ASPIRE Festival Patron

John Curro AM MBE is both the founder and Director of Music for Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYO), conducting the Queensland Youth Symphony since its beginning in 1966. He is in demand as a conductor and tutor for professional and youth orchestras and festivals.

Mr Curro has been a guest conductor at the Tasmanian Conservatorium and Brisbane Philharmonic (also in 2010 and 2011) orchestras. In 2008, he conducted the Queensland Youth Symphony during its 11th international tour with critically acclaimed concerts in Germany, France and Italy.

Mr Curro has conducted many of Australia’s professional orchestras as well as many opera and ballet seasons in Australia. His guest conducting appearances include the London Virtuosi, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Australian and Bavarian Youth Orchestra, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout his distinguished career, Mr Curro has received many prestigious awards including Member of the Order of Australia and Member of the British Empire. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Queensland and Griffith University, Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow award, the Australian Music Centre (Qld) Award, the Don Banks Music Award, the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award, the Orchestras Australia Lifetime Achievement award and the Queensland Premier’s Millenium Award for Excellence in the Arts.


ASPIRE Festival Artistic Director

Peter Luff is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director (Performance and Engagement) at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU). He holds the position of Associate Principal Horn with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and is Vice President of the International Horn Society.

In 1987, after completing his Bachelor of Music in Performance at Adelaide University’s Elder Conservatorium, Peter moved to Brisbane to join the Horn section of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He has since completed a Master of Music degree in conducting at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

As a professional horn player he has performed with many Orchestras and ensembles, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Australian World Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Queensland Wind Soloists. He was also a founding member and solo horn of the internationally acclaimed chamber ensemble the Southern Cross Soloists who have performed in America, Canada, Japan, China, Korea and New Zealand. He has broadcast and recorded extensively with ABC classic FM and 4MBS FM.

Peter has conducted many ensembles and orchestras, including the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s Brass Ensemble, Bangalow Festival Orchestra, Macgregor Summer School Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra and Brass Ensemble.

Peter is in great demand as a Horn teacher. Many of his Horn graduates have secured permanent playing positions in national and international professional symphony orchestras. He has tutored for the Australian Youth Orchestra, Queensland Youth Orchestra, Australian National Academy of Music, University of Arkansas (USA), Korean National University and Shandong University (China). In 2010 Peter was the host of the 42nd International Horn Symposium, held for the first time in Australia. It was at this Symposium that the Advisory Council of the International Horn Society (IHS) presented him with the prestigious “Punto Award” to recognise his major contribution at a national level to the art of horn playing.

Peter currently lectures in Horn and brass studies at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and continues to pursue a busy career performing, teaching and conducting.


ASPIRE Festival Director

Yvonne Carr studied teaching at the Kelvin Grove Teachers’ College and University of Queensland and music at the Qld Conservatorium. During her long teaching career, Yvonne taught for Education Queensland, where she was a member of the Pilot Kodaly Program. She worked as Music Advisory Teacher for Education Queensland and was involved in the Fanfare and MOST Festivals. Moving into the Private GPS Sector, Yvonne was Director of Music at St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace for 16 years and then spent 4 years as Director of Music at the Anglican Church Grammar School "Churchie", two well known GPS schools in Brisbane. Yvonne has always believed that travel and competition allow young people the opportunity to achieve greatness and learn about different cultures.


ASPIRE Founder

Jamie Wansey, has extensive experience in the organisation of international, student group travel and events. Over the last thirteen years Jamie has proudly organised over 500 successful music trips, sports tours and educational trips. Jamie is owner – founder of Student Horizons and is proud the festival will help to promote and support the Student Horizons Foundation for disadvantaged youth.

Jamie’s enthusiasm for organising international travel for young people stems from the benefits that he himself accrued travelling and living all over the world. It is Jamie’s positive travel experiences that have fuelled his passion for promoting overseas educational and sport travel trips as a critical pillar in a young person’s development.

For Jamie the ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival represents an opportunity to bring students from around the world to connect through music and to do so in an environment that will raise aspirations for all that attend.

Father of three young children, Jamie is incredibly proud to own and run Student Horizons, a market leader in experiential travel for young people that aims to challenge students to broaden their horizons and grow in confidence.


Art Director & ASPIRE Festival Co-Founder

If anyone on the ASPIRE team knows about music, competition and travel it has to be Brooke; an experienced alto Saxophone player. Brooke played Saxophone throughout her college years from training in Year 7 through to performing in the Concert and Jazz bands.

Through experience, she knows exactly what it means to perform in public and the importance of having an audience to keep the ensemble motivated and inspired. Competition she saw as the icing on the cake which rewarded success and kept aspirations high.

During year 10, Brooke was selected to travel to LA, San Francisco and Chicago with the school band and still labels the tour as an unforgettable lifetime experience.

“Travelling to international competitions and events helped develop me as a person. It brought me out of my ‘shell’, strengthening friendships and independence, and cementing my musical aspirations. I was extremely proud to represent my school and country.”

Originally from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Brooke is now Brisbane based and has been heavily involved in the setup of ASPIRE. Her vast skillset, in addition to her music ability, has ensured ASPIRE is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the soul.

After completing her tertiary education with diplomas in Business and Design, Brooke worked for design agencies around the world including Sydney, London and New Zealand before going out on her own and developing the ASPIRE team.

Stephanie Schwarze

ASPIRE Event Marketing Events Assistant

Stephanie was born and raised in a small town close to Berlin, Germany. Her passion for traveling started at a young age, with her parents being keen travellers taking Stephanie and her brother on trips around Europe and Africa such as Greece, Spain, Turkey and Tunisia.

After completing her high schooling in 2009, Stephanie and her friends decided to do a Gap Year in Australia.

“My Gap Year in Australia definitely broadened my horizons, I was able to gain my first work experiences. It provided me opportunities for adventure as well as challenges. I certainly can say that my gap year in Australia helped me to gain confidence.”

Seven years onwards, Stephanie finished her Master of Marketing at Griffith University in July 2016. During her university years and after her graduation she travelled the world with her partner, parents, brother and extended family, experiencing the vibrant city of Tokyo, the beauty of Bali and Vanuatu, the gigantic Australian outback, the architecture in Europe and the pyramids in Egypt.

Stephanie’s passion for travel, music, and marketing brought her to Student Horizons. She is very excited to be part of the prestigious ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival.

“I am looking forward to creating an extraordinary and wonderful experience for the students and everyone else at the ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival. It is a great opportunity for the young musicians to share their passion for music with like-minded people from around the world, and to learn from globally renowned adjudicators.”

Jason Barry-Smith

ASPIRE Ambassador

Jason Barry-Smith’s study in Brisbane, Munich, London and Rome led him to a singing career where he’s a familiar and commanding presence on the Australian operatic stage, and is equally in demand as a singing teacher, conductor, and arranger.

With 39 opera and music theatre roles in his repertoire, Jason is an exceptionally versatile performer who is a firm favorite with Australian audiences. He has performed premieres of operas, musicals, and concert works with symphony orchestras in Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania, and New Zealand, as well as with the Queensland Pops Orchestra, and operas all around Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Japan. Many of these performances have been captured on CD and DVD.

As a musical director and chorus master, Jason has contributed to music theatre productions such as Into the Woods, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and The Merry Widow. He’s also conducted and arranged for some of Australia’s best loved artists as musical director of the nationally televised Christmas spectaculars, The Lord Mayor’s Carols (2005) and Carols in the City (2011 to 2013).

In 2014, Jason took on the role of Creative Director for the critically-acclaimed Project Puccini – an Opera Queensland initiative in which regional Queensland performers became the chorus members for a professional production of La Boheme; and is following it up again in 2016 with Project Rossini – The Barber of Seville.

Jason is also a much admired singing teacher, and many of his students are currently starring in shows around Australia, on the West End, and on Broadway. He has held the postitions of Sessional Singing Teacher at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, and Director – Young and Developing Artist Program at Opera Queensland.

"I'm truly honoured to be an Ambassador for Student Horizons, a company that I've only been introduced to recently, which is passionate about making a real difference to students' lives through high-level international experiences. I have been blessed with the many extraordinary opportunities I've had to study and work overseas, and Student Horizons understands the incomparable value of these kinds of possibilities for young people and their futures.”

For more information




Festival Director

+ 61 (0) 415 248 842


Jamie Wansey
Festival Event Manager

+61 (0) 406 107 211