Our Team - Music For Canberra

Our Team

Helen Roben

Chief Executive Officer

Helen has extensive experience in the Not for Profit sector at senior levels. She has been responsible for corporate governance, strategic planning, human resources, IT, legal and compliance as well as the development of additional income streams. Helen is a long-standing supporter of music education and participation as well as having a strong interest in the broader performing arts community in the ACT.

Melinda Hole

Artistic Convenor, Classical Programs

Melinda Hole is an accomplished Australian musician and conductor with an international and national reputation. She has worked extensively within the development of instrumental programs at school, community and tertiary level and has an outstanding success rate for producing quality, accessible opportunities across all levels of musical ability. As a trained performer and educator, her wealth of experience and vast network of music industry specialists provides the organisation with the benefits of her varied career background.

Ariana Odermatt – Artistic Coordinator

Anup Shrestha – Finance and Administration Coordinator

Tahni Chan, Violin

Tahni moved to Canberra to study a Double degree in Music and Law at ANU. She was the concertmaster of Canberra Youth Orchestra and is currently employed as a violinist with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and plays regularly with the Australian Youth Orchestra. She looks forward to sharing her love of the  violin with her students.

Ragnel Jansdotter, Violin

Ragnel is an experienced performer and teacher. She regularly plays with ensembles such as the Canberra Sinfonia and the Canberra Youth Orchestra. Ragnel enjoys teaching students of all ages and skill levels. She makes a point of tailoring her pedagogical approach to the individual requirements and abilities of each student, avoiding rote learning and ensuring a comprehensive understanding of music and violin technique.

Shirahni Mudaliar, Violin

Shirahni, a young Canberra musician, has been playing violin since the age of 6. Having completed her A Mus exam in 2017, she is currently studying a double degree of Music Performance and Languages at the Australian National University.Throughout her life she competed in a variety of competitions but finds the most enjoyment playing in ensembles, quartets, orchestras and teaching students that love music.

Matthew Witney, Violin

Matthew has over six years of teaching experience teaching both young children and adults. His teaching incorporates the Suzuki philosophy to maximise the playing potential of his students while imparting a sense of fun and important life skills. Matthew asked to learn to play violin from the age of four after he watched ‘Playschool Meets the Orchestra’. He learnt to play the violin in the Suzuki Philosophy before completing his AmusA (AMEB) diploma at the age of 13. He currently plays violin with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and other local ensembles.

Rita Woolhouse, Cello

Rita attended the NSW Conservatorium of Music High School then enrolled in tertiary study, graduating with a DSCM in performance. She has performed in numerous Australian ensembles and orchestras including the John Gould String Quartet and the Majorian Ensemble. She has taught cello and chamber music for many years and worked as a strings examiner for the AMEB. Rita currently performs and teaches in Canberra and Illawara.

Thomas Powles, Cello

Thomas is a fourth-year music student at the ANU.  He is an experienced performer and composer, receiving multiple awards in the arts, music, and cello performance.  Thomas cares deeply about the long-term success of his students, and chooses to focus on approach, understanding, and musicality early-on, rather than simply covering techniques.  His goal is to help his students find joy in what they are doing, no matter their age or skill level.

Melissa Fung, Double Bass

Having started her first instrument at age five, Melissa has had a long relationship with music and is very eager to share her knowledge and teachings accumulated over the years. She is an experienced performer, having played with the Australian National University’s Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra, side-by-side with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and is currently studying Music Performance at the ANU School of Music.

Tom Sherringham, Guitar

Tom has been playing the guitar since age 7. Growing up in a musical family, he had a lot of exposure to live music and jam sessions from a young age.  Some of his performances include National Folk Festival, Multicultural Festival, Tropfest, 3 Minute Thesis, Cobargo and Major’s Creek Folk Festival, Enlighten Festival, International Film Festivals at New Acton, Art not Apart and Day of the Dead.He also helps run the Mixed Abilities Program (MAP) in Music for Canberra since 2019 and is in his final year at ANU studying for a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance.

Katie Cole, Ukulele

Katie Cole is an accomplished singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, writer and music director who loves sharing her passion for music making with people of all ages and abilities: from beginner to advanced; from hobbyist to professional. She founded and directs a band, ‘The Ukeladies and the Men’, is conductor of ‘Andante Andante’ ABBA choir, and for many years was the director of the German Harmonie Choir in Narrabundah. Katie also assists her husband Toby in directing a number of Canberra children’s and youth choirs.

 

Dylan Slater, Guitar & Ukulele

Dylan first picked up the guitar aged 10 and was immediately hooked. After 17 years of playing, he is now in his final year of a Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University majoring in Jazz Performance and splits his time between studying, teaching, playing in local bands, community musicals and in wedding bands. Dylan can be seen around Canberra playing anything from jazz to indie rock, from to funk to bluegrass. Dylan has been teaching guitar for the last 10 years, and specialises in advanced improvisation, advanced picking techniques, and theory, as well as being accustomed to teaching beginners of all ages.

Abel Lawson, Guitar and Ukulele

Abel Lawson is a caring and patient teacher. Growing up in Tumut, NSW, Abel began playing the guitar when he was 13 years old. He started with electric guitar and after 3 years, he learnt classical guitar as well.

Abel likes seeing his students having fun while learning and playing the guitar. Abel impressed us with his musicianship, dedication, reliability and his thoughtful answers to our questions about how he approaches music education.

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 studied flute and recorder at the conservatory of Basel, as well as musicology, pedagogy, languages and cultural anthropology at the university of Basel, Switzerland.

Quinn Weber, Woodwind

Quinn is a local musician who started learning saxophone at 10 years old. After learning how to play the saxophone for a couple of years, he also picked up flute and clarinet.

Quinn is currently in his third year of a Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University and hopes to use what he learns there to teach his students to be the best musicians they possibly can be. Quinn values both classical and jazz schools of playing and ensures his students are exposed to a wide variety of repertoire covering various genres.

David Brown, Woodwind

David is a highly experienced musician, as a performer, studio musician, ensemble director/conductor and instrumental tutor for  the flute, clarinet and saxophone family of instruments. David was a part time member of staff at ANU teaching aspiring jazz instrumentalists and creating a full size band from Prep Jazz Course students. Big Bands have played a big role in David’s professional career as has his performance degree. David enjoys teaching flute, clarinet and saxophone to beginners and players of all levels of ability. 

Brass & Percussion

Kapil Bhuta, Drum Kit & Hand Drumming

Kapil Bhuta is a student in ANU and has been drumming for 10 years in Sydney, Singapore and Canberra. He enjoys performing and has been doing so consistently since young. His most accomplished performance is being on the drums with The Killers at the Formula One race in Singapore last year, in front of a 60,000 strong crowd.

In addition to drums, Kapil also plays the guitar, bass, piano, mandolin and the ukelele. He has been involved in a vast array of ensembles ranging from rock, soul, pop, acoustic, orchestral and jazz. Kapil loves to share his passion of music with all whom he interacts with.

Matthew Ricketts, Brass

Matthew is a passionate player of all things Brass. Specialising in trombone and trumpet, Matt plays with the Australian Wind Symphony and his styles range from classical to contemporary. Matt also teaches tuba, french horn and euphonium and has been involved with the Canberra musis scene for the past ten years. Matt is an experienced and patient tutor, and enjoys seeing his students have fun while learning an instrument. He believes that doing so will keep them motivated and practicing regularly.

Keyboard

Susan Reid, Piano

Originally from South Africa, Susan Reid has been a piano teacher for over 40 years, teaching children of all ages and adults. She is always pleased when her pupils enjoy their music. Her qualifications are LTCL (piano teaching), and B Mus (Honours in Ethnomusicology) from the University of Adelaide. She leads an adult church choir in Canberra, sometimes plays percussion with the National Capital Orchestra, and has taught piano with Music for Canberra since April 2019.

Vivenne Tran, Piano

Vivienne Tran began studying piano at the age of six under the tutelage of Laura Wong, before starting with Marie Cull in 2010. She gained her Associate Diploma of Performance in October 2018, and is currently studying for her Licentiate Diploma. Vivienne has been teaching students preliminary and under for three years, and her main focus is to share her passion of music and performance with young children, as well as help them develop their technical ability and sense of musicality.

Linus Hanul Lee, Piano

Linus is an active pianist/organist. Linus graduated from the Australian National University with a classical piano performance major in 2018. In 2017, he became a Wesley music scholar, where he resumed his organ tuition. He attained the LMusA with distinction for the organ in 2019. Linus looks forward to working with many future musicians to share the joy of music making.

Vocal

Sarahlouise Owens, Voice

Sarahlouise Owens is a professional singer with over 30 years of performing experience. Spending several years overseas, she sang in many of Europe’s illustrious theatres and enjoyed success in a number of major national and international singing competitions. Sarahlou is currently teaching voice for Music for Canberra in Ainslie.             

 

 

Mixed Abilities Program (MAP)

Tom Sherringham, MAP

Tom has been playing the guitar since age 7. Growing up in a musical family, he had a lot of exposure to live music and jam sessions from a young age.  Some of his performances include National Folk Festival, Multicultural Festival, Tropfest, 3 Minute Thesis, Cobargo and Major’s Creek Folk Festival, Enlighten Festival, International Film Festivals at New Acton, Art not Apart and Day of the Dead.He also helps run the Mixed Abilities Program (MAP) in Music for Canberra since 2019 and is in his final year at ANU studying for a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance.

Matthew Armstrong, MAP 

Matthew has trained as an early childhood teacher and community musician. He has worked as a music teacher and as a teacher of children with disabilities in primary schools. Matthew currently works with ACT Playgroups as a playgroup facilitator with families and children with disability. Matthew created the participatory street orchestra Drummers not Plumbers and has built musical instruments for Birrigai Outdoor School and Questacon Science Class.

Evan Buckley, MAP

Evan Buckley is a recording and performing artist, twice nominated as live voice of the year in the ACT (NLMAs 2018, 2019) who has toured internationally and recorded three studio albums with his band, The Burley Griffin.

Evan has worked in the disability sector since 2006 and in the MAP program at MFC since 2017.

Karim Camprovin Sanchez, MAP

Originally from Venezuela, Karim has been studying music since she was eight years old. Karim is a singer and music educator and is passionate about music therapy. She has a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Music and she studied a postgraduate specialisation in Music Therapy where she discovered a passion for working with people with a disability to improve their wellbeing through music.

Conductors

Mandy Philipse, Camerata

Mandy has been Camerata’s conductor for the last seven years and absolutely loves working with kids. She has been involved with MFC (formerly CYO Society and Canberra Youth Music) since she was eight years old and playing the violin and viola.

Louis Sharpe, Canberra Youth Orchestra

Since Louis’ move to Canberra in 2018 he has been welcomed into the local arts organisations to develop and add to the wonderful cultural landscape of the city. With orchestral education a passion of his, Louis is thrilled to be the conductor of the Canberra Youth Orchestra. Louis also performs in the percussion section of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Louis has also assisted at the Australian World Orchestra whilst undertaking his Masters in Orchestral Conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Ash Crowe, Sinfonietta

Ash Crowe graduated from Griffith University with a major in Viola Performance.  He is a passionate and experienced violist, violinist and composer with years of experience in small ensemble and orchestral playing.  Ash regularly composes music for solo viola and other string instruments, while incorporating music technology elements and effects. 

With a strong belief in community building and working with others to achieve common goals, Ash aims to facilitate an inclusive, encouraging and uplifting environment for all Music for Canberra musicians.   

 

Jenny Higgs, String Ensemble

Growing up in Lithgow, NSW, Jenny always knew that she would make music her career. After graduating from the Australian National University, Jenny pursued a path that combined music and education. Now a professional musician with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and a teacher at Orana Steiner School. Jenny challenges her young students to explore works from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras and contemporary works written for string ensembles. She allows provides players with the opportunity to consolidate and develop their technical skills.

 

Liam Meany, Peg Mantle Strings

Liam Meany is a professional Cellist, and began the cello at age nine in Canberra as part of his schools’ string program. Liam is a keen orchestral player, and has held many professional orchestral engagements which have included working with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Orchestra, the Musicians Project and TangoOz Ensemble. Liam has also participated in many youth orchestra programs since the age of 10, including Australia Youth Orchestra, Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute, Sydney Youth Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra in both tutti and principal positions.

Doreen Cumming, James McCusker Orchestra

Doreen began her violin studies in Canberra with the renowned Juilliard graduate, Vincent Edwards, and studied with some of Australia’s finest pedagogues, including Charmian Gadd, Larry Sitsky AO, FAHA, and John Painter AM.  She made her first professional appearance with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in 1984, and since then has been invited to play with many of Australia’s top orchestras, and toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. 

Doreen studied conducting with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s chief conductor, David Porcelain, and after being a finalist in the Westfield Young Conductors competition, went on to conduct professionally with the TSO, touring and recording with them for the ABC.

Doreen is currently working in Orange as the Founder/Director of Strings On Sampson and is the Principal Second Violin with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

Tobias Cole, Canberra Children’s Choir

Tobias Cole is an award-winning singer and conductor with a passion for quality ensemble performance and for creating pathways for children and adults to achieve this. He is a regular guest singer in one of Australia’s finest vocal groups, The Song Company and in 2014 established his own professional ensemble in Canberra, Clarion, to perform Evensong a monthly program in the National Portrait Gallery.In 2013 he founded Turner Trebles primary school choir and, in 2014, Vocal Fry for high school students in the ANU Music Development Program.  As a singer he has performed principal roles with all the major Australian opera companies, including Opera Australia and has performed as a soloist throughout Australia and overseas.