Natasha Knopper, a prize-winning trombonist and accomplished pianist, is an adjunct faculty member at Avondale College in Australia, where she is currently the band director and serves as an accompanist. She also serves as an accompanist for solo competitions and recitals.
Natasha began taking piano lessons in 1990 at age nine, and two years later, in 1992, began study on the trombone. Four years later she began competing in the junior (under age nineteen) trombone section at the Australian National Band Championships, where she won 2nd place, with a score of 85, one point behind the 1st place winner.
She subsequently placed in this category of competition for three more years, winning 1st place in 1999, her last year of eligibility. Because of a Sabbath conflict, she was unable to compete in the Champion of Champions event at this festival. In the previous year, she had auditioned to play in the New South Wales state schools Instrumental Music Festival and was the only soloist chosen to play in that event, which was held in the Sydney Opera House.
Knopper earned an associate diploma in trombone performance (ATCL), a licentiate diploma in piano (LTCL) and an AMusTCL in music theory from Trinity College of London, in June 1999. She was invited at that time to play in the Waratah Brass, a National A Grade championship brass band. The following year, that group won the Ern Keller Trophy for its fourth consecutive year, an accomplishment it repeated again in 2001 and 2002. She continues to play in that ensemble as well as the Belles of Brass, an all-female brass band that fundraises for charities.
In 2000, Knopper began study for a B.A. in music performance at Avondale College, studying trombone with Ron Prussing, principal trombonist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She also competed at the national level in the open Tenor Trombone Solo category that year and placed second. Two years later, she again competed in an unusually large field and placed third. In June of that year, she won the Hunter Regional Young Musician of the Year Award.
From January to May of 2001, Knopper played in the New England Youth Ensemble while attending Columbia Union College in the U.S. with a full scholarship. As a member of the Columbia Union Concert Winds she traveled with them to Germany, Austria, and Italy and performed with the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Carnegie Hall.
Knopper completed a B.Mus. in trombone performance with first class honors at Newcastle University in 2004. She also received a Faculty Medal of that year for her Performance Research Studies. She began teaching at AC in 2007.
Sources: Vita and information provided by Natasha Knopper, 2008.