The Board

The Music Teachers’ Association of NSW Ltd is administered by a skills-based Board of volunteer Directors, a minimum of half of whom are Accredited Members. In performing its role, the Board aspires to excellence in governance standards.

Board Members

Chair:Max Holzner
Deputy Chair:Annette Brown
Managing Director:Susan Deas
Company Secretary:Andrea Calilhanna
Directors:Sarah Harden (Newcastle Branch President)
Meryl Jackson-Kew OAM (Illawarra Branch President)
Jaime Gibson
Neta Maughan AM
Christopher Prunty (Independent)
Vincent Vartuli (Independent)

Board Committees

  • Governance Committee
  • Management Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Risk Committee
  • Nominations Committee
  • Fundraising & Trustees Committee
  • Accreditation Committee

Constitution and Policies

Board Biographies

Chair: Max Holzner

BMus (hons), MAICD, MMTA

Governance Committee (Chair) / Audit Committee / Nominations Committee / Risk Committee (Chair) / Fundraising & Trustees Committee

Maximilian Holzner is a non-executive director (Chair) of the MTA with an extensive background in corporate governance, especially in the NFP space, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). His musical background is as a violinist and educator, having studied violin with Josette Esquedin-Morgan and Barbara Jane Gilby, and is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge and the ANU.

Over the years, Max has collaborated with many of Australia’s leading performers and professional orchestras, with chamber groups and in festivals across Australia and the UK, where he was assistant to the late Christopher Hogwood, Academy of Ancient Music.

Max is deeply passionate about teaching and standards of music education and access. He has held positions at Radford College, Canberra, and in the pre-tertiary program at the ANU. He has also tutored undergraduates in music at the ANU and at Churchill College, Cambridge.

For the last decade, since making Sydney his home, Max has also sought engagement through broader community and business to lift the profile of music and raise awareness of teaching standards, particularly in Western Sydney, and to provide quality music teaching programs in rural and remote schools and communities.

Apart from serving on the Board of the MTA, Max is on the Board of Sydney Eisteddfod, and also Chair and founding member of the NFP, West Phil, which is aimed at bringing students and top professional performers together while raising the profile of music in the region. He is also a director of Music Aural Theory Trainer (MATT), a provider of close-curriculum online support for Australian classroom music teachers, and which is supported by NSW Treasury. He remains concerned with issues of corporate governance, particularly in the NFP space.

Deputy Chair: Annette Brown

Governance Committee / Audit Committee / Fundraising & Trustees Committee / Risk Committee

Annette Brown is a non-executive director with the MTA and current Deputy Chair. She is the current General Manager of Sydney Eisteddfod, and formerly Manager of the Willoughby Symphony. Her dedication to music education over the last 15 years has included positions with well known music organisations such as the Australian Music Examination Board, The Australian Youth Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra and Musica Viva.

Annette firmly believes in equity and access to a musical education for all and her wealth of experience in the area of arts administration, both volunteer and in a professional capacity, has always centered on this.

She is particularly passionate about giving performance opportunities both locally and regionally to the incredible talent of our musical youth in NSW.

Managing Director: Susan Deas

B A (UTS), B Mus (UNSW), AMusA, MMTA, Dip Gov

Management Committee (Chair) / Accreditation Committee (Chair) / Audit Committee / Risk Committee

Susan Deas is an executive director and the Managing Director of the MTA. She is a professional musician, lecturer and teacher who has been performing as a professional pianist for over twenty years at various venues in Sydney and Newcastle, including hotels, clubs, restaurants, reception centres, churches and retirement villages. She has performed in orchestras, brass bands, concert bands, choirs, jazz bands, rock bands, and a Renaissance ensemble. Susan has also directed and conducted several performance groups, and arranged music for many groups and special occasions.

In addition to her performing, Susan has been teaching piano for over twenty years, with an emphasis on giving her students a broad understanding of music. Her students learn both classical and contemporary styles, including training in classical performance, technique, theory, sight reading, aural skills, playing by ear and improvisation.

She also assists other piano teachers in teaching improvisation and playing by ear, having given several lectures and workshops at conferences and various venues in Sydney, and giving individual lessons to other piano teachers.

Susan is a regular lecturer at Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education and at WEA Sydney, where she teaches such courses as “A Beginner’s Guide to Classical Music” and “Classical Sampler.” She also occasionally gives guest lectures at other venues.

Susan’s training includes a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) from the University of Technology, a Bachelor of Music from the University of New South Wales, and a Master of Music Studies (Studio Pedagogy) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has also achieved an A.Mus.A in Musicianship, and a Diploma of Governance.

Company Secretary: Andrea Calilhanna

PhD Candidate MMus Grad.Dip.T (Mus) DipMus LMusA AMusA MMTA FCSME MAAS

Management Committee / Governance Committee/ Accreditation Committee / Risk Committee

Andrea is an MTA executive director and Company Secretary. She is currently a PhD Candidate and Contract Academic at Western Sydney University’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development. In 2018 Andrea was awarded a Master of Music (Musicology) by research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and she was a Visiting Fellow at the MARCS Institute (2018). As part of her role she presented the paper ‘Teaching Music with Mathematics: A Pilot Study’ (Milne and Calilhanna, Springer, 2019) at the Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music Conference in Madrid. She has also been part of the sessional casual academic staff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Andrea teaches Diploma level piano students through to beginners for both career and leisure outcomes.

She attained undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and also the Queensland University of Technology.  She commenced studio music teaching and piano accompanying in 1984 and classroom music teaching in 1991. Her teaching subjects include piano, saxophone, keyboard, theory, musicianship, music craft, tutoring in HSC music, preparation for auditions, composition, ear training, sight-reading for solo or part-singing, and Gregorian Chant.

In her career as a musician, Andrea has performed in chamber music ensembles with many musicians including members of The Queensland Orchestra and she has conducted Catholic Church choirs in both Brisbane and Sydney. She also has industry experience playing jazz and popular music and reviews musical material for The Studio journal.

In her role as a classroom music teacher, where she was Co-ordinator for various Music Departments in both private and State schools, teaching both primary and secondary students, various universities in Queensland employed Andrea to train their student teachers. She was awarded the title and teaching level of Senior Teacher and in 2013 she received Accreditation with the NSW Institute of Teachers for Professional Competence. Andrea was awarded a Fellowship with the Collegiate of Specialist Music Educators in 2013.

Since graduation she has continued to play piano accompaniments for examinations, HSC, concerts, eisteddfods, musical societies, schools and university auditions. As well as her studio teaching Andrea also works part-time as a secondary music classroom teacher and conducts a vocal ensemble which sings mainly Liturgical music.  In 2013 she was the adjudicator for the pianoforte section of the Castle Hill Festival of Performing Arts.

Apart from her role as an MTA Board member which she commenced in 2006, Andrea is a member of several professional associations including the Australian Society for Music Education; the Music Council of Australia; the Australian Music Centre; the Acoustical Society of America and the Collegiate of Specialist Music Educators. from which she was awarded a Fellowship in 2013.  

Andrea is married with two children and has a family-friendly attitude and approach to teaching and enjoys teaching students of all ages and for examinations, concerts or leisure.

Director: Jaime Gibson

MEDL, B.Mus, Grad Dip Ed, FCSME, MMTA

Management Committee / Risk Committee

Jaime Gibson is an MTA executive director. He is an international director of Performing Arts having held positions in Sydney, London and Poland. His academic career began while studying a Bachelor of Music at the University of Western Sydney which was later followed by a Graduate Diploma of Education at the Wesley Institute.

In 2001 Jaime began working at Oxford Falls Grammar and over the next 14 years built a large Performing Arts program involving over 700 students across Music, Dance and Drama. A position as Head of Music took him to Hammersmith Academy, London in 2015-17 where he forged a unique partnership with The Royal College of Music. Students at HA were given access to tailored Composition courses, mentorship from RCM students, and opportunities with the RCM orchestra.

Between 2016-19  Jaime studied a Masters in Music Education Leadership at Birmingham City University which was part-funded by the Arts Council of England. In 2017 Jaime was appointed Director of Performing Arts at The British School Warsaw. This involved further study at The Juilliard School, New York due to the school's unique partnership and coordinating the Juilliard touring artists and educators across central Europe. In 2019 Jaime conducted the Nord Anglia Education European and Middle East Jazz Band for the European Music Festival. A highlight of 2020 has been one of his students being given an early acceptance into Cambridge University, UK to study Music.

Director: Sarah Harden

AMusA, CertMusT(USQ)

Newcastle Branch Committee (President) / Management Committee

Sarah Harden is an executive director with the MTA and President of the Newcastle Branch. She is a piano teacher in Newcastle, who holds an Associate Diploma in Piano and a Certificate in Music Teaching from the University of Southern Queensland.

In her home studio and at Newcastle Grammar School teaching studios, Sarah strives to create a caring, nurturing, and creative environment that promotes confident musicians who have strong technique, music literacy, and musical expression. Sarah takes joy in teaching students from the very first music lesson of an individual, through to adults returning to music.

Sarah brings to the Board a variety of skills, having once been a registered nurse and is a passionate member of the Newcastle Branch Committee of the Music Teachers Association of NSW. She has held the position of Branch Treasurer (2019, 2020) and now leads a dedicated team as the Branch President.

Director: Meryl Jackson-Kew OAM


Illawarra Branch Committee (President) / Management Committee

Photo of Meryl Jackson-Kew

Meryl is a professional music educator, conductor of choirs and orchestras, composer, music therapist and music examiner. She also holds a Certificate III in Media and Live Entertainment, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and a Yamaha Teaching Certificate.

Meryl has been the Music Director of the Illawarra Choral Society since 2008, and Music Director of many music theatre productions.

Meryl has over 40 years experience teaching early childhood music, secondary music and in tertiary music education, as well as her private studio teaching. Since 1994, Meryl has organised and co-ordinated HSC Music workshops, publishing study/skill booklets and CDs for all Music 1 and Music 2 students attending the workshops.

From her many years in senior music education, Meryl noticed a lack of resource material based on topics for senior music students. Hence, as a co-author with Aleksandar Vujic, she has recently released her 8th published textbook, through Wirripang Publications. Recognition for Meryl’s work in education has resulted in her being awarded with two awards for Excellence in Teaching, a production team award From The National Trust for the musical Quarry (Music Direction and Orchestration), and an Order of Australia Medal in the 2016 Queens Birthday Honours.

Director: Neta Maughan AM

Management Committee

Neta Maughan is an MTA executive director. She studied for her DSCM at the Sydney Conservatorium, taking voice studies with Elizabeth Todd and piano with Alexander Sverjensky where her passion and flair for teaching was unearthed.  She would later become Sverjensky's assistant and credit his mentorship and methods as the basis for her own teaching ideology.

She has served for 40 years on the MTA Board, has made an outstanding contribution to music education in Australia and has nurtured thousands of students in her main discipline of pianoforte, but also in vocal and theory training.  Her students are internationally recognized and hold many professional positions throughout Europe, United States and Asia.  As well as prizes in international competitions, her students have won every major competition offered in Australia and have performed in over 40 countries worldwide.   She has had three winners of the Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards viz Bernadette Harvey-Balkus in 1987, Tamara Anna Cislowska in 1991 and Simon Tedeschi in 1998 and her students have won international prizes at major competitions around the world.

Ms Maughan served on the teaching faculties of the Newcastle and Sydney Conservatoria and the University of Sydney for 40 years and was an adjudicator and AMEB examiner for 44 years.  She has guided many of her students to university degrees and as well as tutoring over 250 successful Associate, Licentiate and Fellowship Diploma students for the AMEB, Trinity College, London and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music examinations.

During her long teaching career Neta has has overseen more than 300 solo performances of her students with orchestra and has instigated many performance opportunities for young people including the Inner West Eisteddfod where she has been a Patron and President for 22 years and has sponsored the Neta Maughan Bach Award since the eisteddfod’s inception. She is also a long term sponsor of the McDonalds Sydney Performing Arts Challenge.

Today, her students are scattered around the world, some in teaching positions in major teaching institutions, others are professional performers and some are in administrative positions.

Independent Director: Christopher Prunty

Fundraising & Trustees Committee (Chair)


Chris has 19 years experience in financial markets and is a Portfolio Manager of the QVG Opportunities Fund and a Founder of QVG Capital.

Chris was previously the Co Portfolio Manager of the Ausbil Micro Cap Fund having joined Ausbil at the inception of the fund in February 2010.

Prior to Ausbil, Chris was an analyst researching smaller companies at Investors Mutual and Confluence Asset Management. Before Confluence, Chris covered specialty retailers and small cap industrial stocks at institutional stockbroker CCZ Equities. Chris was also a graduate at AMP Capital.

He is married with 3 children and lives in Sydney.

Independent Director: Vincent Vartuli

Audit Committee (Chair), Fundraising & Trustees Committee

BA Business (Accounting) UWS, Institute of Chartered Accountants

Vincent has over 15 years of Commercial experience within the FMCG & Wealth Industry

Vincent is focused on delivering strong commercial outcomes for business with key focus on revenue generating activities and a strong emphasis on governance and compliance.

Having started out as an accountant early on in his career – most notably as an Audit Manager, Vincent moved over to Coca Cola Amatil in 2009, performing numerous commercial roles including as a Revenue Manager. In 2016 he then moved over to BT Financial Group to be a Senior Commercial Manager, reporting to the Head of Distribution. His current role is as Head of Revenue Management ANZ at Kimberly Clark with a focus on maximising ROI.

He is married with three children and lives in Sydney.