Michael Bertoncello

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: Victorian College of the Arts

Originally from Melbourne, Michael studied music at the Victorian College of the Arts before taking up a position with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Michael went on to hold numerous orchestral positions around the world, including Solo Trombone with the Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich and most recently Trombonist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In high demand as a soloist and teacher Michael has made guest appearances at many world class institutions, including Zurich University of the Arts, Northwestern University Chicago, The Juilliard School of Music New York amongst others.

On his return to Melbourne, Michael joined the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, however his creative focus and passion turned to mentoring and chamber music. Michael held senior academic positions at the Universities of Melbourne and Tasmania as well as the Australian National Academy of Music and also was a founding member of the world renowned Australian Brass Quintet.In 2013, Michael decided to change direction and embarked on a path that involved less travel, concerts and teaching and more focus on things that were more important to us, family and balance.

Last updated 2020

Nick Byrne

Australian Hometown: Sydney & Canberra
Education: Simone de Haan; Ian Perry; Ronald Prussing; Michael Mulcahy; Charles Vernon; Jay Friedman; Edward Kleinhammer; Arnold Jacobs

Born in Sydney, Nick Byrne completed his Bachelor’s degree at the Canberra School of Music in 1991. He subsequently undertook further postgraduate study with Charles Vernon at De-Paul University in Chicago. His other teachers have included Simone de Haan, Ian Perry, Ron Prussing, Arnold Jacobs and Michael Mulcahy.

Nick Byrne joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1996, prior to which he held the position of Solo Trombone with the Hofer Symphoniker in Germany. He has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and in 1994 was chosen by Sir Georg Solti for his Carnegie Hall Festival Orchestra.

Nick Byrne has also performed with Summit Brass, Millar Brass, Chicago Symphony Lower Brass Ensemble, Canberra Trombone Quartet (prize winner at the UMI Chamber Music Competition in Arizona, 1993), and is a founding member of the Sydney Symphony Brass Ensemble.

He is also a recognised performer on the ophicleide (an early keyed tuba) and has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, World Orchestra for Peace (Moscow and St Petersburg, 2003) and in solo recitals at the Melbourne International Festival of Brass (2003 and 2009).

In 2002, Nick Byrne was the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship which allowed him to undertake ophicleide studies in Lyon, France, and in 2006 he recorded the world’s first solo ophicleide recording Back from Oblivion.

Last updated 2022

Timothy Dowling

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: Victorian College of the Arts


Melbourne-born trombonist Timothy Dowling has been living and working in the Netherlands since 1988. Equally at home on modern or historical trombones, he divides his time between his position as principal trombonist of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, professor of trombone at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague, and performing with various Baroque and Renaissance ensembles.

Timothy began playing brass instruments at the age of nine in Wagga Wagga. Later he continued his studies at the Canberra School of Music with Leonard Fischer, before returning to Melbourne in 1977 to study at the Victorian College of the Arts with Roger Davies and Michael Mulcahy.

After playing two seasons in the Australian Youth Orchestra, he began his professional career in the Victorian State Orchestra in 1979. Appointments as principal trombonist in the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra (now Opera Australia Orchestra) followed, before he was appointed associate principal trombonist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1986.

After being appointed solo trombonist of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague in 1988, Timothy emigrated to the Netherlands. With the Residentie Orchestra he has toured Europe, Japan and South America, and has worked with many notable conductors including Gennady Roszdestvensky, Franz Welser-Möst, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Hans Vonk, Jaap van Zweden and Neeme Järvi. He has also often performed as guest principal trombonist in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.

Timothy is a noted performer on historical instruments, and a founder member of baroque ensemble In Stil Moderno. He has performed with Orchestre de la Champs Elysees, La Petite Bande, Weser Renaissance, Il Fondamento, Combattimento Consort, and is currently principal trombonist with Anima Eterna Bruges.

Last updated 2020

Michael Mulcahy

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Chicago Symphony Orchestra trombonist Michael Mulcahy has appeared as a soloist, conductor and teacher worldwide. Some of his solo appearances include Jennifer Higdon’s Low Brass Concerto with the CSO and Riccardo Muti; the music of Elliot Carter with the CSO and Pierre Boulez; Leopold Mozart’s Concerto for Alto Trombone with Daniel Barenboim; and the world premiere of Carl Vine’s Five Hallucinations for Trombone and Orchestra, a solo concerto co-commissioned by the CSO and the Sydney Symphony.

Mulcahy is the winner of several international competitions, among them the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Instrumental Competition, the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, the Viotti International Competition in Italy and the International Instrumental Competition in Markneukirchen. 

Sir Georg Solti appointed Mulcahy to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1989. He is principal trombone with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque and the Grand Teton Music Festival. Mulcahy is former Principal Trombone with the Tasmanian Symphony, Melbourne Symphony and the WDR Symphony Cologne. He is Principal Trombone of the Australian World Orchestra under Briger, Mehta, Rattle and Muti.

Mulcahy’s interest in conducting was sparked by an invitation from Westdeutscher Rundfunk. He serves as director of the CSO Brass. Mulcahy conducts regularly for the Grand Teton Music Festival and makes guest appearances at numerous orchestras.

Mulcahy became a senior lecturer at the Canberra School of Music at the Australian National University in 1987. Currently he leads the trombone studio at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and is a visiting artist at the Australian National Academy of Music.

Last updated 2018

Shannon Pittaway

Australian Hometown: Perth
Education: Victorian College of the Arts; Northwestern University, Illinois, USA


Shannon began playing the cornet at the age of six with guidance from his father Wayne Pittaway and grew up playing in Salvation Army brass bands. He holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Music from Northwestern University in Chicago. 

Following his studies he was a fellow of the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra in Japan and later with the Pacific Music Festival Alumni Orchestra which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the the inaugural concert that Leonard Bernstein conducted at the festival.

Shannon is a founding member of the Australian Brass Quintet and the Australian World Orchestra. He has received numerous awards and grants including an honorary fellowship “in recognition for his contribution and achievements in orchestral world music” from Melbourne University. While in Singapore, he was on the faculty of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and tutor for the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.
Shannon Pittaway joined the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2015 as Principal Bass Trombone after 10 years with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Teaching is an important part of his career having been on the faculty of Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of music and now Head of Wind and Brass at the New Zealand School of Music. Shannon is a founding member of theAustralian Brass Quintet and has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Australian Elizabethan Theatre trust and the Federation for Young Australians

Last updated 2022