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Season of Song Concert 1

Dangerous Romantics

Sunday 26th February at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Christina Wilson (mezzo-soprano) and Alan Hicks (piano)

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Drenched in scandal, iconic Romantic poets Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and Paul Verlaine wrote sublime verse of intense emotion and free self-expression, inspiring generations of composers. This recital explores the luscious fruit of that inspiration in works by Reynaldo Hahn, Gabriel Faure, Claude Debussy, Frederick Septimus Kelly, Roger Quilter and Graeme Koehne.

 


Season of Song Concert 2

A Breath of Fresh Air

Sunday 2nd April at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Sally Wilson (mezzo-soprano) and Mark Kruger (piano)

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Traversing a wide range of composers and styles centring around Alban Berg’s youthful and deeply expressive Seven Early Songs, the duo selects and curates their repertoire not for its reputation or historical interest, but for its sheer emotional impact and to showcase Ms Wilson’s exceptional dramatic talent. This allows both the artists and audiences to stay creative and engaged in what is a moving and intriguing concert not to be missed!

 


Season of Song Concert 3

The Voice of Heroic Love

Sunday 21st May at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Louise Page (soprano), Phillipa Candy (piano) and Rachel Best Allen (clarinet)

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“The clarinet can express most poetic ideas or sentiments but really it’s the voice of heroic love” – Hector Berlioz. This recital will feature songs for the rich combination of voice, clarinet and piano by John McCabe, Alan Hovhaness and Arthur Bliss, Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock” and a new song cycle by Canberra composer Michael Dooley.

 


Members’ Soirée

Soirée at St Alban’s

Sunday 4 June at 3pm
St Alban’s Church, 34 Chappell Street, Lyons

Date to be confirmed.

The Members’ Soirée will be a social gathering of members of Art Song Canberra in which we make music together, taking us back to the origin of Lieder societies. A small group of members will sing informally in the company of other, like-minded people. Members and their friends are cordially invited to attend. If you are interested, please send a message via the contact form . No costs are entailed. Non-members can participate by becoming a member at $25 per person.


Season of Song Concert 4

In an Elemental Mood

Sunday 23rd July at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Sonia Anfiloff (soprano), Ben Connor (baritone) and Alan Hicks (piano)

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Songs by Barber, Wolf, Fauré, and Tchaikovsky which are linked by the poetic imagery of the four natural elements Earth, Fire, Air and Water. The “fire of desire” and “Love’s ardent gale that blows to your beloved’s door” are depicted in beautiful settings by these composers. “Elemental” becomes “Sentimental” as we are taken to the 1930s with classics by Porter, Romberg, Herb Brown, Weill and Novello bringing nostalgia and scandal to the elemental theme.

 


Season of Song Concert 5

Songs Jessye’s Sung

Sunday 3rd September at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Julia Wee (soprano) and Lucus Allerton (piano)

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Inspired by the great American soprano Jessye Norman, Julia will sing from Ms Norman’s repertoire, including African-American spirituals, Mahler and Strauss. The program is informed by Ms Norman’s 2014 autobiography ‘Stand Up Straight and Sing!’ and touches on the themes of personal journeys, freedom and liberty.

 


Art Song Canberra and Wesley Music Centre present

Masterclass for Performers of Art Song by Yvonne Kenny

Saturday 9th September at 2pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

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Yvonne Kenny, patron of Art Song Canberra, will give a masterclass for singers and accompanists. Audience will be very welcome. The masterclass is kindly and generously sponsored by the Wesley Music Foundation. Applications for participation are now invited. For all details regarding participation and information about ticket prices, please see the call for applications.

 


Season of Song Concert 6

Night Songs

Sunday 15th October at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Jill Sullivan (mezzo-soprano), Robert Harris (viola) and Alan Hicks (piano)

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From the very earliest times, humans have looked up and gazed in wonder and awe at the night sky. This program explores the beauty and mystery of ‘Night’, its associations with sleep, rest, dreams, the world of magic and its symbolism of the world beyond. The differing attitudes to ‘Night’ across the musical ages are explored in this program of songs that spans the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. The audience is invited to join in the sleep of night and is then taken on a journey that begins in the early romantic Viennese world of Schubert and Brahms. As Vienna approaches the fin de siècle, the excesses of its late musical flowering contrast with the intimacy of the songs of Hugo Wolf. And so to Paris with the music of Camille Saint-Saens, Cesar Franck and Reynaldo Hahn where the audience is transported into a sound-world that depicts the sensual beauty of ‘Night’. The journey concludes in Rome in the early twentieth century with songs that derive much of their beauty from Ottorino Respighi’s admiration of composers from earlier eras.


Members’ Soirée

Soirée at St Alban’s

Sunday 22 October at 3pm
St Alban’s Church, 34 Chappell Street, Lyons

Date to be confirmed.

The Members’ Soirée will be a social gathering of members of Art Song Canberra in which we make music together, taking us back to the origin of Lieder societies. A small group of members will sing informally in the company of other, like-minded people. Members and their friends are cordially invited to attend. If you are interested, please send a message via the contact form . No costs are entailed. Non-members can participate by becoming a member at $25 per person.


Season of Song Concert 7

Why do They Shut Me Out of Heaven?

Sunday 26th November at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Susan Ellis (soprano) and Dianna Nixon (piano)

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In the nineteenth century Mary Gilmore and Emily Dickinson, two strangers from distant lands, fight to have their voices heard. Women who dreamt of creating an idyllic land, who championed for the underdog, who refused to allow themselves to fall into step with conventional piety. Women who used the power of word and song to invoke change.

 


The Artists


Winner of the Australian Singing Competition’s Marianne Mathy Award and prize winning graduate of the Canberra School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio London, mezzo-soprano Christina Wilson has appeared in performances throughout the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia.

She has sung as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and in recital at the Wigmore Hall, the Temple Square and the Paris Conservatoire. With Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Belfast Opera and the State Opera of South Australia she has sung the roles of Clitemnestre, Carmen, Cenerentola, Rosina, Cherubino, Dido, Dorabella and in recent years the Handel roles of David, Irene, Dejanira and Storgé in Handel in the Theatre’s 2016 production of The Vow at the Canberra Playhouse. Christina is broadcast regularly on ABC FM and appears locally, nationally and internationally in concert and oratorio, including a recent concert tour to France and England with the Flowers of War project. She has been a featured soloist for “Voices in the Forest” at the National Arboretum, the Canberra International Music Festival and in the CSO Prom Concert at Government House.

President of the ACT Chapter of ANATS, Christina regularly adjudicates and gives master classes nationally and internationally. She has taught at tertiary level for many years – from 2009 to 2012 at the School of Music in Canberra and currently at the University of Canberra, the Australian Institute of Music, and Sydney University’s Open Conservatorium in BOSTES accredited voice workshops.

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Alan Hicks is one of Australia’s foremost vocal coaches and accompanists. He currently works in the Vocal and Opera Studies Unit at Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He was Musical Director of the University of Canberra Chorale, 2013-16, and Head of Voice at the School of Music in Canberra, 2008-12. As well as being an accomplished recital accompanist performing regularly around Australia, Alan’s theatrical credits include: musical preparation for Albert Herring, Dido and Aeneas, Grimm and the Blue Crown Owl, Die Zauberflöte, Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi and Die Fledermaus and chorus master for Tosca, The Barber of Seville, La Traviata and From a Black Sky. In 2013 he made his stage debut at the Street Theatre as Alain/Claude in the award-winning Bijou, starring and written by Chrissie Shaw – in subsequent years touring throughout NSW and presenting seasons at La Mama Courthouse, Melbourne, the Depot Theatre, Sydney, and The Butterfly Club, Melbourne.

Husband-and-wife duo Christina Wilson and Alan Hicks has presented many recitals for Art Song Canberra and for the Lieder Society of Victoria, the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, the AIM concert series at the Art Gallery of NSW and by invitation at the 2013 International Conference of Voice Teachers at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. In 2016 they recorded songs of F.S. Kelly for the ABC Classics CD release A Race Against Time. As part of The Flowers of War project they performed in concerts at the High Court, Four Winds in Bermagui, St James Sydney and at the Fremantle Festival.

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Sally Wilson has performed in Europe, the UK, the USA, Asia and Australia for the past twenty years in opera, concert, chamber music and recital. She was a soloist member of the ensemble of the Theater Freiburg from 2010 until 2013, just before returning to Australia to live. Whilst in Freiburg she sang such roles as Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Armida (Rinaldo), Enfant (L’Enfant et les Sortilèges), Hänsel (Hänsel äund Gretel), Maddalena (Rigoletto), Waltraute (Die Walküre), Wellgunde (Götterdämmerung and Rheingold), Jenny (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) among others, beginning with mezzo repertoire, then moving into the soprano fach. Her repertoire now includes roles such as Abigaille (Nabucco), Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos), Leonora (Il Trovatore) and Lady Macbeth, but she also continues to sing classical, baroque and modern repertoire. Her most recent role debut was Agathe (Der Freischütz), and she just performed the role of Nefertiti, once again, in Phillip Glass’s opera, Akhnaten. Ms Wilson is very active in concert and recital – last year’s including recitals at the Woodend Winter Arts Festival, art song recitals, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and classical cabaret programs.

During her career she has sung several world-premiere performances across four continents. Ms Wilson returned from Munich in June 2014, after performing the role of Frau, which was composed specifically for her, with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (conducted by Peter Tilling) and Ensemble Recherche, in the world premiere of Hector Parra’s “Das Geopferte Leben”. The opera had its world premiere at the Munich Biennale on May 20th, 2014, and was followed by further performances in Munich and in Freiburg.
Some career highlights have been concerts with the Chicago Symphony Chamber Players at the Ravinia Festival, her concert debut in the Konzerthaus Berlin, concerts at the Aldeburgh Festival as well as Wigmore Hall, Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” with the Polish National Radio Symphony in Katowice, a concert for royalty in Aarhus, Handel’s Sesto with The Washington Opera, her debuts at the Puccini Festival and with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, her debut in 2013 with Oper Bonn, her role debut as Carmen in Switzerland, and her performance of the role of Ottavia in “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” with The Victorian Opera, for which she was nominated for a Greenroom Award.

Sally Wilson teaches privately and at Monash University. She has given masterclasses in Australia, Asia, the USA and Europe and at such schools and venues as Geelong Grammar School, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Pennsylvania State University and at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

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Born in Ipswich, Mark Kruger is a laureate of the Orleans International Piano Competition and his performances have been acclaimed around the world. His Spanish debut was hailed by El Pais as “brilliant both technically and musically… it was the revelation of a great artist”, his Purcell Room performance of the ‘Concord’ Sonata by Charles Ives for the Park Lane Group was described as “hugely impressive” in The Times, showing a “command of pianistic color in everything from the clanging chords to the dusky musings”, whilst a performance of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto in Melbourne was hailed by The Age as “masterful”.

He has appeared on television and radio in Europe, Canada, Asia and Australia. International festival appearances include the Saint Ricquer Festival in France, the Festival Ensems in Spain, the Melbourne International Festival, the Melbourne International Brass Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, and the Brisbane Biennial.
Dr Kruger has an extensive and varied repertoire at his command. Central to his programs are large-scale works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some of which are rarely performed. Amongst these are Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata, Chopin’s renowned 24 Etudes in a single concert and Witold Lutoslaswki’s recently-discovered Piano Sonata. A theatrical performance of George Crumb’s Makrokosmos Vol. 1 elicited the following praise from the composer: “both technically and musically you showed an incredible mastery of my Makrokosmos piano idiom”. He is also closely associated with the works of Sergei Prokofiev, and was the Artistic Director of ABC Classic FM’s “Melbourne Prokofiev Project”, a series of live broadcasts dedicated to the composer which contained the complete piano sonatas. Dr Kruger is also a strong advocate of new music. He has given numerous world premiere performances and has had many compositions written for him. He continues to examine for the AMEB and selected/edited Level 1 piano works for Series 16.

As well his musical degrees, Dr Kruger also holds a Bachelor of Banking and Finance from the University of London/London School of Economics and has completed all exams for the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification. He works in the financial services industry in Melbourne.

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Louise Page OAM is one of Australia’s most highly regarded and versatile singers, performing in opera, operetta, oratorio, cabaret, recital and radio broadcasts throughout Australia and Europe. Louise graduated with distinction from the Canberra School of Music and then joined the Young Artist Program of the Vienna State Opera. She worked with such luminaries as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Sena Jurinac, Waldemar Kmennt and Geoffrey Parsons, and during this period performed in operas, oratorios and concerts in Austria, Germany and Belgium, as well as winning the ‘City of Ghent’ Prize in the Belgian Radio and Television Opera en Bel Canto competition.

Louise is a past vocal grand finalist in the ABC Young Performer of the Year competition where her performance of the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra earned a ‘MO’ Award nomination for classical performance of the year.
Louise is also the inaugural winner of the Mietta’s Song Recital Competition and her particular love of Lieder and art song has seen her become a highly sought after and experienced recitalist. Now based in Canberra, Louise performs regularly in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and regional areas, and has appeared as a soloist with the Sydney, Queensland, Canberra and Central Coast Symphony Orchestras, the National Capital Orchestra and the Canberra Youth Orchestra. She has performed extensively for Musica Viva, as well as the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Festival and the Mackay Region Festival of Arts, and has regularly been a featured artist for the ABC’s Sunday Live national broadcasts.

Louise has also been a regular soloist in the annual Voices in the Forest concerts at the National Arboretum, appearing with artists such as Anne Sofie von Otter and Sumi Jo.
Louise received a Canberra Critics Circle Award for music in 2007. In the same year she was recognized with the Canberra Times Artist of the Year award. She has recorded ten CDs of music varying from Lieder to operetta, premières of Australian music and Christmas songs. She is also a respected teacher, adjudicator and arts facilitator and in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List was awarded an OAM for services to the performing arts.

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Phillipa Candy is a highly respected professional musician, as an accompanist, conductor, pianist, private teacher, college teacher, repetiteur, and vocal coach. In the United States she performed regularly in Philadelphia. In Australia she has performed in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and regional areas. She has been awarded various prizes in Australia and the United States for performance and academic excellence. She studied vocal accompaniment with the late Geoffrey Parsons in London. She first toured with Musica Viva in 1988 as founding pianist with the group Austral Skies. Since 2011 she has been touring with Louise Page in the shows Nellie Melba: Queen of Song and The Magic of Operetta.

After returning to Australia in 1992, Phillipa formed an artistic partnership with soprano Louise Page to promote and foster art song. They have made several CDs. Recently they joined with members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, recording works of the composer/conductor/pianist Horace Keats for Wirripang. Phillipa has performed for ABC “Sunday Live” with Louise Page, teaming up with flautist Teresa Rabe, and in 2014 with violinist Barbara Jane Gilby. She teamed up with mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell in 2008 and 2011 for recitals for Art Song Canberra. Phillipa and Louise performed in the 2014 International Chamber Music Festival, giving Australian premieres of works by first-rate World War I composers such as Antoine, Eisler and Jürgens.

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Rachel Best Allen graduated from the Canberra School of Music, ANU in 1988 with a Bachelor of Music with Distinction in Clarinet Performance and subsequently completed a Graduate Diploma in Education at the University of Canberra in 1990. A member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra since 1989, she has also performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and has recorded several CDs with the Canberra New Music Ensemble. Rachel is committed to inspiring young people in their experiences with music, and teaches over 200 school students through instrumental music classes across Canberra.

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Sonia Anfiloff completed a Masters of Music in 2010 at The Australian National University, majoring in voice performance, under the tutelage of Christina Wilson and Alan Hicks. That year she also performed the role of Dido (Dido and Aeneas: Purcell) and was awarded third prize in The Australian National Eisteddfod Aria Competition. She has performed as a soloist in a number of requiems, masses and passions. Sonia performed in all of the ANU School of Music operas during her study there, including Sly in the world premiere of Grimm and the Blue Crown Owl, written by Josh McHugh, and Minna in the world premiere of the English translation of Rautavaara’s Gift of the Magi for the Canberra International Music Festival.

2009 marked the beginning of Sonia’s touring career, when she revisited her role as a Dame in Co-Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. Currently living in Vienna, Sonia is furthering her vocal studies with international teachers and coaches. In 2012 Sonia performed in two university recitals including Strauss’s Four Last Songs. In 2013 Sonia was awarded first prizes in the Australian National Eisteddfod and the Orange Eisteddfod and was a quarter-finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod. In 2013-14 Sonia performed her first role in Vienna – Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo. Sonia has performed regularly as a recitalist for Art Song Canberra, Friends of Opera Canberra, and at the Crisp Galleries.

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Ben Connor graduated with a Masters of Music in Voice from the Australian National University, where he was the recipient of the Harmony Endowment scholarship. From 2010, when he moved to Vienna, he furthered his studies at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (University for Music and Performing Arts) until he became a member of the inaugural “Junges Ensemble” at Theater an der Wien in 2012. He was the winner of the 2010 Aria Competition in both the Australian National Eisteddfod and the Orange Eisteddfod, as well as being the 2011 recipient of the Richard Wagner Stipendium Bayreuth prize from “Klassik Mania”(Vienna). In 2013 he was Musical America’s “New Artist of the Month: August”.

As part of Theater an der Wien’s Young Ensemble he performed the roles of: “Marcello” (Puccini: La Bohème), “Dandini” (Rossini: La Cenerentola), “Slook” (Rossini: La cambiale di matrimonio) and “Amazonian” (Kagel: Mare Nostrum) in the Vienna Kammeroper, as well as “Baron Douphol” (Verdi: La Traviata), “Guccio” (Puccini: Gianni Schicchi), “Truchseß von Waldburg” (Hindemith: Mathis der Maler) and Coryphée (Rossini: Le Comte Ory) at Theater an der Wien. Since leaving the Young Ensemble he has come back to the Kammeroper in 2015 to guest as “Le Marì” in their production of “Les mamelles de Tirésias” by Poulanc.
As of the 2014/2015 season he joined the Ensemble of the Vienna Volksoper and can be seen in the roles of “the Caliph” (Forrest/Wright/Borodin: Kismet), “Marcelo” (Puccini: La Bohème), the baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana, “Freddy” (Loewe: My Fair Lady), “Stefano” (Donizetti: Viva la Mamma), and “Baron Duphol” (Verdi: La Traviata). In the 2016/2017 season he will add Figaro (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia) to his repertoire on the Volksoper Stage.

Ben’s festival engagements include “Marcello” at the Grachtenfestival Amsterdam in 2013 and in August 2014 he played the role of “Freddy” in My Fair Lady at the OperettenSommer Kufstein. In Australia he has performed as a recitalist for Art Song Canberra and as a soloist in the Canberra International Music Festival and many Choral societies. He has also performed concerts in Austria, Estonia, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

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Julia Wee was previously a chorister with the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir (SGLC) and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. She moved to Canberra to pursue further studies in vocal performance at the ANU. In 2013 she completed her degree studies under the tutelage of Louise Page and Alan Hicks, with whom she continues to study. She sang the role of Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring: her performance was reviewed as “gender-bendingly good”. She has also sung in Purcell’s Fairy Queen and Dido & Aeneas as well as been a chorus member in Sandie France’s chamber opera about the 2003 Canberra bushfire, From A Black Sky. She was also a chorus member in the 2015 Sydney premiere of Harvey Milk – The Opera in Concert.

In 2011 she debuted as a soloist in a choral work premiering Peterson’s Dreams & Visions with SGLC, which in 2013 was recorded at the ABC Sydney Ultimo sound studios. In 2012 she sang in the premiere of a new English translation of Bach’s St John Passion and in 2013 she sang with the ANU Choral Society in a performance of Bach’s Magnificat. In 2015 she sang in A Passion for Peace, a secular community oratorio composed by Canberra composer-librettist Dr Glenda Cloughley to commemorate the centenary of the first International Congress of Women in The Hague. Julia was awarded the Llewellyn Choir prize for Best Vocalist in the 2012 Margaret Smiles Accompaniment Competition and has also won places and commendations in the City of Sydney and National Eisteddfods. She was also a soloist at the 2011 and 2014 Christmas Eve Services at Sydney Town Hall and has sung at Carols Under the Stars at Pearce.

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Lucus Allerton graduated from the ANU School of Music with Honours in Piano in mid-2013. He is yet to regret that, which makes him happy. At the piano, Lucus enjoys ensemble and piano accompaniment work most of all, in 2012 winning the overall Margaret Smiles Accompaniment Prize (and in 2010 winning the prize for Best Vocal Accompanist), and reaching the Finals of the Sydney Eisteddfod’s 2013 Victoria Jennifer Warren Piano Accompaniment Award.

Lucus has very much enjoyed a number of musical partnerships and ensemble memberships, both during and after his time at the School of Music, and cherishes the friendships that have arisen from these experiences. Other highlights of his accompaniment experience include:
– Finalist in Sydney Eisteddfod Musica Viva Chamber Music Award, 2011
– Masterclasses with Stephen Delaney in 2010, 2012, and 2014
– Vocal Masterclass with Yvonne Kenny in 2015
– Masterclasses with Andrea Katz in 2016.
Lucus has also accompanied a variety of choirs, including the Strange Weather Gospel Choir (2014-), choirs of Canberra Grammar and St Edmunds, and several Canberra Choral Society choirs (including their massed ‘A Feast of St Nicolas’ performance in 2014).
Keen to further his understanding on accompanying voice, Lucus is on a mission to further understand the voice and vocal production. He joined the Luminescence Chamber Singers as a bass in 2015 and is currently studying Linguistics at the ANU.

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Sydney-born Yvonne Kenny is one of the most distinguished sopranos of her generation. She made her London operatic debut in 1975 in Donizetti’s Rosmonda d’Inghilterra. After winning the Kathleen Ferrier Competition she joined the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where her roles have included Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Ilia (Idomeneo), Marzelline (Fidelio), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Liu (Turandot), Aspasia (Mitridate) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni).

She has built herself an enviable international reputation as a dazzling interpreter of Handel’s soprano roles including Semele and Alcina (Covent Garden, La Fenice, Opera de Nancy), Romilda/Xerxes/English National Opera/Bayerische Staatsoper, Cleopatra/Giulio Cesare (Green Room Award) and Armida/Rinaldo/Opera Australia and Deborah/BBC Proms. International appearances include Wiener Staatsoper (Susanna, Cinna/Lucia Silla, Countess/Capriccio); La Scala, Milan (Pamina);Staatsoper/Berlin (Countess/Capriccio, La Didone); Opera de Paris (Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni); Hamburg (Oscar); English National Opera (Marschallin/Der Rosenkavalier and The Fairy Queen); Zurich/Glyndebourne (Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni), Countess/Le nozze di Figaro/Washington/Bayerische Staatsoper. She returns frequently to Australia in roles including Gilda (Rigoletto), Pamina, Susanna, Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Cleopatra, Alice Ford (Falstaff), Maria Stuarda, Alcina, Manon and L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Yvonne Kenny appears regularly on the concert platform including Edinburgh, Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence Festivals, New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore, Festival and Royal Albert Halls and at the BBC Promenade concerts. She was the first artist to give an official performance at the newly reopened Royal Opera House (a recital in Floral Hall). Australian performances include national tours for Musica Viva, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Brandenberg Orchestra as well as regular guest appearances with the Australian symphony orchestras in a broad range of repertoire.

Recent performances have included Countess/Capriccio (Dresden), Marschallin (Vienna), The Merry Widow, Marschallin, La Voix Humaine and Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire) for Opera Australia, Jocasta/Oedipus Rex (Sydney Festival), Fledermaus and a national concert tour with David Hobson for OA – Singing for Love, The Merry Widow at UK’s West Green House and concerts with the MSO.

Yvonne Kenny has a discography of more than 60 international titles to her credit and is internationally recognised for her recordings of French and Italian ‘bel canto’ repertoire. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1989 for services to music and conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Music by the University of Sydney in 1999. She is currently a Professor of Voice at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is a vocal coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at  the ROH Covent Garden.

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A versatile musician, Jill Sullivan has studied piano, violin, and voice recently graduating from the University of Manchester with an Honours degree in Arts (Opera Studies). She also holds a Bachelor degree in Medicine from the University of Tasmania and Licentiate Diploma of Music (Singing) A.M.E.B. Jill has performed throughout Australia and has an extensive concert, chamber and recital repertoire most recently performing alto solos for The Queensland Choir (Brahms – Alto Rhapsody and Handel – Messiah) and in recital in Sydney for Belcantosong Australia.

She has performed in the chorus of West Australian Opera, Opera Queensland, recorded for the former Victoria State Opera and was the soloist on the soundtrack for the highly awarded feature film Fade to White. In 2016 she joined the chorus of Opera Australia for its Sydney summer season and will return to that company in 2017 for the company’s first production to be sung in Polish (Krol Roger). She has directed choirs and taken choral workshops in Tasmania and Western Australia in opera chorus singing.

Jill has a strong commitment to public education in the arts and is sought after as a speaker for pre-concert talks and musical interest groups. For West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Jill was recently the pre-concert speaker in a programme that included contemporary works and the Mozart Requiem. She returns to Perth in December 2016 to give the pre-concert talks for WASO’s performances of Messiah. Jill is a passionate advocate for many smaller performing arts bodies in Australia facilitating connections between performers, supporters and the community. In 1990 Jill co-founded the Lieder Society of Western Australia (now Art Song Perth), an organisation she still actively supports.

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Robert Harris , violist, is active in Australia and overseas as a performer, educator and arts manager. Since 2007 and through 2017 he has been a regular visitor to Canberra as guest Principal Viola and ‘front desker’ of the Canberra Symphony and convenor of his own Cafe Viola outreach workshops. Robert as a violinist was Concertmaster of the Australian, Pittsburgh and International Youth Orchestras and studied as a scholarship student with violists Richard Goldner, Robert Pikler and Denes Koromzay. Robert was founding violist of such leading Australian chamber groups as the New England Ensemble (1975-1980) and Brisbane’s Festival Quartet (1980s-early 2000s). Robert now performs regularly with his own Viola Plus and Bratschenbarock, as a guest member of Brisbane’s Ensemble I (including the 4MBSFM Classic Concerts Cruises in 2012 & 2016) and as founder violist of the Lanyon Trio with Canberra’s violin and piano duo Andrew and Wendy Lorenz.

Robert has been a Principal/front desk violist of professional orchestras in most Australian states (including Principal, Australian Chamber Orchestra), in New Zealand, Thailand, England and for Australian orchestras touring Asia, Europe and North America, as well as for Pavarotti, Streisand, Stevie Wonder and many other commercial shows. From 1974 until 2010 Robert often served as guest violist/Principal with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra in Sydney, as Principal for five OzOpera national tours as well as for the Opera Queensland, Pacific Opera, Victorian Opera, the Australian Ballet and state dance companies.

Robert has performed with vocal recitalists Lauris Elms, Wendy Dixon, Michael Leighton Jones, Greg Massingham, Merlyn Quaife, Maree Ryan, Lilija Sile, Canberra’s Christina Wilson and, for Art Song Canberra in 2017, mezzo-soprano Jill Sullivan. Now a teacher at Sydney’s tertiary Australian Institute of Music and previously at leading schools (Barker College, The King’s School, St Andrew’s Cathedral School, Scots College) Robert also held university teaching appointments in Armidale, Brisbane and Melbourne and in the USA. He is frequent competitions and scholarships judge, is an AMEB NSW strings examiner, has directed string workshops in most Australian states, New Zealand, Thailand and USA. As a Churchill Fellow (1998-99) Robert researched concert networks and festivals in Canada, USA and the U.K.
Robert is a Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Viola Society ANZVS, was a past Chair of Orchestras Australia and a National Consultant for the Australian Strings Teachers Association AUSTA. Robert was convenor of the ANZVS International Viola Conferences in Melbourne (2002), Newcastle (2005) and Sydney (2012). He has been invited as a recitalist/lecturer/conductor to International Viola Society Congresses in Wellington (2001), Seattle, Reykjavik, Montreal, Adelaide, Cape Town, the Eastman School (Rochester, New York) and again in Wellington in September, 2017.

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Susan Ellis BMus, MMus, Grad Dip Ed is an accomplished performer and experienced teacher and mentor. Her repertoire ranges from opera and oratorio roles to contemporary Australian works. A graduate of the Australian National University, Susan has been awarded the Kornfeld Graduate Scholarship for Singers, the CAPO Fellowship and the Singapore Airlines Travelling Scholarship, for specialist vocalist study in Germany with renowned conductor and composer Cord Garben.

In 2004 Susan joined Opera Queensland’ Young Artist program progressing through the years to becoming a Principal artist with the company. She now performs freelance with Opera Queensland’s Open Stage outreach program and performs as part of Opera Queensland’s collaboration with Blue Roo Theatre Company. As an orchestral soloist, Susan has performed with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and the Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra in China. She has performed in concert in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Italy, Austria and Australia. Her favourite operatic roles performed include, La Traviata’s Violetta, Die Fledermaus’ Rosalinda the Turn of the Screw’s Miss Jessell and the Title role in the Merry Widow. Her favorite Oratorio roles performed include Monteverdi’s Vespers, Vaughn William’s Serenade to Music and Hodie, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Vivaldi and Rutter’s Gloria, and Bach’s Magnificat.

Susan is the vocalist of the Griffyn Ensemble, a theatrical chamber group. Susan and the ensemble have performed Sunday Live concerts for ABC and toured with companies such as Musica Viva! They premiere new works from local and international composers and collaborate with organisations such as the China Philharmonic String Quartet, Chinese Embassy, National Folk Festival, Canberra International Chamber Festival, Four Winds Festival, Australian National Gallery, National Library and the National Portrait Gallery. In 2015 they opened Scotland’s Sound Festival and 2016 will welcome the Scottish Red Note Ensemble to Australia.
2015 afforded exciting opportunities to try her hand at Music Directing for the Blue Roo Opera Queensland collaboration of On Bulimba! In 2016 Susan is Music Director for Moreton Bay College’s Little Women and the Blue Roo and Opera Queensland collaboration of Orfeo.
Susan provides vocal coaching for large choirs such as the Tasmanian Symphony Chorus, Polyphony, Llewellyn Choir, and Australian Austrian Choir and has assisted with the vocal development of children’s choruses for Opera Queensland and Opera Australia when in Brisbane. She has written and delivered accredited Professional Development Vocal Workshops for Musica Viva!

Susan has a love of teaching and has taught at the Australian National University, University of Southern Queensland, and many schools. Past students are now singing with Opera Houses in Australia, Austria and England and have won prestigious awards such as the National Jazz Award and the MacDonald’s Operatic Aria.

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A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Dianna Nixon has built a multidisciplinary practice over 35 years of professional life which integrates her skills as pianist, singer, actor, director, producer and animateur. Prior to moving to Canberra in 2004 Dianna worked on projects for entities large and small including the Melbourne International Festival, Bell Shakespeare Company, Victoria State Opera, Opera Queensland, Melbourne Symphony, Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne Fringe Festival and Castlemaine State Festival as well as in concert, cabaret, TV, film and corporate work. Other gigs included touring Australia and New Zealand with various musicals; an Artistic Directorship in regional Queensland; producing six large-scale regional events for Queensland Biennial Festival of Music; and directing large community events in Airlie Beach, Collinsville, Mackay, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Darwin. Alongside this freelance work, Dianna has taught piano and voice in private studios, schools and at university level. She continues to teach and coach from her home studio, with voice and piano students ranging from beginners to professional.

Dianna has worked for many of the not-for-profit arts organisations in the ACT, with a long association with The Street Theatre which includes direction of two Czech melodramas for The Wicked Voice and presenting monthly professional drop-in voice classes as part of the Street’s 2016 “Master It” program. Dianna was one of the inaugural ACT Artists-in-Schools, has directed many youth music theatre shows and was chorus coach for Melbourne Opera’s Carmen at the Canberra Theatre. Dianna was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2012 for her work with ”The Developing Voice”. A very active arts advocate over many years, Dianna has held positions on committees and boards in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT and been an external assessor for funding bodies including (since late 2016) for Catalyst. Dianna is an active member of The Childers Group, a multi-disciplinary arts advocacy group in the ACT region.

For her company, Wild Voices Music Theatre, Dianna directed and performed in The Girls (at The Street Theatre and twice in The Famous Spiegeltent), and directed the children’s musical A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Under Milk Wood at The Street Theatre. In 2014, Dianna acted in the short film, The Deep End; was language dramaturg on the improvised period piece, The Homefront; and made three short musical films, including a Song, which premiered at the 2015 Canberra Short Film Festival, winning a Best Score award for the soundtrack Dianna created. In 2016, a Song had its international premiere at the Chicago International Festival of Music and Movies on World Voice Day, and was also screened at “Art Not Apart”. In 2015, Dianna was narrator for a Canberra Symphony wind ensemble schools’ performance in all of Canberra’s special schools; was engaged as voice and accent coach on The Chain Bridge at The Street Theatre; and played Creon in the Four-Day Oedipus, presented by Aspen Island Theatre Company.

2016 was a busy year. Wild Voices Music Theatre created and presented Wild Shakespeare at the National Zoo and Aquarium for the Enlighten Festival. Dianna was vocal coach on the a cappella short film The Jingle Man, and was engaged as actor for Sarah Carradine’s Dark White creative development at The Street Theatre. Dianna provided a voice workshop for Canberra Youth Theatre’s Antigone cast, prepared 22 young voices as one of the children’s choirs for Opera Australia’s production of The Marriage of Figaro (The Canberra Theatre) and worked as accent and vocal coach on The Faithful Servant at The Street Theatre. Wild Voices Music Theatre was asked to provide the music for this year’s National Emergency Services Memorial, a great honour which saw two of Dianna’s teenaged voice students as soloists with Dianna’s recorded accompaniment. And, to celebrate the Bard’s 400th anniversary, Dianna directed The Sonnets Out Loud, also creating the soundtrack, in a special one-off event produced by The Street Theatre and featuring William Zappa, Tobias Cole and Benn Sutcliffe.

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