University of Melbourne
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Teachers & Performers Bio Performing Works
Pianist, teacher, researcher
Chinese-born, Australian-educated and Spanish-inspired, Zen’s journey with the piano began at age of three. Since then, she has been a recipient of numerous international major awards, prizes and scholarships. After completing undergraduate and postgraduate music studies under full scholarships in Australia, Italy and Spain, Zen’s musical pursuit and performances continue to take her across continents, working as a soloist as well as a collaborator with prestigious virtuosos, ensembles and performance companies. At the age of 18, Zen was featured on the Young Australian programme of Australian Broadcasting Cooperation.
From an instinctive childhood attraction to the colour and zest of Mediterranean cultures, Zen has developed an abiding interest in Spanish folklores and flamenco. Her personal style is hailed as ‘brilliant’, ‘world class’ and ‘opening new aesthetic vistas’ by critics and sought after by international artists. Prolific composers such as Lola Fernández (Spain), Michael Publig (Austria) and Roman Pawollek (Germany) have dedicated piano flamenco works to Zen for world premiers.
Building on her classical music strength, acute cultural awareness and years of first-hand studies of Spanish folk and flamenco music in Spain, Zen received a PhD award from Monash University in 2017. Her research examines the interface of flamenco and Spanish fin-de-siècle piano music. In 2013, this research project was awarded by the Ministry of Culture of Spain and Australian National University.
For more details and Zen’s forthcoming performance highlights, please refer to
Ken Murray guitar
Head of Guitar at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music,
Ken Murray has developed a career as a guitarist combining performance, composition, teaching and research. He has championed and recorded Spanish music from the early twentieth century, worked extensively with contemporary Australian composers and has been active as a performer of Brazilian and South American musical styles. He graduated PhD from the University of Melbourne, where he is Senior Lecturer and Head of Guitar at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He enjoys ongoing collaborations with composers such as Matthew Hindson, Stuart Greenbaum and Thomas Reiner. Pieces written for him include works for solo guitar, electric guitar and CD, electric guitar and ensemble, guitar and voice, large chamber works and music theatre pieces featuring guitar. He has performed around Australia and has toured to China, Portugal, Spain, England and the Netherlands. During several trips to the Archivo Manuel de Falla in Granada, Spain he studied the music of Manuel de Falla and his contemporaries, culminating in the release of the critically acclaimed CD Homenaje in 2003. His CDs and concerts have been broadcast on ABC FM and he has performed on the Austrian label Kairos (Italy), Mode Records (USA), Move and ABC Classics. Ken performs regularly alongside Australia’s foremost exponent of Brazilian music Doug de Vries. He has performed with many ensembles as a guitarist and mandolinist. Ken has written a variety of works for guitar in solo and ensemble settings. His works have been commissioned by the Santo Tirso International Guitar Festival and the Suzuki Association of Victoria. He is Head of Guitar at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne.
Julia Hastings, piano
Julia Hastings -Born in Warragul, Victoria, Julia began piano studies at the age of six. In 2013, Julia completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Melbourne under the guidance of Anna Goldsworthy and Ronald Farren-Price. Whilst completing her undergraduate studies, Julia was the recipient of many Faculty prizes and scholarships, most notably the John Hellyar Piano Scholarship (2011), the Gardiner Piano Scholarship (2010) and the Athenaeum Chamber Music Prize (2012).
In 2014 and 2015, Julia attended the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) on a full scholarship, completing the Professional Performance Program and studying with Timothy Young.
A regular recitalist and passionate chamber musician, Julia has a particular interest in multi-disciplinary performance. In 2015, she wrote and performed a one-woman theatrical recital on the life and music of Australian pianist, Eileen Joyce. This show, Fame, Fortune & Lies has since been performed to sell-out audiences. Julia is regularly broadcast on ABC Classic FM and 3MBS.
Tapping into the past and present of the flamenco world Gerard Mapstone is among the most evocative and dynamic guitarists touring Australia today. Numerous collaborations and support shows have spanned his career including, Tomatito, Estrella Morente, Cindy Lauper, Buena Vista Social Club, The Gypsy Queens and Kings, Pierre Bensusan, and Fanfare Ciocarlia.
Recently completing a Masters degree his practice led research focused on contemporary flamenco guitar structures and innovations, contributing to his thesis on 21st Century flamenco. Gerard is currently part of the post graduate research community at the Melbourne University and is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
As a recording artist he has released numerous albums and collaborative works including Wish Hill (2004) by All Jigged Out, To Sleep (2004) by Lee Westwood, Tomorrow (2006) by Preference, Vuelta al Mundo (2008) solo guitar album, Bride in a Red Dress (2009) with Doch Gypsy Orchestra, Simple Joys of Maidenhood (2010) with Rhiannon Hart & the Umm-Ahh's, Cravin' just a little misbehavin (2011), and The Last Reel (2014) with Laique.
Danza Española no5 (Andaluza) -a flamenco perspective-
Sophie Marcheff is a Melbourne-based classical guitarist who is currently completing her third and
final year of the Bachelor of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) under the
tutelage of Dr. Ken Murray. Her recent repertoire has focused on new pieces from Australian and
international composers. Sophie has participated in several masterclasses with world-renowned
concert guitarists such as Lorenzo Micheli (Italy), Xuefei Yang (China) and Chrystian Dozza
(Brazil). In 2016 she performed several new chamber works in a series of concerts entitled
“Cultural Collisions,” as a part of the 2016 Melbourne Festival. Sophie has taught guitar in New
South Wales and Victoria for the past five years, and teaching remains one of her strong interests
in addition to contemporary guitar and musicology.
Danza Española no 6 (Rondalla aragonesa)
Danza Española no11 (Zambra)
Jemma Donovan is an accomplished musician who can write/compose and perform across a diverse range of styles. However, much of her original music maintains itself in the singer/songwriter contemporary/jazz genres. She relocated from the Gold Coast via her original home town of Esperance, to Melbourne in June 2016, to embark on a graduate diploma of music performance in classical guitar at Melbourne University.
Jemma has performed widely in public, corporate and private events. Her favourite gig, was playing lead guitar for the Wheel of Death in a circus production on the Gold Coast.
Danza Española no10 (Melancólica)
Louis Smith was born in Melbourne in 1997. After being introduced by his father to the family record collection as a young child, Louis fell in love with music, but most of all the guitar. This love progressed into getting guitar lessons from the local music academy, Mini Maestro’s, where he received lessons from VCA alumnus Jeremy Totenham (founding member of the Melbourne Guitar Quartet). Initially Louis learnt contemporary guitar, taking inspiration from Kurt Cobain, Jack White and the Edge, but with the guidance of Jeremy he moved towards the classical guitar and found his new love. In 2011, after solely concentrating on his classical playing for three years prior, Louis joined the Classical Guitar Society of Victoria’s orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Dix, and successfully auditioned for the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS). While at VCASS, Louis was tutored by Benjamin Dix, and performed performed in masterclasses for Toniè Field, Slava Grigoryan and Ken Murray. After graduating with a high distinction in music, Louis successfully auditioned for The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, where he is majoring in music performance. While at the conservatorium, Louis was taught Toniè Field and is currently studying under Daniel Mackay
Danza Española no 6 (Rondalla aragonesa)
Danza Española no11 (Zambra)