The people behind Canberra International Music Festival

Festival Patron Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley

“Music stirs emotion, brings people together and brings sunshine and light into our lives. Now perhaps more than at any time in recent memory, it is essential. I am delighted to become Patron of the Canberra International Music Festival. I look forward to working with all involved to promote, enjoy and support the extravaganza it affords the local community.”

Mrs Hurley was born and raised in Sydney and educated at Kingsgrove High. She went on to become a teacher commencing in 1976 and married David Hurley in 1977.

Mrs Hurley has supported her husband throughout his career on a wide variety of postings in Australia and overseas. Mrs Hurley’s own career in education has been in both public and private school systems, until her retirement in 2011.

She has been an active member of the community as a Pastoral Carer at Canberra Hospital and Hospice. Mrs Hurley holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Canberra.

Mrs Hurley has an interest in the Arts, especially music. She is passionate about singing and showing how singing, especially in a group, can have a positive impact on individuals and the community.

Artistic Director Roland Peelman AM

“His encyclopaedic understanding of performing and visual arts and his theatrical instinct place him in constant demand as a musician of flair and imagination.”

– Antony Jeffrey, Many Faces of Inspiration.

At the helm of the Festival since 2015 is Artistic Director Roland Peelman, an acclaimed musician of great versatility who has established a reputation as one of Australia’s most innovative musical directors.

Born in Belgium, Roland Peelman has been active in Australia over 30 years as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers and musicians alike.

For his commitment to the creative arts in Australia, he has received numerous accolades, including the NSW Award for ‘the most outstanding contribution to Australian Music by an individual’ in 2005. In 2006 he was named ‘musician of the year’ by the Sydney Morning Herald and he has since featured regularly as one of the most influential people in the Australian arts scene.

Over a period of 25 years, he transformed The Song Company into one of Australia’s most outstanding and innovative ensembles. In addition, he instigated and directed an impressive list of new work, orchestral, vocal, and operatic.

Roland worked with Opera Australia for seven years (1984-91) before becoming The Song Company’s Artistic Director (1990-2015). During this time, he was also the Music Director of Sydney Metropolitan Opera (1989-94) and the Hunter Orchestra in Newcastle (1990-97).

Board of Directors

Genevieve Jacobs has been a journalist for 30 years, working in print and radio including a decade with ABC Radio Canberra. She is group editor for Region Media.

She sits on the Cultural Facilities Corporation board and is also a director of the Conflict Resolution Service and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Genevieve was the inaugural chair of the arts minister’s Creative Council, and inaugural co-chair of the ACT Reconciliation Council. In 2021, Genevieve was made a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to broadcasting and the community.

Suzana has 25 years’ experience in the events industry, including leadership roles with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) and The Australian Grand Prix.  Suzana has a bachelor’s degree in Communications, a Masters in Advertising and an Executive MBA; and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Director’s course.

Andrea is Head of Advancement at the Australian National University, College of Arts and Social Sciences, and has previously served at universities in the USA, as an Executive Director of a multi-service crisis centre in Maryland, USA; and as a CEO of a homelessness / housing services not-for-profit organisation in Washington, DC, USA. Andrea has a Masters of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science – Social Work.

Liesl is an experienced board director, particularly in the government and not-for-profit sectors, including roles as chair of the Territory Records Advisory Council and Music for Canberra.  Prior to doing board work, she had a career spanning 20 years in the community and public sectors, including senior roles in the Commonwealth, ACT and the United Kingdom, across central agencies and line areas of departments.  Her particular areas of expertise are governance frameworks, industrial relations and strategic HR.

Liesl holds university degrees in economics and law and is admitted to practice in the ACT Supreme Court.  She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Professional Associate of the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis.

Liesl is a long term Canberra resident and is committed to promoting opportunity and diversity within the local community.  She is married to federal member for Bean, David Smith MP and has three children.


Kelly is a public servant with a parallel career in arts management.

Rowan has 40 years’ experience in information technology specialising in records management. Rowan has been a member of the Canberra Choral Society since 2008, Treasurer from 2014-2021 and President since 2021.

Clive was Managing Director of a leading economic consultancy firm in Canberra for nearly 20 years, as well as a workplace culture specialist. He is an active community member and volunteers his time with numerous local organisations. Clive has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Theology, and a Master of Letters.

Dorothy is one of the Festival’s founding members and has been an active in various roles since 1994, both as Board member and as a volunteer.

As the Festival Ambassador Dorothy is closely involved with the Festival’s philanthropic and fundraising work.

Festival Team

Roland Peelman AM Artistic Director

Rachel Whealy Executive Director

Hanna-Mari Latham Office and Finance Manager

Marilyn Chalkley Marketing

Olivia Swift Artist Coordinator and Development Officer

Joshua Robinson Asst Artist Coordinator

Jack Hobbs Production Manager

David Howe Technical Manager

Edith Young Venue Manager

Dr. Chris Sainsbury Festival Cultural Advisor

AJ America Artistic Associate

Lyndell Wilson, Barbara Jesiolovski, Liz McKenzie Front of House Team

Jennifer Whipp Volunteer Coordinator

David Faraker Publications Editor

Dan Sloss Staff volunteer

Eugene Ughetti Artistic Director 2025

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