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Serenata Series – 2019

Professor Robert Constable

professor of music, pianist, composer,
teacher, music education leader

Robert Constable is an Australian pianist, composer, teacher and music education leader who has developed a multi-faceted career in Australia, New Zealand and internationally. A renowned musician among his peers, it has been through his leadership of university music schools that a large part of his outstanding reputation has been built.

In an extensive career, Robert was the long-term Dean of Music at the University of Newcastle’s Conservatorium. After moving to New Zealand in 2006, he was head of the schools of music at the universities of Auckland and Canterbury in Christchurch. During this 30-year period Robert established an enviable reputation in managing people, and in applying rigorous academic practices. Management of a conservatorium is a difficult and challenging assignment and throughout his career Robert has always been highly regarded by staff, students and university executive management alike. Internationally, Robert is held in high esteem by his overseas peers. 

Robert Constable is also a leading research innovator: the Stuart Piano project, which he established at the University of Newcastle, remains one of his most important and successful undertakings simultaneously putting the piano’s creator, Wayne Stuart, the Conservatorium and the city of Newcastle on the world stage.

As a musician Robert Constable is held in high regard. His compositions encompass a wide range of genres, styles and purposes. He is a fine pianist, improviser and recording artist as well as an experienced and inspiring teacher and mentor. Among his many artistic endeavours is his ability in improvising instant soundtracks to silent films of the 1920s, an activity that has taken him to film festivals all over the world.

Professor Constable recently retired from the University of Canterbury and now resides in Kangaroo Valley, Australia. He is still professionally active as a teacher and mentor both in Australia and internationally. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival and also runs an annual choral workshop for Arts in the Valley.

Under the banner of Serenata Series, Robert, together with Dr Jane McKellar, curates an international series of concerts at his Kangaroo Valley home, Serenata, as well as a series of classic silent films at the Kangaroo Valley Community Hall.

Dr Jane McKellar

Jane McKellar has enjoyed a multidisciplinary career in music, higher education teaching, scholarship and research, and public service and policy. She has been an independent consultant specialising in leadership, culture transformation, executive coaching, strategy, and project management for over twenty years.

Jane’s achievements are in diverse fields, including music, leadership development, organisational change, intellectual property, scholarly research, education, arts and cultural development, indigenous policy implementation, social justice, and the environment.

A piano scholarship enabled Jane to complete her undergraduate degree in both music and education in the USA. She completed the first PhD in Australia on Percy Grainger and his music; it remains the benchmark international reference on the subject. During this period, Jane performed locally as a solo, duo and chamber music pianist, and was active as an experimental music composer. She expanded her Australian Music expertise across genres, composition, performance and dissemination, in senior roles during the National Film & Sound Archive’s early years.

Jane held senior academic positions at the Tasmanian Conservatorium and Melbourne University’s Faculty of Music, and a lectureship at the NSW Conservatorium. Later, she co-developed the innovative quantum theory Emergent Leadership model, teaching it in RMIT University’s MBA for several years. Jane also held senior and executive public sector roles. At Arts Queensland, she wrote the Cultural Ministers’ Council’s Moral Rights paper, which led directly to the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000, providing protection to creators of original works. More recently, she led the major project establishing the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation as an independent statutory authority.

As a leadership, strategy and culture consultant, Jane has worked with clients throughout Australia helping them transform into sustainable and high performing organisations. Her public, higher education and not-for-profit clients include public sector management agencies, transport, justice, law, environment, universities, medical research, major arts organisations and sport.

Her coaching clients have included CEOs, Board members, executives, Ministerial Chiefs-of-Staff, senior academics, managers, technical experts, middle managers and emerging leaders, medical researchers, lawyers, professional musicians, doctors, and scientists. She presents her empowering two-day workshop: “It’s OK to Be Different: Your Natural Writing Voice!” as a public program.

Jane’s colleagues and clients value her creativity and ability to look for new and unique solutions. Key to her work is her deep concern for and commitment to others, and her ability to inspire and motivate people to empower them selves and realise their potential.

Now a resident of Kangaroo Valley, Jane curates the Serenata Series of international concerts with Professor Robert Constable.