Wilma Smith

Wilma Smith is Musica Viva’s Artistic Director of Competitions, Second Violinist of the Flinders Quartet, curator/violinist/violist of Wilma & Friends, Guest Concertmaster of orchestras throughout Australia and New Zealand, a regular player with the Australian World Orchestra and a committed teacher.

Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Wilma studied in the US with the legendary Dorothy DeLay. She was founding first violinist of the Lydian Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Award and prizes at Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International String Quartet Competitions. She worked regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Invited by Chamber Music New Zealand to return home to establish the New Zealand String Quartet, Wilma was first violinist until her appointment as concertmaster of the NZSO and then the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Since retiring from the MSO, Wilma has prioritised her chamber music roots, enjoying old and new collaborations in the US and New Zealand as well as Australia. With her old friend, Victoria Jones, she is Co-Artistic Director of the annual Martinborough Music Festival.

Wilma plays a 1761 Guadagnini violin and occasionally a fine Chinese viola.

Molly Collier-O’Boyle

Viola

Molly Collier-O’Boyle (aka Molly Cob) is a musician currently living and working in Naarm (Melbourne). She spends most of her time plucking, picking and sawing away on her viola, cursing all the while. When not screaming profanities at wooden boxes, she attempts to balance her life as a curator, educator and performer.

Born in sticky Brisbane (Australia), Molly grew up in a musical household playing folk violin and jazz and funk electric bass guitar. After realising that classical music was also pretty cool, she spent five years learning all about it at university and was awarded some pieces of fancy paper for her violin studies with Michele Walsh at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and Adam Chalabi at the University of Queensland. After this, Molly wound up with a viola in her hand studying under Caroline Henbest at the Australian National Academy of Music.

Molly has been Principal Viola of the Australian Youth Orchestra, a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (US), an emerging artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and an academist with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Germany). She freelances with most Australian orchestras and has also played in a number of chamber music festivals around the country.

The beginning of 2021 sees Molly in the role of Acting Assistant Principal Viola for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She is also excited about continuing to explore a diverse range of chamber works with the Rathdowne Quartet as well as alongside Liam Wooding (pianist) in her duo project Cow.

Yelian He

Violin

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 numerous venues including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Bridgewater Concert Hall, City Recital Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, Hamer Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Oriental Arts Centre, Forbidden City Concert Hall, and Wuhan QinTai Concert Hall.

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.

Orchestras he has worked with include the Sydney Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Philharmonia, Auckland Philharmonia, Shanghai Philharmonic, Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Halle Orchestra.

http://heplayscello.com

https://www.instagram.com/kungfucellist

Tair Khisambeev

Violin

In 2011 graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, in 2014 finished post-graduate courses (class of People’s Artist of the USSR, Professor Eduard Grach).

Laureate of national and international competitions:

− VI-th Andrey Korsakov All-Russian Open Competition for Young Violinists, Tver, 2005;

− International Competition for the bow string instruments “Teacher and student”, Moscow, 2006;

− V-th Yampolsky International Violin Competition, Moscow, 2009;

− Malta International Music Competition, Mdina, 2015.

Member of international festivals: “Creative youth of Moscow Conservatory”, “Moscow Autumn”, “Art-November”, the Spivakov International Foundation, “New Names” (Russia), “Eurythmie. Sieben Worte” (Switzerland), Jeunesses Musicales – (Croatia), etc..

Took part in masterclasses held by Zakhar Bron, Irina Svetlova, Anton Barakhovsky and many others.

From 2011 to 2016 – 1st violin in Piano Quintet, formed in the class of People’s Artist of Russia, Professor Alexander Bonduryansky. In 2012, the quintet received the I prize and the Grand Prix at the International Competition “Pietro Argento” in Italy. In the same year the ensemble was awarded the Grand Prix at the T.A.Gaydamovich International Chamber Music Competition, Magnitogorsk. In 2013 quintet won the 1st prize at the N.Rubinshtein International Competition of Chamber Ensembles (Moscow). The ensemble performed regularly in concerts in Moscow and other cities.

From 2001 to 2006 – an artist, and in 2006 – concertmaster of the Youth Chamber Orchestra “Gnessin Virtuosi”.

From 2006 to 2010 – principal of 2 violins section in Chamber Orchestra “Moskovia”.

From 2010 to 2016 – Artist in 1 violins section in Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Evgeny Svetlanov”.

From 2016 to 2019 – Vorspieler in Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, Japan.

From 2019 – Assistant Concertmaster in Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Wenhong Luo

Viola

Violist Wenhong Luo is the 3rd prize winner at the 12th Lionel Tertis Viola competition and the 19th Johannes Brahms competition. After making her debut in China with the China broadcast symphony orchestra at the age of 16, playing the Walton Viola concerto, she moved to London and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. At the age of 22, she moved to the States and began her studies at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her performances have been recorded on Linn records and Naxos. In 2018, she participated in the prestigious “Chamber Music Connects the World” at Kronberg, where she collaborated with Andries Schiff, Steve Isserlis, and Christian Tetzlaff. Other artists that she has collaborated with are Laurence Lesser, Miriam Fried, Paul Biss, Soovin Kim, Midori Goto, and Maxim Vengrov.

A native of Beijing, China, Wenhong just joined the Faculty of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in 2020, after studying with Kim Kashkashian at the New England Conservatory of Music as a doctoral candidate.

She devotes herself to both solo and chamber music playing, and with the great passion on delivering the music to different communities, she is an artist of the “music for food” organization in Boston, and have been on tour with Midori Goto to Nepal and Japan being part of the “music sharing” program.

Charlotte Miles

Cello

Born in 2002, Melbourne-based cellist Charlotte Miles is currently completing her third year of training with Howard Penny at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), in addition to her second-year Bachelor of Music (BMus) studies at the University of Melbourne.

In recent years, Charlotte has shared the glorious cello repertoire with local and international audiences in solo recitals, at cello festivals, and in concerto performances with orchestras. She has travelled widely for masterclasses, competitions, and ensemble tours to Los Angeles, New York, London and Zurich, and throughout Germany, China, France, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand (including extensive performances with the Australian Youth Orchestra), learning to speak the international language of music with as many accents as possible.

Charlotte has benefitted from masterclasses with cellists including Wolfgang Emmanuel Schmidt, Maria Kliegel, David Geringas, Johannes Goritski, Wen-Sinn Yang, Li-Wei Qin, David Finckel and Alban Gerhardt. She has given invited performances at the Sanguine Estate Music Festival and the Melbourne Cello Festival, in addition to the prestigious 2016 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival in Los Angeles, where she performed in a 100-cello ensemble alongside leading cellists such as Mischa Maisky, Truls Mørk, Brannon Cho, Zlatomir Fung, Sol Gabetta and Giovanni Sollima.

Awarded over 100 competition prizes, Charlotte has performed at Carnegie Hall (New York) and Opera Bastille (Paris) in prize-winner concerts for international competitions. She has won numerous concerto competitions, and was a major prize-winner at the 2018 Gisborne (NZ) International Music Competition, and the 2020 “Anna Kull” International Cello Competition in Graz (Austria). In 2019, Charlotte was the 3MBS Young Performer of the Year and winner of the National Young Virtuoso Award. Charlotte has performed on 3MBS, 4MBS, 5MBS and ABC Classic radio stations, and has been featured on The Violin Channel.

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.

James Morley

Cello

James Morley is from Adelaide/Tandanya where he studied with Hilary Kleinig, Janis Laurs, and Rachel Johnston. He recently completed studies under the tutelage of Howard Penny at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), after completing his Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium on scholarship with Julian Smiles in 2018. James has performed across Europe, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand as an orchestral cellist, chamber musician and soloist.

James was a Freedman Fellowship 2020 finalist, and hopes to use the experience to create future multi-media collaborative works through the commissioning of composition/digital-art works as a means to connect audiences across multiple platforms.

In 2019 James won the Audience Choice award in the ANAM Concerto Competition final, for which he had the privilege of performing Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the same year was awarded ANAM’s St Silas Outstanding First-Year Prize and the Lorne Ann Cole ensemble prize, followed by the 2020 Most Outstanding Recital Prize, and the 2021 best performance of a work by an Australian composer for his premiere performance of Liza Lim’s Cello Playing ~ as Meteorology. James has also previously performed as concerto soloist in 2013 with Adelaide Youth Orchestra, in 2018 with the Sydney Youth Orchestra Wind Orchestra, and was a featured soloist in the 2018/19 seasons of Ensemble Apex. He was a finalist in the 2018 Sydney Conservatorium Concerto Competition, as well as being a semi-finalist in the Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand in 2016, and was a semi finalist in the Fine Music Young Virtuoso Award 2015 for which he was broadcast on 3MBS. Other solo engagements include the Adelaide International Cello Festival, recitals for the National Youth Concerto Competition, Play On, and St Silas.

In 2022 James will give his UKARIA solo recital debut at Adelaide Festival, alongside recitals at Tempo Rubato.

James has also had extensive orchestral experience, and is currently a casual cellist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with West Australian Symphony Orchestra and toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. James has also been a regular member of the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO), including participating in the 2013 and 2016 international tours, and has been appointed as principal cello for many of their programs, as with AYO’s Momentum Ensemble. Prior to moving to Melbourne James was principal cello of Ensemble Apex. James was also the Emerging Artist for cello with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2019, going on tour with the ACO Collective. James has also been accepted for the 2020 Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland.

With a strong interest in chamber music, James has featured in several established quartets. James was the cellist of the Butcherbird Quartet in Sydney where they presented several unique performances, including engagements with the acclaimed Opus Now series, and travelled internationally to participate in schools and festivals in the Netherlands, Finland, and Italy. James is also a core member of Continuo Continuum, an Adelaide-based early music ensemble comprised of only continuo instruments specialising in discovering, adapting and performing early music works by composers from a wide range of cultures. In 2019 James co founded Rathdowne Quartetwho’s past and future performance engagements include Melbourne Recital Centre, The Utzon Room SOH, Bendigo Chamber Music Festival, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, Tempo Rubato, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, and fortyfivedownstairs. James has been fortunate to receive chamber music tutelage from renowned international quartets and chamber musicians, as well as playing solo for many performing cellists and pedagogues.

In 2022, James will perform with Wilma & Friends, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and Partridge Quartet.

James is very passionate about modern music, and has had the pleasure of closely collaborating with various composers in Australia. James has premiered works for Extended Play Festival, Ensemble Apex, and various other initiatives and recitals, mostly with an electro-acoustic focus. In 2021 James collaborated with Liza Lim, Johannes MacDonald, and Josephine Macken on new compositions for solo cello, with the intention of recording an EP of these new works.

James plays the ‘Ex-Robert Barrett’ cello made in 2004 by Rainer Beilharz, kindly on loan from Professor Mitra Guha, in memory of her late husband.

Richard Narroway

Cello

Praised by Gramophone Magazine for his “captivating sensitivity” and “exhilarating authority,” Australian cellist Richard Narroway enjoys an international career as a sought-after performer, recording artist, and teacher. He has given performances across Australia, North America, Europe, and Asia, in prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center, Chicago Symphony Center, Koerner Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. As a result of his stylistic versatility, innovative programming, and wide-ranging musical pursuits, Richard has earned an international reputation as one of his generation’s most notable artists.

In 2017, Richard made his recording debut with Bach’s Six Cello Suites, released to international acclaim. In addition, he has achieved top prizes at several major competitions, including the 2010 Stulberg International String Competition, the Third Beijing International Cello Competition, and the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition. Deeply committed to community engagement and innovation, he takes a particular interest in devising projects that bring classical music to a wider audience.

Richard earned degrees from the Juilliard School and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, before completing a Doctorate at the University of Michigan, where he also served as teaching assistant. Currently, Richard is Lecturer in Cello at the prestigious Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne.

Yasmin Rowe

Violin

Yasmin Rowe is a British concert pianist, solo recitalist and chamber musician. She graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a BMus First Class Honours, MMus with Distinction and a postgraduate International Artist’s Diploma in solo performance.

Shortly before graduation, Yasmin was invited to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto K271 with the Manchester Camerata. She has performed concertos in cathedrals and other venues throughout the UK as well as in Australia with the Pro-Musica orchestra.

Yasmin won both the EPTA UK and Moray International Piano competitions in 2008 and the Antena 2 radio station competition in Portugal in 2015. She has appeared at numerous concert halls including the Wigmore Hall in London, Melba Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre in Australia, The Wuxi grand theatre, Shanghai concert hall and Forbidden City concert hall in Beijing, China.

Her live radio performances include her BBC Radio 3 debut in 2014 in a performance of Vaughan William’s song cycle On Wenlock Edge with the Zelkova quartet and tenor Nick Pritchard, a solo broadcast for Antena 2 in Portugal in 2016 as well as her solo Bach and Mozart recital on 3MBS radio in Melbourne in 2019 for their Kawai Live series.

Yasmin is passionate about chamber music and regularly works with and performs in her duo ‘Y-Squared’ with award-winning cellist Yelian He, her piano trio ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ with renowned violinist Wilma Smith, the ensemble ‘Collide’ with acclaimed saxophonist Joseph Lallo and her piano duo ‘Duo88’ with concert pianist Yiyun Gu.