Dr Robert Manley is a multi-instrumentalist, music teacher, and emerging academic. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Queensland in 2022, Rob commenced as a piano teacher and resident accompanist at New England Conservatorium of Music in January 2023. Currently serving as President of the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland, Rob previously worked as a regular pianist at Queensland Ballet, the University of Queensland, and the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition.
Rob studied the piano with Veronica Berry in Rockhampton, Joyce Skelton in Brisbane, and later the cello with Howard Penny in Melbourne at the Australian National Academy of Music. As a cellist, Rob has worked with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. As a recorder player, Rob performed a Vivaldi concerto with the QSO after studying with virtuoso Dr Barnaby Ralph for several years. Rob’s experience across a range of instrument groups informs his special interest in working with orchestral reductions as a piano accompanist.
Rob’s work as a researcher and composer focusses on engaging audiences with classical music in regional Australia. His PhD thesis drew on social capital as a theoretical framework to investigate the music identities and engagement strategies of chamber musicians in a regional Queensland community. Rob co-composed Light Bathing (2019)—a classical/folk crossover work recently arranged by Emily Sheppard for premiere by the string section of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 2023. 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.