Develop your Musical Skills with our Expert Presenters.

→ Supercharge your aural and sight singing skills or develop your skills as a singer.
Learn about composing for the movies or delve into the world of musical theatre giant Stephen Sondheim.
Discover the art of Konnakkol or traditional songs from different cultures in Songs from Home.

Presented by expert artists and educators, there is something for everyone and no previous experience with Gondwana Choirs is required. Browse the courses and pick your favourites from your age bracket. Everyone is welcome to enrol but class sizes are limited.

**New Dates** for some courses – please check below.

Start Date: week commencing 27 July 2020
Length: weekly over 8 weeks* 
Class Duration: 45 minutes*
Cost: $160 per course +booking fees 

* unless listed otherwise
  • All class times are in Australian Eastern Standard Time.
  • Download a pdf of the overall timetable.
  • If all classes for a subject are full, a waitlist option will appear. Further classes may be added depending on demand, presenter availability and Gondwana Choirs’ discretion.
  • Each class requires a minimum number of students to go ahead. If that minimum fails to be reached all enrollees will be contacted and refunded directly.
  • If you have any questions about Gondwana Online please contact Georgia Ginnivan via email on georgia.ginnivan@gondwana.org.au
  • Gondwana Choirs is a Child Safe organisation. Read our policy here.
  • Gondwana Online is delivered via Slack and Zoom. Instructions will be sent via email after purchase, with tech support available.
  • Successful participation in this interactive learning program requires reliable internet access.

Songs from Home: Music of Many Cultures

with Dr Nicholas Ng and a different guest musician every week

**INDIVIDUAL SESSION TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE**
Class Time: Mondays 5.30pm-6.30pm (First class 10 Aug 2020)
Suitable Ages: 18 years+
NESA Accredited for Proficient Teachers
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks, classes are 1 hour long **

Our guest musicians include:

  • Monday, 10 August – Sumathi Krishnan (India)
  • Monday, 17 August – Bukhu Ganburged (Mongolia)
  • Monday, 24 August – Yaw Derkyi (Ghana)
  • Monday, 31 August – Martin Al-Somery (Iraq)
  • Monday, 7 September – Nicholas Ng and Shu-Cheen Yu (China)
  • Monday, 14 September – Ella Macens (Latvia)

In this course, we celebrate the difference and diversity of musical practices in multicultural Australia by meeting and learning from a range of guest musicians from different backgrounds and traditions.

You will further develop your understanding and appreciation of music from different countries, led by ethnomusicologist, Dr Nicholas Ng.

Learn about:

  • Different musical practices: 
    • how they are different to Western music canon practices in Australia – including discussion about rhythm, tonality, instruments, dynamics, pitch, duration, tone colour and structure
    • the importance of music and the arts for maintaining the culture of their homeland here in Australia and the continuity of traditions across time, and 
    • how music expresses their culture and how this strengthens everyone’s intercultural understanding
  • A simple song from the guest musician’s musical tradition
Nicholas Ng HEADSHOT. Credit Christopher Fulham

About Dr Nicholas Ng

Dr Nicholas Ng is a composer, performer and Research Fellow at the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture (Western Sydney University). A former Lecturer (Australian National University) and Research Fellow (Queensland Conservatorium), he has been teaching erhu (2-stringed Chinese fiddle) and theory at Sydney Conservatorium since 2016.

Nicholas grew up singing plainchant and Renaissance polyphony in a Tridentine (Old Rite) Catholic church choir. This musical upbringing, combined with his interests in world music, has led to the development of a unique style in his compositions for The Song Company, The Australian Voices, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and other ensembles. He works closely with William Yang and recently appeared with Benjamin Law in Annette Shun Wah’s Sydney Festival production Double Delicious.

On the erhu, Nicholas has toured to festivals around Australia, New Zealand, North America, Canada and Europe. These include KunstenFESTIVALdesarts (Brussels), Sydney Festival and Auckland Arts Festival. He established the ANU Chinese Classical Music Ensemble (2003)

Nicholas has curated and presented a number of events including Encounters: China (2010), Music in the Gardens (2012), BrisAsia Festival (2012-2013) and Shanghai Club at The Famous Spiegeltent (2013).

Published by Orpheus Music, he has produced a book and various articles on Australia-China exchange. His life as an artist has been documented on SBS Mandarin Radio, ABC Music Show, and in the ABC TV Compass program, Divine Rhythms.

Lisa Young

The Art of Konnakkol: South Indian Vocal Percussion  

with Dr Lisa Young

**NEW DATES**
Class Time: Tuesdays 5.30pm – 6.30pm (First class 11 August 2020)
Suitable Ages: 15 years +
NESA Accredited for Proficient Teachers
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks, classes are 1 hour long **

Take your rhythmic vocabulary to a new level and join Lisa Young to learn the South Indian vocal percussion art form of Konnakkol (solkattu). Lisa introduces the basic sounds and concepts of the intoned rhythmic language. Starting simply, we learn short structures in varieties of tala (rhythmic cycles) keeping the cycle with the traditional hand/finger taps. Then we build speed, use metric modulations and work in some cool odd meters. With this as our point of departure, we explore the adaptive potential of Konnakkol in vocal music. We create rhythmic textures and layers of vocal percussion; set up percussive riffs and bass line grooves; and explore using the phases as a basis for melodic phrasesYou’ll come away with a new vocal language and an array of articulations and rhythmic concepts.

About Dr Lisa Young

Lisa Young is passionate about the transformative power of ensemble singing, and has created a distinct body of engaging choral repertoire sung throughout the world. She is well known to choral, jazz and world music listeners as a creative composer and improviser, incorporating Indian and African elements in her work. A longtime student of maestro Guru Kaaraikkudi Mani in Chennai, India, Lisa specialises in konnakol – South Indian vocal percussion.  She enjoys a rich performing and recording life with acclaimed vocal group Coco’s Lunch, and the Lisa Young Quartet whose album Grace won the BELL Award for Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album 2007.  She loves to collaborate, and is regularly invited to compose commissioned works, lead workshops and artist in residence programs sharing her unique approach to vocal expression.  

Madrigals to Minimalism: Singing through the ages

with Lotte Betts-Dean

**NEW DATES**
Class Time: Wednesdays 6.30pm – 7.30pm (First class 12 August 2020)
Suitable Ages: 15 years +
NESA Accredited for Proficient Teachers
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks, classes are 1 hour long **

Australian vocalist and proud Gondwana Voices alumna Lotte Betts-Dean guides you on a musical journey through time, exploring a range of vocal styles from the 14th Century to the present day.

Each week we will examine a different area of musical history and the role of the voice within it, from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary avant-garde, via German Lieder, Cabaret and jazz, and more.

Through group discussions, exercises and demonstrations (and some fun along the way!) we will illuminate specific vocal techniques and tricks within each style, preparing inquisitive singers to become vocally assured, versatile and adaptable singers for the 21st century – ready to take on any vocal adventure!

LotteBettsDean

About Lotte Betts-Dean

Praised by The Guardian for her “irrepressible sense of drama and unmissable, urgent musicality”, Australian mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean is a versatile concert artist whose performance experience encompasses opera, oratorio, contemporary music, art song, chamber music, early music, and non-classical collaborations. Performing predominantly in Australia and in the UK, Lotte has performed with many of Australia’s leading ensembles and companies, including Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Victorian Opera, Sydney Chamber Opera, Song Company, Van Diemen’s Band, La Compañia, Rubiks Collective and Ensemble Q, and has appeared at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Dark Mofo, Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields, Peninsula Summer Music, Port Fairy, and Adelaide Festival among others. Outside of the classical sphere, Lotte has toured Australia with DJ Pete Tong and electronic duo The Presets.

In the UK, Lotte has appeared at various festivals and venues including Buxton, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Dartington, St John’s Smith Square, Wigmore Hall, St Martin in the Fields, Barbican Centre, and Cadogan Hall, and with ensembles such as English Chamber Orchestra and Manchester Collective.

Lotte is Associate Artist with Southbank Sinfonia and contemporary music group Ensemble x.y and a Young Artist with Oxford Lieder Festival. Her awards include the Royal Overseas League Singing Competition, Peter Hulsen Orchestral Song Award, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria, and the Australian National Liederfest. Lotte is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music (MA) and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (BMus). Her performances have been broadcast on radio around the world including BBC Radio 3, ABC Classic FM, Kulturradio Deutschland and WQXR NY.

OElsley Headshot 1

Putting It Together: The Music of Stephen Sondheim

with Owen Elsley

**NEW DATES**
Class Time: Wednesdays 6:30pm – 7:30pm (First class 12 August 2020)
Suitable Ages: 15 years +
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks, classes are 1 hour long **

From Pacific Overtures to Passion, Follies to The Frogs, the music of Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim has been captivating audiences for generations. This course will dive into discussions of the musical intricacy and lyrical virtuosity of Sondheim’s oeuvre from page to stage, with some bursts of singing along the way. Join Owen Elsley as we merrily roll through the life and work of one of the giants of music theatre.

About Owen Elsley

Owen Elsley is one of the most diverse musicians in Australia, with a particular affinity for musical theatre. His Sondheim credits span performing and directing and include Sunday in the Park with George (George), Company (Bobby), Sweeney Todd (Anthony/Assistant Musical Director), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Musical Director) and Anyone Can Whistle (repetiteur).

Owen has also sung regularly with many of Sydney’s professional groups including the Song Company and the Choir of St James’ Church, King St. He has recently completed his Master of Music in Choral Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he sings with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Owen is also an accomplished composer, whose works have been commissioned by The Leichardt Espresso Chorus, The Hunter Singers, Moorambilla Voices and Gondwana Choirs.

PHOTO_Jessica Wells by Steven Godbee_Small

Scoring for the Silver Screen: Film Composition

with Jessica Wells

**NEW DATES**
Class Time: Tuesdays 5.30pm – 6.30pm (First class 11 August 2020)
Suitable Ages: 15 +
NESA Accredited for Proficient Teachers
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks, classes are 1 hour long **

Hands up who loves movies? Does your favourite film score have a soaring romantic theme? Does it make you sit on the edge of your seat during an action sequence? Or does it make you want to hide your face in a pillow with suspense? A good film score heightens the emotions in a scene, it smooths out the many cuts in the edit, it provides atmosphere, and most of all it tells a story.

This course will demystify the process of writing music for the screen, looking at different techniques used by composers that you can try at home. Participants will be given small composition tasks writing in different styles and also a short animation to download and try their hand at scoring. This can be done with computer software such as Sibelius or Garageband or with simply recording an instrument or even their voice.

About Jessica Wells

Jessica Wells is a versatile composer, orchestrator, and arranger for concerts, films, theatre, and album recordings. Since obtaining her Master of Music in Composition (Sydney Conservatorium) and Master of Arts in Screen Composition (AFTRS), her career has gone from strength to strength. Her business, Jigsaw Music, provides music preparation services for clients all over the country and overseas. She also works as a recording producer and conductor. Jessica has orchestrated over 70 films, and wrote the theme music for ABC TV’s “Q&A” program – which makes her kids think she’s famous. She was a 2017 Finalist in the APRA Art Music Awards, in the category of “Instrumental Work of the Year” for her piece “Moon Fire” for the National Carillon and electronic track. Jessica is the Musical Director of the APRA Screen Music Awards, and she is the current Vice President of the Music Arrangers’ Guild of Australia

Voice Building and Connection: Improve your singing

with Andrew O’Connor

**NEW DATES**
Class Time: Tuesdays 6.30pm – 7.30pm (First class 11 August 2020)
Suitable Ages: 12 – 18 years
Suitable for tenors and basses
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks, classes are 1 hour long **

Are you a young tenor or bass who loves singing in choirs but has never had a voice lesson? Do you want to navigate and develop your changing voice? Are you wanting to expand your range and improve your vocal performance? Do you want to check your voice into a Vocal BootCamp ahead of an upcoming audition or assessment?

If you answered yes to any of these questions – I invite you to join me for Gondwana Online in Term 3 as we explore, develop, and connect to our singing voices. 

Together we will explore the foundations of vocal technique, health, and style and deploy these techniques in a variety of styles and genres ranging from Chant and Renaissance Polyphony to Art Song and Musical Theatre.

ANDREW O

About Andrew O’Connor

As a performer and educator Andrew O’Connor is versed in a wide variety of styles and genres. Born in Perth, he studied at the University of Western Australia before establishing a successful career in both teaching and performance.

From 2015 – 2019 he was a core member of The Song Company performing across Australia in subscription, festival, recording, education and collaborative projects. Andrew is a Lay Clerk with St Mary’s Cathedral Choir and in 2019 was an Associate Artist with Pacific Opera.

He sings regularly with virtually all of Sydney’s leading music organisations including Pinchgut Opera, Opera Australia, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Bach Akademie Australia, Cantillation, Choir of St James, Hourglass Ensemble, Ensemble Polypheme, and Sydney Antiphony. He balances these commitments with an emerging career as a soloist.

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Conducting Physics

with Dr Anthony Trecek-King

Class Time: Saturdays 10am – 11am
Suitable Ages: 18 years+
NESA Accredited for Proficient Teachers
** Please note: Course duration is 6 weeks (first class Saturday 1 August 2020 –  final class Saturday 5 September 2020), classes are 1 hour long **

 

Develop an awareness of the physical sensation of conducting, eliminate bad habits, and establish clear effective gesture. The fundamental goal of any conductor is to bring music to life, first by interpreting a score, then communicating musical ideas to the ensemble. Each week we will discuss and put into practice various elements of conducting.

THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT

About Dr Anthony Trecek-King

Over the past 20 years, Dr Anthony Trecek-King has cultivated an international reputation as a choral conductor, scholar, pedagogue, and media personality. He is passionate about cultivating artistically excellent ensembles that explore socially relevant issues through emotionally immersive programs, challenging both artists and audiences to feel and think. Ensembles under his direction were integral to projects that have won a Pulitzer Prize (Madam White Snake, Zhou Long), received a Grammy (Fantastic Mr Fox, Boston Modern Orchestra Project), and earned the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Presidential Committee on the Arts (Boston Children’s Chorus). Dr Trecek-King has worked with a variety of artists and ensembles including Leslie Odom Jr., Melinda Doolittle, Seraphic Fire, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Gil Rose, Simon Halsey, Yo Yo Ma, and Roomful of Teeth. He has led performances in world-renowned venues including Boston Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall in New York City, Royal Albert Hall in London, and the Sydney Opera House. In addition to his conducting work, he can be seen on-air and online on the Emmy nominated WGBH television series Sing That Thing, and two TEDx Boston talks. He holds a B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from the Florida State University, and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the Boston University. Anthony has recently been appointed Associate Professor of Choral Music and Director of Choral Activities at The Harrt School, University of Hartford. He currently lives in the Boston area with his partner Melanie and two cats.

Musical Theatre – Combining Character & Song

with Queenie van de Zandt

Class Time: Thursdays 4.30pm – 5.15pm (First class 30 July 2020)
Suitable Ages: 10 – 14

Musical Theatre – Combining Character & Song is designed for students with a passion for singing AND acting, taught by one of Australia’s leading ladies of musical theatre, Queenie van de Zandt.  With a career spanning 30+ years and with 20 years teaching primarily in the area of audition technique for musical theatre, Queenie’s reputation as a ‘musical theatre star-maker’ is widely known.

Join Queenie as she teaches you her unique methodology of developing character, voice and storytelling to create outstanding musical theatre performances.  Through a combination of play, discussion, song, research and written exercises, students will learn to perform their own musical theatre song through the lens of a unique character.

QUEENIE

About Queenie van de Zandt

Queenie van de Zandt is one of Australia’s leading ladies of musical theatre and cabaret, renowned for her incredible versatility as a performer having worked extensively in musical theatre, plays, cabaret, on television and film, and as a recording artist, comedienne and writer, along with being Australia’s leading teacher of audition technique for musicals.
Career highlights include: on television – Very Small Business and Da Kath & Kim Code (ABC 1); in theatre – Women of Troy (STC/Malthouse) and Abigail’s Party (Ensemble Theatre); on film – the Aussie feature film Girl Clock; in musical theatre – Into the Woods (Victorian Opera), Funny Girl (SSO) and King Kong (Global Creatures): and in cabaret – Smoke & Mirrors.
Through Amazon Woman Enterprises, Queenie develops and performs her original work. Highlights include: 3 albums, her award-winning show BLUE: The Song of Joni Mitchell and projects involving her cult, comedy alter-ego Jan van de Stool.
In 2015 Queenie also co-founded The Australian Musical Theatre Academy (AMTA). AMTA offers workshops and courses for students of all skill levels, giving people the tools to live creative, passionate and fulfilling lives, working with the best instructors in Australia.
Queenie has been nominated for 19 (and won 6) major theatre awards for her work in musicals and cabaret.

Sight Singing and Aural Skills

with Gondwana Choirs

Please click here for Term 3 Sight Singing levels and times
Suitable Ages: 10-25
If you were enrolled for Term 2, you should enrol in the same level again for Term 3 to complete the course.

Much of your success as a young musician depends on your ability to hear and understand music accurately.  Gondwana’s developmental aural and sight singing course will assist you to recognise and reproduce pitches, intervals and rhythms as well expanding your melodic memory. It aims to assist you to sing a melody at sight from written music. In learning these skills you will be accelerating your ability to sing more complex choral music and super charging a possible musical career.

Use the self-assessment guide below to select your starting level. There will be flexibility to swap classes if you have not picked quite the right class for yourself.

Musical Theatre – Combining Character & Song

with Queenie van de Zandt

Class Time: Thursdays 5.30pm – 6.15pm (First class 30 July 2020)
Suitable Ages: 15 – 25

Musical Theatre – Combining Character & Song is designed for students with a passion for singing AND acting, taught by one of Australia’s leading ladies of musical theatre, Queenie van de Zandt.  With a career spanning 30+ years and with 20 years teaching primarily in the area of audition technique for musical theatre, Queenie’s reputation as a ‘musical theatre star-maker’ is widely known.

Join Queenie as she teaches you her unique methodology of developing character, voice and storytelling to create outstanding musical theatre performances.  Through a combination of play, discussion, song, research and written exercises, students will learn to perform their own musical theatre song through the lens of a unique character.

QUEENIE

About Queenie van de Zandt

Queenie van de Zandt is one of Australia’s leading ladies of musical theatre and cabaret, renowned for her incredible versatility as a performer having worked extensively in musical theatre, plays, cabaret, on television and film, and as a recording artist, comedienne and writer, along with being Australia’s leading teacher of audition technique for musicals.

Career highlights include: on television – Very Small Business and Da Kath & Kim Code (ABC 1); in theatre – Women of Troy (STC/Malthouse) and Abigail’s Party (Ensemble Theatre); on film – the Aussie feature film Girl Clock; in musical theatre – Into the Woods (Victorian Opera), Funny Girl (SSO) and King Kong (Global Creatures): and in cabaret – Smoke & Mirrors.

Through Amazon Woman Enterprises, Queenie develops and performs her original work.  Highlights include: 3 albums, her award-winning show BLUE: The Song of Joni Mitchell and projects involving her cult, comedy alter-ego Jan van de Stool.

In 2015 Queenie also co-founded The Australian Musical Theatre Academy (AMTA).  AMTA offers workshops and courses for students of all skill levels, giving people the tools to live creative, passionate and fulfilling lives, working with the best instructors in Australia.

Queenie has been nominated for 19 (and won 6) major theatre awards for her work in musicals and cabaret.

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