Excelsis
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MUSIC TEAM
Tom Buchanan
Tom Buchanan
Musical Director
Tom Buchanan completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the School of Music - Conservatorium of Monash University in 2006. During his studies Tom was the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, most notably the Joan Earle Prize for excellence in piano studies, both in 2002 and 2004, and the first prize in the Monash University Concerto Competition, both in 2002 and 2006. Since completing his studies Tom has worked as a conductor, accompanist, concert pianist and chamber musician, performing throughout Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. Tom is currently the Musical Director of the Australian Welsh Male Choir, the Mornington Peninsula Chorale and Excelsis. In addition to these roles, Tom also regularly performs as a pianist in a number of different chamber ensembles. In 2012 Tom had the opportunity to work with the internationally renowned Welsh conductor, Dr Alwyn Humphreys MBE, accompanying a large-scale choral concert which Dr Humphreys was conducting in Melbourne.

Tom is a firm believer in the benefits of community music and has been an active participant and supporter of various community choirs and orchestras since completing his music studies in 2006. Through his work with Excelsis Tom enjoys having the opportunity to introduce sacred choral repertoire to the Catholic liturgy in an effort to enhance people’s personal experience of the Mass.
Mina Yu
Mina Yu
Principal Accompanist
Mina Yu completed her Master of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music in 2015, and her Bachelor of Music degree at Berklee College of Music in 2012. Whilst at the Manhattan School of Music, she was the recipient of many awards, including the CJ Culture Scholarship and MSM Scholarship for academic results and merit. She has performed as a jazz pianist, accompanist and music director in a number of New York City's most prestigious concert venues, including Carnegie Hall, Columbia University and New York Live Arts. Mina has also undertaken international tours of South Korea, England and Switzerland. Since relocating to Melbourne, she has performed her original music at the Paris Cat and Darebin Music Feast. She currently teaches piano at Chambers Music. In addition to her work as a pianist, Mina is also an accomplished composer, and regularly works for off-Broadway productions.

Having grown up in a church in Korea, Mina believes that the quality of music is a crucial element in community and worship. She loves playing with choirs and is very excited to make music with Excelsis.
Grant Furneaux
Grant Furneaux
Accompanist
Grant Furneaux completed his Bachelor of Education (Secondary), together with his Associate Diploma of Performance for Trinity College, London, in 1988, before moving to Victoria to begin a teaching career which has seen him work in State, Independent and Catholic Educational sectors over the past 27 years, where he has become known as a music educator of great vision and innovation. More recently, in 2013 he completed his Masters of Music Studies at Melbourne University in 18 months whilst maintaining a full time Educational Role. During this time he worked with Australian choral conductor and composer, Stephen Leek, studied concert band direction with Monte Mumford and orchestral direction with John Hopkins, shortly before his death in 2014. Grant is an avid composer and arranger, having completed many works for school and community ensembles. He has an extensive profile of accompanying individuals for exams, including VCE and university students, choirs and chamber ensembles, and musically directing many music tours and stage productions. As a result he is an accompanist that is equally comfortable playing a piece of demanding written music, as well as improvising off a chord chart. He has been a church pianist for 30 years and loves nothing more than ushering people into God’s presence through the music he creates. He is most humbled and excited at the opportunity of working with Excelsis.
Fiona Thompson
Fiona Thompson
Accompanist
Fiona Thompson completed her Bachelor of Music at the School of Music - Conservatorium of Monash University in 2005. Whilst at Monash University, Fiona studied piano under Dr Kenji Fujimura and was the recipient of many awards, including the Ernst Morawetz Prize for the best academic result in 2004. Fiona has also received an Associate Diploma in Music (Piano) through the Australian Music Examinations Board and a Diploma of Education (Secondary) through the University of Melbourne. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in a number of Melbourne’s most prestigious concert venues, including the BMW Edge Auditorium at Federation Square. Fiona also plays regularly for weddings and church services around Melbourne, and performs as an accompanist with both soloists and choirs. She currently teaches piano at Yarra Valley Grammar School, Tintern Girls Grammar School and Eltham College. In addition to her work as a pianist, Fiona is also an accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist, and has experience conducting and performing in both orchestras and choirs.
Edina Saputra
Edina Saputra
Honorary Accompanist
Edina studied classical piano under the tutelage of Mr Stephen Sulungan in Bandung, Indonesia, from the age of four. Upon completing her Eight Grade classical piano examination through The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in 2004, Edina received the highest score awarded, nationwide, in Indonesia. In addition to her classical studies, Edina also studied jazz piano with Buntoro Nugroho in Bandung, and later with Peter Hurley in Melbourne. Whilst living in Bandung, Edina was the principal accompanist of Gita Bahana and the assistant accompanist of Studio Cantorum, one of Indonesia’s most renowned choirs. In 2006 Edina moved to Melbourne where she undertook a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) at Monash University, completing her studies in 2009. In addition to her performance experience, Edina is also a known arranger and composer. In 2008 she composed an original soundtrack for the short movie, Pelangi, which received local distribution. Edina was the principal accompanist of Excelsis from the choir’s establishment in late 2013 until the end of 2015, and her expertise and invaluable contribution to the life of the choir has been greatly appreciated by all who have been involved with the choir. In 2016, upon her return to Indonesia, Excelsis nominated Edina to the role of 'Honorary Accompanist' in recognition of her generous contribution to the choir during its formative years.
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