M.Mus. (Melbourne University), Post Graduate Diploma in Performance (VCA), B.A. Mus. (VCA), L.Mus.A., A.Mus.A..
Helen studied piano at the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne University and has also been a Hungarian Government Scholar, pursuing her research into Bartók’s music in Budapest. While a student at the VCA and Melbourne University, she received a number of Australian Government Scholarships and Grants, both for achievement in performance in piano as well as for academic excellence. Her piano teachers and mentors have included Gordon McKeown, Roy Shepherd, Stephen McIntyre, Alexander Semetsky, Professor Ronald Farren-Price, and Professor Malcolm Gillies.
She has taught at several Private schools at Primary and Secondary School levels as well as taking both private and group lessons for the Yamaha Music Foundation. Before the birth of her son in 1996, Helen was on the Music Staff at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) for fifteen years, where she taught both academic and practical subjects. While there she devised and implemented courses in Keyboard Harmony and Harmonic Resources, conducted workshops in Aural Studies and Materials & Structures of Music, lectured in Schenkerian Analysis, and supervised Honors and Masters Theses. While at the V.C.A., Helen was also a member of the Dean’s Student Committee (responsible for student progress) for four years. In 1997, Helen was invited to lecture in Analysis and Theory at Melbourne University. She has also had extensive experience in examining practical subjects, both as a member of the piano panel and Music Craft representative in instrumental examinations at the V.C.A. (Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels). Helen is a senior examiner with the A.M.E.B., examining piano students both in grades and diploma levels. She has read papers at a number of National Musicological Conferences, conducted master classes for the Victorian Music Teachers’ Association and the A.M.E.B., as well as continuing to perform both as soloist and accompanist.
Since 1996 Helen has been in demand as an Adjudicator in a number of major Piano Competitions and Eisteddfods, both in Victoria as well as interstate.
Following her Ph.D studies at Melbourne University, Helen has continued exploring practical teaching methodologies and embraces music education as a means of facilitating an individual’s personal development and self-expression, as well as building their personal confidence and self esteem. She enjoys developing creative approaches in understanding the structure of music, her work with the A.M.E.B., conducting master classes, adjudicating in numerous Eisteddfods as well as maintaining an active interest in music performance.
One of Australia's leading pianists, Kristian Chong has performed throughout Australia and the UK, and in China, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, and Zimbabwe. As soloist he has appeared with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and orchestras in the UK and China with conductors such as Werner Andreas Albert, Andrey Boreyko, Nicholas Braithwaite, Roy Goodman, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Nicholas Milton, Tuomas Ollila, Marcus Stenz, Arvo Volmer and Marco Zuccarini. His competition successes include the Symphony Australia Young Performers Award (keyboard) and the Australian National Piano Award.
Concerto highlights have included Rachmaninoff 3rd with the Sydney Symphony, the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini in Beijing, and Britten with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Recent concerto highlights include Mozart with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven's 2nd with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and Shostakovich 2nd, Chopin 2nd, Rachmaninoff 3rd and Beethoven's Emperor in Melbourne.
A highly sought after chamber musician, recent collaborations include Australian and Asian tours with the Australian String Quartet, performances with violinists Natsuko Yoshimoto, Elizabeth Layton (ex-concertmaster BBC Scottish), Ilya Konovalov, (concertmaster Israel Philharmonic), Tinalley and Flinders Quartets, and cellists Gabriel Schwabe and Guy Johnston. He recently performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and made a return appearance at the Huntington Estate Music Festival for Musica Viva Australia. In addition, Kristian debuted last year for ABC-Classics with baritone Teddy Tahu-Rhodes. Other recent solo and chamber highlights include the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide International Cello Festival, the Xing Hai Festival in Guangzhou, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, where Kristian performed the complete Rachmaninoff Preludes and piano trios and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Yoshimoto and Li-Wei Qin.
Kristian studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Piers Lane and Christopher Elton, and earlier with Stephen McIntyre at the University of Melbourne where Kristian currently teaches piano and chamber music.