Academic staff

Interim Conservatorium  

Adam Manning

B. Mus (Hons)

As well as Newcastle Conservatorium Co-ordinator, Adam is head of percussion studies, a lecturer in percussion, and a lecturer in core academic courses for BMus students. Adam completed his Bachelor of Music with Honours in 2003 at Newcastle University. Adam performs and records professionally with artists such as John Paul Young, Andy Firth, Bruce Mathiske, James Morrison, Sally Walker and many more. In 2016, Adam directed the Newcastle Conservatorium Percussion to victory at the Australian Percussion Eisteddfod. Adam has also published papers on electronic drumming and recorded with major record labels. Adam is a Roland and Latin Percussion Artist.

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.

Cello & Oboe

Classical, solo repertoire plus chamber music and orchestra
Michael Bardon Michael Bardon

B. Mus (Hons Class 1), M.Phil. (Music)
Diplom Orchestermusiker, Aufbaustudium Instrumental, Academist of the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra

Michael Bardon holds degrees from the Musikhochschule Luebeck, Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz, Orchester-akademie der Essener Philharmoniker and the University of Newcastle. His principal teachers include Professors Diethelm Jonas, Nick Deutsch, Anthea Scott-Mitchell and is an academic at the Australian Institute of Music. He has broadcast for ABC Classic FM, regularly performs with Australia's leading musicians and orchestras and has a growing class of high achieving students.

All repertoire including AMEB and Suzuki
Anne 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 for 10 years.  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.

Anne teaches students of all ages and has expertise in teaching special needs and gifted children.

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 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 eisteddfods.

Piano, Music Craft

Classical (advanced)

Andrew Chubb photo  Andrew Chubb

B. 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 violinist, violist and musicology and harmony/aural lecturing add to his holistic, 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

David loves teaching the organ, which he calls the "King of Instruments," and has one of the largest organ teaching programs in Australia. He's had many years experience teaching organ in the Hunter area and overseas. For the past five years David has pioneered the Suzuki approach to teaching organ to young children. Last year his students went on a European Organ Study Tour and in September 2014 are planning an extensive concert tour of the USA.

Classical, musical theatre
Georgina Cole Georgina Cole

B.Mus, B.Teach (Secondary)

Georgina received her Bachelor of Music from Newcastle Conservatorium in 2003. She has been involved in numerous local opera productions as both featured artist and chorus member and is a long standing member of the University of Newcastle Echology Choir, with which she has toured internationally. Georgina has been Director of Music of known youth ensembles in the Newcastle area and is also a highly qualified high school music teacher, receiving her Bachelor of Teaching in 2007.
Early Childhood Music (ECM), Piano, Music TheoryJanelle Davies 

Janelle Davies

BEd(Music); ATCL; AMusA; MMusTech

Janelle is the Coordinator of the Early Childhood Music Program and has an extensive background in music teaching and performing; from piano, choir and band work to classroom teaching, individual tuition and music technology. She has taught in high schools, primary schools, studio teaching and at the Conservatorium for many years. Janelle has had a vast range of teaching experiences and musical styles meeting the educational outcomes of students, from birth and on, to allow for a lifelong appreciation of learning and enjoyment. She is passionate about teaching and strives to promote a highly motivating and engaging environment in which students can express themselves freely while modelling the appreciation of music for learning and enjoyment.

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 Coordinator 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).


Jazz, music theatre, classical and contemporary

Lisa Kinna 

Lisa Kinna

A. Mus. A,   A.T.C.L.

Lisa Kinna's wide performance experience includes international touring with the Sydney Theatre Company, performing Edith Piaf repertoire annually at the STC's "All-Star Cabaret" nights and international performances in China and Indonesia with "Showboat". In between shows Lisa was resident singer/pianist at the Regent International Hotel and regular guest artist on the Bert Newton Morning Show, Channel 10.

Locally, Lisa's jazz trio enjoyed a twelve year residency at the Kent Hotel.  Music Theatre roles include Threepenny Opera (Pirate Jenny), Les Miserable (Fantine), and Blood Brothers (Mrs Johnson).  Concert appearances include with the University Choir, Orchestra Nova, Maitland Arts Council, Newcastle Festival Opera and Adamstown Arts.


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.

Voice, Choir (Conservatorium BrainWaves Stroke Choir)

Classical, contemporary

Bernadette Matthias 

Bernadette Matthias (nee Lannen)

B Sp Path (Hons)

Bernadette is a qualified speech pathologist and professional singer. She has studied with acclaimed teachers within Australia and overseas and is a member of Echology - the much-awarded University of Newcastle Chamber Choir
Bernadette specialises in voice therapy for singers and is researching the impact of choral singing on stroke recovery – the basis of the formation of BrainWaves – the Conservatorium’s choir for stroke survivors and their carers.

Percussion: Timpani/Drum Kit

Classical, rock, pop
Stephan Muehr photo 

Stephan Muehr

Stephan studied timpani and percussion at the University for Music and Theatre Studies Hanover, Germany. Throughout his musical career, which has spanned 4 decades, Stephan has played in many professional German Orchestras including Hildesheim City Theatre and State Opera Hanover as well as diverging and performing various other musical styles such as Big Band, Jazz and Musicals.

Since arriving in Australia, Stephan has had the opportunity to work with The Hunter Symphony Orchestra and performs on a regular base with Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra and other local groups.
French Horn Hannah Murray 

Hannah Murray

B. Mus

Hannah Murray has extensive experience in both Orchestral and Musical Theatre Horn performance. Hannah has performed and held orchestral positions including Sydney Youth Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra and SBS Youth Orchestra. Hannah has received multiple awards and scholarships for her playing and teaching, most recently the Sprogis Woods Smith Young Artists Scholarship for Brass in 2014. Hannah also co-founded the Duo Entendre Composition Competition for Horn and Piano, an initiative to promote the creation of new Australian works for the Horn.

Director of Conservatorium Breast Cancer Choir & Voice

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!

Early Childhood Music Geri Rea photo Geri 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.


Classical, contemporary, musical theatre, jazz, rock and pop
Alex Sefton Alex Sefton

B. Mus, Grad. Dip. Mus

Alex was born in Newcastle and studied at WAAPA in Western Australia. He spent several years working professionally as an opera-singer including two years singing   with Opera Australia and is now based in Newcastle again where he teaches and produces his own contemporary music while still actively performing in the classical world.
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.

Voice, Piano, 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 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. exams, H.S.C. exams, 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.

ViolinAnthea Wikstrom  

Anthea Wikstrom

BMus, BArts and MTeach.

Anthea is a graduate of the Conservatorium High School, and of the University of NSW. Anthea is a freelance performer and also enjoys recording albums with various artists and film soundtracks. Anthea has taught violin and classroom music, and conducted ensembles at several schools. Her enthusiastic and creative approach to music is infectious, and is an inspiration to her students.


Chamber music, HSC

Rodney Wikstrom photo 

Rodney Wikstrom

MTeach., B.Mus., A.Mus.A., C.O.G.E.

Rodney is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in violin performance and has toured with orchestras, the Real Mexico Mariachi Band, and Jimmy Barnes. Rodney is a passionate music educator and has studied with internationally respected violin pedagogues. He is also a high school music teacher experienced with performance and composition up to HSC Music 2 & Extension.



Solo and Ensemble performance, Chamber and Symphony Orchestra, Method of Violin Teaching and Technique


Olena Zaporozhets

M.Mus., B.Mus.

After studying in Ukraine and working full time with the Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra, Olena performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne City Opera, Melbourne Theatre Company and Geminiani Orchestra. Olena served as Concertmaster of the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, also teaching at their Conservatorium, the Australian Institute of Music and Abbotsleigh Anglican School for Girls.