The Pinchgut Team

  Sarah Gilchrist   General Manager

Sarah Gilchrist

General Manager

  Alison Johnston   Artistic Manager

Alison Johnston

Artistic Manager

  Andrew Johnston   Operations Manager

Andrew Johnston

Operations Manager

  Ilona Brooks   Marketing and Admin Executive

Ilona Brooks

Marketing and Admin Executive


Pinchgut Board


Norman Gillespie - Chair

With A BA (Double Hons) in Music and English Literature, and a PhD at London University in English 17th and early 18th century English Theatre Music, Norman's chances of gainful employment were drastically increased by entering the UK Civil Service to be trained in Finance and Tax legislation.  A corporate career followed in oil exploration and telecommunications in BP as Tax Controller of BP Exploration in the North Sea (Glasgow), Head of the Chairman and CEO's Private Office (London), Director of Planning for BP Exploration in the US (Houston), Finance Director of Cable & Wireless (London) and CFO of Optus (Sydney).  Combining his passion for the Arts and Business he was appointed CEO of Sydney Opera House, served on the Board of Australian Business Arts Foundation under James Strong and became Deputy Chair of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.  In 2010 Norman entered the world of humanitarian and overseas development as CEO of UNICEF Australia and represented the worldwide network of National Committees as Chair at the UN.  Currently utilising his experience to mentor and consult with Australian Entrepreneurs and as Executive Director of The Orana Foundation and Co-Chair of the University of Adelaide Scientific Research Committee (Native Food), bringing the extraordinary sophistication of Indigenous food culture and practice to wider recognition.  He was appointed to the Board of Pinchgut Opera in 2013.

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John Pitman

Armed with a degree in Biological Anthropology from Cambridge University, UK, John turned his back on primatology and instead spent six years with The Dow Chemical Company, before completing an MBA at IMD in Switzerland.  In 1996, seeking more sunshine, he joined Coca-Cola Amatil in Sydney, Australia, where he spent four years as Head of Commercial Planning. In 2000, he joined the Sydney based News Corporation - Softbank vehicle, "e-Ventures", as Chief Operating Officer.  Eschewing the corporate world, John then took on the role of Managing Director at a privately owned accessories wholesale business, where he remained for 12 years. He is currently CEO of Krunchbox and has an alter ego as a professional musician. 


Mark Gaal

Mark is Director, Vocational Studies at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art). A graduate of University of Queensland and NIDA, Mark has directed plays, musicals and operas for some of Australia's leading performing arts organisations including Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir Street Theatre, Opera Australia and at NIDA. Mark was Director/CEO of ATYP and has worked in the UK and Germany for The Really Useful Group. He directed live productions for television's Hi-5 which toured nationally and to Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and the UK.


Jeremy Davis

Jeremy is a company director and strategy consultant.  With an MBA from Stanford, he spent ten years with The Boston Consulting Group in the USA and Europe.  He then was appointed Dean of the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW, where he is now an emeritus Professor.  Jeremy has served as a Director of a wide range of companies and institutions including Transurban, Singapore Power and the Australian Stock Exchange.


Virginia Braden OAM

Virginia has experience working in the Arts both in Australia and overseas. She established her firm Arts Management Pty Limited in 1979, providing personal management for over a hundred and fifty Australian and international conductors, instrumentalists, singers, directors and designers.   The firm also undertook range of projects in all fields of the arts including the administration of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and the Portia Geach Portrait Prize for Women and a number of other projects. She handed over Arts Management to new owners in 2008 and is now undertaking freelance consulting. She has been Director of several Boards including Craft Australia, the Seymour Group, The Song Company and was Chairman of the Australasian Association of Classical Music Managers. She served as Deputy Chairman (1999-2000) and then Chairman (2000-2003) of the UK based International Artist Managers’ Association which has a membership of over 500 firms of artist managers worldwide. She was a Director of Opera Australia 2010-2017 and Director of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) 2010-16. She continues as a member of the NIDA Audit, Finance and Risk Committee. In 2013-2015 she undertook a review for the Board of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, making recommendations for the wide reaching update of the Competition and then implementing them in time for the 2016 Competition becoming a Director of the Board in December 2016. Virginia has provided career advice and mentoring to a wide range of artists and arts managers over a number of years. She is an Honorary Life Member of the International Artist Managers’ Association and the Australian Music Centre.   She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to Arts Administration in 2010.