Sat Feb 17 - Alice Giles

"The most intelligent, sensitive and technically accomplished harpist I have ever met." Luciano Berio

Alice Giles has been celebrated as one of the world’s leading harp soloists. The Australian-born musician first attracted international notice when she won First Prize in the 8th Israel International Harp Contest at the age of 21. Since then she has performed extensively internationally both in recital and with orchestra. She presented her first solo recital at the age of 13 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, was awarded the coveted Churchill International Fellowship and an Australia Council Grant to study in the USA and made her New York debut recital at Merkin Hall in 1983.

Regarded by Luciano Berio as the foremost interpreter of his Sequenza II, she has taken part in tributes to Berio at the Queen Elizabeth Hall London, Salzburg Mozarteum, and at the 92nd Street Y in New York to honour his 70th birthday. She has given many premiere performances for her instrument, has commissioned a complete program of works for the electro-acoustic harp, and is Director of the Seven Harp Ensemble (SHE), which has commissioned many new works by Australian composers.

As a recipient of an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, she performed a solo concert at Mawson Station in 2011 commemorating the Centenary of the first Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

She was invited by Rudolf Serkin to participate for three summers in the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, USA, and has been a guest artist at numerous festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein and Insel Hombroich Festivals in Germany, Bath Mozartfest, Scotia Festival, Salzedo Centennial in Austin Texas, World Harp Congresses in Copenhagen and Vancouver, World Harp Festival Cardiff, Edinburgh Harp Festival, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival, Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Barossa, Coriole, Huntington and UKARIA Festivals.

Concert highlights include solo recitals in London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, Merkin Hall NY, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, and concertos with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Collegium Musicum Zürich, Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, English Symphony Orchestra, Mainzer Kammerorchester, Danish Radio Concert Orchestra, Hamburg Mozart Orchestra, Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra and regularly with all the major Australian Symphony and Chamber orchestras. She continues to tour annually in the USA, Europe and Asia.

Alice Giles has an impressive international reputation as a teacher, having given master classes in the Salzburg Mozarteum, The Hague Conservatorium, Royal Academy London, Cleveland Institute, Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, San Francisco Conservatory, Conservatorio G. Verdi Milano, Parma Conservatorio, Glenn Gould School Toronto, Detmold Hochschule, R. Schumann Hochschule, Norwegian Academy of Music, the International Youth Festival in Bayreuth, an annual Summer Course in Alf/Mosel, Germany 1989-1998, and currently teaches at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her annual Summer Course is held in Kioloa on the NSW South Coast.

She was the Chair and the Artistic Director of the 2014 World Harp Congress in Sydney in July 2014 and is founder and director of the Harp Centre Australia, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the harp in Australia. She was on the jury for both the 1998 and 2009 International Harp Contests in Israel, the 2004 USA International Harp Competition, 2007 V. Salvi European Harp Competition Cardiff and the IX Concourso Nationale d’Arpa ‘Victor Salvi’. Her two main teachers were June Loney (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) and Alice Chalifoux (Cleveland Orchestra), also studying with Lydia Shaxson and Judith Liber.

Her discography includes several solo harp discs, a concerto disc with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, conductor David Porcelijn, and many chamber music discs including with Duo Corda (Arnan Wiesel, piano), the Budapest Brass Quintet, Seven Harp Ensemble and Geoffrey Collins (flute), for the Tall Poppies, Musikado (Germany), ABC Classics, CDI (Israel), and Marlboro Recording Society labels.

She was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “significant service to the performing arts as a harpist, mentor and educator, and through contributions to Australia’s musical landscape.”

Alice lives on a rural property near Yass NSW, with her pianist husband Arnan Wiesel and their two daughters Lara and Selena. Here she seeks a balanced life and enjoys the peace, beauty and space nature provides.

Sat Apr 14 - NEW DATE - Strelitzia is a young Sydney based ensemble, originally formed as a Trio by founding members Victoria Jacono-Gilmovich (Violin) and Eleanor Betts (Cello) in 2008, which went on to win the prestigious Musica Viva Chamber Music Award the following year.

Strelitzia is also passionate about bringing their music to as wide an audience as possible through regional touring and performing for local festivals, and has given performances for the Bellingen, Woollahra, Glebe, Camden Haven, Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields and Brunswick Beethoven and Noosa Long Weekend Festivals, and for various groups including the Blue Mountains Concert Society, Hornsby Festival of the Arts, South Coast Music Society, Sapphire Coast Music Society (Wolumla), Montague Choristers Visiting Artists Series (Narooma), Arts Shoalhaven, and the Macarthur, Robertson, Noosa, Yass, Roseville, Byron Bay and Bay & Basin Music Associations.

Strelitzia made their Opera House debut with a sold out performance for Musica Viva in the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room Series in 2011, and performed frequently that year for Musica Viva’s Chamber Music Essentials program in conjunction with Sydney University. During 2011, Strelitzia recorded their first CD comprising trios by Arno Babajanian and Matthew Hindson, and their Sydney and Newcastle based Concert Series was supported by a grant from the Australia Council.

From 2012 to 2014, Strelitzia presented their five program Subscription Series at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney and Adamstown Uniting Church in Newcastle with an expanded ensemble featuring the musicians of the 2011 and 2012 Sydney Symphony Fellowship.

The Strelitzia Ensemble continues to be a regular fixture of the lunchtime concert program of St James Church King St in the Sydney CBD as well as performing selected programs for Lutanda Manor in Pennant Hills and the Nolan on Lovel Gallery Series in Katoomba. Strelitzia currently presents an annual concert series at the Glebe Justice Centre in Sydney, featuring varied programs of chamber music for strings, piano and wind instruments in an intimate setting. 

Sat Jun 30 - David Miller is widely recognized as one of Australia's leading pianists, chamber musicians and vocal accompanists. He is also highly regarded as a mentor for young ensemble pianists and repetiteurs. He has been appointed as a member of the Order of Australia for his service to music.

David’s distinguished career has included partnerships with many internationally renowned singers and instrumentalists, and he has been a member of a number of Australian chamber music ensembles. He is a founding member of the acclaimed Grevillea Ensemble and pianist in the innovative Charisma Trio. He also performed with the legendary contemporary music group Flederman and the Huntington Piano Trio, and has toured and recorded regularly for the ABC and 2MBS-FM and also served for several years on the Artistic Review Panel for Musica Viva Australia, touring for them with the original Song Company.

In his role as chair of the Piano Accompaniment Unit, David introduced a uniquely innovative and comprehensive program of study at both graduate and undergraduate levels. David’s studio has produced many of Australia¹s finest young piano accompanists, and he was instrumental in setting up the Geoffrey Parsons Australian Scholarship and other awards to assist young accompanists and repetiteurs.

David has conducted masterclasses and lectures for schools, universities, conservatoriums, music organizations and music conferences in many parts of Australia and Asia. In 2006 he was the artist-in-residence at a highly successful Festival of Accompanists in Adelaide. On several occasions, he has been a panel member for the Mietta Song Recital Awards and a guest artist on the staff of the Australian National Academy of Music. He has also been the official pianist for the finals of the prestigious McDonald’s Operatic Aria and early in 2009 coordinated an innovative and highly successful Collaborative Pianist Program at the prestigious Australian String Academy’s Summer School in Sydney. He has given a number of illustrated lectures on the art of accompaniment to organizations such at the Music Teachers’ Association and the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing.

David is currently the president of the Accompanists' Guild of NSW and very active in the promotion of piano accompaniment as an independent art form worthy of professional recognition and academic research.

Sat Aug 18 - Rachel Scott studied with David Pereira in Canberra and Robert Cohen in London. She has played as a soloist and chamber musician in the United Kingdom, Serbia, Albania, Finland, Hungary and Germany. Rachel is the founder of the highly successful and innovative ‘Bach in the Dark’ concert series, through which she presents regular concerts with some of Australia’s best chamber musicians, actors and visual artists.

Rachel’s role as education manager for the Australian Children’s Music Foundation (ACMF) means that she continues to provide underprivileged children with ongoing access to a quality music experience in the classroom, often training teachers as well. She also works closely with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), facilitating interactive concerts and workshops throughout Australia that bring together children and orchestral musicians. Rachel has also spent considerable time in East Timor as part of Mary McKillop International for whom she trained music teachers with the goal of independent delivery of music in primary schools in Dili and throughout Timor. Rachel is now resident in Sydney and is in constant demand as a chamber music coach.

In late 1997 David Pereira was awarded the Sounds Australian Award for the Best Performance of an ustralian Composition in the ACT (Carl Vine’s Inner World). In 1998 he was awarded the Sounds Australian National Award for the Best Performance of an Australian Composition for his recording of the Lumsdaine Garden of Earthly Delights (TP113). This recording also won him his second ABC Award for the Best Australian Recording (1998). In 2010 David received the CityNews Artist of the Year Award, having been selected by The Canberra Critics’ Circle – ‘for making his mark on music in Canberra and the immediate region with his cello-focused David Pereira Cello Series, which demonstrated his ability to interpret different compositional styles; and for his encouragement of young associate artists which stamps him as an outstanding figure in the Canberra arts scene.’

High praise has been awarded to David’s recordings. The Wild Russians, with Lisa Moore, piano, on Tall Poppies (TP018), received the inaugural ABC Award for the Best Australian Recording in 1993. His first CD of solo Australian cello music was released in July 1996 Cello Dreaming (TP075). In October 1996 his recording of Carl Vine’s Inner World for Cello and Sampled Cello was released as the first Australian art music CD single (TP101).  In 2001 two further CDs of Australian cello music were released by Tall Poppies: the Complete Works for Cello by Peter Sculthorpe (TP136) and a collection of solo works in Uluru (TP096). His recording with Ian Munro of the Complete Works for Cello by the Finnish composer Rautavaara (TP156) was released in 2002. In early 2000 Tall Poppies released his recording of the complete Bach Solo Suites (TP144). In 2005 Electric Cello (TP180) was released, containing Australian works for cello with tape or delay, and in 2012 Blue Silence (TP222) with Timothy Young on piano. 

Early in 2016 David’s playing in Rachel Scott’s Bach in the Dark concert series resulted in the stunning Dreaming with Daisy CD of two cello pieces including two of David's own composition. David’s activity as composer and improviser has been intensifying steadily over the last decade – built on decades of private practice. Now there is available sheet music for a selection of works for one or more cellos, for cello and piano, for cello with string or symphony orchestra, and for cello in various chamber ensembles. Live performance and studio recordings of performances for all of these works are gradually being made available online.

David has published three books on cello playing and pedagogy and a volume of original cello studies. The latest (2008) is The Larrikin Cellist – 68 ideas on freedom and control for the extraordinary cello student. These all are out-of-print.

Sat Sep 15 - NEW DATE - Dimitri Ashkenazy, clarinet with Philip Arkinstall, clarinet, and Stefan Cassomenos, Piano
Dimitri Ashkenazy - Clarinet
Born in 1969 in New York, Dimitri Ashkenazy began playing the piano at the age of six and then switched to the clarinet under the tuition of Giambattista Sisini, with whom he continued studying when he entered the Conservatory of Lucerne in 1989. Since completing his studies, he has gone on to perform widely, both as soloist and chamber musician. On tour, he has appeared at the Royal Festival Hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, at the Hollywood Bowl with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Symphony and SBS Youth Orchestras, at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and in Japan with the Japan Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony and Mito Chamber Orchestras. In addition to the major concertos for the clarinet, his repertoire extends to include contemporary works such as Peter Maxwell Davies' Strathclyde Concerto No.4, which he has performed with the composer himself conducting at venues around Europe (and at the composer's 80th Birthday Prom with Ben Gernon conducting), and Krzysztof Penderecki's own transcription of his Viola Concerto with the composer himself conducting both in Poland and on tour in Spain. He also gave the world premiere performances of concertos by Marco Tutino (with the Filarmonici della Scala, Milan) and Filippo del Corno (with the orchestra «I Pomeriggi Musicali»), and of Peter Maxwell Davies' Clarinet Quintet «Hymn to ArtemisLocheia» (with the Brodsky Quartet at the Lucerne Festival). An active chamber musician, he has performed with the Kodály, Endellion, Heath, Brodsky and Faust Quartets and with partners such as Barbara Bonney, Helmut Deutsch, Bernd Glemser, David Golub, Edita Gruberova, Ariane Haering, Antonio Meneses, Cristina Ortiz, Maria João Pires, and of course his brother Vovka, his father Vladimir Ashkenazy, and violist Ada Meinich, with whom he shares his life. In addition to his concert activity, Dimitri Ashkenazy has made numerous CD (paladino, Orlando, Pan Classics, Decca, DUX, Ondine), radio (Radio Nacional de España, France Musiques, Radio della Svizzera Italiana, DeutschlandRadio) and television recordings, and been invited to give master classes in Australia, Spain, Romania, New Zealand, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland and the U.S.

Philip Arkinstall - Clarinet 

Philip has been Associate Principal Clarinet of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 2009, and was principal with the Malaysian Philharmonic for 11 years before that. After completing his Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium under Peter Jenkin, he went on to win the ABC Young Performers Award in 1997 playing the Françaix Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and was the 2MBS radio performer of the year in 1996. Philip has been guest principal with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and has appeared both as soloist and as guest principal with the Sydney, West Australian, Queensland, Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony orchestras. He has appeared regularly as a soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic in repertoire ranging from Mozart to Henze, Copland, Weber, Strauss, Bruch, Stamitz, Bernstein and Stravinsky amongst others. His playing has been reviewed as “mellifluous, engaging and assured”.

Philip's first love however is chamber music, and he has collaborated with some of the worlds finest musicians and ensembles in that realm. These include the Goldner Quartet, Eggner Trio, Auer Quartet, Wilma and Friends, Australia Ensemble, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, as well as many contemporary ensembles including the Arcko, Alpha Ensemble and Australysis groups. Since 2012 he has appeared regularly with and toured South America and Europe with the sensational Camerata Bern of Switzerland under the leadership of Antje Weithaas. He is a founding member of the Melbourne Winds ensemble, with whom he toured China in 2014.

Philip has given masterclasses throughout Asia and South America, and teaches clarinet through Melbourne University. He has tutored at the AYO National Music Camp and Chamber Players, the Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Melbourne Youth Orchestra, and has conducted various small ensembles at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in Kuala Lumpur and across Malaysia.

Stefan Cassomenos - Piano

Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos is one of Australia’s most vibrant and versatile musicians. He has been performing internationally since the age of 10, and is now established as one of Australia’s leading pianists.

Cassomenos gave the world premiere of his own Piano Concerto No 1 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 2001 at the age of 16. His concerto repertoire now exceeds thirty works, and has led to engagements with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. In 2013, Cassomenos was a grand finalist and recipient of both the Second Grand Prize and the Chamber Music Prize in the prestigious International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition Bonn (Germany), and he has been a grand finalist and prize winner in various other competitions, including the 2012 Rhodes International Piano Competition, the 2013 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, the 2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer Awards, the 2009 Melbourne Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition, and the 2009 Trieste International Chamber Music Competition.

Cassomenos has given solo recitals at many international venues and festivals, including Tonhalle Zurich, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Beethoven Festival Bonn, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Bunkamura Orchard Hall Tokyo, and Junge Stars der Klassik Kirchheimbolanden. Cassomenos now performs regularly in Australia, Germany and the UK.

Cassomenos began composing at age seven, and as a teenager had his music performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1999) and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (2001), with whom he performed his Piano Concerto No 1 at the age of 16. Awards and accolades for composition include Composer in Residence for three years at the Creative Innovation Conference 2010–12, the 2012 Lyrebird Music Society commission, the 2012 Young Achievement Award from the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and various awards through the Yamaha Music Foundation. His Piano Concerto No 3 was premiered in 2010 at the Melbourne Recital Centre. His critically acclaimed Double Violin Concerto (2012) has been performed around Australia by three different ensembles, with violin soloists Monica Curro and Sarah Curro. In 2014, Cassomenos was invited as the first Australian composer to be commissioned as part of “250 Piano Pieces for Beethoven”, an international composition project initiated by German pianist Susanne Kessel marking Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in 2020. In 2015, his Requiem for the End of Time was premiered at Federation Square in Melbourne by the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and PLEXUS.

Born in 1985 in Melbourne, Stefan studied with Margarita Krupina, Stephen McIntyre, Ian Munro and Michael Kieran Harvey. He is generously supported by Kawai Australia.