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Project Mentors


Andrew Sinclair

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Conductor, Pianist

Simon Kenway

Simon Kenway is an established and highly respected orchestral and operatic conductor. He has held posts as Principal Chorus Master of Opera Australia, Musical Director for Opera in the Vineyards, Opera by George and Opera Under The Stars in Broome, and Conductor and Chief Vocal Coach for the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School. He now works as a freelance conductor, both internationally and in Australia, and has been Artistic Director of Pacific Opera since 2015.


Simon has collaborated with many orchestras and opera companies including the Sydney, Tasmanian, Adelaide, West Australian, Canberra and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Opera Australia, West Australian Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland, as well as The Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Philharmonic Choirs, Aldeburgh Productions in UK, the Australian Youth Orchestra, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and many festivals.


Simon obtained a Bachelor of Music Degree (Piano) and a Post-Graduate Diploma (Opera) from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. He then continued his post-graduate studies in Europe at the Royal College of Music in London and with Norman Del Mar, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Pierre Boulez, Sir Simon Rattle and James Lockhardt. He also trained as a vocal coach with the leading repetiteurs from Covent Garden, English National Opera and Paris Opera.

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Conductor, Author, Artistic Director

Paul Kildea

Paul Kildea holds an honours degree in piano performance and a masters degree in musicology from The University of Melbourne – where he is now an Honorary Principal Fellow and where in 2016 he was Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow – and a doctorate from Oxford University.


His books include Selling Britten and Britten on Music. In January 2013 Penguin published enjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century to enormous critical acclaim; it is now widely recognized as the best book on its subject, the Financial Times calling it ‘unquestionably the music book of the year.’ In June 2018 Penguin published Chopin’s Piano: A Journey Through Romanticism, which is currently being developed as a feature film.


In October 2019 he succeeded Carl Vine as Artistic Director of Musica Viva, Australia.

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Photo © Penny Bradfield


Composer, Pianist, Artistic Director

Stefan Cassomenos

Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos is one of Australia’s most vibrant and versatile musicians. He has been performing internationally since the age of 10, and is now established as one of Australia’s leading pianists.


As the recipient of multiple prizes including the Second Grand Prize in the prestigious International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn 2013, Cassomenos has performed throughout Europe and Asia, and now performs regularly in Australia, Germany and the UK. He has performed concertos with several major Australian symphony orchestras, as well as orchestras overseas.


Cassomenos is a founding member of chamber ensemble PLEXUS, which since launching in 2014 has commissioned and premiered over 100 new works. Cassomenos’ own compositions are regularly commissioned and performed throughout Australia. Cassomenos and violinist Monica Curro have recently been announced as Artistic Directors of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival from 2019. Cassomenos is generously supported by Kawai Australia.

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KM 2019 Website Page Photo.jpg

Artist Manager

Kathryn Morrison

The family of artists at Kathryn Morrison Management represents the best operatic and artistic talent that the Australasian region has to offer to the world. Their collective wealth of performance experience spans many genres, other than opera, with each artist being able to mesmerise, charm and enchant you with the quality and beauty of their voice and personality, whether in an intimate setting or the grandeur of a world-class opera house.




Lee Abrahmsen

Lee has appeared as principal artist throughout Australia in over 30 roles including: Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Australia), title role in Tosca (Australian Discovery Orchestra), Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Opera Queensland), Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohème, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Marguerite in Faust, Micaëla in Carmen, Elvira in I Puritani, Leila in The Pearl Fishers, Adele in Die  Fledermaus and Valencienne in The Merry Widow (all for Melbourne Opera), Violetta in La Traviata (CoOpera), Fifth Maid in Elektra (Sydney Symphony), Clotilde in Norma (Victorian Opera), Lisa in La Sonnambula (Bel Canto Festival in Holland), Olympia in Erwin und Elmire (Iopera), and the title role in the Australian Premier of Stella by Marshall-Hall (Lyric Opera of Melbourne).

Her many Australian Awards include the 86th Herald Sun Aria, MOST Opera Awards Royal Over-Seas League Prize, MOST Opera Awards 3MBS prize and the Acclaim Awards Italian Fellowship. Lee was nominated for a Green Room Award for her performance as Valencienne in Lehar’s Merry Widow for Melbourne Opera.  

Raised in Geelong, Lee graduated from the University of Melbourne with honours degrees in Music and Education. She furthered her studies as a full scholar at the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School and abroad with Antonio Moretti-Pananti (Florence), Daniel Ferro (Tuscany) and at the Bel Canto Festival (Holland).

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Photo source: Lee Abrahamsen


Conductor, Artistic Director

Alan Cook

Alan Cook is a conductor, opera coach, and musicologist with many years of experience across a wide range of operatic, choral, and symphonic repertoire who has been described by critics as “producing a lush, richly coloured soundscape” at the podium. A Graduate of the VCA, he also studied conducting in Italy with Bruno Aprea of the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, Rome, and has performed in many countries including Austria, Italy, Spain, and Russia many masterpieces of Italian and Russian repertoire. He also worked extensively as an opera coach to many international singers including at the Liceu Opera of Barcelona and was Principal Guest Conductor of orchestras in Ukraine and Russia for an extended period during which time he developed an expertise in Russian repertoire and language. He is currently in Australia studying a PhD in the operas of Rimsky-Korsakov and recent performances include Kashchey the Immortal by Rimsky-Korsakov at the Melbourne Recital Centre, La Boheme, Die Fledermaus, Bach’s St John’s Passion as well as a concert of Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov with the National Capital Orchestra in Canberra, and in March, he presented a research paper at the 175th Anniversary conference of Rimsky-Korsakov in St Petersburg.


Amongst freelance conducting work, Alan is currently Artistic Director of More than Opera, Music Director for Opera Van Diemensland and Music Director of Melbourne Chamber Choir.


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Contralto, Vocal Teacher

Liane Keegan

Born in Australia, Liane received scholarships from the Opera Foundation Australia, Shell Royal Covent Garden Scholarship which enabled her to study at the National Opera Studio London. She attended the AIMS summer School in Graz Austria on the Opera Australia Foundation Scholarship and in 1997, she won a Bayreuth Bursary from the Wagner Society of Great Britain.

Since returning to Australia permanently in 2012, Liane has appeared with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/BBC UK in The last night of the Proms singing Elgar’s Sea Pictures conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and as Albine in Thais by Massenet and as the Alto Soloist in Beethoven 9th symphony .The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic conducted by Andrew Wailes appearing in The Music Makers and Sea Pictures by Elgar. This concert is available on cd. Alto solo in Alexander Nevsky by Prokoviev and Erda in the RMP Wagner Spectacular. Liane appeared as Erda in Opera Australia’s Der Ring des Niebelungen in Melbourne in 2016.  Alto soloist Mahler 8 Zelman Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Shiells.  Liane appeared as Siegrune Die Walkure Act 3 in the reopening of Hamer Hall Gala Concert. Guest artist with Victorian Opera in the White nights Gala. Mary in Der Fliegende Hollander and as the Old lady and The Princess in Respighi’s Sleeping Beauty with Victorian Opera. Guest Artist with Ludovico’s Band singing Monteverdi arias and duets. Liane appears regularly as the Alto soloist with Heidelburg Chorale in such works as The Messiah, Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle and most recently in Elijah. Liane appears as Erda, 1st Norn and Waltraute Die Walkure on the 2004 Melba Records recording of the first Australian Ring Cycle conducted by Asher Fisch. 2018 engagements include, the roles of Edwige in William Tell, Genevieve in Pelleas and Mellisande with Victorian Opera. The Alto solo in Bernstein Symphony 1 and Mahler Rueckert Lieder and selections from Bernstein’s Broadway show tunes with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

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Conductor, Teacher

Patrick Burns

Patrick Burns was born in Sydney, Australia and studied French Horn and Conducting at the Melbourne and Queensland Conservatorium. In Australia, he is the chief conductor and music director of the Ipswich City Orchestra and XL Arts Inc. Alongside being the Robert and Elizabeth Albert Conducting Fellow for The Australian Ballet, he is also the current Hephzibah Tintner Conducting Fellow. As part of his Fellowships, Patrick has conducted performances for the Australian Ballet with Orchestra Victoria, The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and The Opera Australia Orchestra. He has conducted Orchestra Victoria in a regional performance, acted as Assistant Conductor to Simone Young with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and served as Assistant Conductor in William Kentridge’s production of Wozzeck presented by Opera Australia. 

Internationally he has made guest appearances with the National Theater of Serbia (Otello), State Opera of Bulgaria Ruse (Rigoletto, Nabucco, Turandot), and the Pazardzhik Symphony Orchestra in Bulgaria. In 2017, he was the assistant conductor with British Youth Opera and conducted the covers performance with the Southbank Sinfonia.  He won the Jury’s Prize at the 2015 Blue Danube International Opera Conducting Competition in Bulgaria and the Orchestra’s Prize in 2016 Black Sea Opera Conducting Competition in Romania. 

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