Patron Larry Sitsky AO
Since its inception in 2013, ACTKA has hosted a range of events - from masterclasses and workshops presented by visiting international pianists to student concerts by our local young musicians. The former have included workshops for teachers and students by Christopher Norton, masterclasses with Glen Riddle, Jovanni-Rey de Pedro, Edward and Stephanie Neeman, workshops on the Alexander Technique and the Taubman Approach and much more.
The founding and subsequent committees comprise musicians from diverse backgrounds and specialisations to ensure that the association is representing the full range of keyboard activities in the ACT and surrounding regions.
ACTKA is a major sponsor of the National Eisteddfod and regularly assists with the Eisteddfod’s keyboard curriculum.
In 2016 ACTKA launched its own Piano Competition open to a wide age range and promoting both Australian and traditional repertoire.
The objectives of the association are:
To promote, encourage and collaborate in the study, practice, performance, teaching, knowledge and composition of keyboard related music.
To support a broad musical education including keyboard harmony and aural training.
To exist as a dedicated ACT keyboard organization with a vision to encourage collaborations with ACT bordering regional areas.
To look at new opportunities of delivering musical education relating to the keyboard, utilizing new technologies.
To collaborate with other organizations.
To look at a broad spectrum of inclusive memberships of various levels to ensure that professionalism and excellence are promoted.
To encourage young emerging pianists to contribute to on-going activities.
To endeavor to establish awards and competitions.
To support keyboard tuition through scholarships
Meet the Committee
Our dedicated committee members are passionate about furthering musical, artistic & educational endeavors in the ACT and beyond.
Marie was born in Canberra and began studying piano at the age of 8. She gained her Bachelor of Music from the Canberra School of Music in 1987, having studied for four years with John Luxton, and with the Hungarian pianist Peter Nagy. Marie then moved to Europe to continue to improve her pianistic skills and was based in Vienna for more than a decade, studying under Sally Sargent, a student of Marcel Ciampi and Nadia Boulanger.
Since her return to Canberra in 2000 Marie has been teaching at the ANU School of Music and has established a very successful private teaching studio. Her students have consistently achieved outstanding results in exams and competitions. Marie won the AMEB Teaching Shield for “Piano Preliminary to 6th Grade” for 2012. The shield is awarded to the teacher who achieves the best exam results throughout the ACT and NSW.
Marie is delighted to be a committee member of ACTKA, as she is passionate about improving the standard of teaching and increasing the opportunities available to both developing and established musicians in Canberra.
Amber Harnisch is a piano teacher, accompanist and proud member the ACT Keyboard Association. She greatly enjoys working with her Keyboard Association colleagues to further music-making opportunities in the Canberra region.
Amber came to Canberra in 2004 to study a Bachelor of Music, majoring in classical piano at the ANU School of Music under the tuition of Dr. Geoffrey Lancaster and the mentorship of Susanne Powell and Larry Sitsky. A passion for teaching led her to gain a Diploma of Education in secondary music. After moving back to the Far South Coast, she worked in primary and secondary schools as a music educator, choral conductor and instrumental teacher, while also working as an accompanist for local choirs and musicians.
Amber relocated back to Canberra in 2014 and quickly built a busy and successful piano studio. She is currently studying Masters in Music Education by research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, researching best practices for providing children with well-rounded and comprehensive musical experiences.
Giselle gained a Bachelor of Education in High School Music Teaching and was a piano student of Susan Powell from 1990-92, receiving her Associate Diploma in Piano Performance in 1991. Giselle established her own piano teaching business in 1994 and became a certified Simply Music Teacher, teaching privately in many of the primary schools and High schools throughout Canberra.
Giselle has been a member of several musical ensembles and has accompanied many singers and choirs, including the Sing Australia choirs and the Woden Valley Youth Choir, with whom she toured America in 1996 as official accompanist. Giselle is also president of the Klavier Music Association Committee and her and her husband Kieran are the ACT representatives for both ANZCA and the Australian Songwriters Association.
Giselle resumed piano lessons in 2012 with Professor Marcela Fiorillo and in 2013 she received her Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance. She is currently preparing for her Fellowship Diploma. Giselle loves the piano and is passionate about teaching, playing, and writing for this amazing instrument. She is very happy to be a part of the ACTKA committee.
Unlike most other ACTKA committee members, Glennyss' qualifications are not in music - but well suited for her role as Treasurer. She has a degree in Geography and Certificate IV in Finance. Her music is confined to playing for personal enjoyment. Glennyss has had a lifetime love for the piano and you never know, one day she will get to Grade 2!
After moving to Canberra in 1991 Glennyss worked in administration for the Canberra School of Music at the Manuka campus in the Jazz and Composition departments, working under such Jazz greats such as Don Johnson and Gerry Scott, as well as composer Larry Sitsky.
After leaving the School of Music, Glennyss spent many years as an office Manager, accounts officer, and treasurer for other not-for-profit organisations and charities.
Laura began piano lessons at the age of five. In 2007 Laura completed her AMEB 8th grade piano exam and in later moved to Canberra to become a boarder at Canberra Girls’ Grammar School. Laura continued to have piano lessons throughout high school.
After gaining degree in early childhood teaching, Laura began working at Canberra Montessori School as a teacher assistant, where she was inspired by Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy and by seeing children choose work they were interested in without constant teacher intervention. She began exploring Montessori’s philosophy further and in 2013 she travelled to Bozeman, Montana to attended a month long intensive workshop. She graduated with a Diploma in Montessori teaching in 2014.
In 2014 Laura built a busy and successful piano studio, which is inspired by Maria Montessori’s teaching philosophy. She believes the teaching environment should look inviting, each lesson should be individualised for each child, and to keep the child engaged, hands-on activities should be incorporated into each lesson. Laura is also working towards completing the AMEB Teacher of Music Certificate.
Last active past president
An experienced pianist and teacher, Wendy Lorenz has performed extensively throughout Australia and overseas and appeared for many radio and television networks in Europe and Asia. A ‘Student of the Year’ graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium and Beethoven Bicentenary Medallion winner (West German Government), she has played with numerous leading chamber ensembles and is currently pianist in Trio Empyrean, with violinist Andrew Lorenz and cellist David Pereira. She has appeared as soloist with many of Australia’s leading orchestras and on commercial releases.
Wendy has taught at a number of Australia’s Universities and is an experienced presenter of workshops, masterclasses and piano teaching seminars throughout Australia and overseas, (including guest residencies in China, Singapore, Malaysia and the USA). A former National Chair of the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference she is also an accredited AMEB Federal Examiner.
A pianist and pedagogue, Sophie L. Chalk was born in Taiwan and studied piano performance under Gabor Rosza and John Luxton at the ANU’s Canberra School of Music. Since graduation, Sophie has travelled the world to study under many influential pianists and teachers. Among these are leading concert pianist Ruth Slenczynska, world-renowned Suzuki teacher trainer at Holy Names University USA Caroline Fraser, and the founder of Suzuki Early Childhood Education Program Dorothy Jones.
Sophie specializes in Suzuki piano pedagogy and early childhood education and truly believes that beautiful music comes from beautiful soul. Like Dr. Shinichi Suzuki once said: “Beautiful Tone, Beautiful Heart”. One of Sophie’s goals is to nurture the next generation through music, and provide children with the foundation to grow into sensible, fine, and noble human beings. Sophie is the Director of ACT Suzuki Piano, committee member of ACT Keyboard Association (ACTKA) and assistant teacher of Holy Names University Summer Suzuki Piano Teacher Training Institute USA. She is invited to give workshops and master classes regularly, including the annual Sydney Suzuki Summer School and the Australian Suzuki National Conference 2015.
Liz has a vibrant and busy music teaching practice. She began teaching professionally in 1986 and teaches piano, accordion and musicianship. Liz holds an AmusA in piano performance, and an ATmusA in piano teaching.
Over the years, Liz has accompanied many choirs, including Australian Rugby Choir and the Canberra Men’s Choir. She currently accompanies the Austrian Choir and the Australian Austrian Tour Choir. As well as accompanying other choirs on a locum service, Liz also conducts choirs occasionally. For 17 years, Liz actively participated in the Canberra Young Music Society Summer School. Liz regularly organises concerts to which the local community is invited. She also adjudicated both the piano and ensemble divisions of the Taylor Music Festival.
Liz has held a number of formal positions related to her professional and community activities. These include being a member of the National Committee of the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference, and being a member of the Executive of the Canberra Young Music Society Summer School for seven years, including two years as its director. For many years, Liz was an active member of the MTA, and is now a member of the ACT Keyboard Association.
Sally Greenaway is a freelance jazz pianist, musical director, teacher and award-winning composer. She is a graduate from the Royal College of Music (London) and the Jazz department at the ANU School of Music. Sally has earned herself the reputation of being a versatile and diverse musician, composing and performing in a wide range of musical styles, from Classical to Jazz to Film soundtracks.
As a teacher, Sally has had some wonderful successes with her students. Several of her students have been nominated for HSC Encore, one was recently a finalist in the TropFest short film festival’s TropScore competition, another has scored the soundtrack for a UbiSoft game and flew to LA to record the score with Hans Zimmer.
In the compositional field, Sally has written music for the concert hall and numerous film soundtracks, and she is regularly commissioned to write new music. Two of her pieces have won national competitions and some of her film scores have received critical acclaim from film festivals around the world. Her pieces have been performed by internationally acclaimed artists including vocal ensemble Rajaton (Finland), ARIA award-winning pianist Sally Whitwell, jazz trio Trichotomy, Australia’s leading modern big band as well as JazzGroove Mothership Orchestra, the Melbourne Composers Big Band.
Bio coming soon
Bio coming soon
Emily holds a B. Mus (Hons) and M. Mus (Perf) from the University of Melbourne as well as a Masters of Teaching (Secondary) from the University of Canberra. Emily is a versatile musician, experienced in both classical and contemporary styles. Her diverse experience encompasses ensemble and solo playing as well as choral, musical theatre and orchestral repertoire.
A strong believer in the life-changing results of music-making, Emily has taught the under-privileged in the Philippines, China and Myanmar, as well as locally through The Song Room organisation. She is passionate about engaging people with creativity, and believes that it is never too late to interpret, invent and imagine.
Rebecca completed her music studies in Toowoomba under the expert tuition of Wendy Lorenz and the late Marilyn Meier-Kapavale, also gaining extensive experience in chamber music and as repetiteur for several opera performances.
After marrying her beloved husband in 2008, she moved to Armidale where she joined the vibrant music scene, working both for the Conservatorium as accompanist for choral, brass, woodwind & string programs, program coordinator for chamber music in schools, and as a private piano teacher & accompanist.
Rebecca has lived in Canberra for 6 years and whilst she has been busy raising her 3 children (aged 5, 2 & 1), she runs a thriving studio from home, accompanies fellow musicians in the Canberra region, and takes part in various projects for the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art. Rebecca is passionate about sharing her love of music and continually building on her knowledge and skills. She looks forward to her involvement with ACKTA and strengthening the community of teachers in this dynamic city.
Want to be a part of Canberra's vibrant keyboard community? Join ACTKA today!