worked with many internationally renowned directors. His performances have been at many diverse venues from the Richmond, Peacock and Cochrane theatres in London, to venues in St Andrews and the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.
Concert performances have included appearances at St Albans Abbey, Rochester Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, Purcell Room, The National Gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery and St John's Smith Square.  Recent liturgical works have included Mozart's Requiem and Great Mass in C minor, Haydn's Creation and The Seasons, Beethoven's Mass in C, Bach's Mass in B minor and The Evangelist in The Matthew Passion, and also the title roles in Handel's Samson and Jehptha.
Richard has worked with many different types of musical ensemble, from early music presentations to full modern orchestras, enjoying the diversity of experience.  His coaches have included Raimund Herincx, Peter Medhurst, Kenneth Bowen and Nina Walker, and he continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music with Philip Doghan & Audrey Hyland. He has also participated in masterclasses with Richard Van Allan, Robert Tear, Alan Opie and Malcolm Martineau. Future plans include The Marriage of Figaro, Rape of Lucretia and the Evangelist in Bach's St Matthew Passion. He is now taught by the noted international tenor, Julian Gavin.
A finalist in the 2008 Opera Rara Bel canto and 2007 Richard Lewis prizes, Richard is also the recipient of the Leverhulme Award, the Worshipful Company of Musicians medal and is pleased to be supported by the Josephine Baker trust.

He has been following a demanding schedule for the last five years, appearing in both operas and on concert platforms.  

Richard Rowe has also worked with British Youth Opera




 Scottish harpist Ruth Wall was a singing pupil of Mary between 1989 and 1990.

Ruth sang the part of the first lady in Gordonstoun School's production of Mozart's 'Magic Flute'. In 1990 she sang the Mayor in the school's production of Benjamin Britten's 'Albert Herring'.

On leaving school Ruth continued her musical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Birklehof, Welsh College of Music and Drama    

Ruth Wall specializes in the development and performance of new music. She is regarded as one of the UK's leading harpists - specializing in lever harp, buzzing Renaissance bray harp, Gaelic wire strung harp and concert harp.

Ruth performs as a soloist and as part of ensembles and bands (Goldfrapp, Fitkin, Kathryn Tickell and the Side) based in UK. 

She recently toured to Japan, Australia, USA, Canada and throughout Europe and Scandinavia, including performances at Sydney Opera House, Monza Milan, Spiral Hall Tokyo, Queen's Hall Edinburgh, The Sage Gateshead, ROH London and Glastonbury main stage. 

She has worked with the BBC Singers, RLPO and LCO and often collaborates with musicians, artists and dancers on new commissions.







Sarah Hobbs was a pupil of Mary Nicholson from 1996 to 2001. 
While studying with Mary she passed an ABRSM Grade 8 singing examination and a DipABRSM (Diploma of The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), both with distinction. 

In 2001 she won a place to study singing at the Birmingham Conservatoire with the distinguished singing professor Margaret Field.

While at the Conservatoire, Sarah studied many genres of singing, including Lieder, Oratorio, Opera and Contemporary Music.

Sarah's many operatic roles at college included Helena, A Midsummer Night's Dream; Susanna, Le Nozze di Figaro; The Plaint, The Fairy Queen; Jane Dee, Dee (Robin Grant's new opera) and the title role in Puccini's Manon.


In 2003 she performed the UK premiere of n sunnari by the Italian composer, Azio Corghi.

In the same year she won the Cecil Drew Oratorio Prize for her exceptional interpretation of Handel and Haydn songs.

Now a Graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire, Sarah is continuing her studies at the University of East Anglia in the field of Speech and Language Therapy.  She completes her BSci Degree in 2010.



Hannah Collings is an experienced performer and teacher of  the harp in East Anglia. She studied the harp with Stewart Green alongside lessons in piano and voice. This resulted in a scholarship to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire where she trained with Robert Johnston and graduated with First Class Honours. She also trained as a singer with Mary Nicholson and holds the DipABRSM diploma in singing.

As a teacher, she directs the Soli Deo Music teaching practice in Suffolk. She has also performed in many major venues across East Anglia.





Lucy  Harvey studied singing with Mary Nicholson from 2003 to 2005.  


While studying with Mary she passed an ABRSM Grade 8 singing examination with distinction, and dip ABRSM.  She continued her studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire with the eminent singing professor Margaret Field

Lucy was successful in many genres of singing, in particular Lieder, Musical Theatre and Opera.  Her many operatic roles at college included Amori, Poppea; Countess Almaviva, Le Nozze di Figaro; Donna Anna, Don Giovanni.

Lucy is a member of St Chad's Cathedral Choir.

 Now a Graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire Lucy Harvey is following a career as a professional singer.  Lucy is also in demand as a singing teacher.