Staff Profiles

Anita Bellman, Executive Director

Anita BellmanMusic has the power to heal, to unite and bring peace, to energise and mobilise, to inspire and transport the musician and audience alike. There is an immense body of research that attests to the positive impact of music education on brain development, social inclusion and cohesion and emotional intelligence and well-being. Music is also fun. Many lifetimes could be devoted to the pursuit of musical knowledge and there would still be more to learn. 

Anita Bellman’s role of Executive Director of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium in the regional town of Lismore NSW is varied, to say the least. From hosting Teddy Bears Picnics for the very youngest musicians right through to being Artistic Director of her Conservatorium’s Silver Jubilee. The Silver Jubilee in 2016 was an open-air multi-artform performance of original orchestral, choral, contemporary music, movement and live projection conducted by the acclaimed Richard Gill and involving over 100 musicians, singers and performers of multi-generations. 

Community engagement and partnerships are vitally important to Anita’s commitment to providing her local community with access to quality music education and performance experiences. As President of the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums, a network of 17 Regional Conservatoriums across NSW, Anita is able to expand her work as an educator, administrator, collaborator and advocate at the state level.

Anita has a Bachelor of Contemporary Music majoring in voice and a Graduate Diploma of Education both from Southern Cross University. As an educator, she teaches singing and has taught in high-schools, in the vocational education and training sector and at university.

anita.bellman@nrcac.edu.au

Sean O’Boyle (AM) - Resident Creative Artist
Sean is an Australian composer, conductor and educator whose music has been performed and recorded by Australian, European and North American orchestras. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2015 for his service to music.
 
Sean composed the theme for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games ABC Broadcast and for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. His interest in Indigenous Australian music inspired his Concerto for Didgeridoo and Orchestra which was voted #32 in ABC FM’s Classic 100 Concertos.
 
He has conducted orchestras in concert halls from Sydney Opera House to those in London, New York and Toronto and concerts under the stars in outback Australia.

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Guy Anderton - Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Piano, Drums and Percussion - Music in Schools

NRCAC Guy AndertonGuy Anderton is an Educator and Musician from Lennox Head.

Guy teaches in our Music in Schools program at Bangalow and Mullumbimby Public Schools.

He is a 3rd generation musician from the Antertons music family in the UK [www.andertons.co.uk]. Guy holds a Cert 4 as a Music Educator and a Hndip from the Academy of Contemporary Music UK in production and composition. Guy has been a professional musician since 1990, and a music educator since 1995. Guy loves teaching all ages and is a muliti instrumentalist – offering tuition on Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Piano, Drums and Percussion.

Guy has been an Employee with the Northern Rivers Conservatoirum since 2014. He has performed as a professional musician all over the world, with performances including TV performances in the UK with Lionel Ritchie, Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) and the Saturday show house band BBC1. He has performed live with Bonnie Raitt in Cuba, the BBC Philharmonic UK, Womadelaide Aus, at the Glastonbury festival, V-Fest, Jazz in the Vines, the big day out, Woodford folk festival, Ronnie Scotts’ Jazz Club, the Jazz Café London and the Royal Festival Hall London.

Mark Bromley - Guitar, Bass, Music Theory - Community Music

Mark BromleyMark Bromley BMus (Hons), AMus, teaches guitar and bass guitar, a little fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and cello, as well as music theory and composition.

Mark teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium.

He has composed scores for several low budget theatre companies, composed and performed with IGNEOUS (performance theatre), and played with countless ensembles from solo to orchestra in many genres from classical to avant-garde for the last 30 years.

Dan Brown - Piano / Keyboard - Music in Schools

Dan BrownDan Brown started playing piano as a 12 year old and went on to to study composition at ANU with Larry Sitsky.

Dan teaches in our Music in Schools program at Bangalow Public School.

Dan has enjoyed playing many international tours and major national festivals. Dan has experience in wide range of styles – pop, jazz, reggae, R&B, Electronica and hip hop all have featured in recent gigs.

Over the last 5 years Dan has performed at numerous Australian festivals – including – Adelaide fringe (Pete Murray and The ASO), Island Vibes (the bird, Red Bantoo,Fyah Walk) and Mullum Fest (Shelly Hughes) and Woodford (the Bird and Red Bantoo, Fyah Walk). He has also enjoyed 4 international tours.

As a recording artist he has co-produced/ engineered/ played and composed 3 albums, most recently Shelly Hughes’ “Where the owl was”.

Rex Carter - Drums

Staff Pic - Rex CarterRex has been teaching drum kit for nearly 30 years. He moved to the Northern Rivers in Jan 2006 and is currently tutoring over 40 students. Rex is a professional musician who is working regularly with country/ bluegrass band ‘The Round Mountain Girls’, reggae/ latin band ‘Ragga Jump’, funk/soul band ‘The Crew’, and others.

Rex teaches in our Music in Schools program at Bangalow Public School and Byron Community Primary School.

For more info please visit www.rexcarterdrums.com.

Felicity Clifton - Voice, Early Childhood Music - Community Music

BA Cont. Mus, Grad Dip Ed

Having won a Dolphin Award in the folk genre in 2000, Felicity graduated from Southern Cross University, Lismore in 2004 with a Bachelor of Contemporary Music (Vocal Major) and Graduate Diploma of Education. She has directed various community choral groups for both children and adults in Australia and internationally.

Felicity specialises in singing as a therapy for pre/post-natal groups as well as mental health and aged care home choirs. Highlights include choir directing and vocal workshops (Mental Health Conference, 2009 Sydney), and co-facilitating A Cappella choirs in Italy and Samoa.

As well as teaching vocals with the Community Music Department for 15 years, Felicity has been a valued and energetic member of the Conservatorium’s Early Childhood Music department for over 10 years. For the past two years she has sung and performed with Isabella A Cappella at Southern Cross University in Lismore.

Lynne Compton - Piano, Flute, Cello, Ensembles - Community Music

Dip Modern Langs , B.Mus / B.Teach

Lynne has always been a musician, curious about all music and all instruments. This led to studies initially in piano then flute, cello and guitar. Lifelong music education with adaption according to skill levels then became the main focus.

Lynne teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium.

She has taught music K-12 in Government and Non-Government Schools, trained Primary and Secondary Bands, arranged scores for musicals and accompanied for Eisteddfods , exams and concerts. She has presented students for AMEB exams in Piano and Flute and at present teaches Piano, Flute, Cello as single studies and Pre- Instrumental , Cello Group, and an Elementary Band as group activities. The age range of her students is 5 years to 75 years.

As a result of her arranging experience Lynne has performed the role of Musical Director for the Northern Rivers Youth Orchestra Workshop in 2013 and 2014.

Jaylene Fergus - Piano / Keyboard - Community Music

Jaylene FergusJaylene Fergus has a Bachelor of Contemporary Music from Southern Cross University, Lismore, with a major in both ‘Performance’ and ‘Music Education’. 

Her previous music education was through the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB). Jaylene has performed solo as well as with numerous ensembles in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, Latin, funk, rock, pop, soul and R&B. Jaylene regularly performs with her jazz trio and is the pianist for local big band ‘Galaxy Jazz Band’. With a solid background in both classical and contemporary music, Jaylene offers tuition for piano, performance, theory and musicianship in a wide variety of genres.

Jaylene teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium.

Adam Gardiner - Drumkit - Community Music

Adam GardinerAdam Gardiner is a young and talented drummer born and raised on the Gold Coast beaches of Burleigh Heads. At the age of 13 he started playing drums in his local church band. While there he developed a solid yet expressive playing style.

Adam teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium.

This creative and expressive foundation remains a key attribute to the way Adam approaches the drums today. He has recently studied and completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music at SCU Lismore. During the years spent there Adam has become more than competent in the genres of jazz, blues, funk, latin and fusion. He also received high marks for his independent study in gospel and hip hop playing styles. Currently he enjoys teaching his acquired skills around the northern rivers area.

He has worked with a number of artists and bands including: Candice Casagrande, Stan Walker, Charlotte Marshall, Sarah Grant, Pink Zinc, Rich Latimer, Cath Simes Band, The Northern Rivers Big Band, Andy Jans-Brown and many others. His current musical projects include Andy Jans-Brown and Cozmic.

Kate Gittins - Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute - Community Music & Music in Schools

Kate GittinsKate has been an instrumental teacher for over 15 years.

She has a degree in Creative Arts and has performed as a musician and actor in many Ensembles and Theatre companies in the U.K. and Europe.

Kate teaches in our Community Music Program onsite at the Conservatorium and in our Music in Schools program at Byron Bay Public School.

Since moving to Australia she has played with the Northern Rivers and Conservatorium Big Bands. For a number of years, Kate was the popular leader of the school band in our Music in Schools Program at Bangalow School.

Laura Hymers - Woodwind - Music in Schools

Laura learnt oboe in a school program in England and has been teaching woodwind and performing in this area for over 15 years including tutoring students for AMEB exams.

Laura teaches in our Music in Schools Program at Wyrallah Road Public School.

She performs regularly here and on the Gold Coast as a semi-professional oboist as a soloist and with various chamber groups.She also has extensive orchestral experience and was principal oboist with the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra for more than 15 years.

Laura is also a qualified primary school classroom teacher and has worked for many years in various schools in this area. She has particular experience in teaching children with learning difficulties.

Passionate about the joy and benefit of learning and playing music, Laura works to empower children with the skills they need to get the most from their musical opportunities.

Andy Jans-Brown - Piano, Guitar - Music in Schools

B Contemporary Music SCU (2008), Dip Acting NIDA (1991), Associate Dip Performing Arts NIDA (1989)

A diverse performer with experience in theatre, film, community development as well as music, Andy has a rich history of national and international touring, including opening for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and sharing a stage with Tina Arena in Paris.

Andy teaches in our Music in Schools program at Blakebrook, Corndale, Newrybar and Ocean Shores Public Schools.

As front person of the band Andy Jans-Brown & COZMIC, he has had an original song reach number one on Triple J Unearthed – you can see it here – https://vimeo.com/78209765

Andy has been teaching in the Music in Schools and Community Music programs since 2013.

Mathew Lydon - Violin, Mandolin, Guitar - Community Music & Music in Schools

Mat Lydon NRC Bio ShotMathew completed his Bachelor of Contemporary Music at Southern Cross University in 2013, majoring in Music Education and Production.

Mathew teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium and in our Music in Schools program at Kyogle and Mullumbimby Public Schools.

He currently plays violin for the three-piece band Border Rangers and regularly performs and records in a range of other local ensembles that are explorative of jazz, classical, blues, country, old-time, eastern European folk music, rock, experimental and improvised music. Mathew has been very much involved in composition and song writing projects as a collaborator and solo artist since 2002.

Mathew’s experience in a diverse range of genres allows him to deliver lessons that are very much interest/goal based however he can also assist with following a specific curriculum such as AMEB. He can also assist with music theory and composition.

Michael McCabe - Violin, Viola, Cello, Ensembles - Community Music & Music in Schools

Michael McCabe Chamber StringsADMT, BMus

Michael has qualifications from NSW State Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and Newcastle Conservatorium. He has been teacher, performer, conductor and administrator. In the mid-1990’s he studied conducting with Myer Fredman whilst working with youth and community orchestras in Penrith.

Michael teaches in our Community Music onsite at the Conservatorium and in our Music in Schools program at Byron Bay and Wyrallah Road Public Schools.

Exploits over the decades have included Musical Director of the Macquarie University Symphony Orchestra, musical director for various musical theatre productions in both Penrith and Newcastle, Director of Strings at St Paul’s Grammar School in Penrith for seven years where, in the early stage, he also administered the Peripatetic Program and was Head of Strings at Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music. Michael was a member of the committee for the NSW Chapter of the Australian Strings Association (AUSTA) for six years.

Michael teaches violin, viola and cello at Northern Rivers Conservatorium and directs the Strings Ensemble Program.

Neil McCann - Drums, Guitar - Music in Schools

Neil McCannNeil McCann has been teaching guitar and drums as well as performing and recording in the Northern Rivers for fourteen years. Before that he was teaching and performing in Sydney.

Neil teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium and in our Music in Schools program at Byron Bay, Empire Vale and Ocean Shores Public Schools.

Neil has performed at many national festivals including Bluesfest, Tamworth, Gympie muster, Reggae Fest and Karuah Bluegrass festival.

His teaching style is relaxed and fun with an emphasis on student goals.

Alex McLeod - Guitar, Bass - Community Music

Staff Pic - Alex McLeodAlex is an accomplished musician that is well renowned in the area for his guitar work, he has tour nationally and internationally with a variety of acts such as Pete Murray and The ASO, Carl Cleves and Parissa Bouas, Nini & Ben and Rebecca Ireland.

Alex teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium.

Alex has performed at many national music festivals including Mullum Fest, Nannup Music Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Byron Bay Guitar festival. He has also travelled extensively through Europe, North America, Mexico, Cuba, Japan and Southern Africa. Having completed a BA in Contemporary Music at SCU 2009, Alex has taught guitar and bass over the past 15 years for The Northern River Conservatorium, Trinity Catholic College, Hothouse Music and Lismore Music. Alex has experience in a wide range of styles-Blues, Rock, Jazz, Folk, Country and Pop.

As a recording artist Alex has co-produced and played on a number of albums… most to date Cassie Rose “Destiny” and his own self-tilted EP “Al McLeod” released in 2016.

For more info see almcleodmusic.com.

Nicholas Routley - Vox Caldera

Nicholas RoutleyNicholas Routley is a pianist, conductor, composer and university lecturer in classical music who moved to the Northern Rivers region in 2009.

As a pianist he specialises in chamber music, especially with singers, and he has given concerts with many international artists, including Hartley Newnham, throughout Australia, and in Europe and East Asia.

He was founder director of the Sydney Chamber Choir for thirty years. He is the founder and musical director of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium based chamber choir, Vox Caldera. This year he has conducted the Sydney Chamber Choir in the Brahms German Requiem, and the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra in a program including Strauss’ “Four last songs” sung by Lecia Robertson.

At present he is engaged in the composition of three operas on the subject of the Indian epic, Mahbharata.

Ben Ryan - Guitar, Piano / Keyboard - Community Music & Music in Schools

NRCAC Ben RyanBen Ryan moved to Northern Rivers Conservatorium at the beginning of 2015 after teaching at the Orange Regional Conservatorium for three years. During this time he also performed for theatre company musicals, accompanied in regional eisteddfods, and taught keyboard and guitar to groups of primary aged students in schools.

Ben teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium and in our Music in Schools program at Mullumbimby Public School.

He is a regular performer at local venues and popular music festivals, while also recently being involved with theatre company shows and Lismore Symphony Orchestra.

Geof Webb - Voice, Piano - Community Music & Music in Schools

Geof studied piano at Melbourne University with Trevor Barnard and Margaret Schofield; and singing with David Ashton Smith. He performed on stage and in the pit of many operas and musicals in Melbourne in the 1980s; and with Whitehall Choir in London from 1989-2005.

Geof teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium and in our Music in Schools program at Bangalow and Mullumbimby Public Schools.

Since 2006 he has performed with the Melbourne Chamber Choir, Coro Innominata (Sydney) and Vox Caldera (Lismore); in NORPA’s Railway Wonderland (2012 & 2015) and The Events (2018). In 2016 he joined the Opera Queensland chorus for The Barber of Seville at HOTA (2016) and as Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi for Opera Gold Coast (2019).

Geof has sung as soloist in Handel’s Messiah and Mozart Requiem for Byron Music Society; Bach’s St Matthew Passion for Amatori; and regularly gives recitals with Nicholas Routley and Gaynor Morgan. He is also the [pipe] organist at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Bexhill.

Jeremy White - Guitar - Community Music

Jeremy White has a BA degree (Contemporary Music, guitar major) from Southern Cross University where he subsequently taught guitar for 4 years. Has also has training in classical guitar, (grade 7 AMEB) and flamenco guitar.

Jeremy teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium.

He has been performing and teaching in the Northern Rivers of NSW for over 20 years. He has been honoured with a Dolphin Award for his contribution to the Music industry and is a regular adjudicator in this annual event in the Northern Rivers . He has played with “Hair of the dog”, “Hot Dog”, “Fester an’ thing”, “The Question” and currently plays in the rock band `Push’, and classical guitar trio, “Totally plucked”.

Jeremy has a real passion for flamenco, rock and blues guitar styles, but is also fluent in classical, pop, jazz and latin styles.

Imogen Wolf - Voice - Community Music

Imogen WolfAn award-winning vocalist, Imogen has been teaching at the Conservatorium since 2002. 

An inspiring and thoughtful teacher, she enables others to find ease, freedom and confidence in their voices – and have fun doing it.

Imogen teaches in our Community Music program onsite at the Conservatorium

With a passion for community harmony, Imogen is a choir director, arranger, and facilitator of two WolfSong choirs which run weekly in Lismore and Bangalow. Annual workshop offerings include two five-day singing workshops in Bellingen (Camp Creative Joy Of Singing, and the Joy of Singing Winter Camp); Heartsong, a weekend of rhythm, yoga and song for women in the Gold Coast hinterland; and SeaSong, a weekend of choral singing in Brunswick Heads. She regularly facilitates Harmony Singing, Vocal Technique and Reading Music workshops.

Imogen offers students a grounding in vocal anatomy, physiology and function, providing a technical toolbox to help build their skills. Motivated by the joy and sense of community that is fostered when people come together to sing, she is committed to nurturing harmony and healing through the voice. 

Rochelle Wright - Early Childhood Music Co-ordinator - Community Music & Early Childhood Music

Rochelle WrightRochelle Wright is a musician, songwriter and teacher dedicated to bringing the joy of music into children’s lives. Her music career has encompassed working as a choir conductor and voice teacher at Melbourne’s NMIT and as a performer at many top Australian music festivals including Womadelaide, Woodford & National Folk Fests, and Bellingen Global Carnival. Rochelle has also worked as a marimba instrument maker, a member of Melbourne women’s Bulgarian choir Petrunka, and for the last decade in Early Childhood Music teaching and entertainment.

Rochelle founded ECM classes ‘Sing by the Sea’ in 2003 in Northern NSW which ran for ten years. She has recorded numerous albums including 3 celebrated children’s albums. Playschool has performed Rochelle’s music in their 2011/12 ‘In the garden’ series, and co-ordinator Hannah Stone quotes “Everyone at Playschool loves listening to your music!”

Rochelle is also known as ‘Sunshine’ in well loved theatrical performance trio, ‘The Curly Cousins’. Formed in 2008, the Curlies engage in interactive concerts aimed to musically inspire and delight young children and families.

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