Kees Boersma

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Victorian College of the Arts, Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam

Kees Boersma has held the position of Principal Double Bass with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 1990.  He has performed with Australian World Orchestra since its formation in 2011.

In recognition of his solo talents, the SSO has commissioned new works from leading Australian composers featuring Kees as soloist. His 2013 performance of Mary Finsterer’s “Lake Ice Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra was a finalist in the prestigious APRA Awards for ‘Best Performance of a New Australian Work’. He has been similarly recognized with the commission and performances of the Concerto for Double bass and Orchestra ‘Young Tree Green’ by Colin Bright.

In 2012, Kees was invited to be the founding Artistic Director of the SSO ‘Vanguard’ – curating a concert series in innovative and contemporary venues, seeking to encourage young philanthropists to engage and invest in their orchestra. He is currently the President of the SSO Musician’s Association.

The Australian World Orchestra commissioned Elena Kats Chernin to compose The Witching Hour, the first concerto for eight double basses in orchestral history on the occasion of the AWO’s Fifth Anniversary. Kats-Chernin composed The Witching Hour especially to showcase the extraordinary AWO double bass section comprising Max McBride (formerly ACO, Vienna State Opera, Senior Lecturer ANU School of Music), Kirsty McCahon (formerly Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment), Matthew McDonald (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), Ciro Vigilante (Vienna Chamber Orchestra), Robert Nairn (Professor of Double Bass Juilliard School and Penn State University), Kees Boersma (Principal, Sydney Symphony Orchestra), Tim Dunin (Professor of Double Bass, University of Music, Graz; formerly Vienna Philharmonic) and Alex Henery (Principal, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, formerly Philharmonia London).

A great lover of chamber music, Kees Boersma is a regular artist at Musica Viva’s Chamber Music Festivals and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

Kees was a founding member of the Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary music group ELISION, premiering, touring and recording the works of Franco Donatoni, Richard Barrett, Liza Lim and Brian Ferneyhough. . 

After studies at the Victorian College of the Arts, Kees travelled to his birthplace in the Netherlands to undertake post-graduate studies at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam. He consequently performed for several seasons with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam under conductors such as Haitink, Dorati, Harnoncourt, Chailly and Giulini.

On his return to Australia, Kees performed as Principal Bass with the State Orchestra of Victoria and the Australian Chamber Orchestra before joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Kees is a Lecturer of Double Bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and enjoys being a regular tutor with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Sydney Youth Orchestra.

He is a regular Guest Principal Bass of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

As a result of his enthusiasm to explore historically informed performance practice, Kees has enjoyed recent opportunities to play with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (London), the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Pinchgut Opera.

In collaboration with his vivacious life partner Kirsty McCahon, his ‘Bass Extravaganza’ concerts as part of the ‘Resonate’ series at the National Art Gallery of NSW explore new ways of presenting music for their beloved basses!

Last updated 2022

Timothy (Tim) Dunin

Australian Hometown: Canberra
Education: Canberra School of Music

Tim Dunin was born in Canberra, Australia in 1969.
After 5 years of classical guitar tuition he received his first double bass lesson at the age of 14, from Robert Nairn. Two years later Tim went to the Canberra School of Music to continue his studies with Paul Morton. From 1987 he studied with Max McBride until the completion of his Bachelor of Music degree in 1991. In this time Dunin was already a very busy orchestral musician, performing regularly with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. In the same year he travelled to Austria to take on further studies with Professor Johannes Auersperg at the “Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Graz, Expositur Oberschützen”.

In 1994 Tim Dunin was Principal Double Bass with the Graz Symphony. In 1995 he won the position for Principal Double Bass with the Vienna Philharmonic / Vienna State Opera Orchestra and remained in the orchestra as a fulltime member until September 2003.

Apart from solo performances in Australia and Europe Tim has appeared as a chamber musician with ensembles such as the “Wiener Streichersolisten” , “Küchl Quartett” , “die Wiener Virtuosen” , “Wiener Kammerensemble” , “Salzburg Orchestra Soloists”, “Camerata Salzburg” and “Klang Forum Wien” and was a member of the double bass sextet “Bass Instinct” alongside Ernst Weissensteiner, Herbert Mayer, Gerhard Muthspiel, Gina Schwarz and Peter Herbert from 2005 until it disbanded at the end of 2012.

Tim Dunin has remained a passionate orchestral musician and performs regularly with ensembles such as Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra, “Recreation” Graz, Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra, “Niederösterreichische Tonkünstler Orchester”, Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic / Vienna State Opera Orchestra.

Since October 2002, Tim has held the position of Professor for Double Bass at the Graz University for Music and Performing Arts, Institute Oberschützen.

Last updated 2018

Damien Eckersley

Australian Hometown(s): Canberra & Melbourne
Education: Canberra School of Music; University for Music and Fine Arts in Graz

Damien Eckersley was appointed Associate Principal double bass of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 2020 after 13 years in Melbourne as a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He serves on the faculty at the Australian National Academy of Music. He has performed as principal bass with orchestras in Australia and all over the world including the Tasmanian, Melbourne, Queensland Symphony Orchestras, the Australian World Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Graz Philharmonic, the Tönkunstler Orchester and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.

He has also performed with the Sydney Symphony, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Köln.

Damien studied with Max Mcbride at the Canberra School of Music and with Professor Tim Dunin at the University for Music and Fine Arts in Graz, Austria.

As a soloist, Damien has performed with orchestras and in recital in Australia, Austria, Germany, China , Hong Kong and Japan.

Damien has appeared in chamber music festivals throughout the world as a player and director.
Damien is passionate about education and combines his studio teaching with coaching young musicians in chamber music and orchestral technique as well as giving master classes throughout Australia and Asia.

He has worked with young musicians of the Kanazawa University Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy, and most extensively with members of the Australian National Academy of Music. His students perform professionally throughout Australia and the world.

Last updated 2022

Alex Henery

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Born in England in 1966, Alex Henery moved to Australia with his family in 1979. He studied double bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from 1985 to 1986 before moving to New York, and later Boston.

In 1989, he returned to the UK where he began his professional career, working initially with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He was offered the position of Co-Principal Bass in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1990 and, in 1992, took up the Co-Principal position with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra.

During his time in London, Alex Henery was a regular Guest Principal with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and numerous chamber orchestras.

On his return to Australia in 1998, he was appointed Principal Double Bass with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He performs regularly at various music festivals and has been featured as a soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony and several times with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 Alex will perform Tan Dun’s Bass concerto “Wolf Totem” with the Sydney Symphony.  In addition to his work with the SSO, Alex Henery also teaches double bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Last updated 2020

Kirsty McCahon

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Victorian College of the Arts

From the Brodsky Quartet to the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Musica Viva to Halcyon, Australian Festival of Chamber Music to Mornington Peninsula Festival , Les Talents Lyrique to  L’Arpeggiata,  Kirsty relishes her musical collaborations with extraordinary musicians in all styles and forms.

Born in Carnarvon WA, Kirsty’s musical adventures include extensive performing, recording and touring throughout Europe with ensembles as diverse as Ensemble Itineraire , Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique and ELISION.

Former Principal Double Bass of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for 20 years, Kirsty is Australia’s leading practitioner of Historical Performance Practice on the double bass and violone. Kirsty is the Principal Bass of Pinchgut, Brisbane Baroque and the Orchestra of The Antipodes.

A member of the Australian World Orchestra, Kirsty featured as a soloist with the AWO in the 2016 world premier of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Concerto for 8 basses.

Awarded a Churchill Fellow in 2001, Kirsty has been recognized as an Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne for Services to Orchestral Music.

An enthusiastic educator, Kirsty devotes extensive time delivering Masterclasses and workshops to inspire and support young women and girl. In 2014 she was an invited mentor at the inaugural Sydney ‘Women of the World” conference.

Last updated 2018

Matthew McDonald

Australian Hometown: Canberra
Education: Canberra School of Music; Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Berliner Philharmoniker Orchestra Academy

Matthew went to Berlin in 2000 as a student at the Karajan. Following this Matthew was assistant principal bass of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, principal bass of Ensemble Modern, principal bass of the Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester Berlin, principal bass of the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and since 2009 principal bass of the Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). As guest Principal bass he has played with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Matthew has given masterclasses throughout Europe and Asia and has held summer courses in Oxford, Canada and in Lisbon, Portugal.  He has played chamber music with Leonidas Kavakos, Christian Tetzlaff, Pekka Kuusisto, Jack Liebeck, Brett Dean,  Nicolas Altstaedt, Alban Gerhardt, Julian Steckel, Adrian Brendel, Till Fellner, Imogen Cooper, Radovan Vlatkovic, Radek Barborak, Mark Padmore, the Kuss Quartet, Atos Piano Trio, Ensemble 360, London Bridge ensemble, Scharoun Ensemble, Berlin Philharmonic Octett. He is a regular guest at the Prussia Cove Open Chamber Music weeks and has performed at the Lucerne festival, Zagreb Festival, Winterfest, Winchester Festival, Music at Plush Festival, Matthew also enjoys playing solo recitals with the pianists Tomoko Takahashi and Yannick Rafalimanana.

Matthew has played in most seasons of the Australian World Orchestra, including the 2015 India Tour. Matthew joined the AWO for the fifth anniversary season in 2016 which featured the AWO’s other 7 double bass players for the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s The Witching Hour, Concerto for 8 Double Basses and Orchestra.

Last updated 2018

Robert Nairn

Australian Hometown: Adelaide
Education: Canberra School of Music; Berlin Musikhochschule

Ron Nairn is a Distinguished Professor of Music at Penn State’s School of Music and on the Faculty of The Juilliard School in New York. He has lived and worked in Germany, England, Australia and the United States performing with such groups as the London and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras; the Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestras; the English, Scottish and Australian Chamber Orchestras, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, the London Sinfonietta, the Halle Orchestra, and the London Mozart Players. Rob has played in all seasons of the Australian World Orchestra and featured as one of the AWO’s 8 double bass soloists in the 2016 premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s commissioned concerto “The Witching Hour”.

Rob is a specialist in historical performance, he has been principal bassist with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society since 2003. He is also principal bass of the Boston Early Music Festival and Juilliard Baroque. He has performed with the English Baroque Soloists, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Concerto Caledonia, Washington Bach Consort, Rebel, Florilegium, The Smithsonian Chamber Players, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

He has commissioned and premiered more than forty new works for solo double bass and chamber groups including concerti by Barry Conyngham and Doug Balliett, and he has given solo recitals in Europe, Scandinavia, China, the United States, and Australia.

He can be heard on over 60 commercial CDs and has recorded for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, EMI, Virgin, ABC Classics, and Channel Classics.

Rob is a Past President of the International Society of Bassists from whom he received a Recognition Award for Historical Performance in 2009. He is a Howard Foundation Fellowship recipient from Brown University and DAAD German Government Scholarship recipient and held the position of Professor of Double Bass at the Juilliard School & Penn State University until 2016.

Last updated 2018

Phoebe Russell

Australian Hometown(s): Melbourne & Brisbane
Education: Australian National Academy of Music;  Berlin Philharmonic’s Karajan Academy

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Phoebe Russell studied at the Australian National Academy of Music under the tutelage of Damien Eckersley. At the age of 17, she moved to Berlin and within months made her debut in the esteemed double bass section of the Berlin Philharmonic. A graduate of Berlin Philharmonic’s Karajan Academy, Phoebe Russell has performed in more than 20 countries across the globe with some of the world’s leading orchestras. The last few years have seen her perform with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, the Netherlands Philharmonic and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, among others.

In 2017, Phoebe Russell was appointed Principal Double Bass of Queensland Symphony Orchestra and is regularly invited to orchestras as a guest principal. She has been invited to perform as Principal Double Bass with many Australian symphony orchestras, and has most recently returned from a Europe tour leading the double bass section of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. She has had the privilege of working under several world class conductors, some personal favourites including Sir Simon Rattle, Gustavo Dudamel, Andris Nelsons, Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta.

An avid soloist, Phoebe Russell is regularly invited to perform as recitalist in Australia and abroad including to a full house in the Berlin Philharmonic lunch concert series. She has performed as soloist with orchestras including the Tasmanian and Canberra Symphony Orchestras, the Baden Baden Philharmonic and 2019 will see her perform Bottesini Concerto with Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Phoebe Russell is an active member of Ensemble Q, one of Australia’s most dynamic new ensembles and enjoys an engaging schedule of chamber music collaborations in Brisbane and around the country with world class musicians.

Parallel to her busy performance schedule, Phoebe Russell is a passionate educator and is the lecturer in double bass at The University of Queensland and a faculty member of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. She has coached the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp, given classes at the Guildhall School of Music in London, the Melbourne and Sydney Conservatoriums of Music, the Australian National Academy of Music and at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá.

Last updated 2020

Andrew Sinclair

Australian Hometown(s): Brisbane & Perth
Education: University of Queensland; Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts


Andrew started playing the double bass at ten years of age in Brisbane. In 1989 he began music studies at the University of Queensland and was soon playing as Principal Bass with the Camerata of St Johns’ Chamber Orchestra. He later appeared as soloist with this orchestra, as well as with the University of Queensland Chamber Orchestra.

After completing a Bachelor of Music degree with honours in performance, Andrew became sought after by both the Queensland Philharmonic and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. While filling contracts in both orchestras, Andrew also founded and managed The Toombul Music Academy which flourished to a successful school employing 13 teachers tutoring over 250 students.

In 1996 Andrew moved to Vienna to study under Josef Niederhammer at the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts. After his first year of study Andrew was awarded a contract position with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until 2000. He was then accepted as a full-time member of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra where he stayed until 2007. Andrew performed regularly with other ensembles including the Vienna Classical Players, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Die Reihe, Vienna Chamber Musicians and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Andrew is very active in teaching and has given masterclasses in Australia and America. His former students perform in professional orchestras in Europe and Australia. He teaches double bass at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and continues to give masterclasses at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Australian National Academy of Music. He has been invited numerous times to tutor at the AYO National Music Camp.

Andrew regularly appears in chamber music festivals including the Perth International Arts Festival, Soft Soft Loud Festival in Fremantle, the Music on the Terrace series at the Perth Government House and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. He has been invited to perform with many Australian orchestras and ensembles including Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra. In 2015 he appeared as soloist with WASO. Andrew plays on a Gagliano double bass generously loaned by Janet Holmes à Court AC.

Last updated 2020