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its hard to make music without them
It can be hard to make music without performers. Not impossible, but very hard...
Argo has had the pleasure of collaborating with some of Australia's finest performers – read on to learn all about them
Tim Munro is a Chicago-based, triple-Grammy-winning musician. His diverse work as a flutist, speaker, writer and teacher is united by a single goal: to draw audiences into an engrossing and whimsical musical world. Tim made his New York solo debut in November 2016, at Miller Theater, with “a daring program [showcasing the flute’s] theatrical and performative aspects” (Limelight Magazine).
Born in Brisbane, Australia, Tim was the flutist and co-artistic director of the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird from 2006 till 2015. As a member of eighth blackbird, Tim performed at major concert venues in 40 US states and abroad, worked as soloist with America’s finest orchestras, curated three music festivals, and premiered more than 100 new works, including Steve Reich’s “Double Sextet” (Pulitzer Prize winner, 2009). Tim won his third Grammy Award as a member of eighth blackbird in 2016, for the Cedille Records album “Filament.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, “the fierce virtuosity of Tim Munro was worth the price of admission all by itself.” Tim’s solo performances are “captivating,” “bravura,” “charismatic,” “brilliant” (The New York Times), “engrossing” (Chicago Tribune) and “brilliantly clear and beautifully balanced” (Sydney Morning Herald). Tim memorizes his solo repertoire, leaving him free to add a theatrical dimension to his shows.
Tim’s solo album, “one two three,” is a funny, terrifying, and unpredictable journey that casts Munro as flutist, singer, amateur mathematician, and supervillain, produced in collaboration with cassette tape label Parlour Tapes+.
In the first half of 2017, Tim plays as substitute flutist with the Imani Winds and Ensemble Signal, performs chamber music at Chicago’s Arts Club, and acts as principal flute with the Charlottesville Opera. Tim is the inaugural Paula Kinnane Artist-in-Residence at the University of Queensland in 2017, and takes part in the Queensland Conservatorium’s 70th Anniversary Celebration. He continues a close relationship as a writer with Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Symphony and Limelight Magazine, and also contributes to 21CM.org. Tim is also co-music director for a large-scale project taking place in both Chicago and Brisbane, involving more than 1000 untrained voices.
An experienced and energetic teacher, Tim guides and provokes students to use their instruments to tell compelling tales with emotional honesty. As a member of eighth blackbird, he held faculty positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, University of Chicago and University of Richmond, and has appeared as a guest lecturer at more than 50 universities across America.
Tim is also a passionate writer and speaker about music, inviting audiences into his beloved musical worlds with intelligence and humor. Tim is principal flute of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra in Santa Cruz, and has performed with many of Australia’s orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo
The Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo enjoys an international profile in duo piano performance, involving festivals, major series, live radio broadcasts, and orchestras.
Described as “barnstorming” (The Australian) and “unforgettable - sure to be Best of 2011 – the most compelling case for the beauty and variety of two piano repertory this reviewer has ever heard” (Rick Schultz, Los Angeles Times), the duo is committed to exploring classics of the two-piano repertoire, but also contributes to the ongoing expansion of that literature through commissioning composers.
Fifteen new works have been written for them to date, and they have performed world and Australian premieres of music by composers such as Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, and Shaun Naidoo, as well as Australian composers Robert Davidson, Andrew Ford, Stuart Greenbaum and Matthew Hindson.
The Duo’s innovative and creative approach has resulted in collaborations with composers, artists, dancers, choreographers and other established performing ensembles - as well as book chapters, articles and scholarly seminars and presentations.
The Duo spent a decade in the United States, including 5 years at California Institute of the Arts, before taking up their current positions as Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Liam is a pioneering piano soloist, collaborative musician and teacher. First prize-winner of the Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, Liam has performed regularly in Australia, the United States, Europe and Israel. He has appeared as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony, the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Youth Orchestra, the New Century Players and the CalArts Chamber Orchestra in concertos ranging from those of Mozart and Beethoven to Prokofiev and Ligeti.
Liam is a member of the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo with Anna Grinberg, and is also a member of the White Halo Ensemble.
Anna is a piano performance fellow at the School of Music. Born in the former Soviet Union, Anna’s career has seen concerts in the United States, Australia, Israel, and Europe.
Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “powerful”, Anna’s engagements have included solo and chamber music performances at prestigious venues in the United States, including Royce Hall at Los Angeles and New York’s Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has performed as soloist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Paul Mellon Chamber Orchestra, and is a member of the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo.
A performer of great versatility, the distinguished soprano Merlyn Quaife an Order of Australia Award in the Queen’s Birthday 2013 Honours List for significant service to music. Merlyn has performed opera, oratorio, Lieder, chamber music and contemporary music to great acclaim throughout Australia and Europe. She has also performed as soloist with the Singapore Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Voronesz Philharmonic in Russia. Merlyn has appeared with all the State Opera Companies in roles ranging from the bel canto Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor to the minimalist Chiang Ch’ing in Nixon in China. She has performed with all the Symphony Australia orchestras, featured in repertoire of every conceivable style from Handel to Ligeti, as well as recorded a number of CDs including Aria for John Edward Eyre by David Lumsdaine which won her a Sounds Australia Award. Of recording labels, she appears on Naxos, Move, Tall Poppies and ABC Classics.
In 1994, Merlyn made her American debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, singing the title role in Gordon Kerry’s opera Medea with Chamber Made Opera, which she also sang to great acclaim when she created the title role in Melbourne, with subsequent seasons in Sydney and Canberra . This was closely followed by a new production with the Berliner Kammeroper which enjoyed three seasons.
Along with her wide array of operatic and oratorio projects, Merlyn is also a regular soloist at St Francis Church in the heart of Melbourne – a role she has enjoyed for many years.
Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice) has become a regular performance piece with orchestra or piano. Other major highlights have included Shostakovitch Symphony No 14 with the Sydney Symphony (SSO), Britten War Requiem with the Berliner Capella and Flower Maiden 1 in the acclaimed State Opera of South Australia (SOSA) production of Parsifal (the first fully staged Australian performance, under the baton of Jeffrey Tate). Merlyn has also performed the Schoenberg String Quartet No 2 with the Arditti String Quartet for Melbourne International Festival of the Arts and the Goldner Quartet for the Adelaide Festival.
Merlyn has had many works composed specifically for her and dedicated to her—Gordon Kerry’s Kindled Skies and the Christopher Willcock Akmahtova Stanzas being among the highlights.
Lipizzaners with the Stars, Australia wide, saw her combine her love of music with her passion for horses when she sang the fiendishly difficult Queen of the Night aria while riding. She has also been privileged to perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy in performances of Sibelius’ Luonnotar and Rachmaninof’s The Bells.
Education has also been an important part of Merlyn’s career. Between 1995 and 2007 she headed the Vocal Department at the Faculty of Music at the University of Melbourne. Since 2005 she has also been guest teacher at the Lotte Lehmann Woche Summer School in Pereleberg, Germany and has been invited for teaching/performing engagements in Vienna and the USA, as well.
Violinist Monica Curro is currently in her 19th year as Assistant Principal 2nd Violin of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and was a core member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra for 5 years before that. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1987 and completed a Masters Degree at Michigan State University in 1991, studying with Walter Verdehr. She has played with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, as Principal 2nd Violin with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and Concertmaster of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and The Auckland Chamber Orchestra.
Monica is a member of the Board of Directors of the Australian Youth Orchestra, and regularly tutors for their orchestral and chamber music programs. She has taught violin at The University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts, and has coached chamber music and taught violin and viola at the Australian National Academy of Music and its Young Academy.
In 2009 Monica was honoured to be invited as the only Australian to play in the World Orchestra for Peace conducted by Valery Gergiev for concerts in Poland and Sweden. She joined them in 2010 for concerts in London and Salzburg, in Abu Dhabi for 2011, in New York and Chicago for 2012, and in London for 2014. Monica is also a member of the Australian World Orchestra, who last year performed with Sir Simon Rattle in Sydney and Melbourne, and with Zubin Mehta on tour in India.
Monica recently gave the world premiere, as co-soloist with her sister Sarah, of Stefan Cassomenos' Double Violin Concerto for acoustic, semi-acoustic and electric violins. In October 2013, she appeared as a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and appears regularly as part of MSO's Chamber Series. Monica is a founding member of contemporary ensemble PLEXUS which has commissioned over 100 composers and premiered 64 new works since launching in 2014.
Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos is one of Australia’s most vibrant and versatile musicians. Stefan has performed internationally since the age of 10, and performed the premiere of his own composition Piano Concerto No 1: Aegean Odyssey with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16. More recently, he has performed concertos with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra Victoria.
Stefan now gives regular solo recitals and concerto performances throughout Australia, Europe, and Asia, having appeared as a soloist in St Petersburg, Tallinn, Warsaw, Krakow, Bonn, Athens, Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, London, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Tokyo. Recent engagements have included solo recitals in Zurich (Tonhalle), Leipzig (Gewandhaus), Bonn, Weimar, Ludwigshafen, Kirchheimbolanden, Malta, London, and throughout the UK.
In 2013, he was a grand finalist and recipient of the Second Grand Prize in the prestigious International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition Bonn, in Germany. He was also the recipient of the Chamber Music Prize. In 2012, he was a grand finalist in the Rhodes International Piano Competition. He has also been a grand finalist and prize-winner in the 2013 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, the 2013 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer Awards, the 2009 Melbourne Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition, and the 2009 Trieste International Chamber Music Competition.
Stefan’s compositions are regularly commissioned, performed and broadcast throughout Australia. He is also active as an artistic director of various festivals, projects and collaborations. Stefan is a founding member of contemporary ensemble PLEXUS which has commissioned over 100 composers and premiered 64 new works since launching in 2014. Stefan is generously supported by Kawai Australia and by the Youth Music Foundation of Australia.
Queensland's Chamber Orchestra
Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, has established itself as a chamber orchestra of national significance with an outstanding track record of artistic achievement. A Company-in-Residence at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Camerata’s vision is to empower artists, inspire audiences, and enrich communities through music.
Camerata was founded in 1987 by acclaimed string educator Elizabeth Morgan AM, as an ensemble of emerging Artists which she then formed into a professional chamber orchestra in 2005.
Performing without a conductor, the 18-member core ensemble and their guest artists proudly take full ownership of the music-making in the spirit of chamber music to form a thriving, refreshing and acclaimed voice. Audiences and critics remark on the vibrancy of Camerata’s programming and the enthusiasm and joy of Camerata’s core players and their guests.
Under Artistic Director Brendan Joyce, the group undertakes an annual regional Queensland tour and a subscription concert season in both Brisbane and Toowoomba. Audiences continue to grow for Camerata with over 16,000 people experiencing a Camerata performance in 2016.
As a Queensland ensemble, Camerata provides career and performance opportunities for string players who wish to build an international career from Brisbane, and as a point of attraction for those returning from overseas.
Camerata has a reputation for innovation and interesting and adventurous programming. The ensemble is extremely flexible in its repertoire and in the way it combines works in programs, playing the core "classics" as well as new and recent music, and Australian music. Camerata regularly works with performers outside the 'classical' sector.
In 2016 Camerata was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Chamber and/or Instrumental Ensemble Concert for its concert Home featuring an all-Australian music program.
Performance highlights in recent years include: When Time Stops with Expressions Dance Company (2013, 2016) (Awarded 2014 APRA/AMC Queensland Performance of the Year Art Music Award); St Matthew Passion Opera Queensland (2013); Australian Festival of Chamber Music (2013-2015); Queensland Music Festival (2013, 2015, 2017); Gurrumul Yunupingu – His Life and Music Darwin Festival (2014); Bright Stars Shone for Us (QPAC 2015); and gala performances with counter-tenor Max Emanuel Cenčić and mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux (Brisbane Baroque 2015, 2016).
Flora is an Australian violinist, violist, teacher and arts administrator. A member of new music septet Nonsemble, she is also a regular performer in the Dots+Loops concert series and with Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra. She has also been involved with the Queensland Youth Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute and the Sydney Symphony’s Sinfonia program.
A graduate of the University of Queensland’s School of Music, she completed her Bachelor of Music majoring in Music Performance with Spiros Rantos in 2009, graduating with First Class Honours and a University Medal. A winner of the School of Music String Bach Prize (2008) and twice a recipient of the 4MBS Musica Viva Sid Page Memorial Prize in Chamber Music (2009 & 2010), she continued her postgraduate studies with John Curro and was awarded a Master of Philosophy in Music Performance in 2015.
Alongside her passion for new music, Flora also specialises in historical performance practice, and has performed with the Wallfisch Band on several occasions and at festivals including the Peninsula Summer Music Festival and the Canberra International Music Festival. She plays a violin handmade for her in 2009 by esteemed German-Australian violinmaker Helge Grawert.
Robert Manley completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours at the University of Queensland, graduating with a University Medal in 2011. He subsequently spent two years at the Australian National Academy of Music studying the cello with Howard Penny.
As a freelance cellist, Robert has worked with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Southern Cross Soloists and Camerata.
Robert also holds Licentiate Diplomas on both piano and recorder. He has performed as a recorder soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, piano soloist with Sinfonia Australis and cello soloist with the Orchestra of the Australian National Academy of Music. Robert is an official accompanist for the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition and the University of Queensland School of Music.
Robert is currently undertaking a PhD (Performance) at the University of Queensland, where he is researching community engagement strategies for chamber music performance. He has also pursued a musicological interest in Australian Aboriginal music, studying concepts about time consciousness in Central Desert ceremonial music for his Honours project.
Sacha Gibbs-McPhee is an Australian clarinettist pursuing a career in orchestral music, and has been performing as a freelance musician for several years. A recent graduate of the University of Queensland, Sacha is moving to London in September to undertake his Masters at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2016, he performed in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s concert season in major symphonic works, as well as opera and ballet. As a soloist, he has performed concertos with the UQ Symphony, and the Brisbane City Pops Orchestra, and in 2016 was the winner of the Donald Tugby Performance Prize. In August of this year he will perform as a soloist with the Noosa Symphony, in a program also featuring QSO concertmaster Warwick Adeney. He credits his mother, a pianist and teacher, for his musical passion and success from an early age, in addition to his teachers including Paul Dean, Bernard Watalett, and Nicholas Harmsen. He is excited to be learning from esteemed performers, Timothy Lines and Andrew Marriner, among others during his studies at the Academy. Sacha is passionate about art music, and finds every opportunity to perform music of all styles and forms.
Anna Kho is an aspiring musician who fell in love with music at a young age. Specialising in classical percussion and jazz vibraphone, she has received her Bachelor of Music with Honours at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Her honours thesis focused on the causes of music performance anxiety in tertiary classical and jazz percussionists. Currently, she is studying a Graduate Diploma in Education at University of Queensland. To date she has studied under David Adelt, Tom O’Kelly, Nozomi Omote, Kym Ambrose, and Vanessa Tomlinson. Anna has also worked with illustrious musicians, including John Hoffman, Elly Hoyt, Steve Newcomb, Band of Frequencies, Yitzhak Yedid, John Parker, Tim Munro, Mark Applebaum, Aiyun Huang, Terry Longshore, Johannes Fritzsch, Andrew Mogrella, Meta Weiss, Lisa Moore, Michael Askill, Erik Griswold, Early Warning System, Claire Edwardes, Matthew Styles, Diana Tolmie, Roland Peelman, Cameron Patrick, Peter Morris, Peter Luff, Ralph Hultgren, John Curro, Mark Isaacs, Allan Zavod, Argo, Nonsemble, and Cricket World Cup Brisbane Drummers.
She has been involved in several chamber ensembles, such as Mac-Cussion, who appeared as semi-finalists on Australia’s Got Talent, Ba Da Boom, Con Artists, Conservatorium Big Band, while leading her own jazz ensemble, Anna Kho-tet. As an active pit percussionist she has performed in Queensland musical theatre companies, such as Savoyards, Ignatians, Prima, Redcliffe Musical Theatre and Undergrounds Production. She has also played for orchestras, such as Queensland Youth Symphony, Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, Conservatorium Opera Orchestra, and Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist she was featured alongside Diana Tolmie with Queensland Philharmonia Orchestra, and was a semi-finalist in the 2014 Australian Marimba Competition. Due to her vast musical experiences, she has interest in various music genres, such as classical, jazz, fusion, new music, and contemporary music. A part from performance, her passion in education is reflected in her private studio teaching at the Queensland College of Music and personal business Anna Kho Music. Arranging and composing have also become musical projects in her growing career.