I’m joined by some extraordinarily talented musicians and performing artists…
Benjamin Ward is a musician, composer and co-artistic director and curator of the celebrated music series lalala which he founded with his partner Lisa in 2014. Since 2009, he has been a member of the double bass section of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Benjamin performed at Gough Whitlam’s state memorial service in 2014, toured Australia with violinist Nigel Kennedy in 2017, was invited to perform at the Pacific Music Festival in 2009 and is a recipient of the Winston Churchill Fellowship.
A career highlight for Benjamin was his collaboration with Jasmin Sheppard of Bangarra Dance Company; a piece after the poems of celebrated Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha writer/poet Ali Cobby Eckermann called ‘…when walawaru soars…’, a multi-disciplinary work for dance, visuals, vocalist and a small orchestra.Benjamin has also volunteered at the NOWnow festival and series in 2018 and 2017. Recently, Benjamin has performed a solo recital, including his own compositions, at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery; played a solo set of double bass works at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival; and volunteered at the Garma Festival in north east Arnhem land for the Yothu Yindi Foundation.
Raffaele and Janet Agostino have been active in the Sydney Classical Guitar scene over the last four 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 has featured at five Darwin International Guitar festivals, Taranaki NZ Guitar Summer School, and the Adelaide International Guitar Festival. Raffaele, Janet and Richard have been the driving force behind the Classical Guitar Society’s annual Summer School for the past 25 years.
Raffaele and Janet share a strong interest in the development of the guitar as an ensemble instrument and as Duo Agostino they have taught and performed in Argentina, Italy, the UK, Vietnam, New Zealand and the USA. In 2022, Janet was awarded a PhD from UNSW, researching the transcription process for guitar ensembles.
Raffaele and Janet each hold a Fellowship from the Trinity College of London and have been awarded Life Membership of the Classical Guitar Society, Sydney, for ‘Significant and Sustained Contribution’. They play guitars by Australian luthier Greg Smallman and Sons and baritone guitar (2019) by Graham Caldersmith.
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 recordings Little Birds, Dreaming with Daisy, Consonance and the 2022 release Mosaic.
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. Her voice is very familiar to us all being one of the much-loved presenters on ABC Classic!
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.
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.”
Author and Spoken Word
Maggie MacKellar is a writer and farmer living on a Merino wool farm on the east coast of Tasmania. Her work has been published in Island, Best Australian Essays, Sydney Review of Books and The Saturday Paper. She has a beloved weekly Substack newsletter, The Sit Spot. Maggie and Rchel will present a concert waeving Bach and her writing…
About Maggie’s new book “Graft” – Maggie MacKellar describes a year on a Merino wool farm on the east coast of Tasmania, and all of life – and death – that surrounds her through the cycle of lambing seasons. She gives us the land she knows and loves, the lambs she cares for, the ewes she tries to save, the birds around her, and the dogs and horses she adores. Graft is a stunning thanksgiving for a place and a moment in motherhood; and a timely reminder of the inescapable elemental laws of nature.
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.
A deeply passionate and imaginative performer, Rosie Gallagher enjoys a varied life as a musician around the world. Born in Sydney Australia, she received a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School, New York, and a Masters of Music from the Royal Academy of Music in London. She has performed with groups that include the 21c Festival of Contemporary Music, Yellowbarn Music Festival, Heartbeat Opera, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Ensemble Connect – a two year fellowship program of Carnegie Hall and the Weill Music Institute that combines artistic excellence with social engagement training.