Our experienced teaching artists tailor their approach to the needs of every individual

Rachel Carter
Piano // Co-Founder

Rachel started piano at age 4 and spent her formative years in high school studying with Lyn Brown. After placing first in her year in HSC Music 2 at St Andrew’s Cathedral school she went on to study with Joshua Tsai at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, receiving her Bachelor’s of Music Education Degree in 2009.

Rachel has 11 years teaching experience, both at the piano and inside a classroom. She ran a successful music studio out of her home in Balmain, as well as teaching at some of Sydney’s top private and selective schools including St Andrew’s, Ascham, and Hornsby Girls, before moving to London in 2015. Rachel worked in several schools during her time in London teaching in the classroom, teaching piano privately preparing students for ABRSM and Trinity exams, conducting various ensembles and choirs, and running early childhood music classes at local preschools.

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In addition her tertiary studies, Rachel has completed certificates in the Orff Schulwerk method (level 1 and 2), and the Kodaly method (level 1), and integrates philosophies and techniques from both of these methods in her teaching. Orff Schulwerk is especially influential in her practise of early childhood music around which her syllabus is primarily based.

As an accompanist Rachel has experience with students of all levels, and has been regularly engaged to this end at the schools she has worked with. She has accompanied students in exams for AMEB, Trinity, and ABRSM, as well as for HSC performances, and regular school performances.

Rachel has a passion for using music as a tool for social outreach, and has pursued this in both Australia and the UK. Working at the regional Conservatorium in Gunnedah, NSW, Rachel ran regular community music programs, and shared her experiences and resources with local music educators. In an inner-city London school, Rachel founded an initiative to use music to engage families from culturally diverse communities with the wider school community. Rachel also explored Balinese Gamelan Music during her studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and travelled to Cudamani, Bali, to study and perform with local Balinese musicians.

Christopher Bennett
Cello // Co-Founder

Christopher holds an Honours degree from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a Master’s degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. His principal teachers have been Georg Pedersen, Julian Smiles, and Hans Jorgen Jensen. 

Christopher has a decade of teaching experience and has worked for many public and private schools in both Australia and the USA. As a Graduate Assistant, Christopher taught lessons at Northwestern University in Chicago during his Master’s Study. In 2017 he was teaching assistant to Prof. Hans Jorgen Jensen, as well as an assistant chamber music coach, at the Meadowmount School of Music in New York. 

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Christopher has worked as an orchestral tutor at the Arts Unit of NSW, and in 2014 his quartet was quartet-in-residence at the Scots College for the Credo Festival where he coached several chamber groups. He has worked with students of all ages both individually and in large groups. Christopher has done study in the Orff Schulwerk method of music education, and incorporates aspects of his in his teaching of younger students. He currently maintains a private studio in St Leonards, as well as working as a Music Teaching Artist for the Symphony for Life Foundation, a pioneering youth orchestra program in Western Sydney which provides a free music education and a safe space for disadvantaged and at risk youth.

Throughout his studies Christopher was the recipient of many scholarships and awards including from the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, the PPCA Performers Trust (twice), an Arts Fellowship from Ars Musica Australis, and scholarships from Northwestern University and the Meadowmount School of Music. His studies in Chicago were further made possible because of the generous support of a number of private donors. At Northwestern his quartet won the honours award for their performance of Joan Tower’s “In Memory”.

Christopher attended the Meadowmount School of Music on two occasions as a student, and in 2017 as teaching assistant. He completed a month of intensive study with internationally renowned soloist Pieter Wispelwey, and has had chamber music coaching and masterclasses from members of the Tokyo, Dover, Vermeer, and Goldner Quartets, and the Lincoln Trio. He has also played in masterclasses for Lynn Harrell, Li-Wei Qin and Howard Penny.

Christopher was one of the founding members of the Conservatorium Students Association, and sat on several university committees as a student rep. during his undergraduate studies.  Christopher sits on two arts boards, Ars Musica, and Arts Initiative Australia, both of which are nonprofit arts foundations dedicated to growing capacity for the arts in Australia with a specific focus on early career artists.

Daniel Cortes
Violin / Viola

Daniel is an accomplished performer, arranger, and teacher. He studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Nicole Divall, Jeremy Williams, and Rainer Schmidt, and now maintains a consummate freelance career. He regularly performs in a variety of venues, from concert halls with chamber ensembles and orchestras, to opening night acts at esteemed festivals such as Vivid and the Melbourne Festival. 

Daniel has over ten years’ experience as a teacher of both the Violin and the Viola. He has taught individuals, groups, and small ensembles at various schools throughout Sydney including Scots College, the Shore School, and the Emanuel School. He currently maintains a private studio in Kensington. 

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Daniel also works as a Music Teaching Artist for the Symphony for Life Foundation, a pioneering youth orchestra program in Western Sydney which provides a free music education and a safe space for disadvantaged and at risk youth. Here he is responsible for individual tuition as well as conducting the larger group, the Parramatta West Children’s Orchestra. 

As an orchestral musician, Daniel gained his early orchestral experience as a member of the Sydney Youth Orchestra, with whom he held the position of principal violist. He spent several years playing with the Australian Youth Orchestra and attending AYO’s National Music Camp, and also twice attended the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute in Hobart. He now regularly performs with the Town Hall Messiah Orchestra, and Christ Church St Lawrence Choirs. 

Daniel has had extensive experience as a chamber musician, beginning during his time at the Conservatorium. He was regularly chosen to play in masterclasses for artists such as the Tokyo String Quartet, and Goldner String Quartets, and has had coaching’s from members of the Australian String Quartet, and the Grainger String Quartet. He has performed numerous chamber recitals over the years including at the Utzon Room (Opera House), Mosman Art Gallery, and as a featured artist at the Lane Cove Cameraygal Festival. His quartet at the time, the Swan Quartet, was invited to be artist-in-residence at Credo Festival at the Scots College.

Daniels passion for music has enabled him attain skills across a range of instruments, not just the violin and viola, but also bass guitar, and the bagpipes. This has naturally led to a progression and understanding across multiple musical genres from classical to pop, and jazz to rock. He regularly draws on this experience as a highly sought-after arranger, who has made more than 200 arrangements to-date of everything from classic rock, to film music, to even video game music. 

Isabel Tzorbatzaki
Violin

Isabel Tzorbatzaki has been playing the Violin since the age of three, and is currently studying for her Master’s of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. After graduating from the Conservatorium High in 2010, she went on to complete a Bachelor’s of Music with Honours at Melbourne University. She has studied with Goetz Richter, Wanda Wilkomirska, and Monica Curro.

Throughout her studies, there are several notable awards and scholarships that Isabel received including the Atheneum String Quarter Prize (2013), the Ormond College Bessie Robson Music Scholarship (2011-2013) and was selected to perform her own composition in the 2010 ‘Encore’ concert series at the Opera House. Isabel was awarded her AMusA, with distinction, in 2015, and her LMusA in 2016. 

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Isabel has been exceling at orchestral music since her high school years, where she toured Austria and Germany with The Arts Unit Orchestra.  She spent several years playing with the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra, and attending both the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp and the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute. She now regularly performs as a member of the Willoughby Symphony, the Sydney Chamber Orchestra, and the Metropolitan Orchestra. 

In addition to her achievements at the violin, Isabel is an enthusiastic and passionate teacher with a wealth of experience teaching students of all ages throughout Melbourne and Sydney. She has taught both individuals and small groups in various schools in Melbourne, including Sholem Aleichem College, and Parkville Music School. She currently teaches at Dobroyd Public School, and Annandale North Public School.

Outside of classical music, Isobel has an interest in Middle Eastern violin music, and is currently researching the repertoire and writing a thesis on this for her Master’s Degree. Isabel is sought after as a session musician in Sydney, and regularly appears in performances on The Voice. 

Henry Liang
Flute

Henry Liang is a flute and piccolo player in the Royal Australian Navy Band and the Founder/Director of the International Exchange Association of Australia (IEAA). With 150+ concert appearances per year, Henry performs around Australia and the world in various official ceremonies, educational programs and public concerts. Recent appearances include solo flute recitals in Tokyo and New York, performances at the International Fleet Review in India, as well as touring Queensland and Germany as a soloist with the Chamber Philharmonia of Cologne. 

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Henry first encountered the flute as a six-year-old in his native China, where he set out to approach the traditional Chinese bamboo flute (Dizi) in his local primary school’s Traditional Chinese Music Ensemble. After taking up the Western at the age of eight, Henry joined the Guangzhou Youth Orchestra before moving to Australia in 2000. Throughout secondary school, Henry was a member of various musical ensembles including the Sydney Youth Orchestra, where he performed under the baton of inspiring conductors Max McBride, Richard Gill and Steve Williams.

Henry went on to complete a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the mentorship of James Kortum and Alexa Still. In 2015, Henry became the second international recipient of a 2-month residency from Columbia University of New York to visit Tokyo as a protégé to study the sho (bamboo reed instrument from 7th century Japan) under sho master Mayumi Miyata. In 2016, Henry founded the International Exchange Association of Australia (IEAA) to facilitate cultural and educational exchange programs in various professional fields including the arts, commerce and law. Henry has been an active member of the Flute Society of NSW since 2012 and held the role of President from 2014-17.

Michaela Leisk
Classical Voice

Michaela is a graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, receiving her Bachelor of Music with Honours in Vocal Performance. During her time in London she taught singing and piano at Cherry Pie Music in Wimbledon. In Sydney, Michaela was the director of choirs at Cherrybrook Technology High School for 5 years (until she became a Mum!), and teaches singing privately out of her home studio. 

In the UK, Michaela performed Gilbert and Sullivan roles Julia (The Grand Duke), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), Josephine (HMS Pinafore), and the title role in Patience. As a soloist, she has performed numerous sacred Oratorio works, including Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Poulenc’s Gloria at Chelmsford Cathedral, Essex.

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In Sydney, Michaela’s roles include Calisto (Daphnis and Chloe) with Pacific Opera, Dolores (Florodora) with Slick Operettas, Lucille (The Silken Ladder) with Sydney Independent Opera.  With the North Shore Theatre Company, she played Maria (West Side Story) and Rebecca Steinberg (It Shoulda Been You). She also performs various roles in Charody Productions’ circus operas. She played the role of Rose Pickles in the creative development of Cloudstreet: The Opera, and more recently played the title role in Mary Poppins with the Willoughby Theatre Company.  

Michaela joined the 7 Sopranos in 2011, and sang on their debut, self-titled album on the ABC Classics label. Other public performances include live broadcasts on both ABC Classic FM and Fine Music 2MBSFM, a regular soloist with the Ryde Hunters Hill Symphony Orchestra, and as of 2015, a member of close harmony jazz trio 'Midnight Avenue'. 

Michaela also performs regularly at weddings and other private functions, being represented by Musical Functions, The Jingle Belles Singers, Vavachi Entertainment and Singers for Hire.

Ruben Palma
Cello

Ruben Palma began to play the cello aged 6, and studied with Lindy Reksten, Julian Smiles, Howard Penny, and Nicolas Altstaedt, as well as drawing inspiration from masterclasses and lessons with Li-Wei Qin, Johannes Moser, David Geringas, Gary Hoffman, Alban Gerhardt, Steven Isserlis, Pieter Wispelwey, Jian Wang, Maria Kliegel, and Uzi Wiesel. Ruben is a graduate of both the Victorian College of the Arts (where he holds a Bachelor of Music Performance with Honours) and the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne (Master of Music Violoncello Solo), and also attended the Canberra School of Music, the Meadowmount School of Music, the Mozarteum Summer Academy, and the Australian National Academy of Music throughout his studies.

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As soloist, Ruben has performed cello concerti by Haydn, Elgar, and Schumann, and Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Ruben's international career has included solo, chamber music, and orchestral performances in Germany, the U.S.A., Scotland, England, China, and El Salvador.

Bernadette Morrison
Cello

Last year Bernadette was one of the four international Southbank Sinfonia cellists of 2017 in London UK, sponsored by the Sir Charles Mackerras Chair and Tait Memorial Trust, and where she took part in collaborations with prestigious ensembles such as the Orchestra of the Academy of St Martin in the Field and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Since 2016 Bernadette has also been a recurring casual cellist with NZ’s Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. She was selected as an Emerging Artist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 2011 Sinfonia Program, and has performed in the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) Chamber Players program, (Musica Viva Festival 2015), Sydney. Bernadette was also selected for the AYO chamber orchestra, Momentum Ensemble, with whom she toured Australia and had the unique opportunity to workshop and perform with the preeminent Australian World Orchestra under the baton of guest-conductor Sir Simon Rattle at Sydney Opera House in 2015.

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Last year in London, Bernadette had the privilege of taking individual lessons with Stephen Orton (Principal Cello, St Martin in the Field), Timothy Walden (Principal Cello, London Philharmonia Orchestra) and workshops with Rhydian Shaxson and Mark Bethel (Royal Opera House). In 2014 her studies had taken her to Verona, Italy, where she performed in the Sydney Conservatorium Estivo Festival in the Adelphi String Quartet, and to France for several intensive solo cello master-classes with world-renowned cellist Maria Kliegel at the Fourvière International Summer School of the Conservatoire de Lyon. Bernadette completed both her Bachelor and Masters degree in Cello Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with senior lecturer Georg Pedersen.

Bernadette has also had lessons with Umberto Clerici, Eliah Sakakushev-von Bismarck, Julian Smiles, Sue-Ellen Paulsen, Howard Penny and David Pereira, and has performed in Australian masterclasses with international cellists Nicolas Altstaedt, Steven Isserlis and Gautier Capuçon.

Sharing her love of music has always been a major passion for Bernadette and therefore teaching the cello has been a big part of her life.

George Wills
Classical Guitar

Classical guitarist George Wills holds a Bachelor of Music with 1st Class Honours from Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music. In 2016 George was awarded 1st Prize in the New Zealand Classical Guitar Competition, and the ‘New Zealand Aspiring Guitarist Award’ for the Taranaki Classical Guitar Summer School. During his time at the NZSM George studied under Dr. Jane Curry and Professor Matthew Marshall. George currently specialises in Baroque Guitar and early plucked string instruments at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he is completing a Master of Music (Research) Degree under the guidance of Dr. Neal Peres Da Costa and Tommie Andersson.

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Alongside his work as a soloist George is an active chamber musician. Working with guitarist Jake Church as part of Duo Kitā the pair toured New Zealand in both 2015 and 2016 with funding from the Freemasons Hinemoa-Kairangi Benevolent Trust and Lankhuyzen/Whetu-Kairangi Trust. Duo Kitā were also finalists in the Pettman/Royal Overseas League Chamber Competition in 2015.

George performs with the Sydney Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble, and in 2016 he performed with the Oklahoma City Guitar Orchestra as part of the Texas International Guitar Festival. He has taken masterclasses with leading figures of classical guitar including Ricardo Gallén, Pepe Romero, William Kanengiser, Marek Pasieczny and Xuefei Yang. George is a recipient of the Patricia Bell Scholarship (University of Sydney), Massey University High-Achiever Scholarship, a Jack C. Richards Music Award, Freemasons Lankhuyzen/Whetu-Kairangi Music Awards, and the Timaru Arts Foundation Scholarship.

Andrew Batt-Rawden
Composer-in-residence

I make chamber music and performance art. This involves some writing, some devising, some improv, sometimes performing. My debut album “Seven Stations” was released in 2014 with Hospital Hill. In 2015 I began using live heart rates as tempi in my music compositions, and I’ve written such works for Plexus (for the 2016 Metropolis Festival), Australia Piano Quartet, Jocelyn Ho and Synergy Percussion (40 under 40 project). In 2017, commissions included for the Song Company, Australian Art Quartet and Alicia Crossley. Previous commissions include for the Noise, DirtyFeet dance company... a range of ensembles, companies and instrumentations. I like using organic rhythm and playing with perception of time, working between clarity and obfuscation. I root my harmonies in the western classical tradition but extend my language to express what is otherwise inexpressible. I love exploring the juxtaposition of ugly and beautiful, masculine and feminine, pedestrian and abstractification and many of my works have a premise in an aspect of identity. I also love exploring the possibilities afforded technological advancements in software and hardware.

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In 2017 I established Vordenker with my creative business partner Ben Hinchley to continue investigating live data feeds (such as heart-rate) in music composition and release a mobile interactive music market place.

In addition to my artist career, I’ve been involved in the direction and/or curation of festivals including Vivid @ Seymour, Bellingen Music Festival, Aurora Festival. In 2013 I bought Limelight Magazine to prevent its closure. In 2017 I co-founded a charity, Arts Initiative Australia, to support capacity-building projects in the arts. In 2008 I co-founded Chronology Arts to support performing artists, particularly emerging composers, with commissions, performances, recordings and audience building. I'm a consultant for arts organisations, have been on assessment panels for both arts funding for ArtsNSW and Australia Council, and participate on boards of small arts companies.

I have been engaged in teaching/education for the past 10 years. My background in teaching includes the development and presentation of courses, lectures and seminars for both the University of Sydney and University of Technology, producing and co-presenting the Limelight Australian Composition Seminar at Santa Sabina Strathfield from 2015 with Richard Gill and Karen Carey (for students in years 8-11), private tuition in composition for high school students, and recently teaching algorithmic composition techniques at Bronte Public junior school. I have also mentored many young artists over the last decade.

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