Dr Cathy Aggett, soprano, pianist, choral conductor, and music educator for more than 30 years, is a musician whose current research revolves around practice-led, practice-based research into pedagogical issues of Australian art song. Her passion remains contemporary Australian art song. Cathy is a major presenter on the subject at conferences and symposia in Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, Canada, China and Singapore. As a music educator, Cathy has taught at universities, public and private schools. She currently teaches singing, piano, violin and musicianship in her own studio in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Cathy co-authored the collection of 27 songs in Songs from Australia (together with David Miller, Wendy Dixon and Linda Foulsham) published in 2005. In 2013 Cathy compiled and edited two volumes for low voices, The Australian Anthology of Art Song for Low Voices, Volume 1 and Volume 2.
Jeanell Carrigan AM
Assoc. Prof. Dr Jeanell Carrigan is presently an Associate Professor at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. She has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and throughout Australia, and has recorded for the Bavarian Radio Corporation, the ABC and for regional stations in Australia on many occasions. She holds a Doctor of Creative Arts in the area of Australian post-1970 solo piano repertoire and in May, 2016 released her seventeenth solo compact disc of Australian piano music. She is passionate about promoting Australian music particularly the piano music of Australian women composers. In a review of the CD A Little Variation, composer Houston Dunleavy said “This recording is one to add to the list of treasures of Australian music that seem to be growing by the year. Surely Jeanell Carrigan belongs in this category as well. Australian music has a great champion in Carrigan’s fine playing and scholarship. She deserves far wider recognition for the quality of her work.” (Music Trust 1/4/15) created a Fellow of the Australian Society of Musicology and Composition for her contribution to Australian music. With Jeanell's interest in researching the "forgotten" women composers, in 2014 she published four volumes of Piano Music of Meta Overman, a Western Australian composer (1907-1933). In 2016 she further published three volumes of piano music by women composers from the early 20th Century under the Australian Heritage Collection, Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, following which she authored Composing Against the Tide, a biographical collection on these women. In 2019 Jeanell has commenced the publication of the full works of many of these same composers under the collection of The Composers' Series.
In 2020 Jeanell co-authored with Rita Crews, A Musical Missionary: The Life and Music of Dulcie Holland.
Rita Crews OAM and Julie Spithill
Joint authors of 100 Years, the history of the Music Teachers' Association of NSW.
Dr Rita Crews OAM past President of the Music Teachers’ Association of NSW and editor of The Studio journal, Deputy Chair of the Australian Music Examinations Board (NSW), an examiner for both the AMEB and the IBO and the AMEB Syllabus Advisor for written subjects.
Julie Spithill was born in Sydney and studied at the NSW Conservatorium of Music under Alexander Sverjensky, (DSCM ). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Education, and a Masters in Music Education. Following advanced studies overseas where she focused on music theory, jazz pedagogy, composition and improvisation.
In 2020 Rita co-authored with Jeanell Carrigan, A Musical Missionary: The Life and Music of Dulcie Holland.
Wendy Dixon soprano is an active recitalist and has sung as guest artist soloist for Opera Australia and the major opera companies and orchestras in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Singapore. She records for ABC-FM, ABC Classics, 2 MBS-FM, Erato and Radio NZ. Wendy is the inaugural artistic director of Sydney Art Song Society, an innovative program of workshops and masterclasses investigating the art song repertoire. She is highly regarded as a singing teacher and has an extensive vocal studio. Several of her students are working professionally in opera and music theatre.
The compilation and editing of the well sort after collection of 27 songs in Songs from Australia (together with David Miller, Cathy Aggett and Linda Foulsham) was published in 2005. Following its success, Wendy together with David Miller compiled Voice of Australia Volume I (2017) and Volume II (2014).
Alfred Hill (1869-1960)
While he was born in Melbourne and died in Sydney, Alfred Hill lived in New Zealand from the age of two until seventeen after which he began studies at the Royal Conservatorium of Music in Leipzig. After completion in 1891 of his studies in composition, violin and piano, he lived principally in Wellington until 1910 then resumed residency in Sydney which remained his home for the rest of his long life. He is truly a national treasure of both Australia and New Zealand and the only significant composer of these tow countries who represents the late romantic era. While the influences of his immediate predecessors such as Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikowsky, Wagner and Strauss are clearly obvious in his early works, his style evolved to a limited degree with some absorption of later styles, though with a deliberate rejection of a break from the long established traditions of Europe. Hill's prolific output included ten operas, thirteen symphonies, seventeen string quartets, major choral works, concertos, chamber music, sonatas and hundreds of songs and short works for a variety of instruments, but sadly very few have been published and so are unavailable therefore audiences are denied the opportunity to experience a genre of music that is as rich as it is vast. Hill was a violinist, violist, cornettist and conductor, though composition was clearly his first calling.His use of Maori music and references to Maori culture were enduring and he later developed an interest in the music of the Australian aborigines.
The Leipzig Diary, edited by Donald Maurice, is an amazing, almost daily, account of musical life in Leipzig in a Golden Age through the eyes and ears a budding young colonial composer. Leipzig was host to a steady stream of names who are now enshrined as the greatest of the greats from the Romantic era. We are treated to first-hand accounts of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Bruch, Reinecke, Sarasate, Joachim, Strauss and Sitt, to mention but a few.
Meryl Jackson-Kew OAM and Aleksandar Vujic
Meryl Jackson-Kew is a professional music educator, conductor of choirs and orchestras, composer and music examiner. She holds a B.Mus.B.Ed, AMusA, ATCL, MMTA, Teaching Cert. (Yamaha).
Meryl has 40 years experience teaching Early Childhood Music, Secondary Music and in Tertiary Music Education. Since 1994, she has organised and co-ordinated HSC Music workshops, publishing study/skill booklets and CDs for all Music 1 and Music 2 students attending workshops. Recognition for Meryl’s work in Education, has resulted in her being honoured with two awards for Excellence in Teaching and a production team award From The National Trust for the musical Quarry (Music Direction and Orchestration).
In 2016 Meryl received an Order of Australia Medal in the Queens Birthday Honours for her services to Music Education.
Aleksandar Vujic is a professional music teacher. He has been teaching music in Secondary Education since 2005. He currently works in a Sydney high school, teaching music to HSC level. His experience as a music educator has included teaching high school students in England. He has a Bachelor of Music Studies from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music specialising in classical guitar, a Diploma of Education (University of Wollongong) and a Diploma of Music Performance (Australian International Conservatorium of Music). Aleksandar is a guitarist and has been playing the guitar for over 25 years. He arranges and composes music and creates electronic music across a broad array of music genre. His dedication to teaching and his interest in traditional and modern music inspires him to create engaging lessons for his students.
Brennan Keats OAM
Brennan Keats was born in Mosman, NSW, the son of the composer, Horace Keats and the broadcaster and recitalist, Barbara Russell. He studied organ with Faunce Allman at St James Church, Sydney and piano with Gordon Watson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. For many years he was an organist and later accompanied singers as a pianist in an an amateur capacity.
He became Associate of the Australian Society of Accountants in 1966, and Fellow in 1991 and graduated from Macquarie University in 1985 with Bachelor of Arts. He is author of Real Estate Accounting, first published by Harper & Rowe, and over 100 other text books for bookkeeping and accountancy. With 14 years practicing as an Accountant in commercial industry and 20 years as teacher of Accountancy and Law he retired in 1988 to further his career in publishing.
Brennan is author of A Poet's Composer, the biography of Horace Keats (1895-1945) and his association with some of his contemporary artists such as Peter Dawson, Barbara Russell and the poets, Kenneth Mackenzie, Hugh McCrae, Christopher Brennan and many others; Quiet Waters, a history of HMAS Canberra  and his brother Russell, a flautist and organist, who died in her; Ship's Company, a concise history of the R.N. in WWI and many untold stories; A Woman Who Stands Alone, the biography of Janet Keats; and Wirripang - from the beginning, a history of of the company.
Brennan's interest in composing developed many years ago and since then he has arranged a number of his father's works, whose composition he greatly admires, but has taken greater interest in instrumental and choral writing and has had a number of works published.
In 1987 he and his wife commenced Publications by Wirripang, later to become Wirripang Pty Ltd, specialising in the publishing of books and fine Australian music and especially, establishing a means of preserving the music of these Australian composers so their music will not be lost to future generations.
Olive Lawson, BA (Sydney), AMusA, author of this biography of Mirrie, the life of the composer Mirrie Hill, has also completed a biography of Alfred Hill, Australia’s most eminent musician of the twentieth century.
Olive is one of a family of six great-grand-daughters of Sydney journalist and pioneer suffragist Louisa Lawson. Three of her sisters are also writers. She has edited and published some of Louisa Lawson’s reformist writings of the 1880s – 1890s, and has written several books on Henry Lawson, for local history societies. She has written articles on music and musicians for the Australian Music Centre, the ABC and Music Forum.
Jonathan David Little
Dr Jonathan Little is a member of the Society of Authors, and writes and editsworks on a variety of music-related topics, ranging from historical works discussing instrumentation and orchestration, to more topical writings on popular music performance and the future of the music and entertainment industries. In 2001, he co-founded Music Business Journal, and was for five years its joint Managing Editor. In a seminal series of articles commissioned for American Outlook magazine, published by the Hudson Institute (2001-02) – a US scholarly think-tank which helps shape government policy – Jonathan assessed the state of contemporary songwriting, the phenomenon of the Celestial Jukebox, and the implications of the rise of digital cinema. Jonathan was Series Editor of the Academy of Contemporary Music’s definitive 36-volume guide, The Academy Popular Music Tuition Series (2003-05), and, at the request of the British Academy, he contributed to Heart & Soul: Revealing the Craft of Songwriting, published by Sanctuary to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Ivor Novello Awards. In 2005 he was appointed first Consultant Editor to A&C Black’s flagship volume of musical reference, the Musicians’ and Songwriters’ Yearbook.
Forms and Possibilities: Selected Verse (1983-2002), with an Essay ... An Appreciation and a Defence of the Artist's Temperament (including 16 modern sonnets using antique forms) (Wollongong: Wirripang, 2011). From 2001-2006, Jonathan was Principal of the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, England – Europe’s largest specialist academy for students of contemporary music, and the first education institution to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation category). He also helped establish the first contemporary music degree course in Italy (in Bologna), and in South Africa (at COPA), and has worked as Curriculum Consultant to the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, and as Visiting Lecturer in Media Music Composition at the University of Surrey. In 2017, Jonathan was appointed inaugural Professor of Music Composition and Music History at the University of Chichester – now the UK’s largest University Music Department.
For more detailed biographical notes on Jonathan.
David Miller AM
Pianist David Miller is internationally recognized as one of Australia's leading chamber musicians and vocal accompanists. He has been appointed as a member of the Order of Australia for his service to music. David records for ABC-FM, ABC Classics, 2MBS-FM, Tall Poppies, Wirripang and Walsingham and has toured for Musica Viva and the ABC. He is Chair of Accompaniment and Chamber Music, Sydney Conservatorium. David is highly sought after for lectures and masterclasses on the specialist art of piano accompaniment. He is the inaugural President of the Accompanists' Guild of NSW and has been a major force in gaining recognition for accompaniment as an independent art form.
He co-authored the collection of 27 songs in Songs from Australia (together with Wendy Dixon, Cathy Aggett and Linda Foulsham) published in 2005. Following its success, David together with Wendy Dixon compiled Voice of Australia Volume I (2017) and Volume II (2014).
Lorna Menzies-Wall L.Mus.(P), A.Mus. A moved to Sydney at the age of 16 to study at the [then] NSW Conservatorium of Music with renowned piano teacher Alexander Sverjensky and well known singing teacher Godfrey Stirling. It was at this time that she became friend of another student, Malcolm Williamson. After eight years away from home Lorna finally returned to Wagga to open a private teaching practice that lasted over 30 years.
Realising the dearth in the musical landscape of the region, in 1974 Lorna was instrumental in trying to establish a conservatorium in Wagga Wagga, and to that end, met with the then Principal of the NSW Conservatorium, Rex Hobcroft AM and Warren Thompson OAM, Head of the School of Extension Studies. As a result of this very positive meeting she was able to call a public meeting in Wagga, and with the Mayor as Chairman of a specially-formed committee, in 1981, the Riverina Conservatorium of Music was established. She became an examiner with the Australian Music Examinations Board (NSW) and taught at the Riverina Conservatorium until moving to Canberra in 1985. She continued to teach for some 21 years before returning to her hometown in 2005. In 2006 the AMEB honoured her with an Award for 25 years of examining.
Now in her retirement, Lorna took the opportunity to write about her passion; the history and growth of music throughout the centuries and the composers who contributed to that growth, and so A Concise History of Music in Europe was born (Wirripang 2015) . A valuable resource book accessible to students and studio teachers.
Patrick Thomas AM MBE (1932-2017)
Noted conductor, broadcaster and writer, Patrick Thomas AM, MBE, first broadcast for the ABC in Brisbane aged 12 and soon gained a reputation as an outstanding flautist and piccolo player. A one-time church organist, his career in the performing arts has extended over sixty years and, for much of that time, as a familiar figure on Australia's national music scene where he has conducted many hundreds of concerts. For 22 years he held directional appointments with no fewer than four ABC Orchestras including the South Australian Symphony and the ABC's National Radio Chorus (The Adelaide Singers), finally being appointed the ABC's Federal Conductor-in-Residence. He served as the Queensland Symphony Orchestra's first (and still the only) Queensland-born Chief Conductor (1973-77). Overseas, he appeared in many countries as Guest Conductor of such orchestras as the Moscow Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Hallé, Polish National Radio and Television, Munich Philharmonic, BBC Orchestras, CBC, Prague Radio Symphony, and many others in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ireland, Japan and South Africa. In New Zealand, he made concert and TV appearances with the NZSO and various other orchestras, and also appeared as an opera conductor, including many seasons as Artistic Director of the Wellington City Opera (1988-91). Other successful facets of his career have been as presenter in concerts; broadcaster, interviewer; and as a prolific recording artist with releases on Australian and overseas labels. Well over one million young Australians would have shared his radio and TV schools broadcasts, or attended his live ABC schools concerts in all States.
Thomas also become known as a conductor who could step in when other conductors withdrew from performances at the last minute and he saved many such situations through his career. On July 8, 1985, in The Sydney Morning Herald, music critic, David Vance wrote: "When, at extremely short notice, Patrick Thomas took to the Concert Hall podium last Monday evening to replace an indisposed Sir Charles Mackerras, he did so without a rehearsal. There simply wasn't time. Before him lay Handel's Fireworks Music, the Walton Violin Concerto and Dvořák's. Eighth Symphony. Dvořák has its fair share of problems for the conductor and Walton's Concerto required a virtuosic maestro as well as a virtuosic soloist. It was a work Thomas had not previously conducted ... If Monday's concert was impressive, Tuesday's was even more so. The superb playing of the 27-year-old Nigel Kennedy was matched in interpretive skill by Patrick Thomas's direction. Polished and exciting, his performance was a personal triumph that served the music with equal credit".
Among his published works are an autobiography, Upbeats and Downbeats - A Conductor's Life (Wirripang 2010), a professional monograph, Overture to Conducting (Keys Press 1988), Behind the Scenes and a Visit to Russia (Wirripang 2011), Music in Brisbane and the QSO (Wirripang 2012); and from over 500 poems, the collections: A Conductor's Musings (2MBS-FM 2003), A Music Lover's Anthology (Wirripang 2008), Symphony of Limericks ( Wirripang 2009), Kaleidoscope (Wirripang 2011), Thoughts and Reflections - Poems for Pleasure (Wirripang 2013), Some Fine Music Composers - One Conductor's Selection (Wirripang 2013), Dogs, Cats, Feathered Friends - and a Possum! (Wirripang 2014), They Beat Time - Pioneers of Australia's Orchestras (Wirripang 2014), Panorama - People, Places and Perspectives (Wirripang 2015), Smorgasbord - Plates for mixed tastes(Wirripang 2016) and A Poet's Potpourri (Wirripang 2016), Australiana - One Poet's Odyssey (Wirripang 2017). The above are in addition to numerous articles, broadcast scripts, etc., for ABC Classic FM, "Limelight", Fine Music 102.5", and other MBS-FM stations; plus unpublished children's stories for grandson, Nicholas.
Dr Christina Whiteley has post graduate qualifications in education, librarianship and music. With forty-five years' teaching experience, thirty-two of which as an accredited private piano teacher operating a successful piano studio.
Christina has written this book, On Keys and Covers, to share her knowledge about colonial piano music. This, along with the much-neglected repertoire of British piano music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, has been a special interest of hers. She has a large collection of British keyboard music going back as far as the late 1400s and over the years she has also collected several colonial piano scores, following the transference of British piano music into the new colony after settlement.
Dr Katie Zhukov is an experienced performer, researcher and tertiary lecturer. Her professional career to date has combined extended periods working in both the freelance and higher education sectors, which has provided her with valuable perspectives on the relationship between academic knowledge, artistic expertise, and skills required by the music industry.
She began her studies at the Special Music School for Gifted Children in Kharkov, Ukraine. After migrating to Australia as a teenager, she completed undergraduate studies at the Universities of Western Australia and Adelaide, followed by a Masters degree at the renowned Juilliard School of Music, New York as a recipient of an ITT International Fellowship. Her PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2005 focused on instrumental pedagogy at the tertiary level, and her academic lecturing is informed by professional development through the completion of a Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Higher Education) at the University of Sydney. She completed a four-year postdoctoral research project at the University of Queensland in 2013.
In 2011 Katie complied and edited Wirripang Australian Piano Anthology three volumes of piano music by Wirripang composers. And with its success followed in 2015 the Australian Women Composers' Anthology, and Australian Women Composers' Anthology Volume II in 2019. In 2014 Katie compiled an extensive collection of piano works for Sight Reading for Advance Students.
Born in Sydney, New South Wales in 1958, Phillip Wilcher commenced piano studies at an early age. At 14, his first piano composition Daybreak was published by J. Albert & Son Pty Ltd. As a result of this piece, Wilcher was accepted as a student of Dr. Franz Holford. Further studies with Elpis Liossatos - a graduate of the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, and Neta Maughan. Musically, his influences are similarly expansive and the impact of classical composers, particularly J.S. Bach, Chopin and Tchaikovsky, is apparent in his expansive collection of compositions. Wilcher has also turned his creative attention towards the written word to include the authorship of several books, Dialogues: a narrative on the oneness of being (2015); Divinity: A dialogue between the self and music at the source (2015); The Poetry of the Preludes (2016), in which he interprets the preludes of Frederic Chopin and his autobiography, Thinking Allowed: a life in conversation with itself (2016).