String Department

Jeff Donovan - Double Bass 

BA(Mus), Grad Dip Cont Ed, Grad Dip IT

Jeff Donovan graduated in guitar from the Canberra School of Music in 1981 after studies with Sadie Bishop. He undertook further study with Tim Kain in Canberra until 1984 and then under Jose Tomas in Alicante Spain from 1985 - 1986 with the help of a Jacobena Angliss Music Award. He returned to Australia in 1987 and worked as a freelance musician and teacher in Sydney as a member of the Bennelong Players and at the St George Institute and St Catherine's School. He has performed for various NSW Arts Councils and in master classes for Dagoberto Linares, Leo Brouwer and John Williams. He came to Wagga in 1989 to teach guitar and double bass at the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.

From 2003 - 2018 Jeff served as the Head of Strings and Guitar and as the Associate Director of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.

He performs regularly in and around Wagga both as a soloist and chamber musician. He enjoys playing the wide repertoire that the guitar offers but feels a special affinity for Bach, music from Spain as well as Australian contemporary composers such as Philip Houghton. He performs on a hand-made Australian guitar by the Eugene Philp, who worked as an apprentice to Greg Smallman in the early nineties. Very sadly, Eugene died of cancer at the age of 40 in 1997.

Since 2004 he has been the President and Administrator of the Riverina Summer School for Strings. This annual week-long school in early January has grown to become one of the highlights of musical activity in the Rvierina, providing local and metropolitan players with a wonderful opportunity to meet and play together. It also produces the Sounds of Summer Concert Series presented by RSSS tutors which gives all the community the chance to enjoy top-class chamber music concerts throughout the whole week.


Lauren Davis - Violin

BMusic (Oberlin), MMus (LSU), PhD (ANU),

lauren davis cropped.jpg

Lauren Davis received her Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin College Conservatory, her Master of Music from Louisiana State University, and her PhD in Violin Pedagogy from The Australian National University. She has played with numerous orchestras in the United States including the Canton Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Louisiana Sinfonietta, Acadiana Symphony, and the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra.

She is currently the leader of the Riverina Chamber Orchestra and a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, she has played in a number of ensembles including the Riverina Trio, the Valcour String Quartet, the Aurora Trio and the Brioso String Quartet. She has been teaching violin for a number of years both privately and at such institutions as Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Music for Everyone, Orana School, and at the Australian University in their Pre-Tertiary and Colourstrings programs. Lauren currently teaches at the Riverina Conservatorium in Wagga Wagga, Australia.






rhiannon xeros - Violin

Rhiannon Xeros.jpg

BMusic (Sydney)

Rhiannon Xeros is a former student of Tamaris Pfeiffer and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music (2003 – 2013), receiving many major scholarships including the Dr Ray King scholarship.  Pursuing tertiary education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2014, she studied violin under leading Australian teachers Alice Waten and Goetz Richter. During this time Rhiannon performed regularly as part of the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and was a section leader for the Sydney Conservatorium Historical Performance Ensemble under Neal Peres da Costa and guest conductor Paul Dyer. Rhiannon has performed in concert with Australian songwriter Megan Washington, the Riverina Chamber Orchestra and in the Sounds of Summer concert series in 2016 and 2017. Upon completing her Bachelor of Music in 2016, Rhiannon pursued her interest in violin pedagogy and joined the Riverina Conservatorium staff in 2017.


Jacqueline Smith - Violin/viola

B.Mus, ARSM,

Jacqueline Smith.jpg

A graduate of the University of Melbourne, Jacqueline is a violinist/violist with over 20 years’ teaching experience.  Her degree focused on the performance, research and publication of Early Music styles (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Early Classical) and she particularly enjoys music from these times. She also likes playing very modern music, especially when the composer is available to direct and guide performance.

Based in Canberra, Jacqueline also teaches at Merici College and for the ACT Academy of Music. She was Strings Coordinator at Brindabella Christian College from 2006 - 2017, and while there was responsible for creating, teaching and directing a program of compulsory classes, individual lessons, group lessons and several ensembles.

Her teaching approach is a blend of traditional western methods, Kodaly musicianship, Colourstrings, and elements of the Suzuki Method. She regularly attends professional development sessions and teacher training workshops to stay abreast of current thinking and pedagogies.

Jacqueline has often been found playing for Musical Theatre and has been involved in many productions around Canberra, most recently Shrek (Free Rain, 2018) and Beauty and the Beast (Philo, 2019). She also performs regularly with colleagues at the ACT Academy of Music.


David Chaston3.JPG

David Chaston completed a Bachelor of Music majoring in Cello Performance at the Australian National University in 2005 where he studied under David Pereira. During this time he performed with the ANU School of Music orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra and in a variety of chamber ensembles. David also provided tutoring for the Canberra Youth Orchestra and ran a teaching studio for cello in Canberra.  David has a Bachelor of Education (Primary) which he completed in 2001 at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra. From 2004 to 2015 David taught Music at St Clare’s College where he directed the St Clare’s College Chamber Ensemble, conducted the orchestra for the musical “Annie” and performed in productions of “Cats” and “Pirates of Penzance”. In 2016 David took up a position teaching classroom music at Kildare Catholic College in Wagga Wagga and commenced teaching cello at the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in 2018.