I’m joined by some extraordinarily talented musicians and performing artists…
Born in Canberra in 1988, Ben Ward moved to the Central Coast and commenced his studies in the Newcastle Conservatorium children’s program at the age of four. Upon moving to Sydney at the age of eight he began playing the violin and piano, but followed his passion for double bass at the age of 14.
Ben Ward spent his final school years at the Conservatorium of Music High School and performed in the SBS Youth Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra and Australian Youth Orchestras. He currently studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he has been the recipient of the Corinna D’Hage Mayer String Scholarship. Ben Ward was invited to perform at the Pacific Music Festival in Japan in 2009, and in the same year was appointed to a permanent position with Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Raffaele and Janet Agostino have been active in the Sydney Classical Guitar scene over the last three decades, beginning with the founding of the Sydney Guitar Quartet in 1981, a group that performed extensively for a period of over 10 years and was the first ensemble of its kind in Australia. In 1996, they formed the Sydney Guitar Trio with fellow guitarist and composer Richard Charlton. The Trio was featured at the 2014 Taranaki NZ Guitar Summer School, and have appeared at the 2014 Adelaide International Guitar Festival.
Raffaele and Janet have been regular performers at five Darwin International Guitar Festivals and have been featured artists at West Dean, Dillington and World Youth Guitar Festivals in the UK. The Duo was also invited by the Australian Embassy to perform and give master classes in Hanoi, Vietnam. They have taught and performed in Argentina, Italy, New Zealand and the USA.
Raffaele and Janet share a strong interest in the development of the guitar as an ensemble instrument, and together with colleagues Richard Charlton and Christopher Keane, they have been the driving force behind the Classical Guitar Society’s annual Summer School for the past 20 years.
They play guitars by Australian luthier Greg Smallman and Sons.
Rachel, Raffaele and Janet have recorded the newest CD on the ‘Bach in the Dark’ label together in April, 2018 called ‘Consonance’.
David Pereira is one of Australia’s most accomplished musicians. His career has allowed him to be principal cellist of both the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and of the Australia Ensemble. David has enjoyed an uncommonly versatile professional musical experience that has included concerto performances with major and minor orchestras and conductors, recital, chamber, festival, guest leading, premiering of new works, visiting artist teaching, artistic direction, conducting, concert series presentation, pedagogical writing and filming, improvising and composing.
Rachel and David have recorded a CD of music for two cellos in January, 2016. A recent review from Limelight said “Dreaming with Daisy has the feel of a celebration, of untempered, free and loose-limbed music-making, where lines are shaped with boldness… apt for music-making of immediacy and intimacy.”
An individual voice in Australian improvised music, Anthony Schulz has developed a sound world that dispels preconceptions of the Piano Accordion. In 1996 he was a founding member of the groundbreaking ensemble Frock, a group that speaks through the meld of disparate cultures and historical displacement. Frock’s exploration of improvisation, form and ensemble relationship has led them to produce eight albums and perform their music throughout Australia, Europe and Asia.
“The sense of space evoked by these musicians – even when all six were playing together – gave much of the concert an intimate, chamber-jazz feel. But Frock’s infectious energy and humor also propelled the music into unexpected moods of playful celebration.” (Jessica Nicholas, The Age)
In 2007, Anthony was awarded an ARIA for his work with Zulya and the Children of the Underground (Best World Music Album – Three Nights).
“…The original songs are built mostly around Anthony Schulz’s inventive Piano Accordion playing (Dave Curry, Canberra Times)
At one point thrashing his accordion in the dissonant expressionism of Berg’s Wozzeck, to the next, improvising freely with ECM icon Barre Phillips; he then re-appears in a contemporary jazz performance with the noted jazz vibraphonist Dave Samuels or renowned guitarist Doug DeVries. It is through the lens of these seemingly disparate musical forms that Anthony has increasingly found a place to focus his intention on the exploration of the piano accordion as an instrument capable of great nuance and complexity.
In July 2019, Anthony received partial financial support and time release from Melbourne Polytechnic to study with the Freebass Accordionist, Associate Professor Joseph Macerollo at the University of Toronto.
Anthony has a Bachelor of Music (Improvisation) and a Masters of Music Performance from Melbourne University (VCA) and is currently Acting Head of Program and Senior Lecturer in the Bachelor of Music program at Melbourne Polytechnic.
Rachel and Anthony recorded ‘Little Birds’ in 2014, an album that is often played on classical radio stations around Australia.
Genevieve Lang has performed regularly as a section and guest principal harpist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has also enjoyed a long association with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Genevieve is a founding member of SHE (Seven Harp Ensemble), a group directed by harpist Alice Giles, which is active in commissioning and performing new Australian music. As a soloist she has performed with the Tasmanian, West Australian and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras.
Genevieve has presented courses in chamber music appreciation at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education and tutored the Australian Youth Orchestra’s music journalism course, Words About Music.
She has undertaken traineeships in artistic administration and music presentation, which gave her the opportunity to work with a number of Australian orchestras and with ABC Radio. Since then, she has worked with Gondwana Choirs, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and Pinchgut Opera. Genevieve regularly delivers pre-concert talks for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and has edited various publications for the SSO for the last 10 years.
DEBORAH de GRAAFF
Early in her career Deborah competed locally and internationally in London and Munich, winning numerous prizes, scholarships and awards, including national and Commonwealth ABC instrumental competitions in 1983. For over 30 years she has performed as chamber musician most notably with her mother Lauris Elms, soprano Rita Hunter, pianists Geoffrey Parsons, John Winther and Len Vorster. As a concerto soloist she performed with Richard Bonynge and Paul Dyer Brandenburg. She also worked overseas with the Fine Arts Orchestra at St Martin in the Fields and in Vietnam.
She regularly broadcasts for the ABC, has recorded over sixteen CDs, and collaborates in chamber recitals often premiering especially written Australian compositions. Teaching at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Tertiary, High School and Open Academy, she is a Research Affiliate, also teaching Clarinet at UNSW and her private Sydney Town Hall studio. Awarded her PhD from UNSW 2014, she received a USYD Large Innovative Grant (2015) applying her PhD Model of Elite Practice (MEP) towards music student motivation at Conservatorium. Her 2016 publications include a Pitch Error Coding Protocol paper, co-authored with Emery Schubert, published in Music Perception (December 2016 issue). Her new CD titled Rags Bags and Tangos was released 2018. Deborah is currently working on an on-line video and PDF clarinet ‘book’ designed for teachers of clarinet and advanced students wishing to gain the most out of their practice.
THE CHOIR OF ST JAMES’
The Choir of St James’ is one of the oldest musical establishments in Australia, and is linked to the earliest days of the colony of New South Wales. The Choir maintains a regular schedule of weekly choral services in addition to special services and state funerals. It has become known and highly regarded for its artistically outstanding performances, from small choral pieces to large-scale choral and orchestral works.The Choir has a large and varied repertoire, both sacred and secular, encompassing music from the Middle Ages to the contemporary, and including recent Australian commissions and premieres. The singers are directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones.
Composer & Percussionist
Since graduating with honours in composition from the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music in 1997, Ben Sibson has been working as a freelance composer and percussionist on a variety of projects and in many genres.
Originally trained as a pianist, he switched to percussion at 21 when he joined the Army Reserve Band in Tasmania. Since then, Ben has spent many years as a kit drummer, percussionist, keyboardist, vocalist, conductor and musical director, spanning many genres. He has performed at venues and festivals throughout Australia and Asia, including Womadelaide, Port Fairy, Apollo Bay and Bellingen folk festivals, the festival of Island Cultures in Cheju, Korea and a tour of Singapore. He was also the producer and editor for Rachel’s latest CDs Little Birds, Dreaming with Daisy and the 2018 release Consonance.
Artist – The Painted Bach
Judith White is a Sydney-based artist who trained at the National Art School in Sydney and gained a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Fine Arts) at Sydney University. She is a member of the Australian Watercolour Institute and has been a practicing professional for 35 years with 42 solo exhibitions throughout Australia and in Nagoya, Japan in 1993.
Several major commissions, working in very large formats have provided a background for the realisation of the Painted Bach collaboration. The spatial ambiance that music can provide for anything visual has been an on-going interest for Judith; and of course a personal passion for Bach has contributed to the great pleasure of this venture.
Veronique Serret has established herself as a versatile musician whose repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary classical, folk, rock and improvisation. She is committed to “new works” and collaborates regularly with Australia’s composers. An avid chamber musician, Veronique is a member of “the Noise” (an improvising string quartet) and contemporary group Ensemble Offspring. She has appeared as a guest with Synergy, Pinchgut Opera, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, the Acacia Quartet, Halcyon, the Omega Ensemble and the Sydney Camerata Quartet.
Veronique was a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra for many years and in 2014 was appointed Concertmaster of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Veronique returned to base herself in Sydney this year where she continues a rich, diverse musical life.
Paul is an actor who works and lives in Sydney. He has long held interests in social cohesion, and division, class and power, voices of the marginalised and the disenfranchised, and the power of theatre. Paul didn’t start out as an actor. Early on he studied philosophy and English literature, and then completed a Masters in Human Bioethics . At 40, finally, Paul trained at drama school. He started a new chapter as a working actor. A range of credits on stage and screen have followed. Theatre includes shows at Sydney’s Seymour Centre, Old Fitz Theatre, Riverside Theatre (Parramatta) and the Bondi Pavilion.
Paul is excited to explore how different artistic forms, different forms of expression, can tell stories and captivate audiences. From 2013, Paul worked with cellist Rachel Scott (Bach in the Dark) creating a series of concerts for Cello and Spoken Word, using text from Shakespeare to Kundera, and everything in between. Paul works regularly as an actor, writer, and coach in organisational development creating immersive learning experiences for individuals and their organisations.