Music Staff

ORGANIST & DIRECTOR OF MUSIC

Dr Brett McKern, PhD DCA BMus BTh BEd FTCL FGCM LMusA ARCO AMusA ACertCM CertRS HonGCM

(e: music@stjohnsgordon.org.au)

Dr Brett McKern has an international career as a composer with his music being performed in at least six countries in Europe, Australasia, and the USA. Within Australia, his music has been performed in four states and broadcast in three. Brett is also an award-winning composer (Australia & Canada) and has published over sixty works in Australia and abroad. His music has been performed at such prestigious venues as Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, London; York Minster, UK; Sint-Rombout’s Cathedral, Mechelen, Belgium; and Washington National Cathedral.

While his overall output is varied, a number of Brett’s works show the influence of his interest in the liturgy of the Anglican and Catholic traditions as well as in Baroque music. His music includes a book of piano sight-reading exercises, hymns and church music, orchestral works, works for professional choirs and soloists, music for schools, instrumental solos including organ works, and more. Brett has been commissioned by professional soloists (particularly organists), liturgical choirs, school choirs and orchestras, the AMEB, and the Song Company, to name a few.

He holds degrees in music, education, theology and two doctorates in musical composition. He has lectured at various universities and at theological college, was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Music, and examines written music grades and diplomas for the AMEB, as well as being called upon to examine university research degrees. Brett has adjudicated multiple composition competitions, and is a Represented Composer of the Australian Music Centre.

Brett has performed as an organist and choir director in four countries, and been recorded for DVD, CD and film. He makes a specialty of improvisation at the organ. Previous appointments have been as Assistant Director of Music at St James’ King Street, as well as other Sydney churches and in the UK. Brett also teaches and his private organ, theory or composition students have gone on to read for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at various conservatoria and universities in Australia and abroad, and a number are now professional musicians.

Brett is passionate about adding to the Australian art music repertoire as can be seen by his compositional output, and by the number of new choral works he has commissioned from other Australian composers.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF MUSIC

Miss Nicola Chau, BMusStudies, MClinAud, MAudSA.

Nicola Chau holds the degree of Bachelor of Music Studies from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, for which she majored in organ, studying with Phillip Swanton. She has sung with the world-renowned Tallis Scholars under director Peter Philips at several summer schools.

Nicola has many years of experience in parish music, previously coordinating the music at St Basil’s Church in Artarmon. She was Organ Scholar at St John’s Church Gordon in 2008-2009, and from 2009 has been Assistant Director of Music.

Nicola is also an audiologist and maintains this professional work as well as her church music duties.

Former Musicians of the Church:

Organist

  • 1887-?           W. Pymble, F.Shaw (Choirmaster)
  • ?-1908           Mrs King
  • 1909-?           G.H. Turner
  • 1923-1928    G.E.M. Coomber
  • 1928               Edward Massey
  • 1929-1933    Hannagan
  • 1933-1934    R. Griffiths
  • 1934-1936    Sydney Cooper ARCO
  • 1937-1938    Martin Giles LLB
  • 1939-1946    Charles Maddocks AMusA
  • 1947-1950    Allan Jenkins
  • 1950-1951    Oliver Craddock MA
  • 1951-1955    L. Gent BA
  • 1956-1965    L. Trimble BA
  • 1965              R. Adams (Acting Organist)
  • 1965-2001    Graham Anderson, Enid Anderson AMusA

Organist & Director of Music

  • 2002-2008    Jane Stewart MMus
  • 2008-        Dr Brett McKern PhD DCA BMus BTh BEd FTCL FGCM LMusA ARCO AMusA ACertCM CertRS HonGCM

Assistant Director of Music

  • 2009-     Nicola Chau BMusStudies MClinAud MAudSA

Assistant Organists (1972-1997)

  • Ross Adams
  • David Alexander
  • Jeff Barlow
  • Clifford Cowdroy OAM FACE
  • Dr James Forsyth PhD HonFGCM
  • Chris Sillince
  • Richard Simpson

Organ Scholar

  • 2008-2009   Nicola Chau

Hon. Deputy Organists

    • 2010-       Cliff Cowdroy, OAM FACE
  • 2010-2018       Theo Yardley