27 January 2010

Music teacher extraordinaire, Neta Maughan, can reputedly spot talent a kilometre away - an ability that has seen her develop hundreds of young pianists over the past 54 years, many of them Australia's finest.

A teacher at The Con for 36 years and with some 3,000 students receiving her tutelage to this point, the 71-year-old educator has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2010 Honours List for her services to pedagogy and improving the talent of young people.

'This is a wonderful surprise and something that caught me totally off guard,' commented Neta, who has lived in Sydney's western suburbs since she was a toddler.

'I share the honour with all those who I have taught and all those who have helped me in my teaching.'

The Dean and Principal of The Con, Professor Kim Walker, said: 'The Australia Day honour is a fitting acknowledgement for someone who has devoted her life to encouraging and nurturing pianists from all walks of life, not only in Australia but around the world.

'Neta has brought out the very best in so many young musicians over so many decades...she is an amazing talent herself and long may she continue to help grow and blossom young musicians.'

A number of her students have won Young Performer of the Year awards and Maughan has been awarded the Australian Musical Examinations Board shield for excellence in teaching more than 20 times.

Maughan, originally from the NSW North Coast area, admits that 'music is in the blood', with a family background of five generations of pianists and instructors. She started teaching music when she was 17.

When she was 20 and in the last year of her music diploma at the old NSW Conservatorium, a string of family tragedies put her academic career on hold. However, Russian-born Australian pianist and teacher Alexander Sverjensky (who lectured at The Con for 31 years) took Maughan on as an assistant and she also studied under renowned educator Elizabeth Todd OAM.

Students over the years who have gone on to earn national and international acclaim include Neal Peres da Costa, Bernadette Harvey-Balkus, Simon Tedeschi and the late Aaron McMillan.

'I just love teaching. I continue to be inspired by music and musical talent. I plan to go on doing it until I drop.'

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 233c0e065b0a2a2406502d1a555b2e230a2e591f2358112c21601038