Head of Program (Strings), Violin Teacher
Karina Moss-Hollands is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completed her Master of Music Degree majoring in violin performance and teaching. She is principal violinist and artistic director of Concertante Ensemble, the Central Coast’s own chamber orchestra.
She is currently our Head of Programme – Strings and the Concertmaster of Symphony Central Coast.
Violin Teacher, Music Therapist
As a registered music therapist, violinist and chamber musician with a background in early childhood education, Emma Townsend is well-placed to understand the needs of young music students and how to nurture their talents.
“My studies in music therapy and early childhood education have given me a greater understanding of the emotional world of children. This has made me better at adapting to the client/student and their needs as well as building greater connections with students and clients,” said Emma, who is the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music’s Head of Music Therapy and violin tutor.
“It is important to me that my violin students are provided with a nurturing learning environment in which they feel safe to express themselves creatively while being able to develop their technical skills,” said Emma.
“And as a music therapist, I’m constantly witnessing my clients’ newfound awareness and accomplishment as they achieve their goals. These experiences can be insightful, poignant, or purely joyful. I feel very privileged to be a part of these moments and it makes my job very rewarding.”
Emma grew up in Tamworth, first learning piano in her early years and then beginning violin through the Suzuki Method when she was eight. While at school, Emma was concertmaster of the Tamworth Regional Youth Orchestra, and performed in programs with the Australian Youth Orchestra.
She went on to gain a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Master of Music Studies (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying under Dr Evgeny Sorkin. Then, combining her interest in music, medicine, and psychology, she gained a Master of Music Therapy through the University of Melbourne.
She has experience as a music therapist in hospitals, aged care facilities, schools, early childhood intervention programs, community disability groups, adult mental health and in private practice.
Emma said the highlight of her career was being awarded a BBM Award for outstanding achievement in the field of music which enabled her to travel to the UK and United States where she studied with prominent teachers from the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, London Guildhall of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the New England Conservatory (Boston).
“I was able to learn from many inspiring musicians who each gave me a unique perspective on performance and life. I believe this experience gave me the motivation and confidence to share my love of music through performance, and to support others through music therapy.”
While studying at the Sydney Conservatorium, Emma was a concertmaster of several ensembles, including the Conservatorium Opera Orchestra, and the Asia Pacific Chamber Orchestra. Emma has also been a principal second violinist in the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. She is also an alumni of the Australian Youth Orchestra. Emma performs regularly throughout Sydney as an orchestral and chamber musician. She was a member of Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Sinfonia Emerging Artists Program, and has since performed with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Concertante Ensemble, and the Verbrugghen Ensemble.
Julie Blakemore studied with Phyllis MacDonald (Australia) and Steven Staryk (USA), and has played and taught for more than 30 years in Australia, England and the USA.
She has performed with the Concertante Ensemble, the Omni String Quartet and was leader of Symphony Central Coast. She has performed with other orchestras in Australia and overseas.
Philippa Collins grew up in Canberra and started violin lessons at the age of 8 with renowned French violinist Josette Esquidin. At the age of 11, she was offered a scholarship at the Canberra School of Music, and throughout her high school years, studied under Len Dommett OBE. In 1986, she moved to Sydney and joined the National Ensemble under the tutelage of John Hopkins, touring extensively, and working with major international artists visiting Sydney. During this time, she studied under Harry Curby and Carl Pini.
Philippa has played in all of the major orchestras in Sydney including Opera Australia for 11 years, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She has accompanied many artists such as Valery Klimov, Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti to name just a few. Philippa is an experienced teacher who is committed to providing excellence in string teaching from the young beginner right through to tertiary level and the emerging professional. She has conducted many ensembles and orchestras and was the Musical Director of Nova Youth Orchestra for 5 years.
Charlotte Marie Brown
Central Coast viola and violin tutor Charlotte Brown first began studying the violin at the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music when she was nine years old, before switching to the viola at 16 and studying with Suzanne Borrett and Peter Garrity.
Now the talented performer is back at the Conservatorium, sharing her love for music and strings with other budding musicians.
“I love being able to share my passion for music with others,” says Charlotte. “Through my teaching I aim to create positive, memorable and meaningful learning experiences for each student and inspire lifelong involvement in music.”
As well as placing importance on the development of good posture and correct playing technique, Charlotte approaches each lesson with positivity, enthusiasm, open-mindedness and with a student-centred approach to learning.
“I believe in creating a safe, positive and fun learning environment that allows students’ curiosity and creativity to flourish and supports students in reaching their full potential in music education.”
Charlotte’s favourite genre is chamber music – a form of classical music composed for a small group of instruments – which grew from taking part in the Conservatorium’s chamber music ensembles.
“During my time studying at the Conservatorium I loved being part of the Central Coast Youth Orchestra and chamber music programs,” she says.
She now regularly performs with the Newcastle-based Civic String Quartet. “I also enjoy collaborating with fellow musicians and exploring the exciting and wonderful repertoire in this genre.”
Charlotte has also performed with Symphony Central Coast and says the highlight of her music career so far has been playing the Forsyth Viola Concerto with SCC for the Prodigies Concerto Competition in 2021. “It was a wonderful experience and opportunity to perform as a soloist with the orchestra.”
Charlotte graduated in 2018 from University of Newcastle with a Distinction in Bachelor of Music (Performance) and in 2021 from University of Melbourne with a Master of Music (Performance Teaching). She began teaching violin and viola at North Sydney Academy of Music in 2021.
On the Coast, Charlotte has performed with Gosford Musical Society, Symphony Central Coast and regularly plays with the Newcastle-based Civic String Quartet.
When she’s not busy unearthing hidden musical gems written for viola, Central Coast Conservatorium strings tutor and former student, Suzie Kim, is inspiring and guiding the next generation of Central Coast musicians to fulfill their music potential.
“Music is such an important part of growing up because skills that you develop by being a musician carry with you into adulthood,” says Suzie, who teaches violin and viola.
She got into music through her mum, who was having flute lessons at the Conservatorium. “I would sit there every week looking at a musical instrument poster in the tutor’s room, that’s where I discovered the violin when I was six,” says Suzie, who also picked up clarinet and viola along the way.
“I’ve essentially grown up within the CCCM taking part in their wind ensembles, Central Coast Youth Orchestra, Saturday String Program and conducting classes but also making the most of the CCCM’s diverse connections with other regional conservatoriums and touring orchestras and musicians.”
Suzie is currently in her final year of Bachelor of Music Education at University of Sydney, majoring in Historical Informed Performance (HIP) – Viola which involves researching pieces of music and authentically recreating informed performances of those pieces.
“There is so much solo music out there written for viola that has been lost and very recently rediscovered. It’s always exciting to uncover their provenance and bring it back into people’s ears.”
Suzie believes having an historic knowledge of the violin and viola helps when she is teaching.
“I have found knowing the fundamentals of violin playing from treatises written by Leopold Mozart, and even as early as Francesco Geminiani, sets me up to be a more informed teacher, widening the methods to teach technique and repertoire.”
She also says setting a good rapport with the student right from the beginning is essential. “My goal is to help each student reach their best by developing confidence, curiosity and self-motivation, bravely attempting hurdles that life brings.”
Suzie also loves being a part of a student’s journey through music, whether they are in kindergarten just starting or an adult wanting to get into music.
“Being part of their growth and guiding them towards their fullest potential is a magical feeling as a teacher, personally. Seeing a student’s reaction when they understand a concept or successfully play a passage for the first time, allows me to feel that I’ve made a positive difference in them presently but also for their future.”
She is also passionate about being able to give back to the Central Coast community through, and with, music and being part of the Coast’s proud artistic cultural heritage. “Building up prospective musicians ensures this musical culture continues for the next generation,” she says.
Cello Teacher & Adult Strings Ensemble
It was Heather Hinrichs’ music teacher who suggested that she start learning the cello. “Little did I know then that it was my lucky day because my first cello teacher was a cellist whose teachers were acclaimed American cellists Louis Potter and Leonard Rose. I totally fell in love with the instrument and the rest is history!”
Today Heather works in the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music’s Strings Department. In addition to teaching, Heather is an avid orchestral and chamber musician and has played in musicals, operas, ballets and on recordings.
“My favourite piece is Barber’s Cello Sonata because of its intoxicating melodies, intense drama and intricate conversation between cello and piano,” says Heather, also citing performances of the Barber and Fanny Mendelssohn String Quartets as some of her performing career highlights.
Well-versed in solo and orchestral repertoire, Heather also has particular interests in effective practice methods, performance preparation and has an unwavering desire to bring music to life.
“I enjoy passing on all I have learned to help students become better cellists. I love seeing the growth that students experience when they realise what they are truly capable of, the joy that music can bring and that music is so much more than notes on a page.”
“My hope for my students is that they experience the joy of expressing themselves through music and realise that overcoming challenges is actually a fascinating and essential part of the musical journey for anyone with aspirations of improving their playing.”
Heather’s musical training has been extensive, having studied Cello Performance at Northwestern University (USA), The Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy (USA). Additionally, she won places to participate in several intensive programs specialising in orchestral and chamber music, such as Meadowmount School of Music, Interlochen Arts Camp, Kent Blossom Music Festival and more. Heather is a freelancer, regularly plays with the Central Coast’s performing ensembles Concertante Ensemble and Symphony Central Coast and enjoys teaching cello to students from school age through to adults.
Andrew Wilson began his cello studies with Denise Lawrence before studying at the Sydney Conservatorium with Susan Blake. After playing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for a couple of years he travelled to the USA as a Tanglewood Fellow, then to the UK to undertake postgraduate studies at the royal Northern College of Music with Eduardo Vassallo.
Andrew effectively teaches both the AMEB syllabus system preparing students for examination and eisteddfods and nurturing the younger students under the Suzuki Graduation System. Andrew is completing Certificate III of Suzuki Teacher Training with Takao Mizushima.
Double Bass & Electric Bass Teacher
Double bass and electric bass tutor Fiona Lugg has played with some of the best jazz musicians in Australia and was part of Sydney’s buzzing pub rock scene in the 80s. The foundations for her career in music were laid at an early age, by listening to her grandmother singing and playing her piano.
After experimenting with other instruments in primary school: recorder, piano, guitar and ‘cello, Fiona was reunited with guitar in high school and then went on to be the bass player in a local band at 18 years. By that point, Fiona’s love of jazz was already flourishing after listening to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Charlie Parker.
After completing tertiary education she followed a strong yearning to master the double bass, “as it is the preferred bass instrument for jazz,” says Fiona, who went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts, Associate Diploma of Jazz Studies and Masters of Music (Performance) in Jazz Bass from Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Her classical double bass teachers included John Gray (Principal LSO), Kees Boersma (Associate Principal SSO), and jazz bass teachers Lloyd Swanton, Craig Scott, and Jonathan Zwartz.
Thanks to scoring an overseas musical posting, working seven days a week, Fiona was able to take time out to live in Cuba for a short while, studying its musical culture and education.
She says that as a freelance bassist it is vital to be open to all styles, but jazz is close to her heart. “I play and practise jazz constantly,” she says. However, she cites Marvin Gaye’s soul classic, What’s Goin’ On, as one of her favourite pieces of music. “The bass player was Detroit musician James Jamerson, and his style of playing on numerous Motown recordings was a dynamic hybrid of rhythm ‘n’ blues with jazz basslines.”
Fiona says while playing on big stages such as the Sydney Opera House are career highlights, she is just as happy seeing students develop into confident musicians.
“When students study with me I want them to enjoy playing music. I encourage students to be creative and inquisitive. As a bass player I want all my students to have a solid, reliable time feel. I am aware of the physical demands of double bass; it’s important to have a solid, legitimate classical technique to deal with these demands.
“As a musician my strengths are tenacity, playing for the group, providing a solid rhythmic foundation and an excellent knowledge of harmony. If I cannot provide an answer (to a technical or stylistic problem) I am willing to research to find an answer. As a teacher I try to pass on to students the values of camaraderie amongst peers, developing aural skills, harmonic understanding, having a solid technical foundation, and timely preparation for performances.”
Ash has a Bachelor of Music from the City College of New York and an Assoc. Dip. in Jazz Studies from Sydney Conservatorium. He was awarded Australia Council of The Arts grants to produce his own CD “Beautiful Open Spaces” and for study in New York, where he worked as a freelance bass player for 6 years.
Ash has worked with many of Australia’s leading jazz artists including James Morrison, Vince Jones, Dale Barlow and Bob Barnard. He has also backed mainstream artists such as Marina Pryor, Dave Hobson and Monica Trapaga.
Ashley is available for online lessons only.