Jeff Jarvis, John Morrison, Bob Coassin, Dan Barnett, Andrew Robertrson, Greg Spence, Jeremy Borthwick, Dave Newdick and Dr Rob McWilliams.
ADJUDICATOR / CLINICIAN
Ray Cassar is widely respected as one of Sydney's finest trumpet players, and regularly performs with the music industry's leading artists. He often performs live on national television, most recently playing lead trumpet with Harry Connick Jr on the 2023 grand final of “Australian Idol”. Other notable performances include appearing as a guest soloist with Vanessa Amorossi at the 2019 Carols in the Domain and playing lead trumpet with "The Voice" house band 2017-2019.
Ray is in high demand as a studio musician, and his trumpet can be heard on recent episodes of Netflix originals “Beat Bugs” and “Motown Magic” alongside first-call Los Angeles musicians including Wayne Bergeron and Gary Grant. Other credits include music for "Love Child", "The "Wiggles" and many albums and television commercials.
Ray is proficient on several instruments, including trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, and piano. He is comfortable performing across a huge range of styles, including jazz, latin, pop, musical theatre, and orchestral music. He regularly performs at jazz festivals, jazz clubs, and major concert venues around Australia and abroad, with ensembles ranging from big band to full orchestra.
Ray has appeared with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as principal trumpet, where he was a featured jazz soloist at the front of the orchestra. Ray also regularly plays principal trumpet with the Sydney Lyric Orchestra for their annual "All You Need Is Love" Beatles Concerts at the Sydney Opera House, where he is featured on the famous "Penny Lane" piccolo trumpet solo. Ray is an accomplished jazz pianist, and his experience is extensive, ranging from performing and recording in small jazz combos, to performing with musical comedy sensation Tim Minchin at the steps of Sydney Opera House.
Jason Smyth-Tomkins is a Lecturer in the Bachelor of Music degree at CQUniversity. For almost 14 years, Jason has taught drum-set, ensemble, jazz history, and music pedagogy at CQUniversity, bringing with him a decade of experience as a percussion specialist and multi-instrument teacher within the Central Queensland region under Education Queensland. This regional experience, coupled with CQCM’s unwavering commitment to developing musicians in regional and remote areas, has been the motivation behind the practical development of CQU's online music degrees.
In addition to his significant contributions to music education and performance, Jason has been recognised for his exceptional service and dedication. In 2013, he was the recipient of the CQUniversity Opal Award in the Engaged Service category, and in 2015 he was awarded the CQUniversity Vice Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Learning and Teaching, underscoring his commitment to fostering pre-tertiary music education and engagement and to enhancing the learning experiences of students within the Bachelor of Music program at CQCM. One of Jason's significant contributions has been as the Artistic Director of the CQUniversity Schools' Jazz Festival since 2012. This festival has garnered attention and participation from across Queensland, fostering a platform for jazz education and performance. Supported by esteemed organisations like Yamaha Music Australia, Queensland Music Festival, and Creative Capricorn, the festival has provided invaluable opportunities for keen musicians to engage in intensive musical experiences and showcase their talents.
Beyond his roles in education, Jason is a seasoned and versatile drummer and percussionist, boasting a rich performance background. He has lent his talents to various jazz ensembles, big bands, corporate commercial bands, orchestras, and pit orchestras. Notably, Jason has shared the stage with esteemed jazz artists such as Don Rader, Don Burrows, Richie Cole, James Morrison, Wilbur Wilde, Kristin Berardi, and many others.
DR PETER MCKENZIE
Dr Peter McKenzie is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Music at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music (CQCM). For over 15 years, Peter has taught woodwind, improvisation, music theory and music pedagogy in the tertiary sector. Peter has extensive experience in curriculum development for undergraduate music programs and along with the staff at CQCM, has shown commitment to on-campus and online music education. In 2017, Peter was awarded the Student Voice Award for "Educator of the Year" and in 2021, received a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Practice in Learning and Teaching.
A passionate educator, Peter travels throughout regional Australia, delivering workshops to both students and teachers on a variety of musical skills including improvisation, technique and ensemble development.
As a performer, Peter is an accomplished saxophonist and his experience ranges from classical, jazz and contemporary music. He has performed throughout Australia and the USA and has shared the stage with a number of major artists including Don Rader, James Morrison, Bob Franceschini, Wilbur Wilde, Vince Jones, Guy Sebastian, John Riley, James Sherlock, Mike Price, Katie Noonan and The Idea of North to name a few. His research interests include:
Regional music community development
Music curriculum development
Improvisation for beginners
Peter is an active supervisor for both Master’s and PhD students in both the Creative Arts and Education.
DR DAVID REASTON
Dr David Reaston is an accomplished guitarist who composes and improvises music in the contemporary classical and jazz idioms. The cut and splice, intellectual internal reference, and sonic blasts of his ’10 Guitar Project’, combined with freebased improvisation have confirmed him as an audacious innovator. He has been labelled “a madman/prophet” by the Sydney Morning Herald. His sound has been described as “other-worldly” (Jazz Local 32) and “individual and fresh” (The Music Trust).
Reaston has released numerous albums which feature his compositions, most notably, nationally-acclaimed ‘Sons Of No Guns For We Are Anomalous’ (2014) by Song Fwaa and the self-titled ‘The 10 Guitar Project’ (2010). Recently, his music is also featured on Ensemble Sooon’s ‘Tacet Chronicles’ (2023) and Véronique Serret’s ‘Prima Volta’ (2022).
Reaston has studied composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (2003–2006, 2014–2019) and guitar at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music (1999–2001). In 2019, he was awarded his PhD from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. His research focused on Open-Compositions, and in particular, issues of identity and authorship that arise when involving performers in the compositional process.
For the past two decades, Reaston has been actively involved as a tertiary music educator. He has worked at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney (2005–2016), and given workshops at universities in Sydney, Brisbane, Wellington and Christchurch (NZ). He currently works at CQUniversity (2017–) and teaches into the Bachelor of Music degree.