Top Brass: Sydney Con celebrates Australia's premier Brass Faculty

5 April 2024
Sydney Con Brass Staff set the gold standard in musical excellence
Brass Open Day 2024 is a chance to meet the prestigious brass staff who are among the most sought after teachers in trumpet, French horn, trombone, tuba and euphonium in Australia. Many hold principal positions in prestigious orchestras and are leading the way for students to rise to top jobs around the world.

This weekend the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is hosting its first ever Brass Day. Potential students, music teachers, parents and the brass community are welcome to come along and meet the Brass staff and current brass students in a fun open day featuring three performances and a range of brass warmups and masterclasses.

Brass Day 2024 is a free ticketed event on Saturday 6 April. It opens with a 9.30am Welcome Concert, followed by warmup classes for participants and observers.

At 12.30pm, the brass students of Sydney Con will perform a free lunchtime concert followed by brass masterclasses. The day concludes at 5pm with a Gala Concert from the Royal Australian Navy Band (which includes many alumni players) alongside Sydney Con Brass teachers on stage, including Dave Elton (trumpet) and Scott Kinmont (trombone) appearing as guest soloists.

Why study brass with Sydney Con?

Sydney Conservatorium of Music has one of the finest Brass Faculties in Australia. Many of our teaching staff perform in highly regarded ensembles, including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

Brass graduates are earning top employment opportunities in Australia and around the world. Recent trombone graduate Jonathan Ramsay was appointed principal trombone of the renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Graduate Owen Morris is principal trumpet with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is now teaching at the Con. Gill Williams is solo horn at Beethoven Orchester in Bonn.

At Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, alumni Jenna Smith is acting principal trumpet, Eve McEwen is associate principal horn and Chloe Higgins has just won principal tuba. Other brass graduates include Rainer Saville, principal trumpet at Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Karina Filipin, principal tuba at Orchestra Victoria.

Meet the Brass Staff

photo of a woman holding a trumpet

Leanne Sullivan is principal trumpet with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. A graduate of Sydney Con, Leanne also plays principal trumpet with Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes, and for many years held this position with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She is a much-respected musician who teaches and lectures at the Sydney Conservatorium.

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Scott Kinmont is arguably the most sought-after trombone teacher in Australia. His students have gone on to win jobs around Australia and internationally. Most notably, Scott taught Jonathon Ramsay, the current principal trombone of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Scott won the position of associate principal trombone with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the age of 20. Since then, he has established himself as one of Australia’s leading brass players and teachers. As a soloist, he holds the unusual distinction of winning international solo competitions on both the trombone and the euphonium. An enthusiastic chamber musician, he is a member of the Australian Brass Quintet and has performed with many of Australia’s leading chamber and contemporary music ensembles.

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Owen Morris is principal trumpet of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is in high demand as a teacher and coach. After graduating from Sydney Con, Owen performed as guest principal trumpet with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Owen frequently works with some of the country’s finest small ensembles including the Australian Brass Quintet, Omega Ensemble and Sydney Brass. Owen has a passion for teaching and many of his students have gone on to have successful professional careers. Owen has presented workshops on mindset and performance anxiety to the students of the Sydney Conservatorium.

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Rachel Silver is one of the Conservatorium’s newest brass teachers, but she has already made a hugely positive impact on all students. Rachel is a permanent member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra French Horn section, and she brings this wealth of knowledge and experience to her lessons. Rachel’s success as a teacher is evident by the students working professionally. Through the SSO Fellowship program she has been a mentor to many of Australia’s most promising early career horn players. Rachel was previously a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and all of the Australian professional orchestras.

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David Elton is principal trumpet with Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He previously held principal trumpet positions with the West Australian and Adelaide symphony orchestras. He has performed and toured as a guest principal with orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. As a soloist, he has performed concertos with the ACO and the Sydney, Adelaide, West Australian and Canberra symphony orchestras. As a chamber musician, he is a member of the Australian Brass Quintet. He has also toured in Germany with World Brass and Mahler Chamber Brass.

man with a tuba

Scott Frankcombe is an experienced tubist who has enjoyed a career encompassing both freelance playing and educating in Australia and overseas. He is a former member of the Sydney Sinfonia, Central Coast Brass and the DePaul Screamin' Demon’s. Scott has performance engagements with many of the foremost orchestras and ensembles in the region, and has experience with a multitude of genres ranging from chamber to jazz, orchestral to pop and cabaret to street marches. Scott has been an eager participant in chamber music collaborations with many fine musicians and ensembles from the Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmanian and Canberra Symphony Orchestras and also the Young Australian Concert Artists program, a program specifically designed to advance the skills of Australian chamber musicians. Open to the concept of music for the masses, some of Scott’s past performances can be found on his Youtube channel, SGFTuba. 

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Marnie Sebire was introduced to the piano at a young age and then violin before blowing her first notes on the French horn at age 13. A Sydney Con graduate, Marnie holds a permanent position in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Career highlights have included performances at the opening ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics and the Rugby World Cup; playing in the centre of the SCG before a Swans match, and most recently strapping on her horn to climb the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and blast out a few fanfares with the Symphonyʼs Brass Ensemble. In 2008 Marnie played solo French horn with the rock band Silverchair and toured with them for the national Big Day Out performances. Other collaborations include performances and recordings with Powderfinger, The Whitlams, The Sleepy Jackson, Billy Thorpe and Josh Pyke. Marnie has toured with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra throughout Europe and Asia. She has also played with the major Australian orchestras, the New Zealand Symphony and Malaysian Philharmonic.

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Euan Harvey joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2008 after four years with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Euan was formerly co-principal horn of the Verbier Festival Orchestra, Switzerland, which included tours to the major concert halls of Europe, Asia and the Americas. He has performed as principal horn with all the major symphony orchestras in Australia and New Zealand, together with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Opera Australia Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Euan has been a member of New Sydney Wind Quintet, the Sydney Omega Ensemble and new music group Stroma. Euan has recorded the Brahms Horn Trio and Britten Serenade for ABC Classics and the Dawn Wail for the Dead as part of Paul Stanhope’s Requiem CD with Sydney Chamber Choir. Currently teaching French horn at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Conservatorium High School, Euan also regularly tutors at the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Australian National Academy of Music. 

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Bradley Lucas is a Lecturer in Brass and coordinates the Brass department of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has taught Euphonium at the SCM for nearly a decade and was appointed Visiting Professor of Brass of Shenyang Conservatorium in 2023. Bradley has strong connections with education and community music throughout NSW. Bradley is a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he studied under the tutelage of Scott Kinmont. Since then, he has worked with both the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and NSW Police Band and Royal Australian Navy Band Sydney. He is also a founding member of the Sydney Ophicleide Quartet. Bradley is passionate about brass and ensemble pedagogy and has worked in many schools throughout Sydney. Since 2016 he has worked with the NSW Department of Education's 'The Arts Unit', where he currently conducts the NSW Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Bradley has presented masterclasses and ensemble workshops across Australia and abroad. 

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Nigel Crocker is a freelance trombone musician who teaches at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Nigel’s professional career started long ago playing in funk and soul bands in Perth. He then played on Channel 9’s Tonight Show in Melbourne before joining the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. After six years there, Nigel moved to Sydney where he has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and other leading ensembles.

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Michael Wray completed his Master of Music at the Maastricht Conservatorium (Netherlands) in 2008. Moving to Sydney in 2010 Michael was a busy freelance musician primarily with the Opera Australia Orchestra and the major Musical productions in Sydney. He has always been a passionate teacher and educator and now commits to this full time. Michael teaches at several schools in Sydney as well as the Sydney Conservatorium alongside Marnie Sebire, Rachel Silver and Euan Harvey.

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Chris Harris is principal bass trombone and long-time member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He studied in America with teachers including Charles Vernon and Gene Pakorny of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Max Bonecutter formerly of the New York Metropolitan Opera orchestra. While in America, Chris also attended the Raphael Mendez Brass Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was a finalist in the International Trombone Competition, and performed as a member of the Canberra Trombone Quartet, which finished runner up at the International Brass Ensemble Competition. Chris has held lecturing positions at the Canberra School of Music and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music since 1996. In 1998 he was awarded a scholarship by the Friends of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to study Contra Bass Trombone in Europe.

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