Our Staff

Music For Canberra's Dedicated Team of Office Staff, Tutors and Conductors

Office Staff

Dr. Stephanie Neeman

CEO & Artistic Director

Dr. Stephanie Neeman is an internationally acclaimed pianist and music educator. She has held positions as professor of piano professor at the University of Utah and Valdosta State University in the United States. She also teaches at ELMS Conservatory in Indonesia, where she is the Head of the Piano Department. She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati, MM and BM from Manhattan School of Music.

Stephanie’s virtuosic pianistic skills have earned her top prizes in the Empire State International Piano Competition and the Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition, among others. Together with her husband, as the Neeman Piano Duo, she has performed across the US, Asia and Australia, including as a soloist with the National Capital Orchestra and the Canberra Youth Orchestra. The Neeman Piano Duo are known for their impeccable musicianship and unique onstage chemistry. Their arrangements of popular Classical and Broadway tunes for piano four hands have been performed by duet ensembles worldwide.

Stephanie is passionate about music education and pedagogy. Her piano students have been prize-winners at major competitions and have been accepted to prestigious programs worldwide. She has given masterclasses and lectures at universities and conservatories around the world, and is a frequent presenter at music teachers’ conferences in Australia and the United States. She writes a regular column for the Indonesian music education magazine STACCATO.

Stephanie is excited to join Music for Canberra as its CEO/Artistic Director and looks forward to working with the members, staff and board to continue to provide music education and performances for all Canberrans.

Kate Firkins

Program Manager

Jenny Brain

Marketing Manager

Our Tutors

Barbara Jerjen

Flute, Recorder and Music Play Tutor

Acclaimed music teacher and performer Barbara Jerjen has been working with people of all ages and abilities for over 40 years. Her fields of expertise range from early childhood music education over individual tuition to leading ensembles and conducting orchestras. Over the past 20 years Barbara has been majorly involved in community music work and peripatetic music tuition at several schools in town. Barbara is one of the main tutors of Music For Canberra, where she teaches the classes of the Music Play program, the various recorder courses for children and adults as well as a large part of the flute curriculum. Barbara also conducts the CREMS recorder orchestra, she is a regular tutor at music workshops around Australia including the annual Orpheus summer courses in Armidale (NSW), and she runs several community ensembles.

Barbara studied flute and recorder at the conservatory of Basel, as well as musicology, pedagogy, languages and cultural anthropology at the university of Basel, Switzerland. Married with four children she moved to Canberra in 1995.

Mary Firkins

Guitar, Violin, & MAP Tutor

Mary is an accomplished guitar player, who has been in many established bands throughout Canberra over many years. Mary has tutored at Music For Canberra for a number of years. She has tutored privately, and in groups, and has also been part of the Mixed Abilities team at Music For Canberra.

Zach Raffan

Brass Tutor

Zach is a musician, actor, and composer. He has tutored all brass instruments privately and in ACT schools since he was 18. He began playing trumpet at 8 in Tasmania, where he grew up, then moved to Canberra in 1998 where he began studying with Daniel Mendelow. Since 2016, Zach has performed with his band The Zackerbilks, an eight -piece Dixie band that plays jazz from the 20s-50s, which continues to go strong today. Currently he focuses more on Jazz in his own playing, but predominately teaches classical to his students as he believes its an essential part of learning any brass instrument. His philosophy is to teach students how to teach themselves, in order to speed up the process of achieving independence as a musician.


Our Conductors

Shilong Ye

James McCusker Orchestra Conductor

Shilong Ye was born in Shenzhe, China, and began playing the piano at four. He began conducting at the age of 12, and took up the oboe and viola before he finished primary school. Shilong joined the concert band and orchestra in high school, where he found a passion for conducting.

He came to Australia in 2005 and finished his final years of high school in Canberra, then began his degree at ANU, majoring in Viola, while also studying conducting from 2007-2009.
Later in 2009 Shilong was asked to fill in for a conductor of the James McCusker Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra, and is currently the conductor for the James McCusker Orchestra.

Leonard Weiss

Canberra Youth Orchestra Conductor

Leonard Weiss was the 2016 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year for Youth Arts and Multimedia and an ACT Finalist for 2016 Young Australian of the Year. He has recently been invited to participate in the 2018 Australian Conducting Academy, which will see him study under Johannes Fritzsch and conduct the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra at the start of next year.

In addition to CYO, Leonard is the Musical Director/Conductor of the National Capital Orchestra, the ANU Choral Society and the Canberra Qwire. His remaining commitments for the year include conducting Handel’s Messiah with the Canberra Choral Society on 25 November, previewing Ian Batterham’s new musical Camelia, and a family concert including Peter and the Wolf with the National Capital Orchestra on 9 December. Leonard is looking forward to many exciting opportunities in 2018; as well as working with more of Australia’s top soloists, his schedule will include conducting in the famed Munich Philharmonie and as part of the Canberra International Music Festival.