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Our Team

Zulya Kamalova



Zulya Kamalova is an ARIA award winning and highly respected artist, producer and communicator. She has rich experiences covering many areas – from art creation, direction and production to promotion, management, and administration. Over her career she has made much multifaceted and critically acclaimed work. Hailing from Tatarstan in central Russia, she is known for her original music inspired by her Tatar and Australian identity and has led numerous inter-disciplinary creative projects. A “Distinguished Artist of Tatarstan”, Zulya has produced ten albums to date solo and with The Children of the Underground and has toured internationally. Zulya’s music has been featured on compilation albums released by Putumayo (USA); BBC Radio (UK); ABC Classics’ and many others. 

Therese Virtue OAM

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Therese Virtue taught in the Western suburbs of Melbourne for more than 10 years before working as a singer and subsequently an organiser with The Boîte. She has sung with some of Melbourne's most adventurous folk ensembles including Il Gruppo Folcloristico Italiano, the award-winning Petrunka, and now twists her tongue around the consonants of traditional Georgian polyphonic song. She directs three community choirs. Therese has been involved with The Boîte since 1984, and as Boîte World Music Cafe Co-ordinator for the past 30 years has organised and presented approximately 2000 intimate concerts featuring artists from over 40  communities. For more than 30 years she has been a presenter of the Boîte World Music radio programs on 3ZZZ FM, 3PBS and 3CR. A warm and approachable person with a formidable knowledge of the Australian music scene, she is highly respected by artists from many communities.

Leah Healy

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Members and Donors

Leah has a background in event management and music festivals, with a passion for community and the arts and music from diverse cultures. In 2009 she started working with The Boîte after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Music Business. Originally in admin, and later moving to work on the major projects, Boite World Music Cafe, Millennium Chorus, Schools Chorus and Singers' Festival. For 5 years she has enjoyed co-presenting on The Boîte's radio program, Music Sans Frontieres. Her schedule of work has included event producer, artist manager, booking agent, tour manager and festival organiser. There is no end to her appetite for music and culture and she strongly believes in the benefits of bringing music into people's lives.

Ellen Yee Ning Chan


Marketing Officer, Portfolio Project Co-ordinator

Ellen was born in Hong Kong and moved to Sydney at the age of 5. After completing her Bachelor of Music in Canberra she moved to Naarm (Melbourne) with her band Moaning Lisa, who she is the lead guitarist for. Ellen has a passion for building community, championing for accessibility in venues and helping other culturally diverse musicians build capacity and skills to navigate the music industry in Australia. 

Claudine Edwards


Arts Administrator

Claudine has an extensive background in event coordination and arts administration. She has worked in various roles with independent festivals, and spent 17 years in local government delivering both venue based and off site public events and festivals. Most recently she has worked closely with emerging theatre programs and the development of pathways for artists who identify with a disability, are culturally diverse, or from First Nations backgrounds. She is passionate about community engagement projects and programs which respond directly to marginalised or underrepresented communities.

Bec James


Project Manager, Boîte Schools Chorus and Boîte Millennium Chorus

Bec James is an artist and has had a passion for music throughout her life. She was a member of The Australian Girls Choir and continued this love of singing in several bands as an adult. Now managing her business, ’Bec’s Treehouse Art School’, which she has run for over 15 years and has brought joy to thousands of children across Australia at festivals, shopping centres and artist residencies. 

Bec was the Artistic Director of Richmond’s iconic lantern festival, “Under One Moon”, and has previously worked for several councils and community centres. As well as her role as The Boîte Schools Chorus Project Co-ordinator, Bec currently creates commissions, runs residencies and teaches art classes for children from her studio. 

Tara Gallop-Brennan

Our Volunteers

Con Pagonis



Con commenced as a volunteer with The Boite in mid-2022. He has also volunteered with Welcoming Cities and the Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria since 2015. Prior to that Con had a public sector career as a federal, state, and local government migrant settlement and multicultural affairs policy and program manager. Con has lived and worked in Canberra, Sydney, Hobart, and Melbourne; always collaborating closely with the community and NFP sectors around Australia. 

Madeleine Thorburn

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Maddie is a lover of Melbourne’s expansive arts industry and started volunteering for the Boite in 2023. She has a Master of Arts and Cultural Management and works in the museums and gallery sector, currently at Museums Victoria. She enjoys dabbling in violin, playing bass guitar and seeking out new music to listen to in her spare time, which was one of her main motivations for joining the Boite.

Our Committee


Anthony Schulz

Chair since 2022

An individual voice in Australian improvised music, Anthony Schulz has developed a sound world that strives to dispel preconceptions of the piano accordion. It is through a lens of seemingly disparate musical forms that Anthony continues to focus his ongoing exploration of the accordion as an instrument capable of great nuance and complexity. Projects including the Aria award winning world music ensemble Zulya and the Children of the Underground, The Bach Project with Rachel Scott (cello), Unlocked with Andrea Keeble (violin) Deborah Kayser (voice) and Nils Hobiger (cello), Ball Hanlon Schulz (Eugene Ball – trumpet and Ben Hanlon – double bass), and the Arabic Tarab Ensemble, all form part of the rich tapestry that is Anthony’s sound world.


Anthony is the Vice-President of the Accordion Society of Australia and was Head of Program of the Bachelor of Music at Melbourne Polytechnic where he continues to lecture.


Michael Martinez 

Deputy Chair since 2022

Michael is the founder of “Los Locos” a Latin group which performs in regional Victoria at events and private functions. He also teaches piano and guitar privately. Michael is also the principal consultant for Diversity Consultancy.

In 2020 he was appointed as the Deputy Chair of the Victorian Interpreting Service. From 1994 to 2020 he was at Diversitat and as the CEO from 2005. Diversitat representing over 60 ethnic communities and managing a portfolio of interests including: immigration and settlement services, RTO, aged support, social enterprises including My Maintenance Crew, 94.7 the Pulse Community Radio, Pako Festa and events, housing, mental health, NDIS and

Michael also has qualifications in Diploma in Business, Federation Training specialising in Governance and a Cert 4 in Human Resources at Gordon TAFE, a BA in Asian Politics and History at Monash University and an Advanced Certificate in Residential and Community Services through Frankston TAFE.

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Spira Stojanovik

Secretary since 2022

Spira has experience in the public and private sector in technical, administrative and management roles. Coming from the Balkans, he brings his appreciation of music from eastern/southern Europe and beyond. He is an active supporter of Melbourne’s rich world music scene. Spira is passionate about connecting people through music, dance and art.


Malathi Vasudevan

Treasurer - Joined 2022

Malathi Vasudevan moved to Melbourne from New Zealand in March 2020. She is a practising CA working part-time. Her passion is Carnatic Music. She sings and plays the Veena. She has performed in India, NZ and Australia and on many on-line platforms. Prior to moving to Melbourne, she was an active Event Organiser in Auckland and Hamilton. She is delighted to be part of The Boite team.


Hannah Young

Joined 2022

Hannah is passionate about young people and providing them opportunities to develop their understanding of themselves in relation to the community and the environment. She was a child of the Boite regularly attending concerts at Mark St and participating in the Boite Schools Chorus. She currently works with the diverse learners at Collingwood College as a secondary maths and science teacher. 

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Therese Virtue OAM

Joined 1984

Therese Virtue taught in the Western suburbs of Melbourne for more than 10 years before working as a singer and then an organiser with The Boîte. She has sung with some of Melbourne's most adventurous folk ensembles including Il Gruppo Folcloristico Italiano and the award-winning Petrunka. She has been involved with The Boîte since 1984, and as Boîte World Music Cafe Co-ordinator for the past 22 years has organised and presented over 1500 intimate concerts featuring artists from 35 communities. For 20 years she has been a presenter of the Boîte World Music radio programs on 3PBS and 3CR. A warm and approachable person with a formidable knowledge of the Australian music scene, she is highly respected by artists from many communities.

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Ramnath Iyer

Joined 2022

Ramnath Iyer emigrated to Australia in 1986 from India. Since then, he has been contributing immensely to the Indian Classical music scene in Melbourne as performer, teacher, promoter and organiser of the arts, while holding a full time IT career. Ramnath was awarded the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence 2010 for Contribution to Arts by the then Premier of the State of Victoria, Mr John Brumby.

He is classified as ‘A’ graded artist of All India Radio, Chennai since 2009, an honour rarely given to oversees-residing artists and highlights his dedication to the highest quality music.

A citizen of Australia, Ramnath is passionate about fostering and promoting the ancient instrumental tradition of the Veena and Indian classical Music in Australia. He has been a true cultural ambassador through both his own performances, lectures and workshops as well as through the encouragement, support and mentorship of other upcoming and established artists in Australia.


Lilliana Hajncl

Joined 2020

Lilliana Hajncl is the child of post war migrants from Croatia and the Czech Republic and the UK. She grew up bi-lingual in multicultural Australia which was slowly beginning to recognise the value that came with the many post war arrivals. Lilliana has worked in secondary and adult education in France, Croatia, French Polynesia, Timor L'este as well as Australia. For more than twenty years she has produced award-winning educational and training resources for adult culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She has managed a three year state-wide work readiness training program for newly arrived migrants and refugees. She currently works in curriculum and program development with AMES Australia, supporting both teachers and trainers and new arrivals.  

Lilliana is on the organising committee of the Czech and Slovak Film Festival of Australia. She is a long-standing member of the Victorian Electoral Commission Multicultural Advisory Group. Her commitment to the arts and the environment included a decade as a committee member of RGT, a voluntary organisation whose aim was to responsibly recycle clean manufacturing waste into affordable arts materials for primary schools. Lilliana’s passion for music has made her an enthusiastic participant in and advocate for The Boite for many years. She also sings in community choirs here and in Caucasian Georgia.


Leyla Varela

Joined 2022

Growing up in the Flamenco music community and coming of age around the DIY music scene in Melbourne, Leyla’s ambitions have always aligned with music and community. After cataloguing at PBS Radio + co-directing the Sofar Sounds concert series in Melbourne, she worked in the management team for Tex Perkins, and played an organisational role at various festivals and venues.

Since moving into the world of licensing and publishing at Gaga Music (Inertia Group), she has now found a happy home at Electric Dreams as an Executive Producer - getting to work across advertising TV and film in music post-production, licensing + supervision.

In her spare time, Leyla also enjoys playing synth and hitting a tambo in Jess Ribeiros band, as well as being a of The Boite’s 2022 committee. 

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