Described by a former Director of the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music as having "a perceptive ability to cater for individual differences from beginner seven-year-olds to advanced and adult students (linked with) warm, caring, patient, empathetic and respectful qualities which often inspired students to new levels of achievement," Pamela Birkenstock has returned to teach at the Conservatorium after a fifteen year absence teaching in Melbourne.
Pamela began her music career at the Dolce School of Music in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and graduated with Finals (Practical) and Qualifying (Theory) through the University of South Africa. As a young teenager she played two recitals on SABC Radio and performed the Mozart Piano Concerto Opus 466 with the Pietermaritzburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pamela won bursaries from the Pietermaritzburg Philharmonic Society after gaining Honours throughout her Eisteddfod performances with one adjudicator remarking "She is intensely musical and has outstanding interpretative powers".
Following her move to Australia Pamela taught for 10 years at Fintona Girls' School, Melbourne where the Director of Music described her as "a gentle, caring person who demands the best from her students ....and an artist who strives for perfection of performance".
The majority of her students at Fintona, St Stanislaus College, the Mitchell Conservatorium and the Hosking School of Music have gained excellent results in their AMEB examinations though it is not her policy to force exams onto students, feeling that sometimes encouraging students to learn the skills of reading music to broaden their repertoire for their own enjoyment can be just as important.
Pamela is an experienced accompanist and has helped audition students for concerts and prepare them for their concert performances. She has also accompanied soloists for their AMEB exams.
Rhonda studied through the University of Southern Queensland, achieving her Diploma in Music Teaching in 2002. She also holds a CMusA (piano) and has been studying flute under Phil Braithwaite in a professional development capacity.
Rhonda has been teaching piano and flute privately since 1998, and in the last few years at local schools in the Bathurst district. She has recently started teaching with Mitchell Conservatorium in Bathurst and Lithgow.
She is a member of the Bathurst City RSL Band and enjoys playing as part of an ensemble group. She has accompanied at exams and eisteddfods, and played in various local theatre productions.
Michelle Griffin grew up in the Bathurst region. She studied piano with Jennie Menzies before gaining acceptance to the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music in 1998, where she studied piano with Gian-Franco Ricci. She graduated in 2003 as a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours, majoring in Piano Performance and Musicology. She began studying voice with Maureen Lewis in 2005, and gained her A.Mus.A diploma in 2011.
Michelle currently teaches piano and voice at Mitchell Conservatorium, All Saint’s College, The Scots’ School, and St Stanislaus College. She has toured Europe and Asia as a member of various musical ensembles, and has been a featured guest pianist for the Australasian Liszt Society.
Locally, she has performed with local theatre groups such as Carillion Theatrical Society, and is a regular performer in the Local Stages ‘Cabaret Kite’ series. She has also performed with ensembles such as the Macquarie Philharmonia, Bathurst Chamber Orchestra and Cantora. She also works extensively as a choral director and accompanist throughout the Bathurst region.
Dip.T. L.Mus.A., A.Mus.A.
Julia holds both a Diploma in Teaching from Mitchell College of Advanced Education, majoring in Music and Children's Theatre and a Licentiate in Singing Performance.
With over thirty-five years of teaching experience, Julia has specialised in Classical Singing with a leaning towards Musical Theatre, Musicianship and Pianoforte (Honours Eighth Grade).
Having taught as a music specialist in Primary schools on Sydney's North Shore, Macquarie University's Kodaly Program, Orange Regional Conservatorium and here at Mitchell Conservatorium, Julia has enjoyed much success both with some excellent results and student rapport.
Julia's performance experience includes major roles in opera, operetta, oratorio and musical theatre. Highlights include: The Princess in Puccini's Suor Angelica, Frasquita in Carmen, Adele in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Serpina in Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, Lady Thiang in Roger And Hammerstein's The King and I. Gilbert & Sullivan roles include Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum Yum in the Mikado and Tessa in The Gondoliers.
Julia has enjoyed solo work in numerous chamber recitals throughout Sydney and the Central West and was an oratorio soloist for St Andrew's Cathedral, St Mary's Cathedral, St Patrick's Estate, Manly and All Saints Cathedral, Bathurst.
Prizes include first placings in Recital, Oratorio and Adult Vocal and second places in Lieder and Aria Sections.
Conducting experience includes musically directing Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury and Panorama Chorus in earlier years and Mitchell Conservatorium choral workshops.
Julia has upcoming recitals this year and continues to teach Singing, Piano and Musicianship in a vibrant, busy studio.
Helen has piano & singing teaching experience in primary and high schools. She has studied with Nancy Salas at the Conservatorium of Music Sydney and attended courses there in the Kodaly Method. For many years she conducted Developmental Music classes for children including children with special needs.
She has conducted research into the benefits of Early Childhood Music while studying Special Education at Charles Sturt University.
Helen's qualifications include, A.Mus.A (voice), including Piano 8th grade (AMEB and Trinity College) and 7th Grade Theory (AMEB), B.Health Sci. (Child Health Nursing), and M.Ed. (Special Ed).
David holds degrees from both Australia and the United States of America, where he served as assistant conductor of several of the many varsity choirs.
He studied voice at Penn State under Richard Kennedy and also undertook units in vocal pedagogy and French and German diction.
David specialises in both classical and music theatre genres and is an accomplished pianist.
David's students comprise all ages and levels of experience, and recent students have been accepted into vocal performance degrees at the University of Newcastle and the Australian Institute of Music.
Elena began her studies in Kazakhstan at 10 years of age, entering the Moscow State Music College of 'Gnessins', the most respected college of music in Russia. After gaining a 'Specialist Diploma' with Distinction' in Piano and then furthered her studies at the Siberian Academy of Music and Theatre, there gaining a 'Higher Education Degree in Instrumental Music Performance'. Her post-graduate work began at the State Music School in Krasnoyarsk Siberia as a teacher of piano and as accompanist, a position held for eight years.
Elena was also the ballet concert master/accompanist for the Siberian State Opera and Ballet Theatre of Krasnoyarsk (2000-2003). Her performances have included recitals with numerous ensembles and also as a soloist. In 2003 Elena started teaching at the Mitchell Conservatorium in Bathurst and Lithgow. The romantic composers of the 19th Century and the music of the 19th and 20th Century Russian composers form her performance repertoire.