Who are we?
President: Christine Heald, Ballarat
Christine Heald is a graduate of the Masters of Music (Operatic Performance) - a partnership between the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Opera. During this two year developing artist programme with the Victorian Opera Christine covered main stage roles, performed lead and ensemble roles in various children's operas, and also performed as a concert soloist. She is fortunate enough to have worked with some of Australia's most talented conductors, accompanists, stage directors and singers.
In the classical field Christine has performed widely with choirs and orchestras as a concert soloist. She has over 20 years' experience as a vocalist - the last decade in classical singing - and prior to this as a jazz, musical theatre and contemporary music singer. She is still performing as a classical soloist and is also journeying full circle back to her love of jazz and musical theatre.
Christine has a special interest in vocal health and well-being, inspired and nurtured by her mentor Anna Connolly, and speech therapist Dr Debbie Phyland.
Christine holds a Bachelor of Music (Vocal Performance) and Master of Music (Operatic Performance) from the University of Melbourne. She has many years experience as a vocal instructor both in schools and through her private voice studio the Sing Strong Studio.
Vice-President and Official Accompanist: Isaac Mouskovias, Melbourne
Isaac Mouskovias is an accompanist, repetiteur, and piano technique specialist. As a precocious young pianist, Isaac began working professionally as an accompanist at the age of 14, under the guidance of career accompanist and teacher, Catherine Hall. At 16 and half way through Year 11, Isaac was accepted into a Bachelor of Music, and as such ceased high school study and began his tertiary education. During this study, Isaac continued to work as an accompanist and teach over 40 students per week. In this time, Isaac also passed his Associate Diploma in Piano Performance with a distinction, making him the first pianist in 10 years in South Australia to achieve this grade. Isaac later continued his piano studies with Eleonora Sivan.
In early 2017, Isaac packed up his life in Adelaide and made the move to Melbourne, to expand his career. After a two year stay, Isaac left his tenured accompanist position at Brighton Grammar School, to take on a position as college accompanist and repetiteur at Mentone Girls Grammar School, and to focus on growing in Melbourne as a freelancer. Isaac has also worked as an accompanist and repetiteur at St Michael’s Grammar School and St Margaret’s & Berwick Grammar School.
Being a classical vocalist himself, Isaac has a particular affinity for vocal accompaniment; especially lieder and art song. As a passionate educator of the piano, Isaac aims to create pianists who play with their mind, heart, and body in co-ordination, and through his teachings of the Taubman approach, ensures they play with absolute freedom and beauty of tone.
Isaac also holds a Certificate in Vocal Science, an Associate Diploma in Classical Voice, a Professional Performance Diploma in Piano Accompaniment, a Diploma in the Alexander Technique, two Licentiate diplomas in Piano Accompaniment, and a Master of Arts (Music Performance) majoring in Vocal Accompaniment and Injury Preventative Piano Technique.
Isaac has extensive experience as an offical accompanist for eisteddfods both in Victoria, including the Mildura Eisteddfod, and interstate, including the Broken Hill Eisteddfod. With this experience behind him, Isaac is delighted to come on board as Official Accompanist for the VCE Classical Voice Singing Competition, and assist in the launch of this first year of competition.
Secretary: Samantha Robertson, Melbourne
Naming her dog after Liesl von Trapp at the age of twelve, Samantha’s passion for music and the arts has since been a driving factor in both her teaching and performance career. Samantha was launched into the wonderful world of Opera upon debuting a role at age twelve with Victorian Opera, and then subsequently attended the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School where she was the recipient of the Robert Salzer Voice Award.
As a singer, Samantha has enjoyed performing within operatic productions, concerts, events, and in many choral ensembles across Australia and Europe. Personal highlights include performing for Prince (now King) Charles and Camilla as well as singing with the not-for-profit Victorian Concert Orchestra, who bring music to regional communities. Samantha recently returned from a trip to Italy where she had the opportunity to study with acclaimed Soprano Jessica Pratt, delving into the art of bel canto singing.
Samantha holds a Bachelor of Music with Honours from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and has completed a Master of Teaching specialising in both Primary and Secondary education. Samantha is a highly active music teacher, currently working at Genazzano FCJ College as a classroom music teacher, choral director and vocal tutor. She has also worked across a wealth of Melbourne’s grammar schools teaching voice and choral studies, and notably co-founding Melbourne’s only school-based youth opera company.
Samantha is an accredited (NCFE) Vocal Health First Aider and holds accredited levels towards the Australian Kodály Certificate in Secondary Music Education. Her interests in vocal health and pedagogy see her currently working towards becoming a Vocal Rehabilitation Practitioner, studying under the tutelage of mentors including Kerrie Obert, Dr. Jenevora Williams and Stephen King.
Treasurer: Esita Morgan, Melbourne
With a strong background in classical voice and opera, Esita Morgan is a multidisciplinary Artist who has appeared as a guest with a number of companies and chamber music groups, including Victorian Opera, Chunky Move, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, Melbourne Art Song Collective, Eastmint Studios, Global First Nations Collective, and Arts Centre Melbourne.
Esita is a Producer currently working across City of Melbourne's 'Creative Laneways' project, having previously worked with Arts Centre Melbourne in coordinating Melbourne's Arts Precinct Transformation and development. As First Nations Pasifika, Esita appeared as a guest artist for Yirramboi Festival's city-wide Barring Yannabul event, which saw the exhibition of 40 First Nations artists across Melbourne's CBD. Esita was featured in the short film John Mortensen’s Funeral for Bucharest Shortcut Cinefest, and most recently starred alongside Gary Sweet and John Tui in Paper Champions (2020) which was accepted for MIFF 2020 and is now streaming on Netflix.
Following their 2019 Melbourne Recital Centre x Spirit Level debut, Esita continued experiential compositional work with Melbourne Electronica assembly, Vector Fields, and supported Melbourne group, Grand Salvo, in their 2020 Eastmint Studios concert series. Esita resided on the management board for Melbourne Chamber group, Forest Collective, and performed as guest artist with The Cat Empire for Felix Riebl's 2016 album, Paper Doors. Esita has performed as guest artist with the Melbourne Art Song Collective for Melbourne Recital Centre's 'Local Heroes' concert series from 2013 to 2019.
Passionate about community outreach, Esita volunteers with ABCS & Rice School in Siem Reap, Cambodia, which assists over 250 children and their families through food and education, strengthening community enterprise and supporting the local village areas. Esita travelled to Mooree in 2019, conducting outreach classroom music programs with Kamilaroi community leaders and teachers in co-creating programs which foster, engage, and inspire.
After assisting Arts Centre Melbourne with its 2020 Culture Insights paper, speaking to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Esita has undertaken post graduate studies with University of New England with the intention of creating a basis for a course framework which fosters Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in the workplace.
Committee Member: Emma Algeri, Melbourne
Emma Algeri is a talented cabaret artist, composer, and vocal artist based in Melbourne. She completed her undergraduate studies in Musical Theatre at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and APO Arts Academy. She later pursued a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice at the prestigious Melbourne Conservatorium. Emma's classical voice skills are continuing to be honed under the tutelage of renowned vocal teachers Roxane Hislop and most notably, Linda Barcan.
Emma's talents extend beyond singing alone, as she is also a skilled writer, actor and composer of comedic song. Her one-woman comedy show ‘Svetlana', a through-composed, semi-improvised work produced by the Butterfly Club, was hugely successful with audiences. Her exceptional ability to mimic accents impressed many, and the performance was praised for its extremely high levels of humour, along with Emma’s remarkable quick wit and improvisational skills.
Emma has also lent her talents to various productions, including serving as a chorister for Mahler’s Symphony No.2 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, singing the operatic role of The Angel of Death in Mysteries: Creation with Liminal Space Production Co, and portraying Lady Macbeth at the Sydney Seymour Centre.
In recognition of her talent, Emma was awarded the 2021 Mildura Health Fund Cabaret Award and was a runner-up in 2022. Her performance of new material based on her hilarious character 'Jackie Marvin' left the audience in stitches. In the same year, Emma won the Sunraysia Daily Vocal Scholarship, proving her exceptional vocal talents. Emma also received the prestigious Florence Giddings Aria Award in 2022, an accolade previously won by young vocalists who have gone on to have successful professional careers.
Emma has shared her knowledge and expertise by teaching singing at APO Arts Academy, where she was part of the Diploma of Musical Theatre faculty as a private vocal tutor and vocal health lecturer. Currently, she teaches privately from her home studio.
Emma's passion and dedication to her craft have made her one of Australia's most exciting up-and-coming actors, cabaret artists, and vocalists, as she continues to bring joy to audiences with her performances.