Music Academy Staff

Mr Tim Norman

Dean of Music

MAEd(IntlEd), GradCertEdLead, BMus(MusEd)(Hons)

Tim currently holds the position of acting Dean of Music at Canberra Girls Grammar School. Prior to this, he was the acting Director of Music at Burgmann Anglican School where he also taught junior school music. He holds an MA in Education (International Education) from the University of Bath, a Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from UNSW, and a Bachelor of Music (Music Education) (Honours) from the University of Sydney (Sydney Conservatorium of Music). An experienced IB educator, Tim holds the IB Certificate in Teaching and Learning and the IB Advanced Certificate in Teaching and Learning Research. He has taught music and conducted choirs in several schools, both in Australia and abroad. Prior to working at Burgmann Anglican School, Tim taught at the International School of London Qatar and before this Macarthur Anglican School in Sydney. He serves on the committee for the ACT Music Educators Network (ACTMEN) and is the technology columnist for the Journal of General Music Education. Tim is passionate about music education research and has published in the Australian Journal of Music Education. He is excited to join the CGGS community and the Music Academy team in 2022.

Mrs Sara David

Deputy Dean of Music

BA Ed (Hons)

Sara David has pursued her passion for Music Education since graduating from Christ Church University (Canterbury, United Kingdom) with a Batchelor of Arts and Education (Hons). Her experience in leading the Bristol Chamber Orchestra and running the North Somerset Music Centre for Young Musicians Junior Orchestra, in addition to classroom teaching, was invaluable as Sara began teaching at the highly regarded CGGS Junior School Music Department in 2005. Qualified as an Orff Music Education Practitioner, Sara believes that young children “playing and doing” is a vital element of their Music Education. Sara specialises in teaching classroom music in the Early Learning Centre, Junior Primary classes and Year 3. She has developed choirs for young singers and the Celtic Music Ensemble. In addition to classroom music teaching, Sara plays violin in many school settings modelling to students a collaborative approach in music playing and a lifelong love of instrumental music. She is passionate that “music should be available to all students and that music education is essential to their development of social, cognitive, and motor skills.

Mr Joel Copeland

Director (Co-Curricular)

MEd (Educational Leadership), BEd (Secondary Music), Ad Dip (Leadership & Management), MACEL

Joel Copeland currently holds the position of Director (Co-curricular) at Canberra Girls Grammar School, following on from the establishment of the Music Academy in the role of Dean of Music. Prior to this, he was employed at Radford College where he was Head of Music and Director of Choirs. Joel holds a Master of Education (Educational Leadership), a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Music), has been an exponent of the Kodály philosophy throughout his teaching career and in 2015, received the Australian Kodály Certificate in Secondary Music Education. He is a regular presenter at conferences and workshops around the country and is an accredited Australian Kodaly Certificate lecturer. In 2016, Joel obtained an Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management through the Australian Institute of Management and in 2021 was certified by the Teacher Quality Institute as a Lead Teacher. He has directed bands, orchestras and ensembles across all year levels and has a strong passion for choral music. Joel’s experience in leadership and governance extended to his role as a Director of the Radford College Board in 2016. With experience teaching students from Pre-Kindergarten through to Year 12 as well as adult music learners in a community setting, Joel believes that music education should be made accessible to all and above all else, music learning should be fun and engaging. In 2010, Joel spent 18 months in the UK as the Assistant Director of Music at Kent College, Canterbury. Joel also undertook a 4 year term as the National President of the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia (KMEIA Inc.) and is also a past President of the ACT Music Educators Network (ACTMEN). Joel was involved in the Music Australia delegation to Parliament House in 2017 and has previously held positions on the National Council of the Australian Society for Music Education (ASME)

Ms Sonia Connor

Head of Choirs

MMus, BMus

In 2010 Sonia was the Kornfeld Scholar and completed a Masters of Music at The Australian National University, majoring in voice performance, under the tutelage of Christina Wilson and Alan Hicks. That year she also performed the role of Dido, and was awarded third prize in The Australian National Eisteddfod Aria Competition. She has performed as a soloist in a number of Requiems, Masses and Passions. Sonia also performed in all of the ANU School of Music operas during her study there, including Sly in the world premiere of Grimm and the Blue Crown Owl, written by Josh McHugh, and Minna in Rautavaara’s Gift of the Magi. 2009 marked the beginning of Sonia’s touring career, when she revisited her role as a Dame in Co-Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. Between 2010 and 2019 Sonia was living in Vienna, teaching voice technique and performance practice, while furthering her own vocal studies with Carol Blaickner-Mayo. In 2012 Sonia had the opportunity to perform in two university recitals including Strauss’s Four Last Songs. During 2013 Sonia was awarded first prizes in the Australian National Eisteddfod and the Orange Eisteddfod, and was a quarter-finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod. 2013-14 also had Sonia performing her first role in Vienna- Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo. In 2015 Sonia gave 5 concerts in Australia, including two Embassy concerts and an Art Song Canberra concert, and was a semi-finalist in the Elizabeth Connell Dramatic Soprano Singing Competition. 2017 saw Sonia’s return to the stage beginning with Verdi’s Requiem. Other engagements included recitals with Art Song Canberra, Victorian Lieder Society, and The Robert Stolz Viennese Music Society, all culminating with the jazz inspired work Mass in Blue by Will Todd. In July 2018, Sonia was Artist in Residence at The Street Theatre in Canberra, in a completely foreign capacity, as a creative producer for the beginnings of a new stage work involving acting, song, and dance. Having grown up in Canberra, Sonia was heavily involved in choral singing from an early age which furthered her passion for performing, teaching, conducting, and performance practice/etiquette. She has conducted numerous choirs around Canberra and given masterclasses and workshops here and abroad.

Mrs Lilian Hathorn

Head of Keyboard


Lilian Hathorn is a piano and theory teacher with 25 years teaching experience. She has been an instrumental tutor at Canberra Girl’s Grammar School for over 20 years, both in the Senior and Junior Schools. Whilst Lilian has had a particular interest in teaching advanced theory and harmony, she has taught privately and in a group setting to students of all ages and levels. Over the years, she has maintained a high standard of teaching that has resulted in consistently good results from the AMEB for both her Piano and Theory students. Lilian studied classical piano performance with Prof Larry Sitsky and Harmony with Marretje Van Wezel at the Canberra School of Music. She holds a Licentiate and Performer’s Diploma in Piano Performance with Trinity College, London, and an Associate Diploma with both the Australian Music Examinations Board and the Australian Guild of Music. As well as her musical studies Lilian also graduated with first class Honours in Philosophy from the ANU. Her teaching philosophy emphasises music’s accessibility to the motivated student. Far from the elitist prone notions of ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’, a musical education can and should be experienced by all those willing to learn. Lilian attributes her teaching success to her respectful teaching style. She is happy to relinquish the power dynamic, so often associated with teaching, in favour of a mutually respectful relationship with her students. Finding that even young children respond best when the responsibility of their learning is theirs to nurture.

Ms Christina Hopgood

Academic Music Teacher (Currently on leave)

BMus (Hons) / BSci (Psych); M Teach (Secondary)

Christina studied classical percussion at the ANU School of Music where she received first class honours for her specialty ragtime xylophone project. She also studied at the Bob Becker Ragtime Xylophone Institute in the United States in 2010. Christina received an ArtsACT grant to travel to Sweden and teach percussion workshops in 2011. Christina taught percussion at CGGS from 2011 until 2016 when she moved to Norway for three years. In Norway, Christina taught classroom music at Norlights International School, Oslo. Christina is an Old Grammarian of Canberra Girls Grammar School.

Mrs Lim Hur

Academic Music Teacher & Ensemble Conductor

Dip Mus (Performance), GradDip Ed (Sec)

Lim Hur is a highly-experienced music teacher and has worked at CGGS for many years. She has taught music classes from Years 7 to 12 and has helped coordinate many music ensembles and concerts. Notably Lim founded the Gabriel String Quartet and has co-led the jazz band at many successful eisteddfods. Prior to working at CGGS, Lim taught at Kambah High School and Narrabandah College. Lim has also worked in the NSW school system teaching HSC music and led the Music Department at Berkeley Vale High School from 1983 to 1993. Lim is a committed believer in both Orff and Kodaly methodology in music education, and enjoys keeping her skills up to date by attending yearly workshops and international conferences. Lim studied piano performance at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music under Leah Horowitz.

Mr Justin Lingard

Head of Brass

BMus (Hons)

Justin began his music studies at the age of five, learning piano and cornet. Pursuing a career as a professional trumpet player, Justin studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music graduating with a Bachelor of Music with Honours in 1999. In 1999, Justin joined the Australian Defence Force as a professional musician and has held appointments to the Australian Army Bands in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney, Wagga Wagga and the Band of the Royal Military College in Canberra. As an orchestral trumpet player, Justin has been a regular guest performer with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Philharmonia, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and has recorded the orchestral soundtracks to numerous Australian and international films and television commercials with the Sydney Scoring Orchestra. Justin has also been engaged to perform with artists such as Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Natalie Cole, George Benson, Tina Arena, Kate Miller Heidke, The Whitlams, Lior, Little Patti, Normie Rowe, Megan Washington. Justin now lives in Canberra and earns his living as a professional music educator and freelance musician. Justin is the acting principal trumpet of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the principal trumpet of the National Pops Orchestra, a Performing Teaching Fellow at the School of Music of the Australian National University, an Australian Music Examinations Board examiner and is a reserve member of the Band of the Royal Military College. As a brass pedagogue, Justin contributes to the instrumental band programmes as an instrumental music teacher and band conductor in a number of schools in the Canberra region.

Mrs Wyana O’Keeffe

Junior School Academic Teacher & Head of Bands

BMus MTeach(Sec)

Wyana is a vibrant and enthusiastic Performer Educator with a passion for sharing her love of music and music making.

Wyana began her musical journey, learning piano as a young child. She commenced playing percussion in high school and went on to study the instrument at the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University. Since graduating from the ANU with a Bachelor of Music Performance in 2005, Wyana has been an active member of the musical community in Australia working as a professional freelance musician in Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Townsville. Highlights of her career include, touring with Opera Australia’s My Fair Lady (2009), performing as soloist with the Barrier Reef Orchestra in 2021 and her role of Principal Percussionist of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra for over 12 years. She is very proud of her work as percussionist, arranger and founding member of Canberra’s premier chamber music group, The Griffyn Ensemble, most recently her work in the development of , ‘One Sky, Many Stories’ with Michael Sollis and Aboriginal songwriter and country music legend, Warren H Williams.

Wyana has a teaching career spanning 20 years as instrumental teacher and ensemble director across the public and private systems throughout Australia. Upon completion of her Master of Teaching in 2019, Wyana moved into the classroom, playing an integral role in the roll out of the Y4-6 Instrumental Immersion Program at Southern Cross Catholic College (QLD). She has been sought after to provide tutorials for music camps, youth orchestras, school music incursions and provide master-classes for ATAR, VCE, HSC and AMEB candidates and auditionees, as well as presenting professional development sessions in her specialist area. Wyana has been the conductor and musical director of numerous school and community concert bands including the Canberra City Band (ACT), Claremont Concert Band (WA) and the Junior Band at prestigious Melbourne specialist music school, Blackburn High. In 2021, Wyana was appointed band specialist for the the Mulkadee Youth Arts Festival in North Queensland and looks forward to continuing this relationship in 2022.

Wyana first joined the CGGS Music Department in 2002 as Percussion Teacher and Ensemble Director before relocating to Melbourne with her family in 2012. She is delighted to be re-joining the CGGS family and the Music Academy, 20 years on, in her new capacity as classroom music teacher in the Junior School. She is committed to continuing the amazing work of her predecessors and sharing her knowledge and passion for music with her students.

Mr Stephen Rabe

Head of Woodwind

BMus, Dip Teach, Assoc. Dip Mus

Stephen graduated from the Canberra School of Music in 1992 with a B.Mus, Distinction in Clarinet Performance. He also holds a Diploma of Teaching & an Assoc. Dip.Mus. from the University of Tasmania. He has performed professionally with many orchestras including Principal Clarinet with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, The Canberra Mozart Orchestra, Canberra Pro Arte Orchestra, Canberra Choral Society Orchestra & the Llewellyn Choir Orchestra. He has also performed as Soloist & Chamber musician throughout Australia & overseas in the Rotterdam Concert Hall, The Australian Embassy in London, The Esterhazy Palace, as well as live broadcasts on ABC FM, & ABC TV. Stephen is highly regarded as a clarinet teacher & many of his students have gone on to further their studies throughout Australia & overseas. On two occasions his students have been selected to perform at the Encore Gala Concert in the Sydney Opera House for gaining top marks in performance in the NSW HSC. Stephen is currently the Head of Woodwind at CGGS and has implemented a wide range of new ensembles such as the CGGS Wind Quintet, Wind Quartet, Clarinet Ensemble, Sax Ensemble, Sax Quartet and a Double Reed Program. He is passionate about providing opportunities for new students to experience the joy of learning to play an instrument.


Instrumental Teachers

Mrs Inessa Babajanov

Piano Teacher


Inessa Babajanov was born in Russia, and began studying Classical Piano at age 4. She completed the Conservatoire of Music in Russia with honours. Later progressing to be the head accompanist at the Kazakhstan National University. She later moved to Australia in 1994 to pursue her music career. Inessa has played in numerous shows and events, including Pride and Prejudice, The Adelaide Jazz festival, accompanying the ABC orchestral auditions as well as holding master classes and adjudicating Canberra Piano competitions.

Mrs Veronica Bailey

Percussion Teacher & Conductor - KT Percussion Ensemble

MMus, BMus

Veronica is Principal Percussionist with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. She has a Bachelor of Music from the Australian National University, and a Master’s degree focusing on percussion pedagogy. She also studied at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University In 2007. Veronica is a passionate educator and has been the classical percussion teacher at the ANU School of Music since 2018, ANU Open School since 2010 and CGGS since 2020. A number of her students have won prizes nationally, participated in Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) programs, and have been awarded scholarships to study at the ANU, Sydney Conservatorium of Music and other universities.

Mrs Charlene Brighenti

Piano Teacher

BMus, BA, MEd, LAGM, AMusA, AAGM, CMusA (Distinction), Perf. Cert. TCL, MMTA.

Charlene has been teaching piano mainly at Canberra Girls Grammar School since 2000, as well as in her own private studio. She has taught previously at various ACT schools, including St Vincent’s Primary, Hawker Primary, Lyneham Primary and Lyneham High, Merici College, Cook Primary and Macquarie Primary. Charlene believes strongly in fostering an environment where students feel motivated, comfortable contributing and asking questions, and are challenged appropriately while aspiring towards their individual goals and interests. She aims to make lesson time meaningful, encourage independent learning skills, and help stimulate a lasting appreciation for music. Charlene holds a Bachelor of Music from the AICM (majoring in piano pedagogy), receiving recognition for a distinguished academic record at her graduation, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from UC (majoring in public relations), piano performance diplomas including a Licentiate Diploma (AGMS), two Associate Diplomas (AMEB, AGMS), a Certificate of Music Australia with Distinction (AMEB), and a Performance Certificate (Trinity College). In 2019 Charlene graduated with a Master of Education in Expert Teaching Practice from Monash University. She found the further graduate study relevant and enriching and received much positive feedback. Charlene is an Accredited private music teacher, has been a full member of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW since 1998, and has been a member of ACTKA since its inception in 2013.

Miss Carly Brown

French Horn Teacher

BMus, Grad Dip. Ed. (Sec)

A native Canberran, Carly began playing horn at an early age, and quickly become fascinated with the instrument. Carly studied with Ysolt Clarke and Len Fischer before completing a Bachelor of Music (ANU) with Dominic Harvey. Carly won places at National Music Camps, was a Young Australian Concert Artist (2001) and a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra (2001-03). Carly is an experienced performer in many styles and has worked as a session musician for a variety of ensembles and recordings throughout Australia in the course of her playing career. Carly was a member of the critically acclaimed contemporary chamber group, the Gryffin Ensemble (2008 -2012), recording a CD with this group, Illicit Passions, in 2011. Carly is currently a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the National Pops Orchestra, and is a Reservist with the Band of the Royal Military College (Australian Army). She is in demand as a performer, contributing to events such as the Canberra International Music Festival, the National Folk Festival and Canberra Centenary concerts, as well as lending her skills to musical theatre and community ensembles. Carly has a passion for music education and is actively involved in the development of young horn players in and around Canberra. Carly teaches students of all ages and experience and tailor lessons to each individual. Carly began her teaching studio in 2000 and became a Performance tutor in French horn at ANU in 2011.

Ms Phillipa Candy

Piano Teacher

B.A. (Mus), L.Mus.A (Piano), Grad Top (Sec. Music), MMus (Piano Performance)

Phillipa Candy is a highly respected professional musician. Her versatility has seen her work as an accompanist, conductor, pianist, private piano teacher, college teacher, repetiteur, and vocal coach. She holds two Masters degrees in piano performance, one from Australia, and one from the US, both times securing scholarships for performance and academic excellence. She furthered her study in vocal accompaniment with the late Geoffrey Parsons in London. Phillipa toured with Musica Viva twice: in 1988 as founding pianist with the semi-classical group Austral Skies, and from 2011 as pianist with soprano Louise Page in the show Nellie Melba: Queen of Song. Since 1992, Phillipa has worked with soprano Louise Page to promote and foster Art Song after she returned from overseas. They have produced 6 CDs of varying genres: Art Songs by Richard Strauss, Erich Korngold, The Magic of Operetta, song cycles by Australian composers Ann Carr-Boyd, Horace Keats and Christmas songs. They have also performed the Operetta show regionally and interstate. This year she helped premiere a song cycle by Canberra composer Michael Dooley, who has now been given a major commission for a Melbourne audience. Phillipa repetiteured for operas including Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Gounod’s Faust, Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea, Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, as well as in the Belgian production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. She was conductor and Music Director for Canberra City Opera’s critically acclaimed Marriage of Figaro, and later, Trial by Jury and Some Enchanted Evening. She has performed for ABC Sunday Live with artists Louise Page, flautist Teresa Rabe and violinist Barbra Gilby. Twice she played with mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell for Art Song recitals in Canberra. Phillipa has worked constantly as a piano teacher for over 40 years in conjunction with balancing her performing commitments. She enjoys variety in her musical life. She is committed to excellence in musical education and to developing and fostering young talented musicians.

Mr John Couch

Guitar Teacher & Conductor – Schaupp Guitar Ensemble

MMus, MBA, FTCL, Post-Grad. Dip. (Performance/Research), BMus

John Couch graduated in 2000 with a Masters of Music (MMus) in classical guitar performance and pedagogy and has been teaching classical guitar since 1994. His teaching philosophy is one that balances enjoyment with progression, enabling students to progress technically and musically on the classical guitar while discovering a rich repertoire for the instrument. As an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB NSW) he has a broad knowledge of the student repertoire. John has adjudicated many music performance competitions from local eisteddfods to international guitar competitions in Mexico. John is the director of New Zealand’s premiere classical guitar festival, the Taranaki Classical Guitar Summer School (TCGSS); a biennial festival that connects international and local professional and vocational classical guitarists. As a performer, John tours internationally as both a soloist and chamber musician and is a core member of the New Zealand Guitar Quartet (NZGQ). He has recorded for radio and television in Australia, Vietnam, Canada and New Zealand and has released five CD recordings, including his latest solo album Ask Me Tomorrow featured heavily on the ABC Classic FM. “An extraordinary musician, a perfect technique:” Edition Beauce, Quebec (Canada).

Ms Elizabeth Edward

Violin & Viola Teacher

BMus (Performance)

Elizabeth graduated from the ANU School of Music with a Bachelor of Music majoring in performance and has been teaching for the past 15 years through her private studio and teaching Violin at Canberra Girls Grammar for the last 2 years. Elizabeth has also had over 10 years experience in the Child Care industry and is passionate about teaching children the joys of music and helping them to express their inner beauty through playing violin and using music to help in all areas of education. Teaching great posture is very important to Elizabeth so as to improve longevity of playing. Elizabeth has also been involved with various orchestras and chamber groups in Canberra.

Mr John Gilbert

Trombone & Tuba Teacher

B.A. (Hons), Grad Dip. Ed.

A trombone player and teacher of all brass instruments, John has been involved in Music Education for the past 50 years, initially working in schools in England and then as Director of Music at Canberra Grammar School and then Head of Performing Arts at Radford College. He has prepared students for many exams and recitals and has adjudicated many performances. He is currently teaching brass instruments privately in Canberra with students from beginner to AMusA standard. John was also the AMEB most Outstanding Brass Teacher for 2017 & 2019.

Mrs Alice Giles

Harp Teacher

Dip Mus (Performance)

Alice Giles is celebrated as one of the world’s leading harpists. First Prize winner of the Eighth Israel International Harp Contest, she has had a wide and varied international solo career, from London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Merkin, ‘Y’ and Carnegie Halls, to Mawson Station, Antarctica, and continues to tour annually in the USA, Europe and Asia. She was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “significant service to the performing arts as a harpist, mentor and educator, and through contributions to Australia’s musical landscape.” With a passion for teaching, Alice has developed a unique and systematic approach to teaching technique using natural body movements, and has recently launched an online teaching resource. She was lecturer at the Frankfurt Hochschule and has given master classes in major institutions from the Salzburg Mozarteum to the Juilliard School, currently teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her annual Summer Course is held in Kioloa on the NSW South Coast. She has commissioned many new works by Australian composers, including for the electro-acoustic harp and as Director of the Seven Harp Ensemble. Chair and Artistic Director of the 2014 World Harp Congress in Sydney, Alice is also founding Director of the Harp Centre Australia, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the harp in Australia.

Mrs Suzanne Hewitt

Piano Teacher

BMus, LTCL (Teaching), LTCL (Performing), FTCL

Suzanne Hewitt began her musical studies at the age of 10. After realising her passion for music, she continued her studies at Sydney Conservatorium under the guidance of Alexander Sverjensky and Lindley Evans. She then went on to further her studies in London at the renowned institute, the Trinity College of London. After returning from overseas, Suzanne completed her Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University under the guidance of Professor Larry Sitsky. Mrs Hewitt’s enthusiasm for teaching is not only reflected in her strong dedication in inspiring her students in the field of music but also, her involvement in the musical community. She has recently been asked to join the Board for the Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts as an examiner and, this year, was presented with a Service to the AMEB award. Also, in 2017, Suzanne was presented with an award for Education and Inspiration from The Harvard Graduate School of Education. Suzanne has been the recipient of many awards and scholarships including her Associate of Music AMEB, The Sverjensky music award for Performance 1969, Associate of Music (Performance)Trinity College of Music London, Licentiate of Music (Performance)Trinity College of Music London, Licentiate of music (Teaching) Trinity College of Music London, and is a Fellow of the Trinity College Of Music London.

Mr Stuart King

Guitar Teacher & Conductor – Rock & Pop Ensembles

BMus (Performance)

Stuart is a guitarist, composer and educator with over 25 years experience as a performer. In 2005, Stuart received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Australian National University. Since then, he has worked as a freelance musician and performs regularly as a band leader, sideman, session guitarist and featured soloist. Stuart has extensive experience in many varied contexts as a solo performer and with various groups, including classical settings, jazz groups, rock and country rock bands, playing in symphony orchestras, musical theatre productions and everything in between. This wide range of experiences has led to countless opportunities to play with many leading musicians and artists at gigs and festivals around Australia. Stuart has also performed as a guitarist in numerous professional musical theatre productions, which include the 2018 ‘We Will Rock You’ tour (AIS Arena /WIN Entertainment Centre) and the 2017/2018 Australian tour of the musical ‘Mamma Mia!’ (Canberra season). In 2016, Stuart released his debut album comprising of original jazz compositions called ‘Qualia’. This album was featured and broadcast nationally on ABC Jazz radio, and continues to receive airplay regularly. A passionate and creative educator, Stuart recently created and released an online jazz guitar technique course which was highly successful. The first of its kind, the course was an innovative education program which attracted hundreds of enrollments from students all over the world. Additionally, Stuart has over 20 years experience teaching music at schools, teaching privately, online and running regional workshops in jazz studies for young students.

Mr Minh Le Hoang

Guitar Teacher & Conductor – Kain Guitar Ensemble

BMus (Hons), MMus

Minh Le Hoang studied with leading Australian guitarist and teacher, Timothy Kain at the ANU School of Music. He subsequently graduated with first class honours, receiving the highest mark ever achieved by a student in a solo recital. Minh then continued to undertake postgraduate studies and completed a Masters of Music. A member of Australia’s unique guitar quartet, Guitar Trek, Minh has toured extensively throughout Europe, toured for Musica Viva and appeared at major festivals including the Sydney Festival, Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, Port Fairy Classical Music Festival, Saigon, Frankston, Darwin, and New Zealand International Guitar Festivals. Minh won first prize in the 50th Tokyo International Guitar Competition having won the Adelaide Spring Guitar Competition in 2001. As a soloist and recitalist within Australia he has given master classes and concerts for guitar societies in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra. He has also given concerts and classes in the United States and Southeast Asia and as well as making many appearances on radio and television. In 2008, he released the critically acclaimed solo album “The Fall of Birds” and a more recent recording “Duo Merindah” featuring music for guitar and flute. As a devoted and respected teacher developing the talents of a future generations of musicians in Canberra, Minh is currently a teacher at CGGS and at Australia’s leading guitar department at the Australian National University, School of Music where Minh has also served as acting Head of the Guitar department.

Mr Jordan London

Bassoon & Oboe Teacher


Jordan London graduated from the ANU School of Music in 2013, studying under Richard McIntyre. Based in Canberra, Jordan works with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra on bassoon and contra bassoon as well as moonlighting for the National Capital Orchestra, tutoring Canberra Youth Orchestra, and being involved in many operas, musicals and scratch orchestras. Jordan teaches at various schools around Canberra in addition to private students of all ages.

Ms Jade McFaul

Voice Teacher & Conductor - Coro da Camera

BMus (ongoing)

Jade McFaul moved to Canberra at the beginning of 2014 to begin a double degree in Classical Voice and Genetics at the Australian National University. She is a current Wesley Music Scholar, was a recipient of the 2014 ANU Christel Larko Music Scholarship, the 2015 Bill Hyslop Prize in Voice, the 2016 Llewellyn Choir Prize, and was the ACT Young Virtuoso of 2016. She has been a chorister with Gondwana National Choirs since 2011 and is regularly involved in local ensembles, including the Wesley Choir, the Canberra Bach Ensemble, and Kompactus Youth Chamber Choir. Jade has been a music teacher for 5 years, specialising in classical and contemporary voice, piano, and music theory.

Mr Demetri Neidorf

Clarinet & Saxophone Teacher

Dip. Ed.

Born at a very young ag

e back in the last century, with a jazz drummer for a father and a classical oboist for a mother, Demetri had little chance of ever having a career outside of music. Early music education included time on the Recorder, Violin and then the oboe, which he studied at a Tertiary level with Josef Hanic at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, then Sharman Pretty and David Nuttall at the Canberra School of Music. Performance highlights as Oboist include Canberra Opera productions of Madame Butterfly, Carmen and Orpheus in the Underworld. Demetri no longer plays oboe, but brings the benefits of this classical education to his students. Demetri took up Soprano Saxophone in his late teens, then commenced playing Alto Saxophone professionally in the mid-1980s. He studied Jazz Arranging and Composition with John Black for 2 years. He completed a Diploma of Education at University of Canberra in 1989. As a saxophonist Demetri has covered most genres in the contemporary music world: Jazz, Free Jazz, Big Band, Blues, R&B, Soul & Motown, Acid Jazz and World Music. Career highlight include working with World Radio (recipient of ACT Cultural Council Performance Art Grant), Highly Swung (Big Band, featured soloist), Bubaca (ex Youssou N’dour), Moussa Diakite (ex Salif Kieta), as well as an originals trio, wordmadeflesh, which played together in Canberra for about 18 years. Demetri has been teaching Saxophone for over 30 years, and in the last few years has added clarinet to his arsenal.

Ms Elena Nikulina

Piano Teacher

MMus (Performer, Teacher, Accompanist)

Elena Nikulina is an accomplished classically trained pianist, having graduated in 1999 from the Donetsk State Conservatoire, Ukraine with a Masters degree in pianoforte and accompaniment. At the Conservatoire she was winner of the ‘Best Accompanist Competition’ and selected to represent the Ukraine as a member of the piano ensemble at the Musical Competition in Pavia, Italy. While in the Ukraine, Elena, was the concertmaster to the Donetsk Academy Musical Theatre, and the Ballet Troupe of the Donetsk Academy Musical Theatre. She was also a founder member of the Viola Chamber Trio, Donetsk. Elena’s repertoire is wide ranging from classical concertos, sonatas, opera’s, arias and romances to the modern style. She has performed extensively overseas in the Ukraine, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as a solo and four-hand pianist. She has extensive experience as an accompanist working with opera singers, choirs and a range of musicians who have included cellists, flautists, violinists, saxophonists and trumpeters. Since moving to Canberra in 2006 Elena has performed as a soloist, four-hand pianist and accompanist in Canberra, Victoria and throughout New South Wales. Elena has worked extensively with baritone Jeremy Tatchell, accompanying him in 2010 in his accomplished performance of Schumann’s Liederkreis Opus 39, in 2012 with Schubert’s Winterreise and in his well received 2016 concert From Russia (and New Zealand) with Love which included songs composed by Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Lilburn and Farquhar. Besides performing Elena is acknowledged in Canberra as a high level piano teacher and has prepared many students for the Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) examinations up to Licentiate Diploma in Music, Australia (LMusA). In 2016 Elena was recognised by the AMEB as on of the top 10 private keyboard teachers in New South Wales. Many of her students have won first prize in eisteddfods and competitions as well as securing musical scholarships. She believes giving the gift of music to children, not only provides them with an inner confidence, but also nurtures the joy of music that will travel with them through life’s long journey.

Mr Rowan Phemister

Harp Teacher

BMus (Hons)

Rowan Phemister is a Canberra based harpist and harp teacher. He performs in the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and teaches in the Orchestra’s Rediscovering Music Program. As a soloist, Rowan represented Australia on an international level when he was one of 26 harpists invited to perform in the 2014 World Harp Congress Focus on Youth Program. During his high school years Rowan benefitted immensely from the ANU School of Music’s acclaimed pre-tertiary Type 1 Program. During his final year at Type 1 Rowan was selected to perform Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro for the Governor General, Dame Quentin Bryce, at Government House. Rowan completed a Bachelor of Music (Hons. I) at the Sydney Conservatorium where he twice made the finals of the Conservatorium Concerto Competition. Rowan was raised in Yass, NSW where he began studying the harp with international harpist Alice Giles. Rowan was fortunate to have studied with Alice from nine years of age through to the end of his degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Rowan and Alice now teach together in Canberra through Harp Centre Australia. Rowan’s firm belief is that music is a skill open to all people regardless of musical experience, age or ability. Currently his youngest students are in primary school, while his eldest students are in their 80’s!

Ms Eliana Piddington

Violin & Viola Teacher

A.Mus.A Dip (Violin), B Mus, Grad Dip. Ed.

Eliana is one of the dedicated violin/viola teachers at Canberra Girls Grammar school. Her musical training started when she was quite young and over the last 20 years has participated and toured with various orchestras, chamber groups and ensembles throughout Melbourne and Canberra. She has a Bachelor of Music (Violin) from Monash University and a Diploma in Education from Melbourne University. She currently has been teaching in Canberra for the last 12 years, and continues to teach all ages both in school and at her active studio outside of school.

Mrs Teresa Rabe

Flute Teacher

B.Mus, L.Mus (AMEB) A.Mus (AMEB)

Teresa is a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, has toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and played in a casual position with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has been Principal Flute with Stopera, Canberra Choral Society and Llewellyn Choir. Most recently she played Principal Flute with the National Pops Orchestra, backing Kate Miller-Heidke and The Whitlams. She has appeared many times in the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival and plays for the Canberra Philharmonic and Free Rain musicals. Teresa enjoys chamber music and performs with soprano Louise Page and pianist Phillipa Candy, and has toured Australia and China and recorded a CD with guitarist Minh Le Hoang. For the past decade, Teresa has also played in the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Noteworthy program, with a Wind Quintet that tours the Hospitals, Aged Care residences and Special Schools of Canberra a few times a year. Teresa has won the National Flute Orchestral Extracts competition and performed concertos with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, Canberra Pro Musica, The Hayden Bande and Canberra School of Music Orchestra. Teresa has a prestigious teaching studio, which includes pre-tertiary students at the ANU School of Music. Her students have continued to tertiary studies in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane Conservatoriums. Teresa conducts the Canberra Girls Grammar School Flute Ensemble. She has given masterclasses in Australia and Beijing, and adjudicated the Adelaide Eisteddfod, Canberra Eisteddfods and Music Festivals on the NSW South Coast. Teresa has been a recitalist on ABC Classic FM Sunday Live.

Mrs Giselle Roberts

Piano Teacher

BEd., A.Mus.A, L.Mus.A, MTA

Giselle Roberts studied piano at the Canberra School of Music with Joan Chia, then Susan Powell and received a BEd in Music teaching in 1996. She won the Bach Open section in the Australian National Eisteddfod in 1998 and received her Associate Diploma in Piano Performance in 1991. Giselle was an accompanist for the Woden Valley Youth Choir from 1992–1996 with whom she toured America in 1996. After a 15-year break from performing, Giselle resumed lessons in 2012 with Professor Marcela Fiorillo and in 2013 she received her Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance. In 2015, she received a work-study scholarship to the Golandsky Institute’s Summer Symposium at Princeton University and continues to study the Taubman approach with Dr. Therese Milanovic. She is currently preparing for her Fellowship Diploma and is studying with Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky AM. Giselle has a vibrant and well-established piano teaching business and has now been teaching for over 28 years. She is also an active committee member of ACTKA (ACT Keyboard Association) and is the Vice-President of the Klavier Music Association. Together with her husband Kieran, they are the ACT representatives for ANZCA.

Mrs Jenny Sawer

Voice Teacher & Conductor – The Decibelles

BMus (Hons)

Jenny Sawer graduated from The School of Music, ANU with a BMus (1st class Hons) in 2004 majoring in classical singing and musicology. She is a Canberra-based vocalist, vocal coach, composer, guitarist, pianist and cellist. Jenny teaches privately at Canberra Girls Grammar Senior School and performs regularly in the contemporary duo ‘Jen & Jim’ at public venues and private functions. Jenny leads The Decibelles at CGGS and is also a relief conductor for The Cyrenes, The Canberra Children’s Choir and Mr Tim’s community choirs. She was the Musical Director of the choir Out of the Shower and on with the Show (OOTS) from 2004-2007 and was recognised for her efforts with OOTS when she won the Adult Learner’s week ACT 2006 Award for Outstanding Teacher. Jenny appears as a guest soprano soloist for choral performances in Canberra and has recorded two albums of original music, ‘Wild and Free’ and ‘Outrageous’. Jenny is passionate about music education and sharing her joy of music with students. Her particular interest in vocal technique lies with timbre and being a “vocal chameleon”.

Mrs Marie Searles

Piano Teacher & Accompanist

Since completing performance degrees in Australia and the Netherlands, Marie has enjoyed an active performance and teaching career. As a performer, Marie’s passion lies in chamber music and accompaniment. From her first experience as a collaborative pianist, she was captivated by the blending of sounds between instruments, the dialogue, and the possibility for partnership whilst still maintaining individuality. Marie works regularly with singers and instrumentalists of all levels and ages, from professionals to beginners, approaching each performance with an equal level of commitment and professionalism. Whilst living in the Netherlands, Marie completed a bachelor degree in fortepiano, where she received training in historical performance practice. This training has enriched her approach not only to works of the classical period, but also to music more widely, encouraging a deeper analysis to discover the intentions of the composer and look at the wider context (both historical and cultural) of composition. As a teacher, Marie aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and variety of experience to be confident in expressing their musical ideas. She encourages an exploration of a wide range of musical styles in solo and ensemble repertoire. Marie believes that the ability of the teacher to adapt to each student is essential to achieving best results, that being, to foster a lasting love of music.

Mrs Rebecca Simon

Piano Teacher & Accompanist

Rebecca has a thriving studio in Canberra, teaching at home and in several local schools. As well as teaching piano to a wide range of ages and abilities, Rebecca particularly enjoys her role as a collaborative musician, accompanying and coaching instrumentalists and singers for performances, auditions, and exams. Rebecca’s warm, personal approach enables each student to develop and thrive while working with individual learning styles. She seeks to provide a nurturing environment that encourages a lifelong love of music, whilst maintaining high standards of discipline to achieve each student’s unique potential.Rebecca is the president of the ACT Keyboard Association, and is passionate about equipping and supporting teachers in Canberra and beyond.Prior to her move to Canberra in 2011, Rebecca worked in Armidale’s vibrant music community, both for the New England Conservatorium as accompanist in residence for the choral, brass, woodwind & string programs, coordinator for chamber music in schools program, and also as a private piano teacher & accompanist.Rebecca completed her piano studies at the University of Southern Queensland, studying under Wendy Lorenz and Marilyn Meier-Kapavale where she gained extensive experience in chamber music and accompaniment, and was repetiteur for the opera program.

Ms Megan Taylor

Cello Teacher


A graduate of the NSW Conservatorium High School, where she studied with John Painter, Megan Taylor moved to Europe where she studied with such luminaries as Stefan Popov and Raphael Wallfisch, attended summer schools at Dartmouth. and freelanced for 10 years in London and Copenhagen. Returning to Australia, she worked with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for five years, also freelancing on many opera and ballet tours and other engagements from her base in Sydney. Simultaneously, she built a vigorous teaching practice in Sydney schools, and with colleagues organised many large workshop gatherings, developing the practical pedagogy of teaching cello to children. While in London she came in contact with the Alexander Technique, and studied with Cheryl Gardiner; on returning to Sydney, she undertook her teacher training, graduating from SATA and CATTS in 1989. She has maintained a busy Alexander teaching practice ever since. Wishing to put into personal practice the Alexander principles that she had learned, she undertook a Performance degree with Lois Simpson at the Canberra School of Music. Concurrently, she introduced a much-valued undergraduate course in Alexander Technique for Performance students. Her studies in the teaching of younger children, giving primacy to the relationship of technical sequencing and development of good physical and mental use, has given her widely-acknowledged expertise with students from early years up to tertiary study. While in Canberra, she was a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra for nine years, and has performed as cellist with the Milford Piano Trio with Gillian Graham and Jenny Corvini. Orchestral Cello sectional tutorial work has been an important part of her endeavour, as a weekly tutor for Sydney Youth Orchestra for many years, London Youth Orchestra, and weekly tutor for Canberra Youth Orchestra with Vincent Edwards and Gillian Graham.

Ms Rebecca Timoney

Flute Teacher & Conductor – Flute Ensemble

BMus, Grad Dip. Mus., A.Mus.A

Flautist Rebecca Timoney was born and raised in Western Australia and completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Western Australia, majoring in performance. In 2006 Rebecca completed her Post-Graduate study with Virginia Taylor at the Canberra School of Music. Rebecca has a particular interest in chamber music and has enjoyed playing with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Pops Orchestra, the WA Elandra Ensemble, the West Australian Jazz Orchestra and has toured with artists such as Kate Ceberano and James Morrison. She recently spent a year playing with the United Arab Emirates National Orchestra and is happy to be back teaching and performing in Canberra.

Mr Tim Wickham

Violin Teacher & Conductor – Holland String Orchestra


Canberra violinist Tim Wickham has over thirty years of formal training, practice, and performance experience. Tim graduated from the Canberra School of Music (Australian National University) in 2005 and is a highly sought after local violin performer, mentor, conductor, and ensemble director. He is a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and is also a regular contributor to its community outreach and education programs. In addition to a strong interest in traditional violin techniques, Tim is also proficient in contemporary and improvised electric violin methods. Tim has been a member of the Canberra Girls Grammar School music community since 2012.