Julie Christiansen is well known for her
compelling work with young voices throughout Australia. In 2006 Julie was
awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s honours list for her
service to the Australian community through music, particularly the development
of children’s and youth choirs at state and national level.
Her choirs appear
regularly at regional, state, national and international festivals and are
acclaimed for their joyful vitality and quality of tone. Following
studies in choral conducting at Queensland Conservatorium Julie continues to
work with young people at all levels of experience in school and community ensembles.
She is a popular guest
clinician regarding vocal /choral techniques and literature for children’s
choirs and is regularly invited to conduct and present at choral festivals and
educational workshops throughout Australia. In 2004 Julie joined the conducting
team of Gondwana Choirs National Choral School - now in their 16th season in
Julie has toured
extensively nationally and internationally with Birralee Voices, with recent
tours representing Australia in Korea, England, Canada, New Zealand, Germany,
Austria and the Czech Republic, as well as tours to Tasmania, Canberra, North
Queensland and Adelaide.
Julie’s commitment to her work is driven by the vital
role music plays, as a channel for developing responsible and caring young
people. The appointment of Voices of Birralee to provide choral services at
commemorations during the five year World War 1 Centenary period in France and
Belgium, is the pinnacle of her twenty year music career.
Paul Holley is a choral conductor,
educator and motivator. His personal warmth and passion for choral music have
inspired many singers to discover and develop their skills and achieve personal
fulfilment as choral musicians.
Presently Paul conducts two ensembles for
Voices of Birralee:
The Birralee Blokes - the current ABC
Classic FM Choir of the Year and also "Choir of the World" as judged
at the 2012 International Kathaumixw in Canada; Resonance of Birralee -
Gold medal winners at the 2008 World Choir Games.
In 2007 the Blokes performed to acclaim at
the 3rd International Male Voice Festival in Cornwall, UK. The choir has toured
in the United States, Canada and New Zealand and been invited multiple times to
perform at ANCA national conferences. The Birralee Blokes also featured in the
Battle of the Choirs TV show.
Paul’s desire to see young people continue
to grow as choral musicians led him to become the Director of Resonance of
Birralee, a youth choir for 18 - 30 year olds. The choir has toured nationally
and internationally and in 2008, were gold medallists at the World Choir Games
in Graz, Austria. This desire also led to Paul accepting the position of
principal conductor of Gondwana Chorale, the national youth choir of the
Gondwana Choirs association.
Paul is also a secondary school music
teacher at Brisbane Girls Grammar School where he conducts three choirs and
teaches group voice lessons.
As a choral educator Paul is dedicated to
excellence in choral education and regularly features as guest
conductor/clinician at festivals, conferences and music competitions throughout
In 2016, Paul was awarded a Medal in the
Order of Australia for his services to choral music.
A graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium
of Music majoring in piano, Jenny has been a Primary and Secondary Classroom
Music specialist for over 20 years. As Head of Choral and Vocal Studies at
Hillcrest Christian College, on the Gold Coast, she directs 9 of the 12 College
choirs and is the artistic director of the Hillcrest Children’s Choir who, in
2013, were invited to represent Australia at the 5th International
World Vision Children’s Choir Festival.
Jenny's successful participation at state, national and
international events such as Q150 Songbridge, ANCA Choralfest, Next Generation
Sings and various competitions, such as the Australian National Eisteddfod and
the Concorso Corale Internazionale, support her emergence as a highly regarded
children's choir conductor, adjudicator and choral workshop clinician.
She has been a guest conductor at a wide
range of events including the acclaimed Gondwana National Choral School, State
Honours Education Programs at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and
various choral festivals in Queensland and New South Wales.
Conductor - Birralee Recycled
Peter Ingram is a noted
conductor of school, university and community choirs throughout Australia. He
is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and Florida State
University (U.S.A.) where he gained his Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting
under the guidance of Rodney Eichenberger.
is Head of Music at Brisbane Grammar School where, amongst other ensembles, he
directs the acclaimed vocal ensemble The Grammarphones which
was awarded the City of Vienna Prize for most outstanding
choir at the 2010 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival. He has a
long-standing commitment to the activities of the Australian National Choral
Association (ANCA) where he has served for over 20 years on the Queensland
chapter of this association. He is also currently the ANCA National
Vice-President. He is also actively involved in the music ministry of St.
Stephen’s Anglican Church, Coorparoo. Peter is in demand as a guest conductor,
adjudicator, clinician and workshop leader at various choral events throughout
passionately believes in the many positive and life-changing benefits that flow
from involvement in choral music both as a conductor and a singer. This is why
he has devoted much of his professional life as a music educator and choral
administrator to promoting the cause of choral music in this state and
supporting choral musicians in their endeavours.
Conductor - Birralee Kids
Assistant Conductor - Birralee Blokes
Thompson has a passion for music education and for community singing. She
has sung with and conducted numerous choirs both in Australia and Canada and in
2004 the University of Queensland awarded her the Hugh Brandon Prize for
Kate holds a Masters in Music Studies and has been invited to
be a guest lecturer and clinician at various conferences and workshops both
locally and interstate. Kate has worked for Education Queensland, was
Head of Preparatory Music (P-6) and the Head of Choral Music at Anglican Church
Grammar School and is now the Primary Music Teacher and a choral director at
Ambrose Treacy College.
Kate is also the Immediate Past President of the
Queensland Chapter of the Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia
(KMEIA). Having worked primarily with school aged singers for the past
seven years, Kate is excited to now be working with the Kids and Blokes,
and is thrilled to be a part of the Birralee Family.
Conductor - Birralee
Katherine Ruhle is a
children’s choral conductor, choral composer and an early childhood music
specialist. She is widely known for her original ideas and
creativity, both within the choir rehearsals and music lessons that she leads,
and also with the choral pieces that she composes. Katherine has
presented at a number of choral and early childhood music workshops and has
enjoyed being the guest conductor for a number of massed children’s
choirs. Her choral compositions have been sung by many children’s choirs
both nationally and internationally.
Katherine has completed a Bachelor of Music degree (piano performance) at the
University of Queensland where she studied with Dr James Cuskelly (Kodaly
musicianship) and Dr Edward Bolkovak (choral conducting and musicianship) and
has also completed a Post Graduate Diploma of Education in Early Childhood
studies and is a qualified teacher. She is looking forward to
joining the Birralee team and being able to share her passion, creativity and
experience with the Piccolos.
Assistant Conductor –
Clare has an eclectic background having worked as a classroom
music and singing teacher, choral conductor, vocalist, actor, lighting designer
and stage manager around south east Queensland for the past decade.
Graduating from QUT in 2008 with a double degree in Music and
Education, Clare has taught for Education Queensland and is currently employed
with Brisbane Girls Grammar School as a Choral Director.
Clare has also completed a two year theatre internship with the
Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre, where she had the opportunity to perform
in numerous productions, including Jesus Christ Super Star and Grease at QPAC.
She is also a founding member of The Blacklight Collective, which has premiered
original works at the Anywhere Theatre Festival and the 2high Festival at the
Clare has been involved with Birralee as a chorister since she
was 11yrs. During this time she has been given the opportunity to sing in
France, Austria, New Zealand, America, Canada and South Korea. Clare is
incredibly excited to be working with the Birralee Singers and is thrilled to
be apart of the team.
Accompanist - Resonance of Birralee, Birralee Singers (Thursday) & Birralee Recycled
Murtagh completed a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Piano at The University
of Queensland, graduating with Honours in 2008. He studied with renowned
concert pianist, Max Olding. Brendan is a sought-after accompanist throughout
South East Queensland and has performed extensively with Voices of Birralee,
both nationally and internationally.
Brendan's experience in musical theatre
includes performing in the Brisbane seasons of Chicago, Cats, Avenue Q, Wicked
(2011 and 2015), Annie, Jersey Boys, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The King
& I, The Lion King, Anything Goes, and Strictly Ballroom at
the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. In 2011 Brendan toured
regional Queensland and Brisbane as Music Director for Opera Queensland's
education programs Moving Opera! and Space
Brendan is on staff at the Queensland Conservatorium, piano
teacher at All Hallows' School and organist at Holy Family Parish
Indooroopilly. Brendan is continually inspired by the wonderful community
music-making in Brisbane and beyond.
Accompanist - Birralee Singers (Saturday)
Claire Preston has worked extensively in Australia and North America specialising in developing young singers. She has been Assistant Conductor of the Toronto Children’s Chorus and Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, accompanist for Canada’s foremost professional choir, Elmer Iseler Singers and is Co-Founder of the award winning, Exaudi Youth Choir.
Claire specialized in Australian music during her time as Head of Choral Studies at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School; a specialist program for the training of young musicians where she regularly commissioned and recorded Australian music and collaborated with the VCA Orchestra.
Claire maintains an active career as a choral conductor and is in demand as an adjudicator for choral festivals and eisteddfods including NZ Choral Federation Big Sing. She has been guest conductor at Gondwana National Choral School, State Honours Ensemble Program and Festival of Voices.
Claire has worked with Dr. Doreen Rao, Sir David Wilcocks and Helmuth Rilling, been featured at the
World Symposium on Choral Music in Minneapolis, Joy of Singing International Choral Festival, and recorded the world premiere of Harry Somers’ children’s opera A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream for CBC Records (nominated for a Juno Award).
Since moving to Brisbane, Claire has joined the Artistic Staff of Voices of Birralee and is Director of Choral Music at Somerville House.
Accompanist - Birralee Kids
Littlewood (BMusHons, LMusA,
AMusA) is a
performer, teacher and accompanist based in inner-city Brisbane. She runs a
busy piano teaching studio based in Paddington, and also teaches at St
Laurence’s College and Mt St Michael’s College.
Kate enjoys working with fellow
musicians, and regularly provides her accompaniment services to solo and group
performance of all ages and abilities.
She is the accompanist for the
Queensland Conservatorium’s Con
Chorus and Mt
St Michael’s College
Choir, and also
works with community choirs such as Scomodo Voce and Pro