Brock Imison

Australian Hometown(s): Brisbane & Melbourne
Education: Queensland Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Brock Imison has held the position of Principal Contrabassoon with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 2004. Born in Brisbane, Brock began playing the Bassoon at age 13 and completed his studies at the QLD Conservatorium Music School. During his studies he was a member of the Queensland Youth Orchestra and has also appeared with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra (now Opera Australia Orchestra), Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Brock strives to improve the profile of the Contrabassoon, premiering new music in solo recitals, arranging chamber music and hosting workshops for composers to learn more about the instrument. In 2008 he toured as soloist with the MSO performing his own transcription of Weber’s Bassoon Concerto for the Contrabassoon.

Last updated 2020

Adam Mikulicz

Australian Hometown(s): Melbourne & Perth
Education: Victorian College of the Arts; Australian National Academy of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Adam began his study of the bassoon at age 12 and is a graduate of both the Victorian College of Arts and Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). While studying Adam was Principal Bassoon for the Melbourne Youth Orchestra (MYO). He travelled to Switzerland to continue his studies with Lyndon Watts who was Principle Bassoon of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra during that time.

Since returning home Adam has played with many Australian orchestras including Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Australian World Orchestra amongst others.

Last updated 2018

David Mitchell

Australian Hometown(s): Cairns & Brisbane
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
David Mitchell is currently the Associate Principal Bassoon in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Before joining QSO in 2009, he was Solo Bassoon in the Hofer Symphoniker, Germany, for five years. Additionally, David has been guest bassoonist with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Symphony Orchestra, Leipziger Kammerorchester, Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt, Staatstheater am Gaertnerplatz Munich, Neue Philharmonie Westfalen and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.

David is one of the founding members of Ensemble Q, ensemble in residence at the Queensland Conservatorium led by artistic directors Paul Dean and Trish O’Brien. Previous chamber music ensembles include the Southern Cross Soloists, Lunair Collective and the Atrium Quintet, with numerous performances and tours throughout Australia and Germany. David also performs regularly in various ensembles within the QSO and Queensland Conservatorium. Solo performances include Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto with QSO and Strauss’ Duo Concertante with Hofer Symphoniker.

Born in Cairns, David studied Bassoon at the Sydney Conservatorium with John Cran, and participated in multiple masterclasses and performances at ANAM and AYO tours. He continued further studies in Germany at the Musik-Hochschulen in Weimar, Frankfurt and Cologne with David Petersen and Prof Georg Klütsch and participated in masterclass with Dag Jensen and Klaus Thunemann.

Sharing his passion for training and education, David is currently Lecturer in Bassoon at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and a regular tutor for the Australian Youth Orchestra and Queensland Youth Orchestras. He also runs a program of master classes and community programs for bassoon students of all ages and levels, as well as professional development for music teachers across Queensland.

Last updated 2018

Matthew Ockenden

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Essen Hochschule

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Matthew Ockenden holds the position of Associate Principal Bassoon in the Opera Australia Orchestra having first joined the Orchestra in 1993. Matt Started his musical studies at the age of twelve, and under the tutelage of Gordon Skinner and Gustavo Núñez  went on to complete a Bachelor of Music at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Essen Hochschule.

In addition to the Bassoon, Matt also plays the piano and is the pianist in the Orchestra’s big band.

Last updated 2018

Jack Schiller

Australian Hometown(s): Adelaide & Melbourne
Education: Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide; Australian National Academy of Music, Melbourne

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Jack Schiller has held the position of Principal Bassoon with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 2013. Born in Adelaide, Jack began playing the bassoon at the age of 12. From 2008 Jack spent four years under the tutelage of Mark Gaydon (Adelaide Symphony Orchestra), including two years of study at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. In 2012 he took up a scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music, studying under the guidance of Elise Millman (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra). During Jack’s time at the academy he won the ANAM Concerto and Chamber music competitions, and was awarded the Director’s Prize for outstanding achievement by an outgoing student.

Following this period of study Jack took up a position in the Sydney Symphony’s Fellowship program and was also contracted as Associate Principal Bassoon with the orchestra. He has also played as guest principal with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra; and in 2013 was a member of the Australian World Orchestra. As soloist Jack has appeared with Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra performing works by Mozart and Strauss.

Last updated 2020

Nicole Tait

Australian Hometown(s): Perth & Brisbane
Education: University of Western Australia; Hochschule für Musik

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Nicole has been Section Principal Bassoon of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra since 2002. She grew up in Perth, Western Australia beginning her musical studies on piano at the age of 8 and continued with bassoon age 13. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours from the University of Western Australia where she studied with Peter Moore. Nicole also completed a one year diploma with Matthew Wilkie at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt am Main, made possible by a German Government Scholarship (DAAD).

Before obtaining her position in the QSO Nicole freelanced extensively, playing with all the major orchestras in Australia. Whilst overseas Nicole had the good fortune of performing and touring with Ensemble Modern, the Deutscher Kammer Philharmonie and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

Nicole is passionate about chamber music and has a keen interest in engaging more closely with her audience in this setting. She is a founding member of a Brisbane based wind trio, Ensemble Trivium. Receiving two grants last year enabled the group to commission five pieces from five Brisbane composers – Rob Davidson (Topology), John Parker (Trichotomy), Rafael Karlen, Steve Newcombe and Thomas Greene. The premier performance was held in Brisbane, December 2017.

When Nicole is not playing the bassoon or making reeds she is spending time with her family. Her hobbies include making transforming origami and baking cakes with her sons.

Last updated 2018

Simone Walters

Australian Hometown(s): Perth & Hobart
Education: Victorian College of the Arts, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Simone Walters relocated to Hobart in 2012 from Perth where she was Principal Contrabassoon with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
Simone is a regular member of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and her freelance work includes engagements with all of Australia’s professional Symphony Orchestras, Opera Australia, the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.

In 2013 Simone was invited to perform with the Australian World Orchestra in their season under conductor Zubin Mehta.
Simone was awarded the ‘Mr and Mrs Gerald Frank New’ Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship in 2015 for study of Baroque Bassoon Performance Practices which has taken her career in an exciting new direction. A founding member of Tasmania’s Baroque ensemble,
Van Diemen’s Band, Simone is currently completing a PhD on unpublished and unrecorded eighteenth-century works for obbligato bassoon from the recently recovered manuscript collection of the Berlin Sing-Akademie through the University of Tasmaina.
Simone is especially passionate about historically informed performance practice relating to works of the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries and was granted a residency in 2019 at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Last updated 2020

Lyndon Watts

Australian Hometown(s): Sydney & Melbourne
Education: University of Music and Performing Arts, Munich

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Australian bassoonist Lyndon Watts’s playing has been described as possessing “an ideal balance between utmost precision and wild spontaneity” (Heinz Holliger). Lyndon became principal bassoonist of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of twenty-two, working closely with chief conductors Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Christian Thielemann and James Levine, as well as principal guest conductor Zubin Mehta, and performing in all the major concert halls of the world. After holding this position for eighteen years, in 2016 Lyndon chose to move back to his home country Australia, where he is now based in Melbourne. In July 2018 he accepted the position of lecturer in bassoon at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), Melbourne University. Since the beginning of 2020 he has also been coordinating the MCM Early Music Studio.

Lyndon began learning bassoon when he was twelve. For five years he had lessons with John Cran, former principal bassoonist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and won numerous scholarships and prizes in Australia. For the final two years of high school he attended Newington College as a music scholar, after which he toured Europe as principal bassoonist of the Australian Youth Orchestra and then remained in Germany to study with Professor Eberhard Marschall in Munich, followed by studies on historical bassoon with Alberto Grazzi in Verona. In 2002 he became the first Australian woodwind player to ever win a prize in the fifty year history of the prestigious ARD International Music Competition.

​From 2005 to 2015 Lyndon was professor of bassoon in Switzerland at the Berne University of the Arts, where he also specialized in tutoring chamber music and contemporary music. Former students from Munich and Berne, as well as academists from the Munich Philharmonic who were mentored by Lyndon, now hold positions in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna Symphony, Berne Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Graz Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and others.

Throughout his career Lyndon has performed either as a soloist or guest principal with numerous German and Australian orchestras (Australian World Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Bavarian State Opera, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, West German Radio Symphony Orchestra etc.), and on historical bassoon in many leading period instrument ensembles.

Until 2016 Lyndon also taught historical bassoon at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts. In 2012 he obtained a grant in collaboration with musicologist Dr Sebastian Werr and Swiss instrument maker Walter Bassetto from the Swiss National Science Foundation to fund a research programme through the Berne University of the Arts involving the first ever reconstruction of a classical bassoon after the Parisian maker Jean-Nicolas Savary jeune, known as the “Stradivari of the bassoon”. A CD with world première recordings of compositions for the Savary bassoon was released in 2014, and a book containing contributions from leading international experts in the field of reconstructing historical woodwind instruments was published in 2017.

Lyndon is also an active supporter of contemporary composers and has given many first performances of solo and chamber music works in collaboration with composers from Munich and Melbourne.

Last updated 2021

Matthew Wilkie

Australian Hometown(s): Canberra & Sydney
Education: Queensland Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Matthew Wilkie grew up in Canberra and in 1979, after studying at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, went to Europe, where he ended up staying for 23 years. While studying bassoon in Hanover, Germany with Klaus Thunemann, he was a prize winner at the International Music Competition in Geneva. He has since appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, Württemberg Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Principal Bassoon in 2000.

He has been a member of the COE since 1986, travelling to Europe five times a year, and has worked under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Roger Norrington, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Bernard Haitink. He appears on countless recordings with the COE, many of which have received international awards. His solo and chamber music recordings include concertos by Mozart, Vivaldi and Richard Strauss; the complete wind chamber music of Mozart and Richard Strauss; and six trio sonatas by Zelenka. His 2009 recording of Bach and Telemann sonatas, The Galant Bassoon, was shortlisted for an ARIA award and has been praised internationally. He has also appeared at many international festivals and is a regular guest at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, and is much in demand as a teacher, giving masterclasses in Europe and Japan.

Matthew is a regular performer with the Australian World Orchestra where he has played under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta, Sir Simon Rattle and AWO Co-founder, Artistic Director & Chief Conductor Alexander Briger AO.

Last updated 2020

Melissa Woodroffe

Australian Hometown(s): Brisbane & Sydney
Education: University of Queensland; Queensland Conservatorium; Australian National Academy of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Melissa Woodroffe studied clarinet for two years at the University of Queensland, completing her AMUSA with Paul Dean. She then commenced bassoon at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with Leesa Dean, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Music. Since then Melissa has studied with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s principal bassoonist, Matthew Wilkie, and then with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s associate principal bassoonist, Elise Millman, at the Australian National Academy of Music in 2010. She was part of the Sydney Symphony Fellowship program from 2011-2012.

During her studies Melissa was also principal bassoonist of the Queensland Youth Symphony for two years under the renowned late John Curro, touring internationally with the orchestra in 2008 and performing the Weber Concerto in 2009. She has been a participant of AYO National Music Camp, the Australian International Summer Orchestral Institute, and Sydney Sinfonia and has played at such festivals as the Bangalow Music Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

Since 2007, Melissa has worked casually with the Sydney Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Opera Australia Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, and has played with various chamber groups in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney including the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Camerata of St Johns, Arcko, Southern Cross Soloists and Orchestra Romantique.

Melissa teaches bassoon at Newington College, Cranbrook and St Andrew’s Cathedral School as well as teaching both clarinet and bassoon privately.

Last updated 2021