Our Team

Meet the team behind Australia’s music lovin’ mag.



Stephanie Eslake won the City of Hobart Australia Day 2017 Young Citizen of the Year Award for her “community contribution by creating an online promotional and educational network for young Australian classical musicians”. She is also the inaugural 2017 Kill Your Darlings New Critic Award winner, a finalist in the 2017 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards (semi-finalist in 2016), was shortlisted for the 2017 Kat Muscat Fellowship, and tutors writing as part of an Associate Degree at Foundry in which she also writes course content. Stephanie founded CutCommon in 2014, after attending the Australian Youth Orchestra Words About Music program. During her Bachelor degrees, she triple-majored in media, music, and sociology. She has been published in The Mercury, TasWeekend, SBS (Life), Limelight Magazine, The Music, ArtsHub (ArtsHub UK, ScreenHub), Aphra Magazine, The Courier Mail, The Daily Telegraph and RendezView, Adelaide Now, Young Opportunities Australia, Perth Now, The Herald Sun, and Warp Magazine – the latter of which she has also worked as subeditor. The award-winning writer co-founded Upbeat Monthly News for the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music, has written program notes for the Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, hosted features on Edge Radio 99.3 and ABC Classic FM, and worked in live broadcast production. In 2015, she spent time as acting editor and lead writer for The Mercury‘s music publication Pulse. The classical saxophonist tutors woodwind, worked as co-editor and publications mentor for Hobart City Council’s Platform youth arts and culture magazine, and is part of the Making Waves’ Making Conversation interview team.




Lucy is a musician, writer, and community arts advocate; a lover of all things collaborative, creative, and aesthetically pleasing. Following her formative training in Art History, Sociology and Musicology, Lucy worked at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music managing community partnerships between the University of Melbourne, the Smith Family, and regional Victorian schools before joining the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s administration team in 2012. Lucy is currently employed as Education Manager at the MSO where she is responsible for the programming, development, and management of the orchestra’s work with schools, families, and life-long learners. An experienced multi-instrumentalist, Lucy maintains an active role in the Australian music scene. She is a classically trained violinist, a session player for many of Melbourne’s top bands, a member of indie three-piece, Forest Falls, and her written work has bolstered many a band’s press kit. Lucy regularly presents pre- and post-concert talks for the MSO and, most recently, for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. When she’s not doing any of the above, Lucy is likely hanging out with her “perfect, silky soft” three-year-old whippet, Turbo.




Madeline Roycroft is a Melbourne based oboist and writer. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons) and Diploma of Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne. Madeline recently completed her thesis on the Reception of Shostakovich in France, which draws upon archival research from the National Library of France and the International Association for Shostakovich Studies in Paris. Her other interests include feminist musicology, historical music criticism, finding the best brunch in Melbourne, and binge-watching Law and Order: SVU.




Leah Blankendaal is a writer, composer and flute player. Having completed a Bachelor of Music (Hons) and a Master of Communication Studies at the University of Western Australia, she packed up bags and moved to Melbourne in 2015, where she continued composition lessons with the enviable Johanna Selleck. She enjoys making sound and installation art, presenting papers at musicological conferences and discussing film music theory. Like many CutCommon contributors, Leah is an alumnus of the AYO Words About Music program. Leah presents Australian Sounds and produces Music in Melbourne on 3MBS FM. Her non-musical interests include binge watching Parks & Recreation, listening to Annabel Crabb/Leigh Sales podcasts, reading feminist blogs and baking cakes with a criminally high sugar content.




Tasmanian composer and music producer Christopher Leon was named a semi-finalist in the 2017 Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards (arts). He graduated in 2013 with a major in Music Technology from the University of Tasmania. In 2011, he worked on a team to produce the score for American feature film Christmas With The Dead, and in 2013 was responsible for scoring three TV commercials for the state government. Since picking up the guitar at age 12, Christopher has performed his own classical and Flamenco influenced guitar compositions across Tasmania and has swept through multiple genres on his way to electronic and orchestral music production. He now holds the position of production assistant with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.




John Glover is a Melbourne-based flautist, teacher, and writer. He’s completing his Honours year in his Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne under the guidance of his teacher Andrew Macleod. John has worked as an arts administrator with Melbourne Youth Orchestras and his local music school, and has performed with various orchestras as a flautist around Melbourne. In his downtime, John loves to write creative fiction and dance Argentine Tango.




Myles Oakey is a Sydney-based writer, musician, and educator. In 2017, Myles graduates with a Bachelor of Music (Honours)/Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from the University of New South Wales. As an aspiring academic and writer, Myles’ honours thesis involved the ethnomusicological study, through prolonged observation and musical participation, of a local Persian community and the spirituality of Persian Sufism. Throughout his studies, Myles has received the Arts and Social Sciences Deans list award from 2015-2017, and the 2016 Honours Bursary Award for Music. As a musician, Myles’ primary instrument is the classical guitar, although in recent years he has been heavy involved with the UNSW Balinese Gamelan Ensemble Suwitra Jaya, preforming at the 2016 Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar, and at events around Sydney. Myles was announced the 2016 Common Young Writer of the Year, and has since established a solid platform within Australian arts journalism.




Eleanor is a writer and performer who moved from her Sydney base to London in 2017. She studied Classical Voice and Musicology at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Studies (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in Pedagogy (Voice). She is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts Artstart Grant, and has performed in opera, cabaret and theatre in Australia and overseas. Recently, Eleanor performed with Pacific Opera, Spectrum Now Festival and the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival (New York). Eleanor also completed a law degree at University of New South Wales.




Melbourne musician and budding music therapist Natasha Lin is passionate in exploring the intersection between music and wellbeing. Her background as an award-winning concert pianist has led her to perform at esteemed venues including Government House Victoria, as well as receiving numerous prizes and placing as a finalist in the 2014 Australian Piano Award. Her unique and imaginative sounds have been aired on national and state radios, and have also gained the attention of the United Nations, which requested her involvement with a peace project in 2015. With years of performing, teaching and coaching experience, Natasha is working to create accessible music experiences for community wellbeing. She is the concert co-ordinator for the Friends of Music Series, and has facilitated workshops, seminars and community groups in raising awareness to the essential power of music on wellbeing. Natasha is completing her second Masters in Music Therapy, and has been sponsored by the Jim Marks Scholarship to enable her to further explore music as a peace-making tool with the Musicians Without Borders network in the United States.



Adelaide-based Rachel Bruerville is a composer, arranger, cellist, singer (and now, writer!) currently studying her Honours year in composition at the Elder Conservatorium with Dr Anne Cawrse. Rachel’s main performing activity is in her role as a core member of the Adelaide Chamber Singers. Significant achievements include working on the South Australian and national tours (2016-17) of Patch Theatre Company’s Emily Loves to Bounce, composing and performing her original solo cello/vocal score in the award-winning 2017 Adelaide Fringe theatre production Stories in the Dark, being named the joint-winner of the Accompanists’ Guild of SA’s Piano in Chamber Music 2016 Composition Award, and receiving the Doctor Ruby Davy Prize from the Elder Conservatorium in 2014. Her work has been performed by ensembles including The Endeavour Trio, Gondwana Voices, Sydney Children’s Choir, and the National Youth Choir of Australia. 



Sylvie is due to graduate from the BA program at Sydney University this year. She started performing classically with Opera Australia in the children’s chorus, and sang with the company from 2006-2009 in Turandot, La Boheme and Werther. Most recently, Sylvie was the soloist in new work Ex Aere by Kirsten Milenko at City Recital Hall as part of Sydney’s Unashamedly Original series. Sylvie has performed in Europe with the Sydney Children’s Choir, as a soloist at the Sydney Opera House in Carmina Burana, and performed in Leonard Bernstein’ Mass with the Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir. She sung as a soloist in Allegri’s Miserere with the St Andrew’s College Chapel Choir where she resided on the William Cumming Thom Choral Scholarship during her first two years of university. Sylvie can be heard as the soloist in the World Vision The Wall commercial that ran through New Zealand. She has performed on 102.5 Fine Music FM on numerous occasions and on Sydney’s Eastside Radio. Sylvie is also a writer and has contributed to such publications as CutCommon and The Ladies Network. She won the prestigious Principal’s Prize for poetry at St Andrew’s College in 2013.



Campbell Banks is an Alice Springs-born, Hobart-raised cellist now based in Melbourne. After completing a Bachelor of Music with Honours at the Queensland Conservatorium, Campbell relocated to Europe where he remained for eight years. During this time, he completed two Masters degrees in Zürich, Switzerland, studying with Raphael Wallfisch and Roel Dieltiens; lived in London for a year; had heart surgery; and became a vegan. A recipient of an Australian Music Foundation Prize, Campbell has performed in Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin and the Zürich Tonhalle amongst many others; at the 2014 Amsterdam Cello Biennale, the St. Moritz Festival da Jazz and in front of 15,000 people with Glen Hansard at the Moon and Stars Festival, Locarno.



Laura is a Perth writer, oboist and student. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Western Australia, with a double major in Music Studies and Law and Society. She is also a recipient of the UWA School of Music Delano Music Scholarship. As a performer, Laura holds positions at the Western Australian Youth Orchestra and the Western Australian Charity Orchestra, and is a regular performer with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra. After her undergraduate degree, Laura plans undertake Honours to study musicology. In her spare time, Laura enjoys cuddling her golden retriever Simba, watching documentaries about history, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.



Chloe is a freelance multi-instrumentalist and writer living in Melbourne. She is a founding member of six-four, a chamber music collective that specialises in experimental and new music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Chloe is also performs regularly across Melbourne as a member of five-piece experimental art-pop band Diana’s Foresters, violinist for Nimbus Trio, and session musician who has worked with multiple recording artists. Aside from her musical projects, she is a violin tutor for Border Music Camp, run by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra librarian Alistair McKean, and teaches violin, voice, guitar and piano. She completed her Bachelor of Music majoring in Violin Performance in 2016 under the tutelage of Mark Mogilevski, and is always looking to extend her musical education in the realms of contemporary and electronic music (i.e. she goes to a lot of gigs).



Melbourne composer Lewis Ingham is passionate about the presentation of new music in Australia, particularly by young composers. He has completed degrees in both composition and screen composition from the University of Melbourne and Box Hill Institute respectively. Originally from the rural town of Hepburn Springs, Lewis loves the urban environment of Melbourne in which he now resides; and finds constant musical inspiration from his surrounds. Outside of music, Lewis is still basking in the premiership glory of the Western Bulldogs and enjoys a hit of tennis, challenging the stereotype that musicians are no good at sport.



Carol is a Melbourne-based journalist, business woman and board member with experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Carol has created and grown businesses in the retail, consultancy and business services sectors with a focus on production, retail and wholesale in the Australian fashion industry. She holds an MBA from Swinburne University of Technology, is completing a Master of Journalism at Monash University, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Carol is passionate about the pursuit of knowledge, positively embracing post graduate studies. She feels a strong obligation to pass on her legacy of experience, both business and academic, currently serving as the Chairman of the New Palm Court Orchestra and as Director on the Board of Governance of Ballan District Health & Care. Carol has been involved at executive level on peak industry bodies, the Fashion Group International and Fashion Technicians Association Australia. Carol’s commitment to giving back to the community motivates her involvement on community development projects in regional Victoria, including the Ballan Farmers’ Market.



Antonia Zappia is an actor and musician recently moved to Sydney. She completed her Bachelor of Music at the Queensland University of Technology and then an Honours in Music Technology at the Queensland Conservatorium. After years of music training, she decided to reignite her passion for acting and is currently attending the Actors Studio at NIDA.




Samuel is a multi-faceted musician. He is a pianist, arranger and composer and has worked with some of the biggest names in Australian showbiz. Samuel is also a PhD candidate at Sydney Conservatorium where he writing about the life and music of Tommy Tycho. Aside from all of this, Samuel is a researcher, journalist and broadcaster who has interviewed supertstar Renee Fleming, Steven Isserlis, Maxim Vengerov, Simon Tedeschi, Katie Noonan and a plethora of other local artists, including Ensemble Offspring and Sydney Chamber Opera. Samuel recently appeared on ABC Radio’s ‘RareCollections’ as a specialist guest, talking about the life and music of Tommy Tycho. Samuel has recently been published an article in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. You can like him on Facebook and follow his work at www.samuelcottell.com.




Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Music with Honours and a Master of Arts (Music Performance). With a PhD in Musicology underway, she has also completed a Grad. Dip in education and lectures 19th Century music history at Monash University. The violist’s areas of expertise include performance anxiety, Armenian folk music, action movies starring Harrison Ford and a ripper Lemon Delicious pudding.


And just a few of our well-loved former contribs include (*commence drum roll*)…

SAMUEL COTTELL (Lead Writer 2014-16)
THOMAS MISSON (Contributor 2014-2017)
BEN NIELSEN (Contributor and mentor)


Would you like to join our team? Email editor@cutcommon.com with your areas of interest.


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