Academic staff

Adam Manning

B. Mus (Hons)
Conservatorium Co-ordinator

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.

Dr Phillip Matthias

Echology Choir Director

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...

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Community Music Teachers

Dr Anne Berry

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

Anne has a passion for teaching and playing the cello. Successful in teaching students aged 4 to 80 for fun, AMEB exams, HSC and auditions, she fosters confidence, builds solid technique, and treats each student as an individual, choosing repertoire accordingly. Her students are reputed to have fine tone, musical phrasing and joy in making music.

Cellist with Newcastle’s Christ Church Camerata and recently solo cellist for Opera Hunter’s Don Giovanni and Marriage of Figaro. Experienced ensemble director, eisteddfod adjudicator and AMEB examiner (Qld). Research output includes a video of ‘how’ to teach beginning cellists and studies of motivation and repertoire for intermediate students. Review writer for ‘Stringendo’, the Journal of the Australian String Teachers Association.

Janina Adomski

B.A., M.A., Dip Mus
Piano, Music Craft, Keyboard Classes Classical and contemporary

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.

Jeremy Borthwick

B. Mus (Hons), M.Mus
Trombone, Trumpet, Euphonium Jazz, Funk, Latin, Classical

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.

Leigh Carter

DSCM, LTCL (performer), AMusA
Piano Classical, Contemporary

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.

Georgina Cole

B.Mus, B.Teach (Secondary)
Voice Classical, Musical Theatre

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.

Janelle Davies

B.Ed (Music), ATCL, AMusA, M.MusTech
Early Childhood Music

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.

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
Early Childhood Music, Bassoon, Recorder Classical

David is a long-time teacher 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).

Lisa Kinna

A. Mus. A, A.T.C.L.
Voice Jazz, Musical Theatre, Classical, Contemporary

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.

Dr Sohyun Easthan

B Ed. (Music), B Mus (Hon), Ph.D
Violin Classical and chamber music

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.

Bernadette Matthias

B Sp Path (Hons)
Voice, Choir (Conservatorium BrainWaves Stroke Choir) Classical, Contemporary

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.

Stephan Muehr

Percussion Classical, rock, pop

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.

Alex Sefton

B. Mus, Grad. Dip. Mus
Voice Classical, contemporary, musical theatre, jazz, rock and pop

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.

Nicole Sherringham

B.Mus (Hons), Grad. Dip. Ed, AKC in Early Childhood Music
Flute Traditional and contemporary

Nicole is a flute teacher, performer and early childhood music specialist. A respected flute teacher, Nicole has extensive experience as a freelance performer on flute and piccolo, playing regularly in chamber and orchestral concerts and stage productions.

Luba Totoeva

B. Piano & Accompaniment, M. Education
Piano Classical and jazz

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.

Pana (Damien) Watson

B.Mus, Adv.Dip.Mus
Guitar Contemporary, classical and jazz

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.

Dr Cherie Watters-Cowan

B.Mus.Ed, M.Mus, Ph.D, DSCM, LTCL, ATCL, A.Mus.A
Piano Classical and contemporary

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.

Dr Peter Watters-Cowan

B.Mus.Ed, M.Mus, Ph.D, Dip.Mus.Ed
Violin Classical and contempoary

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.

Anthea Wikstrom

BMus, BArts, 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.

Rodney Wikstrom

MTeach., B.Mus., A.Mus.A., C.O.G.E.
Violin Classical, chamber music and HSC

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.

Olena Zaporozhets

M.Mus., B.Mus.
Violin Classical

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.

Sue Carson

B. Arts, L.Mus.A (classical singing)
Voice, Choirs, Fiddle Contemporary, jazz, musical theatre and classical

Classically trained in voice and violin, Sue’s career of 28 years includes performances and touring in opera, oratorio, musicals, jazz, folk-rock, pop and bluegrass. Sue is regarded as one of the best session fiddle players in Australia and is a member of the award-winning outfits the Bob Corbett Band and the Bushwackers. She is associate lecturer in voice at University of Newcastle, studying for a PhD in crossover singing, and teaches a variety of ensembles and courses.

Terry Latham

Dip. Mus, A.Mus.A
Guitar Classical, contemporary and jazz

Terry studied classical guitar with Gregory Pikler, and performed in Master Class for John Williams, The Assad Brothers (Sergio and Adair), Robert Brightmore, Stephan Rac, Ruben Riera and Timothy Kain. His interest in music technologies led him to set up a commercial recording studio in Tighes Hill called Impromptu Music, which is a space where local musicians, engineers and producers can express their musical ideas and experiment.

Michael Bell

B. Mus, B. Mus. Ed, D.S.C.M
Trombone, Director of Concert Band

Michael has taught at the Conservatorium for over 25 years. He has been awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award from the University and a Distinction of Teaching Award from the AMEB for his work both as a conductor and teacher. Michael performed professionally for many years with the Hunter Symphony Orchestra. He has enjoyed watching careers of former students develop in music and other pursuits.

Shane Landry

B.Mus, M.Mus
Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute Classical, jazz and improvisation

Shane has over 20 years experience as a professional musician. Hailing from Canada, he has recorded and performed with some of Canada’s great artists such as P.J. Perry, Kelly Jefferson, and Ted Warren. For six years he worked in the cruise industry as a show band musician, playing a variety of musical productions. Shane is an active performer in the Hunter region.

Trevor McGowan-Slee

B.Mus Ed, M.Mus Tech, A.Mus.A (Cello)
Cello All styles

Trevor trained at Newcastle Conservatorium and has worked as a secondary music teacher for 38 years in government and Anglican schools. He has performed in orchestras for Tara/Kings and community musical productions. As Director of Music at Tara School, Trevor conducted orchestras, concert bands, choirs and musical theatre performances. He now works particularly with students in the early years of their playing and prepares personalised backing tracks designed to motivate practice between lessons.

Carla Sharpe

A. Mus. A. (Singing). Aust. Kodaly Cert. In Music Ed.
Voice, Piano, Early Childhood Music Classical, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary

Carla has been teaching singing for over 40 years.  She involves her students in many styles as outlined above.  Carla also teaches piano and helps students gain confidence in understanding how to play and enjoy this instrument.  Many of her students have successfully completed A.M.E.B. music examinations and performed in musical productions.

Carla’s Early Childhood Music students are involved with music games to develop their sense of rhythm, voice and pitch.  They use untuned instruments, such as bells and maracas, while Carla plays the piano or sings with the children.


Aaron Rothemund

BMus (Hons), AMusA (Flute)
Flute Classical, contemporary

Aaron commenced learning the Flute in high school and continued into tertiary studies at the University of Newcastle, completing his Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree under Sally Walker and James Kortum. Aaron received the Dr. Maurice Sendak OBE & Mrs Betsy Sendak Prize in 2011 for the most outstanding recital during the final semester of the Bachelor of Music program. He has been a member of the University of Newcastle Symphony Orchestra and Arts Orchestra, Orchestra Nova, the Newcastle Conservatorium Flute Choir and Symphony Central Coast. Aaron has also played for production companies such as the Metropolitan Players, Opera Hunter, Newcastle Festival Opera and Central Coast Opera. In 2013, he attended the MusicAlp Internationale Académie de Musique in France under the tutelage of Jean Ferrandis. Aaron has performed in masterclasses held by international flautists Walter Auer (Austria), Jean Ferrandis (France) and Rien de Reede (Netherlands); as well as Australian flautists Geoffrey Collins, Virginia Taylor, Louise Dellit, and Christine Draeger.

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Gavin Clark

Cello Romantic, Classical & Baroque

Gavin began studying the cello at age 3, learning the Suzuki method. He has toured nationally and internationally to the USA, UK, Europe, South Africa, Russia and Japan as an orchestra member and soloist with the Suzuki Chamber Orchestra and the New England Youth Ensemble. Gavin has been teaching cello in the Newcastle and Hunter region since 2012. His other musical commitments include being principal cellist of the Christ Church Camerata, cellist in the Camerata Quartet and collaborations with the Acacia Quartet, violinist Anna Da Silva Chen and baroque cellist Anthony Albrecht in the 2016 and 2017 Newcastle Music Festivals. Gavin took up playing baroque cello in 2017 under Dr. Daniel Yeadon at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and continues to partake in research and performance projects with a focus on baroque music and historical informed performance. Gavin is due to complete a BA/BTeach (Music, Double Major) at the end of 2018.