Menu 05 Board Members

The Liverpool City Region Music Board is made up of sixteen members and eight observers from across the music industry. Our members are listed below.


Michael Eakin

Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Michael Eakin has been Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic since 2008. The organisation includes the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and associated ensembles and choirs, a substantial music learning and education programme, and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Michael joined Liverpool Philharmonic from Arts Council England, with whom he had been Executive Director North West since 2001. Previously, he was Director of Arts and Leisure for Reading Borough Council, with a portfolio including the arts and theatre, libraries, museums and archives, sport and leisure, and tourism.

His initial career was in theatre and concert hall management, including several years as Director of the presenting theatre and concert hall, The Hexagon, Reading. Here he programmed across several art forms including orchestral and popular music, theatre, opera, and dance. He also led the establishment in Reading of the UK's major annual world music festival, the WOMAD Festival, in partnership with the WOMAD organisation; and the renovation and re-opening of the 19th Century Reading Concert Hall.

He is a former Chair of the Association of British Orchestras and a former Vice President of the Theatrical Management Association (now UK Theatre).

Rebecca Ayres

Managing Director of Sound City

Rebecca Ayres is Managing Director of Sound City, which is the UK's leading independent festival for new music. Hosting hundreds of artists performing to an audience of over 20,000 music fans and 2,000 industry professionals from 37 different countries, it offers controversial debate, unparalleled networking, amazing music, outstanding art, throughout three inspirational days and hedonistic nights, in the world’s most legendary music city. Other Sound City events include New York Sound City, Sound City Korea, Off the Record - Manchester, Sounds of the Xity: China (in partnership with Modern Sky Entertainment). In 2016 Sound City received investment from Modern Sky, China's largest entertainment company which led to the set-up of a sister company, Modern Sky UK. Modern Sky UK works with artists including Slow Readers Club, The Blinders, Calva Louise, No Hot Ashes, SPINN, Beyond Average, Red Rum Club, and Catholic Action. Rebecca is passionate about emerging talent succeeding and one of the favourite parts of her role is overseeing the international and emerging artist programme. She also runs the Sound City Entrepreneur Training Programmes which are aimed at anyone who has a burning desire to work in the music industry and board member of the UK Association of Independent Festivals.

Cath Hurley

Artist Manager at Mostdeffo

Mostdeffo is a brand new music management company in Liverpool. Ultimately, Mostdeffo was created by Cath Hurley to manage artists but is also an additional resource and positive voice providing industry support to the existing music organisations based in the region.

For a number of years Cath worked in Online PR, Digital Marketing and Social Media Management for an extremely varied roster from brand new acts through to established artists, such as Ellie Goulding and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Her work with new bands and artists often focused on helping them get the attention of labels and to build their fan base. She would often be the first industry professional working with the band and would build their release strategy.

She then moved on to become Product Manager at Rough Trade Records, leading on the releases for the likes of Parquet Courts, SOAK and Girl Band. This involved overseeing all elements of album releases and working closely with acts to realise their vision.
She has spent the last couple of years leading on the marketing for a number of organisations in the wider arts here in Liverpool. Alongside this she continues to rack up many hours lecturing at LIPA, helping the students to ready themselves for a professional life in music.

Craig Pennington

Editor of Bido Lito!

Craig is the founder of Liverpool music institution Bido Lito! Since it first emerged in May 2010, Bido Lito!’s monthly magazine has established itself at the forefront of new music on Merseyside, providing a vital platform for the region’s new music and creative culture. The magazine also runs a vibrant and successful creative agency, working with a range of local, national and international brands. In addition to this, Craig is a co-founder of Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia; a genre-defining festival which led The Guardian to name Liverpool the ‘Great Psychedelic Capital of Europe’. The festival was named the UK’s ‘Best Small Festival’ at the 2015 NME Awards.

In 2018, Craig collaborated with Liverpool John Moores University, co-authoring ‘Liverpool, Music City?’, a report into the current state of the Liverpool music sector. The report calls for a sector-led and bottom up approach to music policy in the city, developing a new collaborative model and allowing Liverpool to achieve its potential as an international exemplar of a dynamic global music city.

Mathew Flynn

Lecturer at the University of Liverpool

Dr Mathew Flynn is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool (UoL) and teaches mainly on the MA in Music Industry Studies programme. Before joining the Institute of Popular Music at UoL, he taught music business and professional development on the BA Music degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). Prior to teaching in higher education, Mat worked as a mentor on the New Deal for Musicians programme, and before and during that time was also a self-employed practitioner in the music industries, owning rehearsal rooms and an independent record label. In 2020 he was awarded a PhD for research that explored how UK based musicians make creative and career based decisions. His research on the music industries has been published by Bloomsbury in books on music entrepreneurship and music futures. In addition to his writing, in 2017 Mat coordinated the Liverpool section of the UK Live Music Census project, the world's first national survey of live music. Previously he has worked on educational, outreach and employment projects for the BBC, Sound City and the European Social Fund. Most recently, in collaboration with Bido Lito, Mat has been the lead researcher on the Playing In project, which has analysed the impact of the pandemic on the LCR’s Music sector.

Paul Gallagher

Deputy Director of The Museum of Liverpool (National Museums Liverpool)

Paul joined National Museums Liverpool (NML) in 1986 and has enjoyed a wide and varied career across the museum sector.

His first museum role was in film and sound production within exhibitions across NML. In 2004, he became Concept Developer for the Museum of Liverpool (MoL) before becoming NML's first Curator of Contemporary Collecting in 2005; specialising in music, sport and popular cultures.

Paul was a key member of the team that delivered The Beat Goes On in 2008; the first major exhibition and exploration of the city's musical heritage and reputation. He was lead curator and co-Ordinator of the Wondrous Place gallery in the Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011. This gallery celebrated the city's creative identity and, with a major focus on music, included The Beatles immersive experience, In the Town Where I Was Born.

He has continued to lead and contribute to many music related exhibitions and projects within NML; collaborating with music industry creatives to deliver live music events in the museums, the exhibition Double Fantasy - John & Yoko and the recent Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band - immersive experience.

Paul is currently Deputy Director of Museums at NML. He is also a member of the city's Beatles Legacy Group.

Jennifer John

Creative Director and Music Manager of Sense of Sound Singers

Jennifer John is an award winning choral composer, vocal coach (specialising in artistic development) and music mentor. With a long a varied international history of working within the commercial music sector and strategist and performer and having worked intensively within community education, diversity and equality are at the heart of all of of her work. This has impacted local and national infrastructure around multiculturalism and gender equality.

As a vocal coach on ITV's The Voice and The Voice Kids, Jennifer has an outstanding career working with 1000s of young, emerging and successful artists within schools, specialist performance colleges and internationally renowned institutions and conservatoires.

As the Creative Director and Manager of the vocal ensemble Sense of Sound Singers, she has ensured that they been the choir of choice to perform with: Damon Albarn, Take That, Jo Bon Jovi, Cream Classical, Yoko Ono, Roger Waters, Russell Watson, Seal, Paloma Faith, NIle Rodgers & Chic, Natalie McCool, Blossoms, Shlomo, Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Space, The Christians, Cast, Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band and so many more....

Her biggest achievement to date was receiving a Pioneer for The Nation award in acknowledgement for her contribution to community choir development on Merseyside.

Steve Levine

Independent Music Producer

Starting as a trainee tape-op at CBS studios in 1975, progressed to engineer and worked with many new wave & punk acts.

Steve produced all of Culture Club’s three multi-platinum albums. Since then he has worked with a wide spectrum of artistes and composed a number of film scores; received a number of prestigious awards including a Brit Award, Music week Award and a Grammy, A SONY Radio Award and most recently a Gold Award in the New York Radio Festival.

Steve has also appeared on many radio and TV programs, he is a regular guest presenter of the paper review on BBC weekend Breakfast News and on BBC’s 6 Music, with his own BBC 6 music show
His radio production company produces radio content, in particular, The Record Producers, a radio documentary series for BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music for which Steve received a Sony Radio Award.

Author of the very successful Hit Kit and the Art of Downloading Music, he judges for Pledge Music, Arqiva Radio Awards and the Liverpool International Music Festival Academy.

Steve is a LIPA Companion (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts).

Chris Meehan

Chief Executive of Sentric Music

Chris Meehan founded Sentric Music whilst at university in 2006, developing the powerful technology at the core of the indie publisher’s operations. Today, that software drives an administration system which handles more than 1m copyrights across the world.

In the 12 years since its formation, Meehan has built Sentric into an award-winning publisher that represents more than 150,000 songwriters and licenses music directly in over 100 countries. The company employs more than 75 people across its Liverpool headquarters and offices in London, Amsterdam, Hamburg and New York and LA.

Meehan has personally struck deals with a range of leading music companies all over the globe and currently sits on the boards of a number of influential advisory groups in the music publishing world. Meehan has raised in excess of £5m for companies and fuelled growth via international expansion and acquisitions.

He has appeared in Music Week’s 30 Under 30 and Music Business Worldwide’s Young Executive list for 2015.

Andy McCluskey

Lead Singer of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Andy McCluskey is the founding member, song writer and lead singer with the band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark since 1978.

OMD have sold over 40 million records; received 3 Ivor Novello nominations, and has headlined concerts around the world - the largest audience being 250,000.

For the past 6 years, Andy has been a Trustee at National Museums of Liverpool and is also a Director of Board of Trading at National Museums Liverpool.
Andy performed live and delivered a speech about the healing power of music at the Dresden International Peace Prize 2015.

He is Patron of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and Liverpool Sketching Club.

Andy is a regular reviewer and presenter on art and culture media programmes. eg. BBC Radio 4 Front Row, and Broadcasting House, BBC TV Newsnight.

Alok Nayak

CEO & Artistic Director of Milap

Alok is currently CEO & Artistic Director of Milap, an international Indian Arts and Culture Company, based in Liverpool. He is responsible for the leadership, strategic and artistic direction of the organisation, delivering a long-term plan for Indian arts. Alok is an experienced professional and cultural leader, with specialist skills in artist development and mentoring, production and curation, and is currently in the final stages of PhD research on Indian music in Britain. His Milap role focuses on creating pathways for young artists, producing new music performances and events, and in creating projects and programmes that help people of all backgrounds understand, enjoy and appreciate Indian arts.

Following university qualifications in languages, literature, politics and public administration, Alok began a career in the arts, a creative industry in which he could pursue his passion to help make a difference to people's lives.

Founded in 1985, Milap’s mission is to Inspire, educate and entertain people of all backgrounds. Milap’s ethos is expressed best through these words ‘Uniting Hearts Through Arts’, as they use performances, events and projects to try to bring people together, give them amazing experiences, and send them away happy. Milap runs a varied national performance programme, an academy for emerging artists, and various strategic programmes to develop Indian arts. It is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity.

Yaw Owusu

Executive Manager of The Playmaker Group

After completing University, Yaw launched URBEATZ - a music and media organisation, which soon became known throughout the UK for its unique brand of music, film and youth culture engagement, resulting in several awards for creativity, innovation and enterprise.

In 2011, Yaw joined ex-BBC executive Ray Paul at music consultancy, media and events company THE PLAYMAKER GROUP (PMG). Under the PMG, Yaw has worked with a number of world leading brands, organisations and artists including Nike, AEG, Sony, Universal Records, The Fader, AATW, VP Records / Greensleeves, BBC Radio 1Xtra, MTV, Dizzee Rascal, Damian Marley and many more.

Yaw is also the Creative Director of Nothin But The Music (NBTM) which launched in 2012. Under NBTM, Yaw has programmed and curated a number of key music events and projects working with and for clients such as MTV, BET, Liverpool International Music Festival, BBC Radio 1 Academy, MOBO, Jockey Club Live, Boiler Room, Sound City, The Brit School, Laces Out! Festival and the Competitor Group. In addition, NBTM have released a number of singles and projects that have earned acclaim, major syncs and national and international radio support. More recently NBTM have established themselves as key talent developers; heading up the award-winning LIMF Academy, scouting and consulting for major labels as well as A&Ring for and developing the likes of XamVolo and Sub Blue. In 2018, NBTM and THE PLAYMAKER GROUP merged - establishing a formidable multi-strand creative solutions organisation.

In 2017, Yaw, alongside partners Seani B and Ray Paul, founded BrukOut Entertainment and launched a joint venture Record Label with Universal, BrukOut Records, where Yaw is the Label and Business Director. So far, BrukOut have released records that have received playlist positions on key radio and streaming platforms as well as impacting national club charts.

Barbara Phillips

Artist Manager at Positive Impact

Barbara Phillips became a professional singer at the age of 16 in Liverpool female vocal harmony band Distinction. She has written and composed 2 original musicals – ‘Misunderstood?’ performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and Contact Theatre Manchester – and ‘Brand New World’ which was staged at the Edinburgh Festival. Barbara also spent two years as a Television Scriptwriter for Brookside.

Barbara is currently the Artist Manager of Positive Impact - a community training and development organisation for young people wishing to get involved in the performing arts. Developing local young talent is a passion – Positive Impact helps to recognise, develop and support talented young people and emerging musicians providing a springboard for young emerging talent from the local community. Through strategic planning and by developing partnerships with mainstream music organisations, Positive Impact has been able to open doors and influence in the support of musical development.

A number of young people who trained at Positive Impact have gone on to forge successful careers in the mainstream music industry signing publishing and record deals with Universal and Atlantic Records whilst also touring nationally and internationally - two of whom, local singer Esco Williams and Vocal Harmony group MiC LOWRY who Barbara co-manages have gone on to win MOBO Awards as Emerging Artists.

Catherine Tackley

Head of the Department of Music at the University of Liverpool

Professor Catherine Tackley is Head of the Department of Music at the University of Liverpool, having held posts at Leeds College of Music and The Open University.

A jazz specialist, she has written two books – ‘The Evolution of Jazz in Britain: c. 1880-1935’ (Ashgate, 2005) and ‘Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert’ (OUP, 2012) - and co-edited ‘Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance’ (Ashgate, 2014).

In 2018, Catherine curated ‘Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain’, an acclaimed exhibition in London based on her research.

She is a Trustee of the National Jazz Archive (UK) and Musical Director of Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats Big Band.

Ian Thomas

Chair of LCR Music Education Alliance

With over 20 years' experience within music education, Ian is currently the global Head of Evaluation for Arts for the British Council working with international partners overseeing the evaluation of the British Council's global arts programmes and the current chair of the Merseyside Music Education Hub Alliance working across 6 local authorities to develop their music education opportunities for young people from across Merseyside.

Previous to his work with the British Council, Ian worked for Telford & Wrekin Council as their lead for Music Education, leading the award winning Telford & Wrekin Music Education Hub, the development of their In Harmony programme with the CBSO and Manchester Camerata, Creative Employment Programme, their Musical Communities programme working across 4 local authorities in the West Midlands and building an international partnership with other music education programmes in Europe and Canada. Ian has served on previous boards such as Make Some Noise, Arts Connect and Disability Arts Shropshire. and has published articles on music education and arts and soft power. Ian is a graduate of both Liverpool and Durham Universities.

Ben Williams

Commercial Director at The ACC Liverpool Group

Ben Williams is Commercial Director at The ACC Liverpool Group, operators of Destination Venue ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre, M&S Bank Arena and Exhibition Centre Liverpool and ticketing agency Ticket Quarter.

As commercial director, Ben's role includes developing the overall commercial strategy for The ACC Liverpool Group. He oversees the commercial and sponsorship, marketing, sales and ticketing teams across all markets in which the company operates.

Ben joined from SMG Europe where, as general manager, he led the team that launched the first direct Arena in Leeds five years ago. Prior to this, he was commercial and marketing director at Manchester Arena and previously a head of sponsorship and promotions for Capital Radio Group.

Ben has worked within the music industry and across both small and large scale venues for many years and has knowledge and experience of working with many local and national promoters, agents and managers.