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Michael Thompson



Michael’s professional journey is diverse, transitioning from an engineering background to a career in filmmaking. Throughout this journey, he has gained a profound appreciation for the pivotal role music plays in storytelling, recognizing its ability to draw on emotions and enhance the impact of visual narratives.

Today, Michael serves as the dedicated Secretary for MTASA. In this role, he diligently manages administrative tasks, organizes meetings, and ensures the smooth operation of the organization. His attention to detail and commitment to his responsibilities reflect the same dedication and passion that he’s shown in all his endeavors. 

Samantha Penny



Samantha Penny is an award-winning woodwind and string teacher with over 20 years of experience in the profession. Her studies at the University of Adelaide included a Bachelor of Music (Honours) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). Sam later completed a Graduate Certificate in Music Teaching, to which she credits with improving her teaching practice and deepening her understanding of the role of the instrumental music teacher. She has completed professional development with Dr Anita Collins, becoming a certified Bigger Better Brains Facilitator and furthering her passion for music education advocacy.

Sam teaches Violin, Viola, Cello, Flute and Bassoon privately and in schools including Brighton Secondary School, Westminster School, Emmaus Christian College and St Johns Grammar School. She is involved in many curricular and co-curricular programmes including Year 3 Strings and Year 5 Specialist Strings. Sam directs numerous ensembles, including both award-winning Emmaus Chamber Ensembles, and this year she has founded Fusion Strings at Westminster School to give students access to eclectic music that they would not usually encounter on their instruments.

Sam serves as the Treasurer and is an active councillor of the Music Teachers’ Association of South Australia, and enjoys the opportunity to use her accountancy and business management skills to serve the music education community. Sam founded Art Design By Sam in 2017, to produce useful music teaching resources, and designed a music diary for the MTASA which has recently sold out.

Sam is also a member of the Flute Society of SA, the Australasian Double Reed Society and the Australian Strings Association. Sam is a regular performer in the Adelaide Music Scene and is a founding member of the Glenhuntly Quartet.

Music is a driving passion in Sam’s life, which she shares with her husband Alex, a music teacher, and their three children.


Sofie Arhontoulis



A graduate of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide,
holding a Bachelor of Music. Apart from being a gigging musician since graduating in
1991, Sofie has been teaching piano in South Australia since 1994 in schools across
Adelaide, such as Prince Alfred College and her private studio Saili Music. Sofie has over 25
years professional experience in the teaching and performing industry, performing live and
as a studio musician. Sofie partnered with Arty Kids to create Kidz Jam Factor, which held
combined holiday art/music workshops for kids at local community and OSHC centres.
Sofie is President of MTASA, and chairs a Sub-committee of MER, Music Education
Roundtable of SA. She has toured as a musician interstate and overseas and is in demand as
a premium pianist in the Greek community. She has been Director for many concerts over
the years and coordinates music education programs, children’s concerts, and events for
local festivals. For over 15 years Sofie has been teaching Music classes at the boutique
school of Saint Spyridon College, Unley, and awards include the South Australian
Government Volunteer Award and Don Burrows Award.
A solo mother who is raising four children, Sofie has first-hand knowledge of home practice
with children, in education and life.

Emmy Zhou

International Correspondence (asia pacific) 


Emmy Zhou, the esteemed International Correspondence representative for the Music Teachers Association of South Australia (MTASA) in the Asia-Pacific region, not only bridges musical connections across borders but also plays a pivotal role in onboarding new international teachers to the MTASA community. With a dedicated focus on fostering global collaboration, Emmy ensures a seamless integration process for educators joining the association from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Emmy’s responsibilities extend beyond establishing and maintaining communication channels; she actively facilitates the smooth entry of new international teachers into the MTASA family. Her welcoming approach and commitment to providing support and guidance contribute significantly to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for educators joining from various parts of the world.

Through Emmy’s efforts, the MTASA continues to thrive as a hub for cross-cultural exchange, where music educators can share experiences, ideas, and expertise. Emmy Zhou’s dual role as an International Correspondence representative and a facilitator of onboarding initiatives underscores her dedication to building a global community that values the richness of diversity within the field of music education.

Wendy Heiligenberg

International Correspondence ( eu )


Wendy Heiligenberg, in her role as the International Correspondence representative for the European region and Vice-President of the Music Teachers Association of South Australia (MTASA), goes above and beyond to support students and educators who arrive in Adelaide seeking a vibrant music education network.

Wendy serves as a welcoming liaison, offering valuable guidance and resources to those newcomers, ensuring they seamlessly integrate into the rich musical landscape of South Australia. For educators, she provides insights into local teaching practices, curriculum nuances, and collaborative opportunities within the MTASA community. Wendy’s role extends to facilitating connections between international teachers and local mentors, fostering a mentorship culture that enhances professional development and cultural exchange.

Wendy actively engages with students, helping them navigate the local music educaction scene and providing information on educational opportunities, workshops, and events. Her efforts extend to connecting students with like-minded peers and mentors, creating a supportive environment for them to thrive in their musical journeys.

Wendy Heiligenberg’s commitment to building a robust international community within the MTASA ensures that arriving students and educators feel not only welcomed but also seamlessly integrated into the broader musical network of Adelaide. Through her leadership, Wendy plays a vital role in shaping Adelaide as a destination where individuals from diverse backgrounds can find a nurturing and collaborative environment for their music educaction pursuits.

2022-23 COUNCIL (Executive)

PRESIDENT: Sofie Arhontoulis


VICE-PRESIDENT: Wendy Heiligenberg 

SECRETARY: Michael Thompson

TREASURER: Samantha Penny


Sofie Arhontoulis

Pete Barter

Wendy Heiligenberg

Masako Kondo

Zuoyu Liu

Yong Cheong Lye

Samantha Penny

Rodney Smith OAM

Yuxin Men

Emmy Zhou



Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC and Mr Rod Bunten

Dr Doreen Bridges AM

Emeritus Professor David Lockett AM

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