Wilma Smith, violin

Wilma Smith photo 2014

Former Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Wilma was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. She studied at Auckland University then in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the legendary Dorothy DeLay and Louis Krasner before becoming first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Award for Chamber Music and multiple prizes at the Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International String Quartet Competitions. The quartet was her professional focus in Boston but she also worked regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was Concertmaster of the Harvard Chamber Orchestra and Handel and Haydn Society.  Invited to return home to form the New Zealand String Quartet, Wilma was first violinist for five years until the NZSO appointed her Concertmaster in 1993, a position she held for nine years until taking up the same position with the MSO from 2003 to 2014. In addition to her chamber music series, Wilma & Friends, now in its sixth season, Wilma has appeared as Guest Concertmaster with SSO, WASO, TSO, ASO, OV and APO, and teaches at Melbourne and Monash Universities, Scotch College and Korowa Anglican Girls School. In 2016, she was appointed Artistic Director of the Melbourne Chamber Music Competitions by Musica Viva.

Alexander Arai-Swale, double bass

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Alexander is 22 years old, and is a very happy second year student studying under Damien Eckersley at the Australian National Academy of Music.

After studying cello performance for the first two years of his bachelor’s degree under James Tennant at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, Alexander formally began studying the double bass in 2015.

As a cellist, he has been a semi-finalist in the 2015 NZ National Young Performer Awards, and has gone on tour in the UK as part of the cello quartet QUATTRO, which won the 2014 Pettman/Royal Over-Seas League ARTS International Chamber Music Scholarship. Since arriving in Melbourne in 2016, Alexander has been fortunate to have proceeded to the finals of the ANAM concerto competition, where he performed as a soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Alexander has performed in many prestigious events including concerts at St James’ Piccadilly, St Martin in the Fields, Royal Overseas House, Budleigh Festival, Lake District Summer Music, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A keen chamber musician, he has played in masterclasses given by members of many ensembles such as the Eggner Trio, Doric Quartet, Trio di Parma, and Badke Quartet, to name a few.

Alexander is very grateful to Benedict Puglisi from Atelier Puglisi, for quickly organizing him a fabulously reconstructed Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy double bass (c.1860) to play on as soon as he jumped across the ditch from New Zealand.

Tobias Breider, viola

Tobias Breider is Principal Violist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Before his move to Australia in 2011 he held Principal positions in prestigious German orchestras like the Rhine Opera Duesseldorf, the Konzerthaus Berlin and the Philharmonic State Opera Hamburg under Simone Young.

As guest leader he was invited by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Berlin, Cologne and Vienna, the Qatar Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Being in high demand internationally as a chamber musician he has performed at Festivals in the US, Germany, the UK and South Africa.

As a Soloist he performed at City Recital Hall in Sydney and the Recital Center in Melbourne. He recently toured Queensland in recitals and has collaborated with numerous chamber ensembles in Australia, like Wilma Smith & Friends, Kathryn Selby&Friends, Charmian&Friends, the Australia Octet and the OMEGA Ensemble Sydney.

He was invited to the Sanguine Estate and Pearl Beach Festivals, The Australian International Viola Conference, to Viola Week at ANAM and to the Schubert and Brahms-Marathons in Melbourne.

Tobias has taught at the Sydney Conservatorium and is guest teacher at ANAM (Melbourne). He coached at the Britten/Pears School in Aldebourgh (UK) and was invited for Masterclasses at Stellenbosch University (S.A.) and at the Shanghai Academy.

Zoe Freisberg, violin

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Zoe commenced her violin studies at the age of four under the direction of her mother, Helena Freisberg. She completed her Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with Michele Walsh in 2012 and is currently studying at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) with Dr Robin Wilson. She has recently returned from an international masterclass course in Banff, Canada.

Zoe has appeared as a soloist in Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Mozart’s A Major Violin Concerto with Orchestra Victoria. She is a member of the newly formed ensemble called the Affinity Collective. In 2014 Zoe was selected as an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective, completing four national tours under the mentorship of Principal Violin, Helena Rathbone. She was also a finalist in Symphony Australia’s Young Performer’s Awards in 2014 and 2015. Other solo performances include with the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, Redlands Symphony Orchestra and the Corda Spiritus Orchestra.

An experienced orchestral musician, Zoe has acted as concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra, Nelson Cook Chamber Orchestra, the Bishop Orchestra and served as concertmaster of the Queensland Youth Symphony from 2010 to 2013. She has participated in five Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camps and two Australian Youth Orchestra International Tours.

A recipient of numerous awards, Zoe was honoured to receive the 2016 Australian Classical Music Competition Travelling Scholarship. She has also been selected as a finalist for the 2016 Freedman Fellowship and recently won the 2016 Kendall National Violin Competition.

Caroline Henbest, viola

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Born in England, Caroline Henbest studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Guildhall School of Music with Robert Masters and David Takeno. After 10 years as violist in the Mistry string quartet, she moved to Australia to take up the position of Principal Viola with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). Caroline has performed concertos with the ACO in Australia, USA, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Spain and the UK. She has regularly partnered Richard Tognetti in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Though she left the orchestra as a full time player in 2002, Caroline currently holds a part time position with the ACO.

Caroline has worked extensively as a teacher, having taught at Monash University, Melbourne University, the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she fulfilled a year’s contract as Senior Lecturer.

In 2007 Caroline was a jury member for the 5th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. She is a regular participant at chamber music festivals throughout the world, including the IMS Prussia Cove 2007 tour, which was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society chamber music award. She has performed as Guest Principal Viola with the Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Glyndebourne on Tour.

Caroline is currently based in Melbourne where she is Head of Viola at ANAM

Kenny Keppel, clarinet

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Kenny’s musical journey began at a very young age, mimicking Leopold Stokowski’s conducting in seemingly endless repeat home-viewings of Disney’s Fantasia. In 2014 he completed his Bachelor’s studies at the University of Auckland under the tutelage of James Fry. He was a New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Fellow, an Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Scholar, and has participated in masterclasses with notable artists including Jörg Widmann, Kari Kriikku, John Kruse, Andreas Sundén, Bjorn Nyman, Dimitri Ashkenazy and Michael Collins.

In 2016 he completed his second year at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), learning with David Thomas.

Rohan de Korte, cello

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Rohan de Korte has been a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Cello section since 2009. Rohan chose to play the cello at the age of five because it was bigger than a violin and studied with Henry Wenig and Nelson Cooke before choosing musical studies in Europe over a career in basketball – the Chicago Bulls hadn’t called. Rohan studied in Croatia with Valter Despalj and at the Cologne Hochschule for Music with Claus Kanngiesser, and received chamber music lessons with the Alban Berg Quartett.

Returning to Australia in 2000 Rohan freelanced with the Sydney Symphony before becoming Associate Principal Cello of Orchestra Victoria. He plays a lot of chamber music with friends and has even tried composing; his debut piece, The Haunted House, is extremely popular with younger audiences. Rohan’s cello is a beautiful German instrument from 1720 and his favourite composer is Beethoven, although Mahler’s Ninth Symphony wins as his favourite piece. He has a lovely wife, Caroline, and three very rowdy sons who think that playing the cello is very funny yet interesting, and, after suffering a broken neck, Rohan has vowed never to try surfing again.

Imants Larsens, viola

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Born in Switzerland, Australian violinist/violist Imants Larsens began playing the violin at the age of three in Adelaide, studying first with his grandmother Alita Larsens, then with Keith Crellin. He continued his studies at the Musikhochschule Zentralschweiz in Lucerne under the guidance of his father Gunars Larsens, graduating with Lehrdiplom and Konzertreifediplom degrees with distinction. Whilst in Europe Imants participated actively in master-classes with renowned musicians, including Pinchas Zukerman and the Vermeer Quartet.

Imants has won numerous awards and prizes in competitions both in Australia and overseas. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras in France, Switzerland and Australia and has appeared in numerous international festivals. Imants was concertmaster for national and South East Asia tours of Don Giovanni with CoOpera and also toured Europe with the Australian Youth Orchestra and was concertmaster when the AYO performed with the Cat Empire.

Imants holds the position of Associate Principal viola of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. In 2012 he was guest Assistant Principal viola with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and has recently performed as guest Principal viola with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician on both violin and viola.

Andrew Leathwick, piano/composer

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Andrew Leathwick is a pianist and composer studying piano at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) in Melbourne.

Andrew began piano lessons at the age of nine. In 2010, he began studying piano under Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato, where he completed the requirements for a Master of Music with First Class Honours in 2014. While at the University of Waikato, Andrew was the winner of many awards and competitions, including the University of Waikato Cultural and Arts Person of the Year Award, the University of Waikato Concerto Competition, the University of Waikato Lilburn Trust Composition Awards, and the Sir Edmund Hillary Medal. In 2013, Andrew won the New Zealand National Concerto Competition, playing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, where he also received the junior jury prize and audience choice award.

In 2015, Andrew began studying at the Australian National Academy of Music under Timothy Young. While studying at ANAM, he has performed with artists including Kathryn Stott and Anthony Marwood, and received the Ursula Hoff Institute prize for outstanding performance in an ANAM Recital.

Laurence Matheson, piano

From Melbourne, Laurence Matheson was involved in the Young ANAM program from 2005 to 2008. He won the 10 to 12 year old section of the Yamaha Piano Competition in 2007 before winning the Dorothy Glover Piano Award in 2010. During full-time studies at the Australian National Academy of Music with Tim Young, he participated twice in the final of the ANAM Chamber Music Competition and won the prestigious ANAM Directors’ Prize. He has performed multiple times at the Melbourne Recital Centre and is regularly broadcast on ABC Classic FM and 3MBS FM. Laurence has played concertos with Orchestra Victoria, the ANAM Orchestra, the Preston Symphony and the South Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, with Opera Australia and as soloist with the Australian Ballet, as well as in chamber projects with Paavali Jumppanen, Michael Houstoun, the Aurora Ensemble, Peter Hill, Anthony Marwood, Kathy Stott and Lisa Moore. In 2016 he was an ANAM fellow with concerts throughout Melbourne and interstate and gave a solo recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Laurence’s 2017 commitments thus far include solo appearances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Youth Orchestra and a performance in the Utzon Room series of the Sydney Opera House, while his regular chamber music partners include Wilma Smith, Sophie Rowell and Tim Young. He is also an accomplished harpsichordist with festival and radio appearances across the country, has conducted the ANAM Orchestra and was commissioned to write for Victorian Opera’s 2012 production of Cinderella.

Yinuo Mu, harp

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Yinuo Mu is Principal Harpist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  Yinuo’s dynamic performing career has taken her to a wide range of venues in United States, Europe, China, Japan and Australia, Prior to her appointment with the MSO, Yinuo has served as Principal Harpist of the Florida Grand Opera and has performed with the Boston Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, China National Centre of Performing Arts Orchestra, and many of the leading state symphony and opera orchestras in Australia, appearing at renowned concert halls worldwide including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Boston’s Symphony Hall.  She has performed at many prestigious music festivals including Tanglewood Music Festival, SpoletoUSA, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.

Yinuo was a Grand Prize winner of the American String Teacher Association’s National Solo Competition, a winner of the American Harp Society’s Ann Adams Award, and a finalist in the USA International Harp Competition and the Lily Laskine International Harp Contest in France. Her awards also include First Prize in Ohio State Solo Competition, Alice Chalifoux Prize from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Tanglewood Fellowship.

Recent performance highlights include performing at the BBC Proms and at music festivals at Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Germany and Copenhagen as part of the MSO’s 2014 European Tour, Melbourne Ring Cycle with Opera Australia in 2013 and the Malthouse Theatre’s award-winning production of The Bloody Chamber.

A native of Qingdao, China, Yinuo started piano lessons at age five and began her harp studies at Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China. She received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music (USA), and Master of Music Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music (USA), and Graduate Diploma in harp performance from Boston University School of Fine Arts.  Her teachers have included Yolanda Kondonssis, Ann Hobson Pilot, Joan Holland, Alice Chalifoux and Xavier de Maistre.  Yinuo is keen on combining performing with teaching.  She is currently on faculty at University of Melbourne and also maintains a private harp studio out of her home.

Andrew Nicholson, flute

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Andrew studied at Chetham’s School of Music and the RNCM in Manchester.

He has held principal flute positions with the HKPO, the Halle, the RPO, the BBCNOW and WASO. He has also regularly appeared as guest principal flautist with the LSO, the LPO, Opera North, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Philharmonia, Bournemouth, City of Birmingham, Malaysia, China Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, London Chamber, Guangzhou, Auckland, Royal Scottish, Scottish Chamber, English Chamber, Hebrides, John Wilson, QSO, SSO, and the Australian Chamber Orchestras.

Andrew teaches at WAAPA and UWA, and has given master-classes in London, at the Guildhall School of Music, the Royal Academy, Royal College, and also in Melbourne (ANAM), Hong Kong, Athens, Belgium, Manchester, Cardiff, New York, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney. Andrew is a Haynes Artist and plays on a solid 14K gold flute, with 14K gold keys. You can find out more about Andrew on his website – www.andrewnicholsonflute.com.

Kana Ohashi, violin

Melbourne violinist Kana Ohashi, 24, is currently studying for the International Artist Diploma with Sasha Sitkovetsky at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, having previously graduated from the RNCM with a BMus, supported by a full scholarship.

Since coming to the UK after winning the 2011 Dorcas McClean Travelling Scholarship worth $40,000, Kana has performed as soloist with the RNCM Symphony Orchestra as winner of the College’s Concerto Competition, played in masterclasses for James Ehnes, Christian Tetzlaff, Renaud Capuçon and Viktoria Mullova, performed live on BBC Radio 3, and given numerous recitals in and around Manchester. She took part in the Salzburg Mozarteum Summer Academy, focusing on works by Mozart, and travelled to the Xi’an Conservatory in China as part of the International Artist Diploma program.

In Australia and New Zealand, Kana has performed as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Preston Symphony, and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Her performances are often broadcast on ABC Classic FM and 3MBS.

Kana was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Boris Goldstein International Violin Competition in Switzerland.

Alexandra Partridge, cello

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Born in Wellington, NZ, Alexandra Partridge holds a Masters of Musical Arts from the New Zealand School of Music. During her time there, she was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including the Barbara Finlayson Trust Scholarship, the Freemasons Lankhuyzen/Whetu-Kairangi Award and the NZ School of Music Director’s Scholarship. She is currently studying at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, under the tutelage of Howard Penny.

A devoted chamber musician, Alexandra’s piano trio, the Queensbridge Trio, were finalists of both the 2014 ANAM Chamber Music Competition and the Great Romantics competition held at the Melbourne Recital Centre. This year, Alexandra has been selected as an Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist and has recently returned from a tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Germany after having successfully auditioned for their 2016 Academy Residency program.

From a young age, Alexandra has been passionate about orchestral playing and has been principal cellist of the NZSO National Youth Orchestra. She is also a casual player with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington and has been a contract player with the Southern Sinfonia.

Alexandra has participated in masterclasses with the Borodin String Quartet, the London Haydn Quartet, Torleif Théeden, Tim Hugh, Lynn Harrell and Clive Greensmith.

Anna Pokorny, cello

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Anna graduated as a cello student of Howard Penny from the Australian National Academy of Music in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Performance) from The University of Western Australia where she studied with Dr Suzanne Wijsman, and in 2013-14 undertook further postgraduate performance study at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland with Professor Niall Brown.

Throughout her study Anna performed in master classes with David Geringas, Steven Isserlis, Mischa Maisky, Maxim Vengerov, the Borodin String Quartet, Doric String Quartet, Brodsky String Quartet and Eggner Trio. Anna has participated in Australian Youth Orchestra programs since 2007, and in 2012 became an ACO Emerging Artist.

Since 2012 Anna has had the pleasure of performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, ACO Collective, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as being invited to perform as a chamber musician in the Perth International Arts Festival and Metropolis Music Festival.

She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Pauline Steele Prize for Bach, ANAM Prize for Most Outstanding Performance in a Recital, Woodside Concerto and ANAM Chamber Music Competition Winner, Ian Potter Cultural Trust Scholarship and the Ernest V. Llewellyn Memorial Fund Travel and Study Scholarship