Australia's National Children's Choir - Gondwana Voices

Our Team

Lyn Williams OAM
Artistic Director
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Guest Artists


Artistic Staff

Simon Carrington, International Guest Artist
Simon Carrington, Yale University professor emeritus, has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in music, performing as singer, double bass player and conductor, first in the UK where he was born, and later in the USA. From 2003 to 2009 he was professor of choral conducting at Yale University and director of the Yale Schola Cantorum, a 24-voice chamber choir which he brought to national and now international prominence, attracting the interest of his successor, Masaaki Suzuki, director of the Bach Collegium Japan. From 2001 until his Yale appointment he was director of choral activities at the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he was selected by the students for the Krasner Teaching Excellence Award, and from 1994 to 2001 he held a similar position at the University of Kansas.


Prior to coming to the United States, Mr. Carrington was a creative force for twenty-five years with the internationally acclaimed British vocal ensemble The King's Singers, which he co-founded at Cambridge University. The King's Singers gave 3,000 performances at many of the world's most prestigious festivals and concert halls and made more than seventy recordings.                                        


Mr. Carrington keeps up an active schedule as a freelance conductor and choral clinician, leading workshops and master classes round the world. He has taught young conductors at the Royal Academy of Music, London; the Liszt Conservatorium, Budapest, Hungary; the University of the Andes, Bogota, Colombia; the World Symposium on Choral Music in Argentina, and the Schools of Music at Eastman, Temple, and Indiana, among many others in the US. He has recorded master classes on two commercial DVDs - at Westminster Choir College in the US (GIA) and at the Three Choirs Festival in the UK (Masterclass Media Foundation). This season his conducting engagements include the Berlin Rundfunk Chor, Ars Nova Copenhagen, Collegium Musicale, Tallinn (Estonia), Tokyo Cantat, Houston Chamber Choir, Canto Armonico, Boston, and Yale Schola Cantorum. He leads annual conducting courses at the Chamber Choir Festival in Sarteano (Italy), and the Yale Summer Festival in Norfolk, Connecticut, and contributed a chapter on rehearsal technique to the Cambridge Companion to Choral Music. Once a year he also gathers together his own ensemble, the Simon Carrington Singers, for concerts and recordings.


Lisa Young, 2014 Composer in Residence
Lisa Young is well known to World and Jazz Music listeners as a creative vocal stylist and improviser, incorporating Indian and African elements in her work. A longtime student of maestro Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani in Chennai, India, Lisa specializes in 'Konnakol' - South Indian vocal percussion. She has studied South Indian music since 1994, both in Australia and in India. Lisa Young Quartet's album 'Grace' won the prestigious 'Bell award' for 'Best Australian Vocal Album' in 2007. In 2008 Young received an Australia Council Project Fellowship enabling her to further her study in India and compose new vocal works. Lisa is a founding member of all female vocal group Coco's Lunch. Her composition 'Thulele Mama Ya' won 'Best Folk/World Song' in the prestigious Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards in the USA. Coco's Lunch has recorded 6 CDs of original music receiving 2 ARIA nominations, and toured extensively, performing to packed houses throughout the world. Renowned as a passionate and engaging workshop leader, Young's workshops use chants, songs, vocal percussion, and simple percussion parts to inspire singers to explore rhythm, harmony and improvisation. She works with song form, wordless pieces, and movement encouraging a great love of rhythm and using the voice as a colorful instrument.


Mark O'Leary, Principal Guest Conductor, Gondwana Voices
Mark O'Leary, Churchill Fellow, is the founder and Director of the Young Voices of Melbourne (YVM), which has run for 22 years. With YVM Mark has produced nine CD recordings, toured all states and territories of Australia and made six international tours to Europe, South Africa, North America and Asia. YVM has been successful in competition in Europe and Asia and is often heard on Australian radio and television. Mark is the publisher of the Young Voices of Melbourne Choral Series and his arrangements are performed around the world. He presents many workshops each year on choral music education throughout Australia and is a regular guest conductor at choral festivals across the country. Mark has special interests in Kodály teaching techniques, the development of excellence in music education and children's choirs, and Australian choral music. Mark publishes Australian choral music for young choirs in the Young Voices of Melbourne Choral Series and his arrangements are performed all around the world. He is also the author of the Sight Singing School books and web site, and is a regular guest conductor at choral festivals around Australia. Mark has been involved with Gondwana Voices since its first season in 1997, and in 2014 he will attend his 15th National Choral School.


Sally Whitwell, Principal Guest Pianist, Gondwana Voices and Newly-formed Women's Choir
Award winning pianist Sally Whitwell maintains a busy freelance career as performer, conductor, composer and educator from her base in Sydney.  Sally's most recent solo release All Imperfect Things; solo piano music of Michael Nyman won the 2013 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album as well as Best Engineer for ABC Classics very own tonmeister Virginia Read, the first time that a woman has ever won this award.  Additionally, her debut album Mad Rush: solo piano music of Philip Glass  won her the 2011 ARIA for Best Classical Album.  In 2014, Sally will travel to Los Angeles and New York City to perform again with Philip Glass. In addition to her work with Gondwana Choirs, Sally has worked with many other youth and community choirs.  She has devised semi-theatrical choral shows for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Bel A Cappella, composed new works for (and with) Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, Woden Valley Youth Choir (ACT), St Ursula's College Toowoomba (QLD) and had her choral works performed by Canberra Choral Society, Brisbane Birralee Voices, Moorambilla Voices and Kompactus - Canberra's Compact Chorus.  She's looking forward to presenting workshops on collaborative composition at the 2014 Queensland Choral Conference presented by Australian National Choral Association. 


Paul Holley, Principal Guest Conductor, Gondwana Chorale
Paul Holley is a choral conductor, educator and motivator. His personal warmth and passion for choral music have inspired many singers to discover and develop their skills and achieve personal fulfilment as choral musicians. Presently Paul is the Associate Director of Voices of Birralee and conducts two ensembles within this organisation, the Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee.  Both of these ensembles have toured nationally and internationally representing Australia at festivals and competitions.  Paul is also a choral director and teacher at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. As a choral educator, Paul is dedicated to excellence in choral education and regularly features as guest conductor and clinician at festivals, conferences and music competitions throughout Australia.  He has also contributed a chapter to the book Male Voices: Stories of boys learning through making music.  2014 will be Paul's eighth year as Principal Guest Conductor of Gondwana Chorale.

Carl Crossin OAM, Guest Conductor, Gondwana Chorale
Carl Crossin - conductor, educator and composer – is passionate about choral music.  A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Adelaide, Carl also studied choral conducting in the United States and Britain and has conducted a wide range of choirs in educational, community and professional settings throughout Australia. Carl is Artistic Director and Conductor of the multi-award winning Adelaide Chamber Singers, and is also Professor of Music and Director of the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide, where he teaches Conducting, conducts the Elder Conservatorium Chorale and is Chorus Director of the Adelaide Symphony Chorus. He loves working with Gondwana Chorale and has also guest conducted Melbourne Chorale, Sydney Philharmonia, Sydney Chamber Choir, Brisbane Chamber Choir and Perth's Giovanni Consort.  Carl also enjoys conducting the Elder Conservatorium's opera productions including, most recently, Monteverdi's Orfeo, Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus, and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte and Die Zauberflöte. In addition to his many tours with various choirs over the past 35 years, Carl has conducted and taught at summer schools, festivals and conferences throughout Australia and in England, Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand and the USA. In 2007, Carl was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to music.


Luke Byrne, Guest Pianist, Gondwana Chorale
Luke Byrne is emerging as one of Australia's most versatile musicians, working as a pianist, musical director, composer and arranger. Luke's musical theatre credits include The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (Sydney Festival/Belvoir St Theatre), The World's Wife (Melbourne Theatre Company) and Tyran Parke's album The Black Rose. In 2011 Luke's compositions were performed by MLC and PLC Schools, Sydney Youth Orchestra, Sydney Brass and Taikoz. In 2010 Luke was the Musical Assistant to the Director for the Australia National Day concerts at Shanghai World Expo, and Children's Chorus Master for Opera Australia's Christmas Capers concerts. Luke works as an accompanist with choirs including Gondwana Choirs, The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, Moorambilla Festival Choirs and MLC School. In 2012, Luke was Composer in Residence for Sydney Children's Choir in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum.



Rowan Johnston, Guest Conductor, Gondwana Singers
Rowan Johnston is Head of Department Music at Westlake Girls High School in Auckland where he conducts their premier choir, Choralation. This choir is the only choir to win the coveted "Platinum Award" four times for the top choir in the NZ Secondary Schools Choral Festival "The NZCF Big Sing". He completed his Music degree at Victoria University of Wellington where he majored in Performance Voice and Composition. Rowan is a former member of both the New Zealand Secondary Student's and Youth Choirs and currently sings in the national chamber choir, Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir. Rowan also sings with the choir at Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland and the a cappella octet, V8 Vocal ensemble. In his spare time he plays with the highly successful celtic band Shaskeen Reel. Rowan was on the artistic team for the NZ Secondary Student's Choir from 2002 – 2006. In 2011 he conducted some of the anthem choirs at matches for the IRB Rugby World Cup. In 2012 he was a clinician and lecturer at the inaugural Choral Connect conference run by the NZ Choral Federation for choral directors. In 2013, he was the adjudicator and choral clinician for the Rhapsody Rotorua International Music Festival.


Chris Burcin, Guest Conductor, Gondwana Singers and Co-Conductor Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir
Chris Burcin studied music education, piano and choral conducting in the USA and has since travelled the world teaching, conducting and performing. He sang with Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir for ten years performing at the country's top arts festivals as well as international tours including the World Symposium on Choral Music in Argentina in 2011. Chris was Associate Conductor of the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir which toured New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina. As well as classical solo work he performed with Baroque Voices, New Zealand's professional Early Music vocal ensemble, and founded Musica Ficta, Nelson's Early Music vocal ensemble. While Director of Performing Arts at Waimea College in Nelson, he took the school's chamber choir, Belle a Cappella, to the New Zealand Choral Federation's Big Sing National Finale several times. In 2011 he relocated his young family to tropical Cairns. He currently teaches Music at St. Monica's College and shares the role of conducting the Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir with Lyn Williams. Chris regularly performs on piano accordion with Tango Amor and is rumoured to perform with the New Zealand's loudest klezmer band, Comrade Z, but this has never been proven.


Jem Harding, Pianist, Gondwana Singers
Jem Harding studied music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and holds an A.Mus A and L.MusA. He has won a number of competitions at State level, the National Eisteddfod, Australia and in 2005, was a finalist in the international piano competition and The Concurs D'Andorra in Spain in 2006. As a teacher, accompanist, repetiteur and orchestral pianist he has worked with numerous Sydney Companies; the Sydney Conservatorium, South Australian State Opera,  Cranbrook School, St. Andrew's Cathedral School, WAAPA and Opera Australia.


Paul Jarman, Guest Conductor, Junior Gondwana
Paul Jarman is a widely acclaimed Australian composer, performer, musical director and educator. Paul is most well known as a lyricist and composer of choral music, a world music multi instrumentalist, and a facilitator of community inspired collaborations. As a cultural ambassador he has performed extensively throughout Australia, Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East and the Pacific with theatre productions, dance ensembles, Aboriginal-Anglo Celtic performance groups, choirs and orchestras; in festivals, special events, schools and towns as a conductor and musical director, and a member of Australia's iconic first 'world music' ensemble Sirocco since 1996 representing Australia in Pakistan, India, Taiwan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Musica Viva. A multi-instrumentalist, Paul's music is popular all over the world as he continues to write about some of the most inspiring people of our time including Jessica Watson, Terry Fox, Helen Keller, Ernest Shackleton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Pemulwuy and Mary MacKillop. In 2010 his piece for the 40th Anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jnr was performed for President Barack Obama in the White House. He has also composed music for some of Australia's largest special events including the Centenary of Federation, The Rugby World Cup, United Nations Year of the Mountain, ANCA, The Queensland 150th and the Australia Day Spectacular Darling Harbour and Canberra.

Liz Vierboom, Gondwana Choirs Associate Conductor, Guest Conductor, Junior Gondwana and Conductor, Campbelltown Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir
Elizabeth Vierboom studied music at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and the University of Sydney majoring in the violin and pipe organ.  Having played and toured with the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Youth Orchestra, Elizabeth then turned to teaching high school and primary music and further developing her interest in choral music. This dates back to her high school choir conductor, Richard Gill, whose energy and love of singing was infectious. She has long championed the performance of Australian choral music and has been responsible for the commissioning of many new works for young choirs by emerging and established Australian composers. As an educator, Elizabeth Vierboom is recognised for the enthusiasm she kindles in young musicians and the passion she arouses in students to develop their skills, critical thinking and musicality. Elizabeth Vierboom is a much sought-after presenter at in-services and educational conferences locally and internationally. She enjoys the status of 'Accomplished Teacher' with the NSW Institute of Teachers. Her previous appointments include Barker College and, most recently, Abbotsleigh.


Tim Cunniffe, Guest Pianist, Junior Gondwana
Since his first paid gig at age fifteen, Tim has built a reputation as a leading music director and piano accompanist in both Classical Music and Music Theatre. He has performed in cabaret throughout Western Australia, in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney, London, Singapore, Malaysia, China and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As Musical Director he has enjoyed engagements with The Effie Crump Theatre, The Music Theatre Company of WA, DAMAGE Theatre, Peach Productions, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, His Majesty's Theatre and WAAPA. He has composed a chamber opera (African Queen), a musical (Some Kind of Beautiful), a short film score (The Soloists) and contributed songs and arrangements to countless cabarets and theatre productions. Before his recent move to Sydney, he was lecturing in Music Theatre at WAAPA, Music Director of the Churchlands Choral Society and resident Musical Director for Downstairs @ The Maj. He is currently Assistant Musical Director for the Australian production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.


Paul Stanhope, Co-Director, Gondwana Composer School
Paul Stanhope is recognised as a leading composer of his generation not only in Australia but internationally with prominent performances of his works in the UK, Europe, Japan, and both North and South America. After studies with Andrew Ford, Andrew Schultz and Peter Sculthorpe, Paul was awarded the Charles Mackerras Scholarship which enabled him to study for a time at the Guildhall School of Music in London. In 2011 he was awarded two APRA/Australian Music Centre Awards for Instrumental Work of the Year and Vocal/Choral Piece of the Year and in 2012 was again a finalist for the Instrumental Work of the Year. Paul is also the recipient of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship for 2013-2014 – the first Australian composer to be granted this honour. In 2010 Paul was Musica Viva's featured composer: his String Quartet no. 2 received nation-wide performances by the Pavel Haas Quartet as part of this season. Recent works include his Piccolo Concerto (2013), premiered by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Magic Island (2012) commissioned by the Hush Music Foundation which was recorded and premiered by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Forthcoming works include a large choral-orchestral cantata about the life and deeds of Western Australian indigenous hero Jandamarra written together with librettist Steve Hawke. Paul Stanhope teaches composition part-time at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. 


Christopher Gordon, Co-Director, Gondwana Composer School
Christopher Gordon is based in Sydney. His recent concert commissions include Lightfall for horn and orchestra and Concerto for bass trombone and orchestra (Sydney Symphony), Freefall (Sydney Omega Ensemble), Chaconne (Australian Chamber Orchestra), Peace on Earth (Gondwana Voices and Sydney Symphony), Spin GlobeSpin and Mud Song (Sydney Children's Choir), Loose Canon (Tucana Flute Quartet), Night Is What Remains, and a number pieces for choir and orchestra. Gordon has composed for many of Australia's major celebrations, including the Opening Ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games 2006 and the Rugby World Cup Sydney 2003; and the Centenary of Federation of Australia 2001. In 2006, he was commissioned by the Prime Minister of Australia to arrange the official version of the Australian national anthem. Christopher Gordon has written a number of scores for film and television, including Bruce Beresford's Mao's Last DancerCrawl,Daybreakers, the EMMY-nominated score for Salem's LotSanctuaryMoby DickSydney, A Story of a CityOn the BeachWhen Good Ghouls Go BadMuch Ado About Something, and Ward 13. He also co-composed the score to Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His scores have received wide international acclaim and many Australian Screen Music Awards.

Graeme Morton, Director, Gondwana Conducting Academy
Graeme Morton holds the position of Choral Conducting Fellow at the University of Queensland School of Music, and Director of Music at St John's Anglican Cathedral. He founded the Brisbane Chamber Choir in 1997 and maintains with them a vigorous performance schedule of traditional and new choral works. Recent commissions include Paul Dean, Ross Edwards (in a commission shared with St Stephen's Cathedral), Andrew Schultz, Paul Stanhope and Joseph Twist. Four of the works on today's program were commissioned by Graeme. Graeme is particularly keen to find interesting new choral works to bring to his singers and audiences.  As Co-Founder and first Director of The Australian Voices, Graeme helped further establish a new awareness of Australian choral music.  To this end he has commissioned many of the pieces that have become Australian choral classics, including Past Life Melodies (Sarah Hopkins) and Ngana (Stephen Leek).  With the release of the CD Until I Saw in 1990 this country received what was probably the first recording devoted entirely to Australian choral music. Graeme has toured overseas on numerous occasions, including Finland, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Japan, North America, Italy and New Zealand, and has recorded a dozen compact discs with his various choirs.


Lauren Hannay, Guest Pianist, Conducting Academy and Pianist, Cairns Gondwana National Indigenous Children's Choir
Cairns-based Lauren Hannay is a graduate of University of Queensland with double principal studies of voice and piano. She completed post-graduate studies at Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Vocal Performance working with acclaimed singing teacher, Margaret Nickson.  Lauren made her professional debut as  'Yum-Yum'  in TN theatre company production of The Mikado.  She has also worked as soprano soloist in many cantata and oratorio performances in Qld and has toured as a member of Brisbane-based vocal quartet, La Cappella.  Lauren has spent a large part of her career in Cairns where she is a respected vocal teacher,  accompanist and music specialist at Cairns State High School  (choral program). She is the pianist for Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Childrens Choir directed by Lyn Williams and Chris Burcin.


Nicole Thomson, Program Director, Gondweenies
Nicole Thomsonbegan her professional performing career as a soloist within The Song Company, with whom she has worked since 1996, performing repertoire spanning 1000 years, in various styles, languages and countries. She has shared the stage with many personalities, including Jessica Mauboy, Russell Crowe and James Morrison. Nicole's voice is featured on several recordings, including "South Solitary" (starring Miranda Otto and Barry Otto); "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole"; "World Of Warcraft – Starcraft"; and can also be found on albums released through ' The Song Company' and 'ABC Classic' labels. Travelling the country as a music specialist for Musica Viva NSW, and Big Scope (Qld), Nicole also commutes interstate, as Vocal Tutor of the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music. November 2013 saw Nicole as 'Artist In Residence' at the Bentley Music Academy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Nicole currently conducts Sydney Children's Choir 'Mini 2' and 'Jarman' choirs.


Ruth McCall, Tutor, Gondweenies
Ruth McCall is a performer and educator who joined The Song Company in 1996 For the next fourteen years, she toured extensively across 17 countries, including much of Europe, the USA and Asia. Highlights include the Dresden Early Music Festival and performing Berio's A Ronne with the Malaysian Filharmonik Orchestra. Ruth has also performed as 'Barbie' (Doll) in Michael Daugherty's 'What's That Spell?' with the Aurora festival, Couperin's 'Leçons de ténèbres' with The Marais Project, and solos for voice by John Cage with The Song Company. Through Musica Viva in Schools, Ruth has also performed hundreds of concerts for children's education. In recent years, Ruth has been working as an arranger and song-writer, and her works have been performed by vocal groups and individuals. She was composer-in-residence for the Sydney Children's Choir in 2011, and in 2012 directed the Song Company's production of Ship to Shore.


Board of Directors
Lyn Williams OAM, Artistic Director
Kate Lidbetter, Chair
Nicholas James
Warren Lee
David Longmuir
David Lumb
Karen Mundine


Administration Staff
Office directory: Ph 02 8274 7000

Bernie Heard
General Manager
Ph 02 8274 7007
Sam Allchurch Development Associate
Ph 02 8274 7011

Emma Barnett SCC Saturday School Coordinator
Ph 02 8274 7001

Lucy Berger Artistic Operations Manager
Ph 02 8274 7005

Erica Byrne, Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir Manager
Ph 02 8274 7004

Leah Flanagan Operations Assistant
Ph 02 8274 7014

Francis Greep Marketing & Corporate Partnerships Manager
Ph 02 8274 7010

Rachel Hadfield Financial Controller

Clare Kenny Sydney Children's Choir Manager
Ph 02 8274 7001

Nicole Thomson Choral Education Coordinator
Ph 02 8274 7015 

Sani Townson Gondwana Indigenous Children's Choir Coordinator
Ph 02 8274 7004 

Vesna Stevanovic Finance and Office Administrator
Ph 02 8274 7008