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Our Writers


Joan Thorp is a Sydney-based musician, teacher, conductor and arranger with 20 years professional experience.

To her performing credits she has an ATCL French Horn Diploma plus State and National Championship titles from the National Band Association.

Joan is an accredited member of the Australian Music Teachers’ Association, the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors’ Association and the Music Arrangers’ Guild of Australia and has an AMusA Theory of Music Diploma.

Joan enjoys regular praise for her creative and inspiring music for school bands. As the Managing Director, she is especially proud of Thorp Music's high quality publications - utilising progressive musical concepts without compromising on entertainment value.

Greg Butcher is a Represented Australian Composer of the Australian Music Centre, Sydney. As a composer, arranger, teacher and conductor, he has written on commission for solo instrumental to full symphonic wind band and orchestral settings at State and National A-Grade contest levels.

He is a Fellow of Trinity College London (UK) in composition, holds a Fellowship Diploma in Composition from the Australian Society of Musicology & Composition and is a Member of the Fellowship of Australian Composers.

With over 20 years experience as a musician with the Royal Australian Air Force, he was regularly utilised for his skills, writing for a variety of ensemble groups. These were often customised for international artists, televised or performed overseas.

A graduate of the University of New England, he has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Music) Degree and has also completed a Masters Degree in Audiology from the University of Queensland. Greg has over 30 years of professional experience as a session player performing with jazz, wind and orchestral ensembles.

Martin Anderson is a Sydney-based musician, bandleader, teacher and arranger with 30 years professional experience.

Martin has been contracted to arrange for a diverse cross section of musical genres, including big band, concert band, jazz combo, service bands, choir, cabaret, TV & recording artists.

Martin has received jazz diplomas from Leeds Music College, England, and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He is also an accredited member of the Music Arrangers’ Guild of Australia.

Martin is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who has performed with many notable bands such as the Warren Daly Big Band (lead tenor for 10 years).

With a unique combination of performance, arranging and music educational expertise, Martin writes arrangements that will be enjoyed by both school and professional bands alike.

Mike Butcher OAM. Renowned and respected for his compositions and arrangements, Mike began his long musical career 52 years ago as a boy musician in the Royal Marines. After emigrating to Australia in 1954 he continued his career in military music, graduating from the Royal Military School of Music (Kneller Hall) as Bandmaster and culminating as Director of Music of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Upon retirement from the services in 1989, he started many successful school and community bands and lectured in instrumental pedagogy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Mike has played trombone professionally for most of his career and worked with many overseas artists.

For his work with school children, Mike was named a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. He was also awarded the Order Of Australia Medal in 2001 for his services to music.

Peter Corkill has over 20 years experience co-ordinating extensive school-based string programs, conducting, directing and arranging for ensembles of all levels from beginners to the most advanced.

Peter is a gradulate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he studied harmony, composition, arranging and performance. He has also been awarded associate diplomas in music theory from AMEB and Trinity College.

Peter is an accomplished performer in a wide variety of musical genres. As a cellist, Peter has performed with the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra for the Bolshoi Ballet, Russian State Ballet and Rudolf Nureyev. Peter was Principal Cellist of the Sydney Youth Orchestra and the Balmain Sinfonia and he performs regularly in his own string quartet.

Peter also has many years experience as a bass player in rock, jazz, funk and traditional dance bands. Peter's arrangements for String Orchestra reflect his eclectic musical experience - from baroque to rock.

Frank Holdforth began his career playing guitar and banjo in the interval band at a local jazz club in Oxford, England and as a guitarist for a dance band playing for weekend dances in the local Oxforshire villages.

Returning to Australia in the late sixties, Frank played for ex patriot Australian Diana Trask and in the show ‘What a Thing to Say’. He later joined the MO award winning band ‘The Federation Orchestra’ as bass player/arranger, where he stayed for eight years.

An increasing interest in arranging and composition led frank to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he graduated with a Diploma in Jazz Studies.

Australian piano great, Ray Alldridge, then conductor of the TCN9 Midday Show Band, invited Frank to be one of the arrangers leading to writing assignments for the ‘Mike Walsh Show’ and David Atkins production of ‘Dancin’ Man’.

Frank lives in Sydney, dividing his time between playing, arranging and teaching.

Wei Cai Zhang is a renowned Chinese conductor and cellist. A graduate of the Shanghai Conservatorium Of Music in 1950, he started his professional career as the Principal Cellist and Conductor of the Shanghai Opera Orchestra and later became the Principal Cellist of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. In the late 1980’s he was promoted to the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.

During his conducting career, he founded the first and only chamber orchestra in China. Due to his contribution to promoting chamber music in China, he has been acknowledged by the American Biographical Institute.

Mr Zhang is well known for his arrangements of vocal and instrumental works, including large orchestral works and chamber ensemble orchestrations. These works have been recorded by major record companies and were widely acclaimed and hugely popular across China.

Dr Barry Bignell joined the Australian Army at age 16. He served in the Royal Military College Band Duntroon and simultaneously studied under a scholarship at the Canberra School of Music. He was later selected for training at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall, London. While there he was a member of the Kneller Hall Trumpeters and won the Director’s Prize for conducting, the Graham Wallace award for best overseas student and the Professors’ Prize for secondary instruments.

On return to Australia, Barry was appointed Music Director of the Australian Army Band Melbourne, whose performances of Percy Grainger’s music in particular attracted international acclaim. While in this post, Barry completed numerous compositions and arrangements for band, choir and orchestra. His commissioned fanfares have been used to open the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, State Parliament of Victoria, the Melbourne Concert Hall and the State Theatre, the Commonwealth Games and many other events.

Barry left the Army in 1984 and spent a year in Berlin studying orchestral repertoire with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsche Oper. He subsequently worked as a freelance conductor, and has worked with the Melbourne, West Australian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, the State Orchestra of Victoria, Rantos Collegium, the Melbourne Chorale, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Society, the Australian Pops Orchestra and the Melbourne Youth Orchestra. In 1990 he formed the Australian Wind Sinfonia to promote high-level performances of windband music.

Barry holds a masters degree in education and a PhD in social ecology. He works as a conductor and clinician, and is presently head of postgraduate studies in music at the Victorian College of the Arts, where he teaches conducting and performance.

Adrian Hallam has performed professionally in orchestras, bands and chamber groups for the past 15 years and has toured extensively overseas.

In 1993, he was awarded a Big Brother Scholarship to study music for three months in England. During this time he attended the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. In 1994, Adrian completed a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, majoring in performance on French Horn.

Adrian is currently the Principal French Horn player of the NSW Police Band. He enjoys writing for many and varied ensembles including Orchestra, Concert Band, Stage Band, Rock Band, Wind and Brass Quintets. He is an inspirational teacher, arranger and composer, and teaches at some of Sydney’s top private schools.

Thorp Music is pleased to present the exciting works of Adrian Hallam.

Roger Downton joined the Royal Australian Navy Band in 1967 and then the Band of the South Australian Police in 1977.

An early interest in arranging lead to studies in orchestration and music theory. In 1998, Roger was promoted to Staff Arranger and continued in this role until his retirement in 2009.

For over 10 years, he lectured in Jazz Arranging as part of the Jazz Studies course at Adelaide University. Roger has been commissioned to write music for Orchestra, Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Brass Band plus many smaller ensembles.

Thorp Music is pleased to present the innovative arrangements of Roger Downton.