Piano Department

Joanne Burrows - Piano - Head of Department

AMusA (AMEB), ATCL, LTCL, BA, DipTeach (UQ), Cert IV Assessment & Training

Joanne started learning piano at the age of 14, becoming serious about it at age 17. She studied a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Theatre at Queensland University Major studies including piano and composition and secondary studies in voice, recorder and later flute. Joanne completed a Diploma of Education in 1982 and spent several years teaching classroom music in Queensland and NSW. Joanne came to Wagga Wagga in 1986 where she taught at the Riverina Conservatorium (1986-1991) and started the HSC music program at Trinity Senior High School, (now Kildare College). Over this time she completed an AmusA in Piano, an ATCL and LTCL in piano pedagogy through Trinity College and was very involved with HSC Music including marking HSC papers, setting trial HSC papers and accompaniment work.

In 1999 Joanne returned to teach at the Riverina Conservatorium becoming Head of Keyboard and Music Craft in 2004. Joanne was part of the committee for the 10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference held in Wagga Wagga. In 2011, Wirripang Music published a number of piano and music craft books for beginning and intermediate level students. Joanne has also performed in various RCM Concerts in solo, ensemble and accompanist roles.

Joanne was appointed Chair of the RCM Curriculum committee in 2010. This group of professional musicians and teachers have drafted stage one of the RCM curriculum which has been most effective in ensuring quality music education.

Joanne continues to have piano music and teaching resources published by Wirripang, provide piano pedagogy workshops for music teachers, and perform when time permits. Joanne loves to teach, and offers a range of piano and music craft programs from beginner to advanced, over a wide range of styles, - classical, popular, jazz, improvisation and composition.



Hamish Tait -  Piano

AMusA, BA(Creative), GradDipMus, MMus, MBA (USQ)

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Hamish holds Masters degrees in both Music and Business Administration from the University of Southern Queensland. He has studied piano with Wendy Lorenz and Roy Howat. In 1997 Hamish was awarded a Regional Arts Development Fund allowing him to study piano and accompaniment in London with the renowned pianist/accompanist Nina Walker, herself a pupil of Claudio Arrau and Alfred Cortot.

In 2003 he was appointed as the Director of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga and has held the positions of President, Vice-President and Executive Secretary of the ANSWRC and has served over nine years on the ANSWRC Committee. In 2011 Hamish was the Vice-Chair of the 10th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference (APPC) and is currently a NSW State Representative on the APPC National Committee.

Hamish appears regularly as a piano soloist, duo pianist, accompanist and chamber musician. He has performed extensively across Australia and internationally including tours of the USA and the UK. As a teacher Hamish works with Diploma and Tertiary students at the RCM and is sought after as an adjudicator. Hamish performs regularly with violinist Lauren Davis and with Anthony Bozicevic as the Riverina Piano Duo.




Rowena Grosfeld - Piano

B.A.(Lib.Sc.), DipMusicTeaching (USQ)

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Rowena is a graduate of the University of Southern Queensland having completed a Diploma in Music Teaching. Music has always been part of her life and she has been involved in singing and music from an early age. For the past seventeen years, Rowena has been teaching piano in Sydney both privately and at the local school. During this time she was involved in playing for Church services, co-ordinating and rehearsing students for school musical occasions, accompanying students for individual exams and accompanying small instrumental groups.

Rowena loves to encourage each student to achieve well in their studies. She enjoys seeing the pleasure that this brings to themselves and others, as well as the positive impact on other aspects of their life. Rowena is looking forward to teaching at the Riverina Conservatorium, and thinks that Wagga Wagga is fortunate to have such high quality and diverse musical opportunities so easily accessible to the community.










Carmel Ryan - Piano/Keyboard, Accompanist

AMusA (AMEB), AssDipMus (QUT), 

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Carmel is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with over 30 years teaching experience. She commenced teaching at the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in 1991 and after a two year absence and a road trip around Australia, Carmel returned to the Riverina Conservatorium in 2012.

Carmel maintains a large studio at the RCM and includes teaching at Kildare Catholic College, Wagga Wagga Public School and Lutheran Primary School. Carmel enjoys teaching students of all ages and encourages the newly introduced RCM curriculum for all students. She is also able to prepare students for external exams if requested.

As well as teaching, Carmel delights in accompanying instrumental students for varying performances including Student recitals, Eisteddfodau, External examinations and HSC. Carmel is the accompanist for the RCM affiliated ensemble, the Cantilena Singers and has been repetiteur for choral and school musical performances.

Carmel also appears occasionally as associate artist with colleagues in the RCM concert series and most recently enjoyed the experience of performing with the RCO, and first time ever playing the harpsichord!







BMus (Music Ed), MEd (Sydney)

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Katherine has completed her Bachelor of Music (Music Education) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2010. She is also a qualified Special Education teacher who works as a secondary teacher with the Department of Education and communities as she has also completed her Master of Education (Special and Inclusive Education) at the University of Sydney.

During her studies at the Conservatorium, she had studied piano under Lyall Duke had previously studied piano with Stephanie McCallum. Katherine has had many years of experiences teaching piano as she had been teaching since 2007. As a music teacher, she has prepared students for their exams (such as AMEB and Trinity exams) and had also prepared HSC students for the performance and written exams. She had also previously run her own piano studio and worked as a piano teacher in Sydney before moving to Wagga.

Also Katherine also specialises in voice as she had studied voice under Dallas Watts in Sydney, and was a member of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Chamber Choir. She has also participated in performances, studio recitals and had also been in ABC live recordings in performances with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Chamber Choir.

Katherine is a passionate teacher, who is able to teach all types of learners.





Brett Thompson - Piano and Harpsichord

AMusA (AMEB), BMusic, GradDipMusic (ANU)

Brett Thompson is a performer, teacher and composer of high critical acclaim. He holds a Bachelor of Music and Graduate Diplomas in music and education and furthered his flute studies in London with the assistance of an Australia Council Overseas Study Grant

Brett began his musical training on piano at age five, and continued keyboard study as his second instrument at the Australian National University (piano with Alan Jenkins and harpsichord with Barbara McRae). His passion for baroque music and improvisation soon saw him as chief harpsichordist/continuo with the ANU Chamber Orchestra directed by John Painter. Brett has also been engaged as official accompanist for the Adelaide Recorder Festival and Harpsichordist with the Riverina Chamber Orchestra. On piano, Brett appears frequently in his capacity as an accompanist.

Close to finishing his tertiary studies Brett was a finalist on flute in the instrumental section of the ABC Young Performers Award in 1990 and also the Sixth National Flute Competition. He has appeared as concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician for numerous concert series, ABC radio broadcasts and recordings. Brett has also given a number of world premiere performances, recordings and broadcasts of new Australian flute works.

Brett has performed and recorded regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and played Guest Principal Flute with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the Hunter Orchestra in Newcastle. He was Head of Woodwind at the Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music for fourteen years where he taught flute, recorder and composition before coming to Wagga in 2010 to join the staff at the RCM.


Phoebe Xeros - Piano