Conservatorium Academic staff



Academic staff


Conservatorium Co-ordinator                                John Kellaway

John Kellaway

As well as Newcastle Conservatorium Co-ordinator, John is head of Brass studies, a lecturer in trumpet, and a lecturer in conducting to final year BMus undergraduate students... read more about John Kellaway.
Echology Choir Director Philip Matthias  Philip Matthias

As an organist, composer and choral director, Philip has performed in some of the world's most revered places of worship, including Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral in London and Notre Dame in Paris. But one of his passions is developing a repertoire of liturgical music that is uniquely Australian... read more about Dr Philip Matthias.

Community music teachers

Piano, Music Craft, Keyboard Classes

Classical and contemporary


Janina Adomski Janina Adomski

Janina studied at The University of Newcastle, completing a Certificate of Teaching in 1981 and a Diploma of the State Conservatorium of Music in 1982. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at The University of New England in 1989, and her Master of Arts at the University of Newcastle in 2003.

Janina is the author of publications Music Theory is Fun and Musical Instruments.

Violin, Community Strings Ensemble Chris Bearman  Christopher Bearman, OAM

Christopher Bearman is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music (London) he has 20 years experience as a professional violinist in London playing with many of the nation's leading ensembles, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra. From 1999 to 2011 he held the position of Director at the Central Coast Conservatorium based in Gosford. In 2010 Chris was awarded the Order of Australia for his contribution to music education and performance across the Central Coast region.

CelloAll repertoire including AMEB and SuzukiAnne Berry Dr Anne Berry

Ph.D (Music Education & Pedagogy) M. Phil (Cello Pedagogy) B.A. (Creative/ Music) A. Mus A.  (Cello) B.Sc. Psych (Hons)

Dr Berry has over 35 years experience in teaching the cello and was an Examiner with AMEB QLD from 1999-2009.  She earned her PhD and MPhil for research into Cello Pedagogy.   

Anne performs regularly as a member of Newcastle's Christchurch Camerata, Lake Macquarie Orchestra, Pacific Palm Court Orchestra and other groups.  Cello music Reviewer for Stringendo.

Trombone, Trumpet, Euphonium

Jazz, Funk, Latin, classical

Jeremy Borthwick photo Jeremy Borthwick

B. Mus (Hons), M.Mus

Jeremy is considered one of the finest jazz trombonists and band leaders in the country. He is also a highly respected educator with regular appearances at many clinics, camps and workshops each year. He has played with many of the best Australian and International jazz artists. He was a national Jazz Awards finalist in 2003, and held the Jazz Trombone Chair at the Brisbane Conservatorium for 5 years.


Classical and contemporary

 Leigh Carter

DSCM, LTCL (performer), AMusA

Leigh has been teaching piano at Newcastle Conservatorium for over 15 years. Ms Carter also has experience as an accompanist and examiner for AMEB exams, an Early Childhood Music teacher, a conductor of masterclasses and an adjudicator for eistedfodds.

Piano, Music Craft

Classical (advanced)

Andrew Chubb photo Andrew ChubbB. Mus (Hons)

Andrew is an accomplished pianist, composer, conductor and teacher. He has taught at the Newcastle Conservatorium for 14 years. Many of his students have been very  successful in competitions through NSW as well as HSC and AMEB examinations. Andrews' years of experience also as a violinst, violist and musicology and harmony/aural lecturing add to his holisitc, organic and diverse approach to pedagogy for students.

Pipe Organ, Suzuki Organ Teacher Trainer for Australia

All periods of classical organ music

David Clark  David Clark

A.Mus.A (piano and organ), BA, B.Mus, Dip.Ed, M.Mus

I love teaching the organ - the "King of Instruments"- and have one of the largest organ teaching programs in Australia. I've had many years experience teaching organ in the Hunter area and overseas. For the past five years I have pioneered the Suzuki approach to teaching organ to young children. The organ is the most fascinating and interesting instrument ever created for children (and adults too!) Last year my students went on a European Organ Study Tour and in September 2014 we are planning an extensive concert tour of the USA.


Classical, music theatre and contemporary

Kathryn Dries 

Kathryn Dries

B.Mus, A.Mus.A

After completing a Bachelor of Music in 1998, Kathryn went on to win various singing awards throughout NSW. Since then Kathryn has entertained throughout the Hunter region, especially in Newcastle theatre for several years where she performed various soprano roles. Kathryn is also music director of Port Stephens Choral Ensemble. Kathryn is a passionate voice coach/piano teacher to more than 20 students.



Katie Higgins  Katie Higgins

L.Mus.A, BA, B.Mus (Hons), Grad.Dip.Ed.

Katie studied at the Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne University from 1997 to 2001 and gained a Bachelor of Music (Performance) with Honours. She has performed with the University Orchestra and Chamber groups, winning several prizes for performance. She has been a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra, completing a tour of Europe. Katie has a Graduate Diploma of Education and has taught in high schools and privately for more than ten years.


Classical and chamber music

Sohyun Eastham  Dr Sohyun Eastham

B Ed. (Music), B Mus (Hon), Ph.D

Sohyun is a musician with international playing experience and regularly performs around Australia. She has recorded two CD albums, written a book, and holds three University degrees including her Ph.D., awarded in 2007. Sohyun has over 15 years experience in teaching violin to students – from beginners to tertiary level. Several have gained AMusA and LMusA diplomas. More information at

Drum Kit/ Percussion

Contemporary, jazz and classical

Adam Manning Adam Manning

B. Mus (Hons)

Adam completed his Bachelor of Music with Honours in 2003 at Newcastle University. Adam performs professionally with artists such as John Paul Young, Andy Firth, Bruce Mathiske, and many others. In 2010, Adam directed the Nudgee College Drum Line to victory at the Australian Percussion Eisteddfod. Adam has also published papers on electronic drumming and recorded with major record labels.

Voice and Director of Conservatorium Songshine Choir

Classical and contemporary

Bernadette Matthias  Bernadette Matthias (nee Lannen)

B.Sp.Path (Hons)

Bernadette is a professional singer, known as soloist and lead vocalist with Celtic band, Erin. She has studied with acclaimed teachers within Australia and overseas and is a member of Echology - the much-awarded University of Newcastle chamber choir.

A qualified Speech Pathologist, Bernadette specialises in voice therapy for singers and is researching the impact of choral singing on stroke recovery.

Voice and 
Director of Conservatorium Breast Cancer Choir

Contemporary, jazz, music theatre, classical, cabaret performance and stagecraft.

Lauren O'Brien 

Lauren O'Brien

Lauren trained classically with Karen Walmsley & Jennifer Barnes but works mainly in cabaret these days. She sang pop/rock as Agnetha in FABBA, music theatre as Madam Thénardier in Les Miz & works in jazz outfits with Newcastle's best musicians and singers. Lauren works in comedy/cabaret as her glamorous & understated alter ego Ms Denise Gold. She loves her job!


Traditional, jazz and contemporary

 Craig Parish

Craig has 20 years teaching experience working with students age 5 to 75 with preparation for A.M.E.B. examinations, H.S.C. examinations, University performance and auditions. He is an active freelance musician with extensive performance experience in many musical styles and instrumental combinations including orchestra, musicals, (doubling multiple instruments) big bands, jazz combos and covers bands.

Double bass and electric bass

All genres

 Heather Price

B. Mus, A. Mus

Heather completed a Bachelor of Music at Newcastle Conservatorium in 2002. Highlights of her double bass career include being involved in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (fellowship 2004), Australian Youth Orchestra (Principal) and Ragadolls Salon Orchestra (live ABC broadcasts). Heather has traveled nationally and internationally playing in her own original bands (The Goods and Cotton Sidewalk).

Early Childhood MusicGeri Rea photoGeri Rea


Spanning over three decades, Geri's experience and expertise lie in establishing sound technique and learning principles for primary aged children. In addition to teaching her own four children, Geri is employed in the Early Childhood Music Program at Newcastle Conservatorium, runs music workshops for teachers and has 70 piano students in her private practice.

An author of four books, Geri loves to nurture the beginning of a lifelong enjoyment of music for young children, providing creative repertoire through which confidence can be built and musical talent developed.

Flute, Early Childhood Music

Traditional and contemporary

 Nicole Sherringham

B.Mus (Hons), Grad. Dip. Ed, AKC in Early Childhood Music

Nicole is a flute teacher, performer and early childhood music specialist.A respected flute teacher, Nicole also runs music classes for children aged 6 months and up. She has extensive experience as a freelance performer on flute and piccolo, playing regularly in chamber and orchestral concerts and stage productions.

Flute, Bassoon, Recorder, Early Childhood Music


David Hawkins 

David Hawkins

M.Ed.(Distinction); B.Mus.; B.A.; Grad.Cert.Ed.Studies; Grad.Dip.Ed.; Cert.ECM; Cert.KMEIA; Cert.Mus.; A.Mus.A

David is the Co-ordinator of the Conservatorium's Early Childhood Music program,  foundation Principal Flute of the Hunter Orchestra, and foundation committee member of many community societies dedicated to the teaching and love of music, including: The Newcastle Flute Society; the Newcastle Twentieth Century Musical Society; the Mattara Music Festival Society; Newcastle Philomus Orchestra (conductor).


Voice, Early Childhood Music

Contemporary and classical

Carla Sharpe Carla Sharpe

A. Mus. A. (Singing). Aust. Kodaly Cert. In Music Ed.

Carla has been teaching singing and leading early childhood music classes with the Newcastle
Conservatorium since the mid 1990s.
Carla's early childhood music students are involved with music games to develop their sense of
rhythm, voice and pitch. The games include movement with scarves, parachute, hoops, balls, singing and
many untuned instruments, such as bells and maracas. Also tuned instruments are
used while Carla plays the piano or sings with the children joining in. With older children Carla uses the Kodaly music system and the children find they are exploring music with rhythms, simple melodies and voice. Games are played and later the music is put on the staff and played on tuned instruments.


Classical, jazz

Luba Totoeva Luba Totoeva

B. Piano & Accompaniment, M. Education

Luba Totoeva was born in Kiev, Ukraine, where she completed her music education. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Piano and a Master Degree in Education. She immigrated to Australia in 1992 and received her accreditation as a Private Music Teacher from the Sydney Conservatorium. Luba has been a member of Piano staff of the University of Newcastle since 1994, teaching both Community and Tertiary students.  She has extensive experience in teaching piano at all levels from young beginners to diploma level and enjoys teaching and accompanying HSC students. Luba has a particular interest in introducing her students to various styles of music - particularly 20th century Russian and Australian compositions and contemporary jazz.




 Fiona Watson

Fiona has 23 years teaching experience working with students age 5 to 65 with preparation for A.M.E.B. examinations, H.S.C. examinations, University performance and auditions. She is an active freelance musician with extensive performance experience in many musical styles and instrumental combinations including Hunter Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Roland Peelman. 

Electric Guitar

Jazz, classical, world, rock fusion,  contemporary, pop, country, modern, blues

Pana Watson Pana (Damien) Watson

B.Mus, Adv.Dip.Mus

Pana has performed with international recording artists as well as members of Sydney Symphony Orchestra in prestigious venues such as Sydney's The Basement. As well as teaching at the Newcastle Conservatorium, he has had the honour of filling in as a tutor for the legendary Don Andrews at the Central Coast Conservatorium.Studying extensively with Australian jazz legend George Golla (who helped him acquire some guitars still used to this day), Pana's guitar work has received national and regional airplay and is on numerous albums and iTunes.

Piano & keyboard

Classical, contemporary

 Cherie Watters-Cowan

B.Mus.Ed, M.Mus, Ph.D, DSCM, LTCL, ATCL, A.Mus.A

Cherie undertook her DSCM and B Mus Ed at Newcastle Conservatorium, majoring in piano. She later studied at UNSW, completing both Masters and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Cherie teaches all ages, levels and a variety of syllabuses, some of which include AMEB, ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall.


Classical, contemporary

 Peter Watters-Cowan

B.Mus.Ed, M.Mus, Ph.D, Dip.Mus.Ed

Peter received his undergraduate training at Newcastle Conservatorium, majoring in violin. His Masters and Doctorate degrees were undertaken at UNSW, specialising in violin repertoire of the 21st century. Peter teaches all ages, levels and a variety of syllabuses, some of which include AMEB, ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall.