Conference organisation, Patrons and Director Emeritus


​​Conference organisation

The Maryborough Music Conference is administered by North Coast Region on behalf of the Queensland Government Department of Education.  North Coast region is one of seven education regions in the state of Queensland, Australia, containing over 220 state schools and stretching from north of Brisbane in the south to Bundaberg in the north.  The conference is held in the town of Maryborough, which is located within North Coast Region and part of the beautiful Fraser Coast in Queensland.  

Conference directors Mike Tyler (Principal Education Officer – State Schools) and Tracey Young (Regional Music Coordinator – North Coast) lead the conference organisation along with the State Music Coordination team and business units within the Department of Education.  From 2020, stakeholder consultation groups will inform conference planning and programming.  Consultation groups include stakeholders from both public and private education, professional associations, tertiary institutions and the music industry, to continue to ensure delivery of the most relevant and up to date content at each conference.


Dr Bruce Pearson

Bruce Pearson is a world-renowned music educator, author, composer, and clinician. He was recognised as the first patron for the Maryborough Music conference in 2007.

He is the author of the Standard of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method, which has been regarded as the most important contribution to the band music field in the last three decades since for his first contribution, Best In Class.

His newer method, the Tradition of Excellence, is co-authored with Ryan Nowlin. It is a performance-centered curriculum that seamlessly blends time-tested and innovative pedagogy with cutting-edge technology. Dr. Pearson's Excellence in Chamber Music books are correlated with Tradition of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method. He has published numerous repertoire pieces also correlated to Tradition of Excellence and Standard of Excellence method books.

He also co-authored the Standard of Excellence Jazz Ensemble Method and the Standard of Excellence Advanced Jazz Ensemble Method with Dean Sorenson.

In addition to his method books and repertoire, Dr. Pearson is well-known as a composer of many widely performed compositions for concert band and jazz ensemble. He has led clinics in all fifty of the United States and has been guest conductor and clinician, by invitation, of countries throughout the Pacific Rim, Asia, Europe, and the Canadian provinces.

Dr. Pearson has taught at the elementary, junior high, high school, and college levels for over forty years. Twice nominated for the prestigious Excellence in Education Award, he was recognised as "most outstanding in the field of music" for the state of Minnesota. In December 1998, Dr. Pearson, 'in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music education,' was awarded the prestigious Midwest International Clinic Band and Orchestra Conference Medal of Honor.

Dr. Pearson continues to serve as a guest lecturer, clinician, and conductor in addition to his work as a composer, arranger, and author. He and his wife Dee have been married for over fifty years, have three children and nine grandchildren.

Bruce has visited the Maryborough Music Conference over 8 times since its inception and has conducted the delegate concert band ensemble on more than one occasion.  

For more information on Dr Bruce Pearson, his publications and comprehensive music education career, visit his website.

Dr Ralph Hultgren AM

Ralph Hultgren was born in Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, and now resides in Newmarket, Queensland. Dr Hultgren is a freelance teacher, composer and conductor who began his professional music career as a trumpet player in 1970 with the Central Band of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Dr Hultgren was admitted as a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) on Australia Day, 2016, for significant service to the arts, particularly music education, as an academic, composer and publisher, and to professional organisations.

Dr Hultgren was honoured by being made Patron of the Maryborough Music Conference, Australia’s largest music education event, an honour which the most prestigious accolade is given by Education Queensland for significant contributions to music education.

For more information on Dr Ralph Hultgren, his musical history, publications and comprehensive music education career, visit his website.

James Morrison AM

The name "James Morrison" is known throughout the world for his sheer brilliance as a jazz musician and an all round entertainer. He is constantly on the move, touring everywhere and anywhere fine music has an audience. His recordings are best-sellers and James works with the cream of the world's best performers. Ray Brown called him "The Genius" and Dizzy Gillespie called him "One of The Best" but Wynton Marsalis summed it up: "Man, James Morrison can play!"

​James Morrison is, by anybody's standard, a virtuoso in the true sense of the word. Besides the trumpet, this multi-instrumentalist also plays piano, all the brass, saxophones, and double bass.

At the age of 7, he was given his first instrument, at 9 he formed his first band and at 13 he was playing professionally in nightclubs. His international career developed just as quickly. At age sixteen James debuted in the USA with a breathtaking concert at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Following this were performances at the big festivals in Europe including Montreux, Pori, North Sea, Nice and Bern – playing with many of the legends of jazz. Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Woody Shaw, Red Rodney, George Benson, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Ray Brown and Wynton Marsalis to name a few. There were also gigs in the world's most famous jazz clubs – The Blue Note and Village Vanguard in New York, the New Morning in Paris, The Tokyo Blue Note and Ronnie Scott's in London.

When not writing film scores, composing or serving as patron of some of Australia's major music institutions, James relaxes in some fairly unconventional ways for a musician – flying his private plane or driving in a rally championship. His love of cars is well known as he was a host on the TV program Top Gear Australia.

James has been recognised for his service to the arts in Australia by being appointed a member of The Order of Australia with particular mention of his contribution to music education. He is a Doctor of the University at Queensland Conservatorium of Music and has received a Doctor of Music from the Edith Cowan University Western Australia and the University of Adelaide. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Australia and Vice-Chancellor's Professorial Fellow.

The latest chapter in his diverse career has seen ​James in Mount Gambier, South Australia, establishing the James Morrison Academy of Music (JMA), an innovative school dedicated to teaching jazz and offering a Bachelor Degree in Music. This exciting initiative involves educators from all over the world, transforming young musicians' lives with inspiration and a love of jazz.​

Mike Tyler

Mike Tyler has extensive experience in music and arts education, music performance and arts business and is currently the Queensland Government Department of Education's Principal Education Officer responsible for Arts education. From 1985–1998, Mike lectured part-time at the University of Queensland.

In 2005, he was appointed by the Minister for Education as chair of the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) Queensland Advisory Committee and as a Federal Director of AMEB Ltd. He held the positions of Deputy Chair of the Board in 2006 and from 2010-12, and Chair from 2007–2009 and 2013–present. Mike is also an AMEB examiner.

Mike is a member of the University of Queensland's Bachelor of Arts Advisory Board and the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University Industry Advisory Board. He also serves as a Board member of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition and Festival.

In July 2017, Mike was honoured to be recognised as the fourth Patron of the Maryborough Music Conference.

In December 2017, at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Conference in Chicago, Mike was presented with the prestigious International Award for his contribution to instrumental music education.

Director Emeritus

Kenneth (Ken) Hodgkinson

Ken started playing cornet at an early age in the local brass band and competed as a soloist at many brass band state championships. At the age of 13 he won the Queensland Junior Championship, and two years later won the State Open Bb Cornet Championship. In 1973, he was selected to record and tour with the Queensland Concert Band and State Junior Brass Band.

After completing school, he gained an apprenticeship at Walkers limited and graduated as a first-class machinist.

Ken began his teaching career in the Gladstone area in 1979 before transferring back to his home town of Maryborough in 1984. He has had the privilege of working alongside some distinguished teachers and with them developed formidable school based ensembles.

After completing his Bachelor​ of Teaching in 1994, he was appointed to the position as the Wide Bay Music Coordinator and then North Coast Regional Music Coordinator after departmental restructure.

It was during this time that he flagged the idea of developing a major music conference for music educators in our schools. With the support of Mike Tyler and other Regional Music Coordinators the Maryborough Music Conference was launched in 2001.

Last updated 10 May 2022