Celebrating and acknowledging staff

We would like to acknowledge the incredible contribution of important staff members who left WollCon at the end of last term. This page is a celebration of their dedication to teaching music over many years.
Nigel Edwards

“I love the idea of fostering a lifelong love of music. Be it as a performer or listener.”

Nigel Edwards

On behalf of the entire community who have benefitted from Nigel’s expertise and commitment we’d like to thank Nigel for everything he has contributed to WollCon.

Nigel has been teaching at WollCon for 39 years.  During that time he has taught oboe, clarinet, bassoon and saxophone, as well as being the Director of the BlueScope Youth Orchestra.

Nigel was WollCon’s Head of Woodwind and worked with colleagues, particularly in the context of the Orchestra and the Camerata Chamber Ensemble to encourage young people and adults alike to learn woodwind instruments and experience the joy of playing them in an ensemble.  In order that all players had the opportunity to excel Nigel often arranged music specifically for the Orchestra, responding to the particular talents within the Orchestra or Ensemble at any given time.

Nigel was also a great advocate for the right instrument at the right time to suit student’s physical and musical development. His focus on good technique means he has nurtured many successful musicians – including two exceptional musicians Nick Russoniello and Hayden Burge who are profiled on our website.

As the Director of the BlueScope Youth Orchestra (BSYO) since 1995, Nigel has ensured that the orchestra remains a hugely significant ensemble for developing our local, young orchestral talent into successful, well-rounded musicians. Over the years, Nigel has toured extensively, nationally and internationally with BSYO, and it has won a number of awards, like the National Youth Orchestral Award in 2006, (a first for a regional orchestra).

BSYO will continue to be managed by Tanya Phillips, a position she has held since 1995. Tanya, who has helped lead the success of BSYO with Nigel, will now be joined by Hayden Burge (Bassonist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows) who will conduct the orchestra for the concerts it has lined up in the first half of 2024.  Additionally Scott Taggart (Head of Strings) will continue to work with Tanya and Hayden to coach and lead the orchestra during its rehearsal periods.

Nigel has some overseas musical engagements planned in 2024 and we wish him every success with those exciting opportunities.

Eric Dunan

Eric Dunan joined the WollCon team in 2001 and led the development of the jazz program which has flourished under his leadership and is highly regarded worldwide.

Thanks to Eric’s commitment to music education a significant cohort of Australian jazz musicians have gone on to forge successful careers at home and overseas.

Eric developed the jazz program to create pathways for young musicians, from local schools, to individual lessons then into small ‘combo’ ensembles before joining larger groups such as jazz bands and orchestras.

His commitment to performance in music education meant that musicians in the jazz program are never short of a chance to hone their skills in front of an audience. From big gigs in the Town Hall to ‘Live at Lunch’ in Crown Street Mall, local weekend markets, free library concerts, and other events including the annual Kiama Jazz and Blues Festival for which Eric curated the 2024 NextGen Stage.

Eric has also organised international tours for WollCon’s jazz bands and orchestras. In 2006 WollCon’s Jazz Orchestra under Eric’s leadership won 1st place at the Reno Jazz Festival in the USA.

Wollongong audiences have enjoyed the Jazz Series at WollCon thanks to Eric’s programming.  The modest surrounds of WollCon’s Auditorium have welcomed artists of international standing. Never one to miss the opportunity to showcase the talents of WollCon students, Eric often programmed combos as opening acts for significant artists performing in the series.  The Jazz Series has reached beyond WollCon presenting concerts in the Music Lounge, and in 2023 Eric initiated the inaugural WollCon Jazz Festival which saw hundreds of people attend a full day’s celebration of jazz music at Gleniffer Brae – WollCon’s home in the Botanic Garden.

Eric’s commitment to all things jazz (until recently he even drove a Honda Jazz), to young musicians, the community, artists and audiences has resulted in Wollongong being well and truly on the Jazz map.

Eric’s choice to leave WollCon will certainly leave a gap which is felt by many. We thank him for his energy and commitment to Jazz at WollCon and for all the fun, joy and opportunities he has created for our young musicians and community during the last 23 years.

Brad Baker

Since joining WollCon in 2009, Brad Baker has built up an impressive teaching studio made up of dedicated students of all ages.

As Head of Piano he has lead a team of piano teachers who together teach the largest faculty, in terms of student numbers, at WollCon.

As well as being an exceptional and sought-after teacher, Brad is an accomplished performer.  In 2023 Brad curated and performed in a concert at Wollongong Town Hall with colleagues from WollCon.  This followed a successful tour to Canada where he gave a solo piano recital in his hometown of Lethbridge (Alberta), playing for the first time at The Casa – a new performing Arts Centre in Southern Alberta.

Closer to home Brad grew group piano lessons at WollCon, initiated the Piano Festival which showcases and celebrates the talents of our keyboard students and also presented an annual concert of piano duets which encourages ensemble playing for pianists.

Brad has also been supporting community choirs as an accompanist, including occasional visits to the Far South Coast as part of WollCon’s drive to reach more regional communities through our work.  Brad has also been instrumental in supporting the formation of the new Friday Singing Group at WollCon as their accompanist.

Everyone at WollCon appreciates Brad’s quiet and considered style, a quality that was not lost on his students with whom he took a caring and supportive approach. We wish Brad every success with his future musical endeavours.

David Reglar

David Reglar has accepted a new position with SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association) which means he is no longer able to continue with his teaching studio at WollCon.

Whilst we are thrilled for David, we are also sad to see him leave us as he has been teaching at WollCon for 12 years and has built up a dedicated studio of students.

David was originally a student of Eric’s (from Year 7 to 12) and completed a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium before starting his teaching career at WollCon alongside a busy professional performing career.

David also supported the organisation of WollCon’s Jazz Series over the years, and initiated the ‘Here & Now’ concert series at WollCon, a platform for emerging local and Sydney jazz musicians to perform.

We wish David all the very best in the next chapter of his career and very much hope to see him at WollCon in the future.


WollCon is delighted that Music Staff in the piano and jazz faculties have come forward to teach students impacted by our staff changes and/or lead ensembles. We are also recruiting and will be sharing news of new staff soon.