Dr Robert Manley

Dr Robert Manley is a pianist, cellist, and recorder player. He studied the piano with Veronica Berry in Rockhampton and Joyce Skelton in Brisbane; the cello with Howard Penny in Melbourne at the Australian National Academy of Music; and the recorder with virtuoso Dr Barnaby Ralph. Rob’s experience across a range of instruments informs his special interest in working with orchestral piano reductions.

Rob has performed as piano soloist with Sinfonia Australis, as recorder soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and cello soloist with the Orchestra of the Australian National Academy of Music. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Southern Cross Soloists, Camerata of St Johns, and Les Miserables Orchestra.

Before joining NECOM in January 2023, he was a piano accompanist for the University of Queensland and Queensland Ballet, and President of the Queensland Accompanists’ Guild. He accompanied for the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition for several years. He has tutored at the University of Queensland and adjudicated for the Sunshine Coast Junior Eisteddfod.

As a chamber musician, Rob has toured extensively in regional New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. His tour to Central Queensland with the Orpheus Club String Quartet was shortlisted for an APRA AMCOS Art Music Award in 2018.

Rob’s work as a researcher and composer focusses on engaging audiences with classical music in regional Australia. His PhD thesis (University of Queensland) drew on social capital as a theoretical framework to investigate the music identities and engagement strategies of chamber musicians in a regional Queensland community. Previously, he completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours at the University of Queensland, graduating in 2011 with a University Medal. He also holds Licentiate Diplomas on both piano and recorder.

Rob has strong interests in improvisation and premiering new compositions. He co-composed Light Bathing (2019), a classical/folk crossover work recently arranged by Emily Sheppard to be premiered in 2023 by the string section of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. No stranger to innovation, Rob co-created and premiered the world’s first work for recorder and whipper snipper (2021) in an apple evaporator shed in Franklin, Tasmania. (No grass or apples were harmed in that cutting-edge performance, though the audience was suitably revved up after the concert.)