Our Conductors

Current Conductors

David Keeffe

David Keeffe - conductor

David Keeffe is a conductor, composer and horn player, and has conducted a wide range of music groups, from orchestras to opera and choirs.

He is music director of Oakleigh Brass, and assistant conductor of Boroondara Symphonic Band and the Maroondah Symphony Orchestra and was honoured to be the Music Director for Monash Carols by Candlelight in December 2017.

As a composer, David is a Represented Artist (Associate) at the Australian Music Centre, and has had works played by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Oakleigh Brass, the Defence Force School of Music Band, Heidelberg Wind Ensemble, the Grainger Wind Symphony, the Guildhall School of Music Horn Choir and Sydney’s Bourbaki Ensemble. Recent works include: The Eternal Triangle and St Kilda, both for symphony orchestra; In Time Like Glass, a song cycle for baritone, oboe and piano; and Pasquino and Neon Lights, both for wind ensemble. His most recently premiered work for brass is For the Fallen, a setting of part of Laurence Binyon’s poem, with solo baritone.

Originally from England, David studied horn, composition and conducting at Trinity College of Music and then at the University of York where he was awarded a BA in music. In more recent times, he was awarded a Fellowship of Trinity College, London in Horn performance and has recently graduated with a PhD in Music Composition at the University of Melbourne, where he also teaches

Marie-Louise Wright

Conductor Marie Louise Wright

Marie-Louise was born in Graz Austria and at age 11 she came to Australia, where she was introduced to the Violin via the free in schools music programme which allowed all state school students to learn an instrument.

During her time at Preston Technical School she was able to conduct the House Choir for an inter House Choir Competition. This fleeting moment of conducting whetted her appetite for conducting, but it was many years before it came to fruition.

Marie-Louise studied Violin with Tim Wachtel, Zefferino Mendes and Warwick Stengards and conducting with Robert Rosen and Peter Clinch. She has attended International Conducting Workshops in Brisbane with Marvin Rabin, William L Jones and Robert Culver, as well as attending Symphony Australia workshops as an observer in Melbourne and Tasmania. As well she took part in The Beat Starts Here in Adelaide and a conducting workshop with the Royal Australian Navy Band.

Marie-Louise currently conducts the U3A Hawthorn Orchestra, Surrey Hills Orchestra, Eltham Orchestra and its two string ensembles. She set up and taught the strings programme at Briar Hill Primary School for 16 years, from which she has only recently retired. She was past conductor of Henry Touzeau Strings for Melbourne Youth Music, Preston Junior Strings and Victorian Concert Orchestra. Marie-Louise has conducted many operettas by Gilbert & Sullivan and Johann Strauss. She has also conducted many musical theatre productions including her favourites: Oklahoma, The Pirates of Penzance and most recently Beauty and the Beast for Diamond Valley Singers. Marie-Louise has also been privileged to conduct 8 out of the 9 Beethoven Symphonies. Her favourite music is Ballet especially that of the Romantic Era and her long term ambition is to conduct Ballet and Operetta.

Previous Conductors

Gyula [Jules] Cseszkó

Gyula Cseszko

Born in Adelaide to Hungarian and Dutch parents, Jules obtained a Bachelor degree in Music Performance on the viola and made his conducting debut at the Adelaide Town Hall.

Conductor Henry Krips commented after observing Jules at this performance, that the “young man showed great promise”.

Moving to Melbourne in 2002, he commenced a Master’s degree in Conducting at Melbourne University, and while studying under  Professor John Hopkins OBE he conducted the  Melbourne University Orchestra on numerous occasions. Jules has also studied with conductors Nicholas Braithwaite, Carl Crossin, Shalom Ronly-Riklis, Carlo Felice Cillario.

Significant performances include the Geelong Advertiser’s Concerto Competition, a program including the Barber Violin Concerto, Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2 and the Vine Piano Concerto. Other performances included the Melbourne premier performance of Natalie William’s Chambers of the South, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Schumann’s Piano Concerto.

Jules has conducted the Ballarat Symphony, the Victorian Youth Symphony, the Preston Symphony, the Heidelberg Symphony, Apollo Health Music Society, the Diamond Valley & Eltham Community Orchestra and directed the Henri Touzeau Strings and Margaret Sutherland Melbourne Youth Music.

From mid 2003, Jules spent two years conducting and teaching in America, including the role Director of the Orchestral program at Greater Atlanta Christian School and as conductor of the Da Salo Solisti.

Australia called Jules and his family back to Melbourne; and now being more appreciative of his home country, he enjoys being engaged as permanent conductor for the Frankston Symphony Orchestra & Peninsular Music Society Choir after stepping in for the last rehearsal to perform Haydn’s Oratorio “The Creation”. He has also been busy as a replacement conductor at Canterbury Girls Secondary College Orchestra; the Monash Chorale; and as Tutor for Melbourne University undergraduate conducting class. Jules has also served as Conductor and Manager of the University’s Conductor’s Orchestra.

Jules considers it a joyous privilege to make music with The Orchestra of U3A Hawthorn.

Willem van der Vis

Willem Van Der Vis

New Zealand born Willem van der Vis gained a B.Sc (Hons) in physics before focusing on music, playing principal cello with the Dunedin Sinfonia and New Zealand Symphony Training Orchestra.

In 1979 he moved to Australia, where he became a member of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Other orchestras he has played with include the New Zealand, Tasmanian, State Orchestra of Victoria, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras.

As an orchestral cellist, he was always fascinated by how a conductor interacted with and communicated music to an orchestra. This led him to complete his B.mus. (conducting) at the WAAPA and the VCA (Robert Rosen); and subsequent conducting studies in Moscow, England, and the Czech Republic. He is presently enjoying further study with John Hopkins in Melbourne.

Willem is now Musical director of the Maroondah Symphony Orchestra, the Murray Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra, and Margaret Sutherland Strings. He has also conducted the New Monash and Stonnington Symphony Orchestras, the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra and Choral Society, the Murray River Three Choirs Festival, the Kooyong Chamber Players, and many stage shows.

He works actively in music camps and workshops around Australia, including Orchestra Victoria's mOVe Bendigo 2004, where he also led workshops in the practice of conducting.