Dr. Suzanna Hlinka

Described by the Courier Mail as a ‘prodigious talent’, Australian-Czech Dr. Suzanna Hlinka began playing the piano at the age of three, performed her first solo recital at eight years old, and made her first concerto appearance with an orchestra at ten years old. With her multi-faceted playing style that 4MBS Classic FM called ‘pure magic’ and ‘poetry in motion’, Suzanna has been greeted by enthusiastic audiences throughout Australia, Asia, and Europe, performing in the world’s most prestigious concert venues and winning top prizes in various international competitions.

Suzanna graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and a Master of Arts from Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts. Her research was recognised by the Czech Government with the award of the coveted Czech Head. Suzanna finalised her studies with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Western Australia in 2012 with the assistance of the Hackett Postgraduate Scholarship.

Suzanna currently devotes herself to her solo and chamber concert career, and developing young talent. She is also in demand as an adjudicator and teaching artist, regularly giving masterclasses in association with numerous organisations. Suzanna has released two solo CDs and two CDs for cello and piano together with her husband, cellist Christoph Blickling.

Suzanna enjoys lecturing across three departments at the Australian Institute of Music; Classical, Academic, and Graduate. Her specialties lie in piano music of Czech and Russian origin, and her research is reflective, practice- based, practice-led, and anything piano! Suzanna’s ultimate goal as a lecturer is to inspire and motivate students to achieve their maximum potential and enrich their musical understanding, skills and passion for the performing arts. Suzanna’s previous students have gone on to be fabulous performers, teachers, and adjudicators nationwide, and have also furthered their achievements overseas. The best moment Suzanna has experienced in her role is a student coming along to her piano lesson and saying she could not sleep the previous night, as she was too excited to have her piano lesson the following day!

Student testimonials:

“Suzanna is a committed, passionate, and nurturing teacher. Despite her gentle nature, she is very tough and will work hard to support every student achieve his or her personal best in their studies. Lessons with Suzanna are filled with a mountain of knowledge and inspiration.” (Gina, Masters student, Piano)

“Suzanna is an inspiring and extremely talented teacher who teaches with methods of encouragement and passion in every aspect. She cares immensely about her students and helps us to grow in not only technique, but also passion for what we are learning”. (Ashleigh, Bachelor student, Piano)

“Suzanna is a nurturing teacher that really brings the best out of her students. Her incredible talent and passion for what she does is inspiring.” (Jamie, Bachelor student, Piano)

“An inspiring and aspiring teacher who teaches with patience and always makes the best out of her teaching”. (Lidya, Bachelor student, Piano)

Dr. Wojciech Wisniewski

Dr Wojciech Wisniewski is a pianist, pedagogue and author currently residing in Sydney, Australia. Born in Poland, Wojciech graduated from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (Poland) shortly before arriving in Australia in 2004. After completing his Bachelor of Music in 2007 (1st Class Honors) at the Australian Institute of Music, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music, being awarded the ‘Bessie Cook Piano Award’. In 2011 he received a diploma from the Polish Government Ministry of Culture, for ‘exemplary achievements in the field of popularising music of Frederic Chopin.’

His teachers include Dr Krystyna Wojcik, Edward Wolanin, Bronislawa Kawalla, Dr Katarzyna Jankowska, Phillip Shovk and Natalia Sheludiakova. He participated in numerous masterclasses with such renowned artists as Andrzej Jasinski and Paul Lewis. After his arrival to Australia he performed as a soloist, chamber musician and with orchestra around the country and in New Zealand. In 2008 he was selected and performed at the Sydney International Piano Competition.

My philosophy for teaching and learning excellence is to provide equal opportunities to all. This is demonstrated in my teaching and supervising roles by focusing on providing all students with the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential, to prepare them for careers as professional musicians. I focus on each student’s ability to deliver artistic expression in a professional public setting. I am innovative in my approach to teaching and learning, implementing the most recent academic findings into areas such as memorisation (using various types of memory, memory techniques, with particular attention to suit those techniques to individual students’ capabilities and talents), sight-reading (employing modern technology such as sight-reading with the audio of pre-recorded pieces, video recordings of performances), and using the most up-to-date approach to teaching techniques, with particular attention to students’ physical wellbeing (combining some of the research in physiology of a human body in the context of performance, some of the techniques leading to recovery of students who already experience issues with their technique).

In 2016, Wojciech’s book “Defining National Piano Schools – Perceptions and challenges” was published by ‘WWBooks Sydney’ and is currently available through Amazon.

Novita Jap

Novita was born in Surabaya (Indonesia), and commenced piano lessons at age 4. As a school student she won numerous prizes in local competitions including first prize at the French Piano Competition in 2005 (with Patrick Zygmanowski adjudicating), and was chosen to perform at Erasmus Huis (Dutch Embassy, Jakarta - Indonesia) in 2006.

In 2007 at age 16, she won entry for tertiary study at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore, to study under Frank DeMeglio. During this time she received an honourable mention award in the Ananda Sukarlan National Piano Competition, with Surkarlan himself on the jury. After concluding her studies in 2009 she relocated to Australia where she then completed Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Australian Institute of Music, studying under Irina Klamka and Zsuzsa Giczy. Her study at AIM was supported by scholarships for academic and performance excellence, and led to recitals and concerto soloist appearances in St. Andrew’s Cathedral and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

She was first appointed to accompanying duties at AIM during her Masters degree, and has flourished and excelled this role to be awarded a permanent lectureship in accompaniment, collaborative piano and ensemble in 2017. Her knowledge of the repertoire is vast, and covers music for voice, winds, strings and the chamber music repertoire.

Wendy Dixon

Wendy began her musical life in Auckland, New Zealand as a pianist, a cellist and a singer. She played cello in orchestras at secondary and tertiary levels and worked as an accompanist from her teenage years on. Her first love was always singing, belonging to choirs and Musical Society’s until being accepted to Auckland University as a Vocal Major at the age of 16. Wendy was awarded the inaugural Pears-Britten Vocal Scholarship, won the Marie d’Albini Scholarship and began her professional career at the age of 18, singing Eve in Haydn’s Creation. Operatic roles followed with her operatic debut as Gretel in “Hansel and Gretel’ at age 20. During the next 11 years in New Zealand Wendy performed an average of 3 operas a year, numerous oratorios and concert engagements and national tours as a vocal recitalist. She also recorded extensively for the National Broadcaster, known then as NZBC.

Following her move across the Tasman to Australia to take up contracts as Guest Artist Soprano Soloist with both Opera Australia and Victoria State Opera, Wendy rapidly settled into her new country, taking citizenship and immersing herself in the music scenes of opera, concert repertoire and recital repertoire. Wendy continued to perform in New Zealand as well as throughout Australia, while invitations to sing in Mexico, Singapore and Europe brought more opportunities to sing with world renowned conductors and orchestras.

Performances of note include Strauss’ 'Four Last Songs', Verdi’s Requiem, Gorecki’s ‘Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’, Leonora in 'Fidelio' (Beethoven), Musetta and Mimi, the title roles of Tosca and Aida, Violetta in 'La Traviata’, Donna Elvira in 'Don Giovanni’, the Governess in Britten’s ‘Turn of the Screw’, Ellen Orford and Rosalinda in ‘Die Fledermaus’. Wendy has performed over 40 major operatic roles, all the major oratorios and concert repertoire as well as acquiring an extensive recital repertoire.

As a founding member with David Miller (piano) of Grevillea Ensemble she maintains an active performing schedule, working with artists such as Diana Doherty (Principal Oboe, Sydney Symphony), Fiona Ziegler (Assistant Concertmaster, Sydney Symphony), James Kortum (Lecturer in Flute at Sydney Conservatorium, ex-Principal Flute Australia Opera and Ballet Orchestra), Marina Marsden (Principal Second Violin, Sydney Symphony), Alexandre Oguey (Principal Cor Anglais, Sydney Symphony) Scott Kinmont (Associate Principal Trombone, Sydney Symphony) and Glenn Winslade (international operatic tenor).

With this wide range of musical experiences Wendy has kept alive her joy in performing and in creating music with like-minded artists. She also regards herself as exceeding lucky in have close collaborations with many New Zealand and Australian composers, commissioning contemporary works, of which most have been recorded. This love of contemporary music has led to 10 CDs of Australian Art Songs, 3 pedagogically based teaching books on Australian Art Songs, a Masters in Music (Music Education) at Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney (2007) on "Selection procedures relating to Australian vocal repertoire for mid- adolescent HSC performers”, presentations at conferences in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth and an almost completed Doctorate of Music exploring the collaboration between composer and performer in the creation of contemporary Australian Art Song. www.australiancomposers.com.au

Wendy’s passion for singing has broadened into a passion for sharing singing through the art of teaching. Since 2000 she has made a career as a teacher of singing, an adjudicator, a vocal coach, an examiner and a curator of programs for singers offering performance opportunities for singers of a wide range of expertise. Voice trek for adult beginners, Lets Make An Opera for primary to secondary school children, Sydney Art Song Society for mature age amateur singers and tertiary students, Language for Singers for all ages and levels of expertise, and Opera BootCamp and OperaLab for secondary through to tertiary-level singers.

Many of Wendy’s students are working professionally in the divergent fields of pop, cabaret, indie pop, music theatre, chamber ensembles and opera; appearing in Australia, UK, USA, Italy, Germany and France. Several singers are also composers and arrangers, writing and performing their own material. Wendy has always felt that part of her job as a teacher is to introduce her students to as many composers and styles as is possible and she is proud of the eclectic tastes and styles of these gifted artists. Their visits to Australia are accompanied by much coffee (yes, Wendy is a coffee snob) and laughter.

Wen Zhu

Australian violinist Wen Zhu was born in China and began learning violin at age five. In 1996, she was awarded a full scholarship to study at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. This Conservatory is the most prestigious in China and boasts a very high standard.

She has been a prize-winner in many International violin competitions. Since moving to Australia in 2002, she has studied at the Australian Institute of Music, where she was awarded Bachelor of Music Degree First Class Honours. She followed this with a Master of Music under Charmian Gadd, as a full scholarship holder at the Australian Institute of Music. She received the highest scholarship to study at the Tasmania Conservatory of Music for a PhD in Music. In 2010, she studied for her second Master of Music at Sydney Conservatorium of Music as a full scholarship holder under Professor Alice Waten.

Wen Zhu has appeared in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Sunday Live series, performing as a recitalist as well as in duo and trio combinations with the members of the Australian Institute of Music Ensemble. She has recorded for ABC FM and 2MBS FM radio stations in live-performance broadcasts as well as studio recorded recitals.

Wen has more than 25 years experience in music performance and teaching and many of her students have won violin competitions in eisteddfods, music scholarships in schools, including Sydney Conservatorium of High School, St Andrew's Cathedral School, Sydney Grammar School and achieved highly in HSC and AMEB examinations. She has conducted a large number of ensembles including the Australian Institute String Ensemble and the South Sydney Chamber Orchestra. Her violin students have often been chosen to perform in Opera House HSC “Encore” program. She is the senior violin teacher and String Coordinator of the Australian Institute of Music.

In November 2016 Wojciech Wisniewski and Zhu Wen performed a piano and violin recital at the Australian Institute of Music.

In January 2017 she was invited to the Qingyuan International Music Festival in China where she was on the panel for the International Violin Competition during the festival.

In 2017 February, Zhu Wen went to Singapore as a visiting artist at University-Yong Siew Toh Music Conservatorium Music. She taught some Violin Masterclass and individual violin lessons in the university.

Zhu Wen also is very interested in chamber music and conducting. Since 2011 she commenced orchestral conducting in the St George area. In July 2017, she was an official music director at the 28th International Music Festival in Sydney, and she conducted the Koala Chamber Orchestra in Sydney Opera house concert hall.

Nicola Crowe

Nicola studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with James Kortum and later at the Royal College of Music with Simon Channing and Jaime Martin where she was awarded the RCM All Flutes Plus prize. During her time abroad, she was the co-principal of Southbank Sinfonia, the principal flute of the Band of the Royal Yeomanry and the flautist for the Dr K Sextet, specialising in contemporary ensemble music.

On returning to Australia, she began a fellowship with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2015) followed by a second flute contract in 2016. She regularly performs with the Opera Australia Orchestra and has played with many orchestras and ensembles in Australia and abroad including the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of the English National Ballet, the Covent Garden Soloists Orchestra, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the Macao Orchestra. Nicola’s approach to flute performance and pedagogy is informed by her own studies and performing experience in various ensembles.

She enjoys helping AIM students achieve their musical goals, surpass their expectations of themselves and help guide them to their future career paths in music. She aims to provide an environment that encourages students to experiment, discover and develop the skills they need to achieve their best results and become confident, flexible and well equipped musicians who leave AIM ready for the demands of working in the constantly evolving world of music.