Born in Hawick, in the beautiful Scottish Borders, Helen enjoyed a rich and diverse musical upbringing, becoming Principal Clarinet of both the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and National Youth Chamber Orchestra of Scotland. Former Head Girl of Hawick High School, Helen gained a place to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester; a Virtuosi Society Bursary enabled additional Clarinet study with Gervase de Peyer in Washington DC. After graduating, she went on to follow an exciting and varied career in and around Manchester, particularly involved in church music, whilst raising a young family. Teaching, performing and directing across a huge spectrum of styles, Helen worked for a number of years as a Director of Worship in Didsbury and has directed the music for live BBC broadcasts, including her own compositions and arrangements, on Radio 4. She has recently conducted and arranged music for BBC Songs of Praise in Edinburgh. Helen is delighted to have returned to her homeland with her husband, organist Simon Leach, and their children, and is loving her new lifestyle in this scenic part of the world, combining instrumental and theory teaching with composition. She has composed music for recent royal milestones, which Simon has played at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.
Supported by the Marchmont Makers Foundation, Helen was thrilled to be invited to be a Composer in Residence for Marchmont House, Berwickshire, in May 2022 and, inspired by the exceptional birdsong and natural beauty of the Marchmont Estate, is busy composing a series of pieces which will be recorded in 2023. As part of the vibrant community of artists at Marchmont, her music reflects her wonder for creation and seeks to express the worth of all life.