Wilma Smith

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 seventh 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.

Ian Munro

Piano, Composer

Ian Munro has emerged over recent years as one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded musicians, with a career that has taken him to thirty countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. His Premier Grand Prix at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition for composers (2003) is a unique achievement for an Australian and follows on from multiple prizes in international piano competitions in Spain (Maria Canals), Italy (Busoni), Portugal (Vianna da Motta) and the UK, where his Second Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1987 established his international profile.

After completing his early training in Melbourne under the guidance of Roy Shepherd, a pupil of Alfred Cortot, Ian furthered his studies in Vienna, London and Italy with Noretta Conci, Guido Agosti and Michele Campanella. His international career began in the UK, where he performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, BBC Concert Orchestra, and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, broadcasting widely for the BBC. Elsewhere, he performed with orchestras in Poland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, the USA, China, New Zealand and with all the major orchestras in Australia in over sixty piano concerti. Also a widely experienced chamber musician, Ian joined the acclaimed Australia Ensemble in Sydney in 2000.

With an extensive piano discography on ABC Classics, Hyperion, Cala, Naxos, Marco Polo, Tall Poppies and Warehouse labels, Ian is now equally in demand as a composer. He was Featured Composer for Musica Viva in 2011 and his Flute Concerto and Song Cycle Three Birds received their premieres in 2016 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Australia Ensemble respectively, among many other of his chamber works for various ensembles.

Anna Pokorny

Cello

Anna graduated as a cello student of Howard Penny from the Australian National Academy of Music in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Music 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. In 2012 she was an Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist.

Since 2012 Anna has had the pleasure of performing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, ACO Collective and West Australian Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has appeared in concert series and festivals across Australia including the Perth International Arts Festival, Metropolis Music Festival and Bangalow 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.

Christopher Moore

Viola

Born in Newcastle, Christopher Moore’s strongest memory from childhood was seeing his mother, Patricia, pulling up in the driveway of his Valentine home with a tiny blue violin case on the back seat. Pat was and still is a dedicated amateur musician and would take Chris to concerts in Newcastle and Sydney long before he had even learned to tie his shoelaces. He studied violin with two prominent Sydney Suzuki teachers, Marjorie Hystek and the late Harold Brissendon, before completing his Bachelor of Music in Newcastle with violinist and pedagogue, Elizabeth Holowell.

After working with Adelaide and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras as a rank-and-file violinist, Chris decided to take up a less highly-strung instrument – he had always thought that the violin made his head look big! He accepted a position as rank-and-file violist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for one-and-a-half years before successfully auditioning for the position of Associate Principal Viola with the same orchestra. Before long, he was gallivanting around the world for nine years as Principal Violist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. As romantic as that sounds, he missed his old chums, Mahler, Schoenberg and Adès, and so has returned to these and other old friends at the MSO as their Principal Violist. Not surprisingly, Christopher’s wife and two daughters are pleased that Papa has hung up his rock star garb and come home to roost like their pet chickens.

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 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 Chamber Music Prize at the International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition Bonn. He has been a grand finalist and prize winner in various other competitions.

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’ compositions are commissioned and performed in Australia and overseas. He is a founding member of chamber ensemble PLEXUS, which since launching in 2014 has commissioned over 100 composers and premiered over 80 new works.

Cassomenos is active as an artistic director of various festivals, projects and collaborations. Cassomenos and violinist Monica Curro have recently been announced as Artistic Directors of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival from 2019.

Cassomenos is generously supported by Kawai Australia.

Timo-Veikko Valve

Cello

Timo-Veikko “Tipi” Valve is known as one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. He performs as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral leader on both modern and period instruments.

Valve studied at the Sibelius Academy in his home town of Helsinki and at the Edsberg Music Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, focusing on solo performance and chamber music.

Tipi works closely with a number of composers and has commissioned new works for the instrument. Most recently he has premiered concertos by Aulis Sallinen and Olli Virtaperko as well as two new cello concertos written for him by Eero Hämeenniemi and Olli Koskelin.

Valve has also premiered arrangements of Olli Mustonen’s Sonata for cello and chamber orchestra as well as an orchestrated version of the Debussy Cello Sonata.

In 2006, Valve was appointed Principal Cello of the Australian Chamber Orchestra with whom he frequently appears as a soloist. Valve also curates the ACO’s chamber music series in Sydney. Tipi is a founding member of Jousia Ensemble and Jousia Quartet.

Valve plays a Brothers Amati cello from 1616, kindly on loan from the ACO Instrument Fund.

Thomas Hutchinson

Oboe

New Zealand oboist Thomas Hutchinson was a winner of the 66th ARD competition in Munich in 2017, as well as the special prize for the best performance of the commissioned work by Thierry Escaish. Laureate of many other competitions and prizes, he won the Australian National Academy of Music Concerto Competition and Most Outstanding Recital Prize, and was awarded prizes in the New Zealand National Young Performer Awards and the Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand.

He has made numerous appearances as soloist, including with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchener Kammerorchester, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Bach Musica NZ, Orchestra Victoria, and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He has also toured extensively throughout New Zealand and Australia playing chamber music and recitals.

In 2015 he was appointed to the position of associate principal oboe with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis and also began teaching at the Australian National Academy of Music, University of Melbourne, and the International Oboe Summer School in Wellington, New Zealand. Since then he has been invited to play guest principal oboe with orchestras in Australia and in Europe, including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.

Thomas studied in Auckland and Melbourne before moving to Paris where he was unanimously admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris to study with Jacques Tys and David Walter, graduating in 2015 with highest honours. He also received invaluable advice and teaching from Maurice Bourgue, Gordon Hunt, Diana Doherty and Jeffrey Crellin.

Li Liu

Violin

Born in Beijing, Li Liu grew up in Auckland and Sydney. After graduating from Sydney Conservatorium where she was a student of Prof. Goetz Richter, she furthered her studies in Berlin and Salzburg with world renowned artists including Igor Oistrakh, Pierre Amoyal and Wanda Wilkomirska.

Li has given concerts throughout Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia and has appeared at prestige venues including the Berlin Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, Mozarteum Salzburg, Sydney Opera House, Beijing Concert Hall and Great Hall of the People, China. A passionate chamber musician, she has performed at many international festivals, including Salzburg Festival International Academy, Shenyang International Music Festival (China), Festival Pablo Casals (France), Festival Goslar and Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany), Pacific Music Festival (Japan) and the Spring Music Festival (New Zealand).

Winner of the Auckland Philharmonia Young Artist Violin Competition in New Zealand, and prize-winner at the New Zealand Chamber Music Competition, Li has appeared as soloist with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Auckland Youth Symphony Orchestra. She was concertmaster of the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra and Guest Concertmaster with the East West Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney.

In Germany, Li performs regularly with the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin, Deutsche Symphony Orchestra, Komische Opera Berlin, Chamber Academy Potsdam and the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra Berlin. In Australasia, she has performed with Sydney Symphony, Australian Opera, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Chamber Orchestra.

A committed teacher and mentor, Li has taught at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium, and has given masterclasses in Australia, New Zealand and China. She resides between Brisbane, Beijing and Berlin.

William Clark

Viola

Originally from Tasmania, Violist William Clark completed formative study at Melbourne University and the Australian National Academy of Music under Caroline Henbest and Christopher Moore, at which time he also spent a year as an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

During his study he performed in lessons and masterclasses with Laurence Power, Ning Feng and William Coleman, as well as with the Takács, Brodsky, Belcea, and Doric String Quartets.

After travelling to the UK and undertaking intensive study at Prussia Cove with Steven Isserlis and Thomas Ádes, he toured Europe performing string quartets.

William performs regularly with many Australian ensembles including the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and is founding violist of the ACO’s Inspire Quartet. His love of Chamber music finds him performing often with Melbourne-based groups Inventi Ensemble and the Affinity Collective, with whom he won the ANAM chamber music competition in 2015.

An enthusiastic performer of new music, William has commissioned and premiered many works by Australian composers, and is a regular guest artist at music festivals across Australia.

Yelian He

Cello

Hailed as a “consummate master of the bow” by The Strad magazine, Chinese-Australian cellist Yelian He is the winner of the 2009 Royal Over-Seas League String Competition in London and the Grand Prize and Audience Prize winner of the 2014 Australian Cello Awards competition in Sydney (now the Young Performer’s Awards).

He has appeared in concert at many venues and festivals including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Bridgewater Concert Hall, City Recital Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Hamer Hall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Brighton Festival, Deal Festival, Melbourne & Adelaide International Cello Festivals, Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and Woodend Winter Arts Festival.

Yelian was presented to Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 at a reception for outstanding Australians achievers in the UK and again in 2013 in a private performance for the Queen and her Commonwealth guests at Buckingham Palace.

Yelian’s nickname is the “Kung Fu Cellist”, and studies the Chinese martial art Wing Chun, made popular by Bruce Lee and the recent releases of the box office blockbuster “Ip Man” movies. Challenging what the recent and classic films have depicted, Yelian does not fly or has yet learned to break bricks with his head!

He is currently an adjunct professor at the United International College in Zhuhai, China, and plays on a cello made in 2018 by Yanbing Chen, as well as a cello by Hungarian luthier Adolphus Monnig made in 1877.

Joseph Lallo

Saxophone

Joseph Lallo is a Lecturer of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and performs internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. He is the Artistic Director for Melbourne Saxophone and The Melbourne International Saxophone Festival. Joseph has performed alongside some of the top performers and pedagogues around the world, and was the programming and artistic assistant for SaxOpen, the 2015 World Saxophone Congress and Festival. He has performed with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, and was soloist with Melbourne’s Pro Musica Orchestra performing Chu Wanghua’s Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra. In 2019 Joseph has performances in the USA, China, Thailand, Singapore, and throughout Australia.

A keen advocate of new music and combination ensembles, Joseph has performed World Premiers by Jean-François Zygel, Tómas Gubitsch, May Lyon, Javier Muñoz-Bravo, Franck Tortiller, Mark Phillips, Aaron Gallagher, Keyna Wilkins, the French premiere of Roger Boutry’s Concerto for Alto and Soprano Saxophone, and numerous Australian Premieres. He was featured artist on Australian composer Katy Abbot’s 2010 CD, Sunburnt Aftertones.

Joseph has performed and given master classes in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts and the Théâtre du Châtelet, Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Saxophone Symposium and the Lasalle Contemporary School of the Arts, Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, The University of South Carolina, The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and the The Monash Sir Zelman School of Music. Additionally, he has taught at The Australian Saxophone Retreat, The Melbourne Saxophone Workshop, and The Strasbourg Conservatorium of Music.

A graduate of The University of Melbourne (Barry Cockroft & Ian Godfrey), the Bordeaux Conservatoire de Musique (Marie-Bernadette Charrier), and the Strasbourg Haute École des Arts du Rhin (Philippe Geiss), Joseph has been the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including a Research Training Program Scholarship for the completion of his PhD, the 2013 Strasbourg HEAR New Talent Scholarship, the 2012 Australian Arts Council Skills and Development Grant, the 2009 Catherine Grace McWilliam Bequest for achieving the highest result in his Bachelor of Music, the 2009 Donovan-Johnston Memorial Travel Scholarship, and the 2008 Rogowski Saxophone Scholarship.

Joseph is a Selmer Saxophones Artist and a D’Addario Woodwind Artist, and performs on Series III Alto & Soprano Saxophones, Selmer Concept mouthpieces, and D’Addario Reserve Reeds.

Donald Armstrong

Violin

Born in Wellington, Donald Armstrong started early professional studies with the NZBC Orchestral Trainees (later the Schola Musica) and the NZ National Youth Orchestra.   He participated in the 1975 World Tour of the NZ National Youth Orchestra giving concerts in Scotland, England and China.  He joined the NZ Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19. Two years later, with an Arts Council Bursary and an Alex Lindsay Memorial Award Scholarship,  he completed a post-graduate diploma at Mannes College, New York, and a Masters degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston, studying violin with Masuko Ushioda and Josef Gingold, and chamber music with Louis Krasner, Eugene Lehner and Laurence Lesser.  As First Violin of the New England Conservatory Scholarship String Quartet, he won a special prize at the Concours International d’Évian held in France in 1982.

In 1983, Donald was appointed Principal Second Violin of the Tivoli Sinfoniorkester in Denmark and soon after became Concertmaster of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice in France. He returned to New Zealand in 1987 as Associate Concertmaster of the NZSO, a position he still holds. As Music Director of the NZ Chamber Orchestra from 1987 to 2004, his incisive leadership was a major force in creating the dynamic and exciting style of the NZCO heard both in live concert and on its many commercial recordings.

Donald continues his passion for chamber music and introducing musical challenges to musicians and audiences alike by performing regularly with his own chamber group, the Amici Ensemble, works for very small to large ensembles.  He recently substituted as first violinist with the NZ String Quartet on a tour to Australia.

Donald is interested in preserving and advancing New Zealand’s musical heritage. He has taught as an Artist Teacher at the New Zealand School of Music and he teaches, coaches and encourages young instrumentalists.  He plays a violin by Nicolo Gagliano of 1754.

Simon Oswell

Viola

Simon Oswell trained in Australia and the United States. He gained awards in the National Concerto Competition and co-founded the Petra String Quartet in Tasmania.  Simon has performed and recorded as a soloist and chamber musician in Australia, Europe and South East Asia and subsequently in the United States in the LA-based chamber music groups, Capitol Ensemble and Pacific Serenades. In California he occupied several Principal Viola positions including the Carmel Bach Festival, Mozart Classical Orchestra and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and recorded for the motion picture industry – approximately 800 film scores. He also performed with the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra and the American lutenist James Tyler.

Since returning to Australia, Simon has appeared as Principal Viola with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmanian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra (ARCO) and Australian World Orchestra. His chamber music collaborations have been with Ensemble Liaison, Firebird Trio, Wilma & Friends, Quartz, Trio Dali, and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Recent highlights have included performances in the UK at the Oxford May Chamber Music Festival and the North York Moors Festival, and performances with the Australian World Orchestra with Zubin Mehta, in Sydney, Melbourne, Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi. Simon currently teaches at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and directs an annual chamber music school, in Clunes, Victoria: www.clunesmusic.com.

Svetlana Bogosavljevic

Cello

Svetlana studied at the prestigious Special High School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium of Music, Moscow, the Peabody Conservatorium, Baltimore, and the Cologne Hochschule of Music where she graduated with a Soloists Diploma.


An avid chamber musician she appeared throughout Australia and New Zealand, along with performances at the KotorArt Festival in Montengro and the Novi Sad summer music series. In 2010 she appeared in Serbia with pianist Rita Kinka at the Novi Sad summer music concerts along with performances in Belgrade and on Serbian National television with pianist, Vladimir Milosevic. In 2012 she presented a recital and masterclass at the Belgrade International Cellofest. For 10 years, she has been most well-known in Melbourne as one-third of the charismatic chamber group, Ensemble Liaison.


Her performances are broadcast regularly on Australian radio and television along with the world-wide-web. She has held the position as Associate Principal Cello with the Rheinische Filharmonie, also appearing regularly with a wide range of ensembles including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, guest Principal Cello with Orchestra Victoria, the La Roche Quartet, the Prometheus Quartet, the Cologne Cello Sextet, the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Tippet Ensemble, the Arcadia Ensemble, Bamberger Symphoniker and the North German Radio Orchestra. She has performed at festivals such as the Melbourne International Festival, Kowmung Music Festival, Camden Haven Music Festival, the Dubrovnik Festival, the Belgrade festival and Musik Triennale, Cologne.


Svetlana teaches cello and chamber music at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. She plays on a Joseph Panormo of London Cello from 1812.