Deborah is not only known for her successful career as a chamber music recitalist, concerto soloist and recording artist for the ABC, but also as an innovative pedagogue and academic. Both her recitals and conservatoire teaching have taken her throughout Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom.
As a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney (USYD) she won both the National and Commonwealth ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competitions (1983), represented Australia in international clarinet competitions (Munich, London) and received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Scholarship. Most recently Deborah was awarded a PhD in Music Psychology from the University of New South Wales (UNSW, 2014) in which she pursued her fascination with motivational teaching and developed the Model of Elite Instrumental Practice. She has recently received (2015) a grant from USYD to test this model within the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Pursuing her deep affinity for chamber music, she has formed and performed in ensembles throughout Australia, most notably working with pianists Geoffrey Parsons, John Winther, Len Vorster, David Miller, soprano Rita Hunter and her mother contralto Lauris Elms. As a chamber musician she has been responsible for instigating the composition of, and performing many Australian music premieres. As a concerto soloist, notable collaborations have included concerti with Richard Bonynge (1999, 2010), Paul Dyer (Brandenburg Orchestra 1997), Michael Nebe (Fine Arts Orchestra at St Martin in the Fields London 2001) and Michael Clarke (Sydney Mozart Players, Angel Place 2002 2003).
CDs include; A Clarinet Collection, Ulpirra, (Walsingham Classics), Brahms - The Complete Works for Clarinet (ABC Classics), Opera Arias (Melba records) with Deborah Reidel and Richard Bonynge, three CDs of Enchanted Winds (Joshua Tree Music) with composer Kristopher Spike and soprano Sally-Anne Russell. Deborah is regularly broadcast on ABC FM as soloist and as part of her trio Power of Three. Her work can also be heard on an ABC Classics compilation CDs entitled: Music from the Great Interviews and ABC FM 30th Birthday Favourites (ABC Classics). Most recently released is the CD of Clarinet and Trio Music Never Leave Home Again (Three Bracelets) for her trio the Power of Three with fellow artists flute player Leah Lock and pianist John Martin.
Currently, Deborah is involved in an ongoing project that aims to collate, perform and record for CD “the other romantic repertoire for Clarinet” by 19th and early 20th Century composers. She has had academic papers accepted for conferences, ICOMCS 2007 Sydney, ISME 2008 Italy and has been published by BRM (Behavioural Research Methods Journal 2011) and is currently submitting papers on her thesis findings (2015).