2024 Masterclass Special Guest Teachers

Associate Professor Jerry Wong


  • Pianist Artist Jerry Wong has been described by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Martin Bernheimer as “eloquent…sensitivity and a finely-honed sense of style” and the Orange County Register praised him for “clean technique, forthright sound and a straight-forward approach to classical textures”.
  • He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in such prestigious settings as the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, National Concert Hall of Taipei, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Opera City Hall in Tokyo, PianoForte in Chicago, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Shriver Hall in Baltimore and Weill Recital Hall in New York City.

Majella Drew

  • Majella Drew is a dynamic and passionate teacher of piano, who runs a thriving studio in
    Melbourne, where she specializes in working with children from the age of four upwards.
  • Majella has performed regularly as a soloist, accompanist, repetiteur and chamber musician throughout Australia and New Zealand.
  • She has been an examiner for the AMEB in both theoretical and practical subjects for over 20 years and has
    adjudicated at several music competitions and festivals.
  • In recent years Majella and her students, through their Annual Student Concert, have raised funds to support a school for
    underprivileged children in Missionvale, South Africa.

Robert Chamberlain

  • Robert Chamberlain is an accomplished and versatile pianist with a wide range of interests and specializations in chamber and ensemble music.
  • He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from Australia and Vienna and has also studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada.
  • In addition to his successful career as a performer, Robert is in demand as an adjudicator and presenter, having judged numerous music festivals and competitions around the world.
  • He has collaborated with a diverse range of musicians and performed in various countries and has also directed an intensive enrichment program for young pianists.

Mira Jakopanetz

  • Originally from Belgrade, Mira received her BA, BMus (Masters) from that city’s Faculty of Music and was the recipient of the first prize for the best student.
  • She was subsequently awarded a scholarship to study piano at the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium in Moscow. She has studied with Professors E. Timakin, V. Vitale and K. Taylor.
  • Mira has performed extensively since the age of 15 as a soloist with orchestras and as a chamber musician throughout Europe and Australia.
  • She has recorded and performed for ABC FM and 3MBS FM.
  • For the last 10 years she has taught piano and piano pedagogy at Monash University, as well as performing and giving master classes. She is an experienced teacher at all levels, an examiner and adjudicator, and takes a keen interest in working with talented students.
  • Mira is currently Head of Piano at Melbourne Grammar School where she also accompanies VCE students.

Darryl Coote

  • Australian-Irish pianist Darryl Coote is a partner of the Team of Pianists, Artists-in-Residence at Glenfern for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
  • His professional life encompasses activity as solo pianist, chamber musician, concerto soloist, teacher, adjudicator and administrator. He studied piano with Rennie Sullivan in Korumburra, then with Max Cooke at the University of Melbourne, completing Bachelor of Music with Honours and subsequently, Master of Music. Later he studied for a year with Kurt Bauer at the Musikhochschule, Hanover (Germany).
  • He was the first winner of the national Hephzibah Menuhin Memorial Scholarship, as well as Victorian State winner of the ABC’s Instrumental and Vocal Competition.

Dr. Tamara Smolyar

  • Born to a family of four generations of musicians, Tamara represents the finest traditions of the Russian Piano School. She is a graduate of Kiev State Conservatorium of Music (Ukraine), University of Melbourne (Master Degree) and PhD (Monash University, Australia). She was the winner of the National Chamber Music Competition (Ukraine) and awarded the Prizes of Best Accompanist and Chamber Musician of Ukraine and USSR.

  • She has made numerous radio and TV recordings for national and international broadcasters, commercial recordings on labels which include Cantor Productions, Move, Schimmel International Artists Collection and Vox Australis.

  • Her solo recitals, concerto and chamber-music performances as well as her activities in master-classes and on competition juries have taken her to many prominent venues across three continents.

  • From 1994-2018, Tamara Smolyar was a Senior Lecturer,Coordinator of Piano at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University.

  • Currently, Tamara is a Piano staff member at Mentone Girls Grammar School, Australian Guild of Music and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music,University of Melbourne.