Musical Team

James Llewelyn Jones

James Llewelyn Jones B Mus (Hons) M Mus

Musical Director & Conductor

James was born in New Zealand and raised in Montgomeryshire. His musical education continued in Birmingham, where he gained his B Mus (Hons) and M Mus degrees with distinction.

James has toured extensively to America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and most of Europe. He is in great demand as a choral clinician and workshop leader and has undertaken workshops in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, and New Zealand at the invitation of the Australian and New Zealand Choral Federations, and in Chicago and Vancouver for the Association of American Choral Directors. He has also accepted several invitations from the Toronto Children's Chorus - firmly regarded as the finest children's choir in the world.

James was also the conductor of the Canzonetta Children's Choirs of Manchester - formerly the internationally acclaimed Manchester Boys' Choir. He also conducted the National Children's Choir of Great Britain for some 11 years. In 2010 James was invited to be a guest conductor with the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus - Seniors, and under his direction the Senior Choirs and Chamber Choir from Edgbaston High School for Girls have performed to great acclaim; they also had the honour of appearing as Guest Artistes for Hayley Westenra's 'Christmas Wishes' concert at Symphony Hall.

James is a vocal tutor with Youth Music Great Britain and the North Wales Youth Choir and has tutored and prepared the youth choirs for the annual BBC Radio 3 St. David's Day Concert at St. David's Hall, Cardiff, including new works by Karl Jenkins conducted by the composer. In 2016 he fulfilled a lifelong ambition to conduct one of the leading Welsh choirs, becoming Musical Director of Rhos Male Voice Choir, one of the oldest and most successful of the Welsh choirs. In 2017 James had the amazing opportunity of singing solo the Welsh National Anthem at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff with Coldplay in front of 78,000 people.

James became Musical Director of Phoenix Singers Birmingham in March 2014 and later that year he also became the Musical Director of the Midlands Hospitals' Choir. For 17 years from 2004 to 2021, James also conducted the Canoldir Male Choir, which achieved outstanding competitive success, winning every competition it entered under his direction.

Sara Wilander

Sara Wilander BMus (Hons), M Mus


Sara has accompanied Phoenix Singers since 2005. She is a talented musician who plays a crucial part in our rehearsals and our performances.

Sara was born in Sweden and started playing the piano at the age of eight. At 15, she made her debut as a soloist with the Sinfonia Classica of Brussels, Belgium. Whilst still at secondary school, Sara studied with Professor Rolf Lindblom of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

After preparatory studies at the Conservatoire National de Region of Chalon sur Saône, France, she continued at Birmingham Conservatoire under Simon Nicholls and Malcolm Wilson, where she completed her BMus (Hons), PgCert, PgDip and MMus.

Sara has an international background and has participated successfully in Swedish, German, English and French competitions as both a soloist and accompanist.

She is in great demand as a performer and has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist throughout Europe. She also works as a piano teacher and repetiteur and choral accompanist. She has worked with companies such as the Welsh National Opera, Elmhurst Ballet School, the Royal Ballet School, and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group as well as a multitude of choirs and smaller ensembles. Sara is also a harpsichordist and performs regularly with various baroque and renaissance ensembles.

Sara was also a member of the Canoldir Male Choir piano team from 2017 to 2021.