Zara Stanton – soprano
Zara has recently completed a Bachelor of Music (Music Education) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying voice with Robyn Wells. She has her A.Mus.A in both voice and piano (distinction), and was a chorister with the Australian Girls Choir for 10 years. Zara is heavily involved with the musical theatre scene in Sydney, as both a performer – City of Angels (MUSE), Wicked (WTC), The Light in the Piazza (MUSE), – and as a musical director – A Launch of Voices(Theatre & Company), Curtains (MUSE), Legally Blonde (MUSE).
Zara regularly performs as a soloist with The Taverner Consort of Voices. She currently teaches voice and piano at De La Salle College and is the musical director for The Jazz Factory Theatre Company.
Rachel Tolmie – cor anglais
Rachel started playing the oboe at ten years of age and the cor anglais at twelve. In primary school she played in the Sydney North Youth Orchestra and on entering the Conservatorium High School, she became a member of the Conservatorium High School Orchestra and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. During her undergraduate years at the Sydney Conservatorium and for many years afterwards, Rachel was the Principal Oboist of the East-West Philharmonic Orchestra.
On successful completion of her Fellowship in Music Diploma, awarded by the AMEB, Rachel travelled to England and completed with Distinction, a Post-Graduate Diploma at the Royal College of Music, London, specializing in Solo and Chamber Music Performance.
On her return to Sydney, Rachel started recording her first CD with the brilliant pianist John Martin. John and Rachel continue to perform regularly together and have released four CD’s.
In 2006, Rachel wrote a book titled An Introduction to the Cor anglais and Oboe which is published by Wirripang Publications.
In 2008, Rachel recorded a solo album with the Bourbaki Ensemble, conducted by David Angell. This album featured Andrew del Riccio on trumpet in Quiet City by Aaron Copland. Rachel’s latest CD “Bushfire” with the Concertante Ensemble was released In 2011 .
Rachel has appeared as soloist with the East-West Philharmonic Orchestra, Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, Concertante Ensemble, Con Spirito, Bourbaki Ensemble and Balmain Sinfonia.
In December 2011 Rachel graduated with a Master of Music degree from Sydney University.
Gregory Kinda – piano
Gregory Andrew Kinda was born in Katowice, Poland. In 1983, his family immigrated to Australia. In 1984, at the age of 6, he became the youngest scholar to enter the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the preparatory department. In 1986 he moved to Papua-New Guinea, and in 1990 he returned to Poland. He studied at the Katowice Secondary Music School. In 1999, at the Academy of Music in Katowice, Gregory completed his Master of Arts degree in an accelerated three years instead of the usual five. He also studied post-graduate courses in Oslo, Norway and Gdansk, Poland. He returned back to Sydney in 2000. In 2003, he completed his Bachelor of Teaching degree at the University of Western Sydney. From 2001 to 2006 Gregory was a piano lecturer at the Australian International Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. From 2008 till 2010 he worked as a teacher at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Conservatorium of Music. Since 2010, he works as an Associate Artist at Trinity Grammar School in Summer Hill, NSW.
Gregory has performed in Australia, Poland, Norway, Germany, Russia, France, Czech Republic and Japan. He was the star performer in March 2010 at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place in Sydney, during the official NSW state celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin, where he played in the presence of the Polish Ambassador and the Governor of NSW Professor Marie Bashir AC.
His prizes at international competitions have included:
3rd Prize in the F. Chopin Competition in Szafarnia, Poland 1993.
Artistic Scholarship from the F. Chopin Foundation in Warsaw, 1994.
3rd Prize in the M. Magin Competition in Paris, 1995.
2nd Prize in the National Competition in Zagan, Poland 1996.
Kirralee Elliot – soprano
Kirralee is a young performer currently studying a Bachelor of Music Performance (Voice) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. This has led to her involvement in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (understudy Nedda), Handel’s Orfeo, conducted by Richard Bonynge, Bernstein’s Mass and The Yellow Cake Revue (a political piece by Peter Maxwell Davies). She is also passionate about musical theatre having starred in Legally Blonde as Elle, Cats as Griddlebone and The Hatpin as Clara. Other productions include The Light in the Piazza, Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell and numerous cabarets.
Gavin Brown – tenor
Scottish-born tenor Gavin Brown is a graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he received a Bachelor of Music Performance under the tutelage of Anke Höppner. Trained in classical, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary vocal styles, Gavin has been performing since the age of 4. It’s rare that Gavin isn’t rehearsing for, or performing in a production. Some personal highlights include performing as a part of ‘Hans Zimmer: Revealed’ in the Qudos Bank Arena and starring as The Antagonist in the recently staged production of ‘The Bernstein Mass’ in the Sydney Opera House’s concert hall. Recent stage credits include: Fiyero Tigelaar in ‘Wicked’, Warner Huntington III in ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’, Fabrizio Naccarelli in ‘The Light in the Piazza’, Tenor soloist for St Stephens’ ‘Hymnfest’, Mitch Mahoney in ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ and J. Pierrepont Finch in ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’.
Rodney Smith – baritone
Rodney began his singing studies as a teenager, and gained much experience in singing through the choral tradition of parish church and Cathedral choirs. Rodney graduated from Newcastle University Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1991 majoring in flute. Deciding on a different career path he gained a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Newcastle in 1998. During his studies and career as a registered nurse he continued his music interests singing in parish and Cathedral choirs, having done 2 tours of Europe with choirs, singing in St. Peter’s Basilica Rome and various cathedrals across Europe. He currently sings in the Choir of St. Francis of Assisi, Paddington and has been a member of the Australian Brandenburg Choir for the past 8 years.
Natalie Wong – harp
Natalie began harp lessons at the age of twelve with Hazel Hu, after first learning the piano, flute, and violin. Having decided to pursue the harp as her main instrument, she then studied with Louise Johnson and Jane Rosenson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and was awarded a Bachelor of Music (Performance) with first class honours.
As an avid orchestral musician, Natalie gained much experience through the Sydney Youth Orchestras, SBS Youth Orchestra, AISOI, various community orchestras, Sydney Sinfonia, and toured to Europe with the Australian Youth Orchestra. Aged 19 she made her first appearance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra playing second harp, and at 21 played principal harp in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
Natalie’s passion for learning led her to travel across Europe to undertake lesssons and masterclasses with many different eminent harpists. To pursue further studies, she moved to Berlin where she gained a Masters degree under Professor Maria Graf at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. She also studied intensively with Marie-Pierre Langlamet, principal harpist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
While living in Germany, Natalie performed in a variety of solo, chamber music and orchestra concerts, and worked frequently as guest principal harp in the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt. Other professional engagements included performances in Hannover, Dresden, Opera Lab Berlin, Brandenburger Symphoniker, and a tour to Russia under Valery Gergiev, performing alongside members of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and various German orchestras.
Since her return to Sydney, her hometown, Natalie has performed regularly as guest principal harp with the Opera Australia Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She also enjoys teaching and composing, and has performed some of her own solo and chamber music compositions in public concerts in Sydney, Berlin, Tignes, and at the World Harp Congress.
John Foster – trumpet
“…with an established and international solo career, John Foster is a deservedly acclaimed performer.” Fine Music Magazine
John Foster is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of performance on historical trumpets, and is the Artistic Director of the renowned ensemble Australian Baroque Brass. John was also been a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2013. John has appeared as soloist at festivals and concert series worldwide and performed as soloist with many leading orchestras and ensembles, including: the Sydney Symphony, Sydney Philharmonia, Queensland Symphony, Queensland Philharmonic, Adelaide Symphony, Norwich Baroque Orchestra, the Royal College of Music Orchestra (United Kingdom) among others. In 2011 John also performed J.S.Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.2 with Belgium’s leading baroque orchestra ‘Il Fundamento’. John was also a soloist for the launch of the Kammerorchester Basel (Switzerland) 2012 season.
He has made several solo recordings including: ‘Flourish’ (ABC Classics), ‘Music of a Golden Age Vol.1’, ‘Revolution’ vol.2, ‘Trumpets of the Realm’ vol.3 (Tubicium Records), ’17th Century Music for Trumpets, Strings and Organ’ (Centaur Records).
John has given master classes throughout the world, including at the Juilliard School of Music (USA), Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Northwestern University (Chicago), Indiana University, Bern University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland), and Conservatorio da Belo Horizonte (Brazil) among numerous others. John Foster is also the director of the Australasian Trumpet Academy, which draws artists from across the world to Australia.
In 2010 John released a book: ‘The Natural Trumpet and Other Related Instruments’, which has received great critical acclaim. He is also the owner and curator of Australia’s largest collection of historical trumpets, which he enjoys exhibiting throughout Australia, and has made a guest appearances on ABC television series the “Collectors” and on Channel 7’s ‘The Morning Show’.
John has also enjoyed performing with such orchestras and ensembles as the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English National Ballet (United Kingdom), Concerto Grosso Heidelberg, Kammermusik Potsdam, Hannoverschen Hofkapelle, Berlin Baroque, St Thomas Boys’ Choir of Leipzig, (Germany), Le Concert Lorrain (France), Collegium Musicum Grossmunster (Switzerland), Barokorkest Concerto Vivo (Holland), Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, New Zealand Baroque Soloists, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Symphonie Orchestra de Macau, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
In 2013 John was invited to Brazil to perform as soloist and be a guest artist at the early music festival in Belo Horizante. In 2014 John appeared as soloist with the Adelaide Symphony and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (New Zealand). In 2015 John undertook an extensive tour of the USA, where in addition to giving numerous concerts, he was guest lecturer at Juilliard, Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory and many other universities.
Most recently John has released a new book ‘The Baroque Trumpet Revival‘ which has been met with great critical acclaim throughout the world.
Mr Foster has consulted with several instrument making firms on the design and construction of historical trumpets, and has recently been working with Norwich Natural Trumpets (UK) to design the new ‘John Foster Model’ Baroque Trumpet.
In 2016, John embarked on a concert tour of the USA with legendary trumpeter and friend Vincent DiMartino.