Pei-Sian holding cello

Pei-Sian Ng

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Elder Conservatorium of Music; Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Ng Pei-Sian was Commonwealth Musician of the Year in 2007, winner of the Gold Medal and First Prize at the 55th Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition held in London. He has performed concertos with the major Australian symphony orchestras, Singapore Symphony (SSO), Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Estonian National Symphony, Oulu Symphony, Sinfonia ViVA, City of Southampton Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Music Makers and performed around the world in venues including Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Konzerthaus (Berlin), Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall.

Born in Sydney in 1984, he began studies in Adelaide with Barbara Yelland and later with Janis Laurs at the Elder Conservatorium of Music before winning the prestigious Elder Overseas Scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Ng Pei-Sian completed his studies under Ralph Kirshbaum during which he was awarded the RNCM Gold Medal, the highest prize given by the college.

Ng has had appearances in important music festivals including the Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester International Cello Festival, Kronberg Academy, Mecklenburg-Vorpormmern Festival and Adelaide International Cello Festival. Ng performed Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Cello Concerto with The Festival Orchestra under the baton of the Academy Award-winning composer and also performed with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Cho-Liang Lin and Renaud Capuçon.

Recent highlights include a performance of Kalevi Aho’s Double Cello Concerto with his twin brother Ng Pei-Jee and the SSO and also the Asian premiere of John Tavener’s Flood of Beauty with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Orchestra under Jason Lai as part of Tapestry, A Sacred Music Festival. Recently, Pei Sian played alongside Yo-Yo Ma and the SSO performing the fresh and exciting double cello concerto Violoncelles Vibrez! by Giovanni Sollima.

Pei Sian is currently Principal Cellist of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and a faculty member at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Singapore. He performs on a 1764 Giovanni Antonio Marchi cello, Bologna.

Last updated 2022

Jonathan Allen

Australian Hometown: Canberra
Education: Canberra School of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
The Australian violinist Jonathan Allen first studied at the Canberra School of Music with Vincent Edwards and Josette Esquidin before moving to Hobart to further his studies with Jan Sedivka.  His reputation quickly grew with public performances and broadcasts of concertos by Prokofieff, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Samuel Barber and Vaughan Williams. However, it was his talent and vital interest in chamber music that led to the appointment as leader of the Petra String Quartet (Quartet in Residence at the University of Tasmania). The Quartet‘s enthusiasm for commissioning and premiering new works resulted in the CD recordings of twelve Australian quartets.

In 1987 Jonathan Allen was awarded an International Study Grant that led him through Canada to Europe attending master classes and studying with prominent musicians such as Zoltan Szekely, Lorand Fenyves, Max Rostal and Sandor Vegh.

After a short term in the London Symphony Orchestra he moved to the musically inspiring city of Vienna. Using Vienna as his base and working with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, he also toured extensively as concertmaster of the Konzert Ensemble Salzburg, Neue Wiener Solisten and Klangforum Wien.

An invitation in 1989 as guest assistant concertmaster of the Australian Chamber Orchestra led to extensive tours of Australia, South America and Europe.

Alongside commitments as a member of Philharmonia Zürich – das Orchester des Opernhauses Zürich since 1991, Jonathan Allen has appeared as Concertmaster with the Zürich Chamber Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and the 21st Century Orchestra. During 2006 – 2007 he was acting 2nd Concertmaster at the Zurich Opera House, Philharmonia Zurich. Jonathan Allen regularly performed with Ensemble Zero and is the founding member of Ensemble/Piano Trio Il Trittico, in which the latter received outstanding critiques in the “Strad” and “Musik und Theater” for their premier recordings of the complete Joachim Raff Piano Trios, www.trittico.ch. In 2011 the prominant CD label Divox released the world premier recording of Joachim Raff’s two Piano Quartets which were nominated for the renowned Echo Prize. Jonathan Allen has for many years taken an interest in discovering undeservingly neglected chamber music works and dedicated himself to making public forgotten masterpieces. His performing schedule has included live broadcasts for Radio and TV, chamber music concerts in various Festivals  (America, Canada and Europe) and CD recordings (Divox, Arte Nova – Sony BMG, Gallo, ABC classics and ProViva). Directly inspired from the years of working with N. Harnoncourt and William Christie, (predominantly in the ensemble “la Scintilla”) Jonathan has enriched his musical spheres not only with early music performing with the historical instrumental practise but has also branched out to include jazz concerts in his musical adventures. Jonathan continues to reside in Zurich as a member of Philharmonia Zurich.

Last updated 2023

Rogert Benedict holding viola

Roger Benedict

Australian Hometown(s): Sydney

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Roger Benedict’s career has encompassed work as a conductor, soloist, orchestral player, chamber musician and teacher. From 1991 – 2000 Roger was principal viola in the Philharmonia Orchestra, London, and following that held the same position in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. From 2002 -2021 Roger was Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Fellowship Program and was responsible for building it into one of the world’s leading professional training programs for musicians. At the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he is an Associate Professor, Roger is currently Chief Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra and also heads the viola department.

As a viola soloist he has appeared with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, The New London Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra in the UK as well as the Sydney Symphony, Canberra Symphony, New Zealand Symphony and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan). He has given solo recitals at venues including London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, and at major International festivals.

Roger Benedict’s debut recital CD Volupté (Melba), featuring music by Charles Koechlin and Joseph Jongen, was selected as one of the 10 best recordings of 2010 by www.theclassicalreview.com. His recording of Vaughan Williams’ Flos Campi with the Sydney Symphony was released in 2011, and a disc of music by Hans Gál and Ernst Krenek (Voices in the Wilderness) in 2014, also on the Melba label. His latest recording, A Winter’s Tale, featuring music by Schubert and Schumann with pianist Simon Tedeschi, was released in 2018 on ABC Classics. A new recording for ABC Classics of music by Debussy and Ravel is due for release in late 2021.

A frequent guest conductor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Roger has conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts at the Sydney Opera House, at City Recital Hall and in regional centres. He has been invited to appear as a conductor with other orchestras in the region including the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and in the UK with the Southbank Sinfonia. A devoted orchestral trainer, he has coached the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2000, and is a frequent conductor of Australian Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra (UK) programs.

Roger has gained admiration for his dedication to outreach and community work – for example through presenting concerts and workshops in schools, prisons and corporate settings, and through organizing major fundraising concerts for charitable causes.

Roger is active as an arranger and editor. His publications for Partitura-Verlag include arrangements of Schubert, Mozart and Debussy, and a popular viola scale method, Scale Up!

Last updated 2023

Lukas Beno

Education: Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY 
Lukas Beno is Principal Trumpet of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and is also a member of both the Australian World Orchestra and the historic Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. In addition, he is a founding member of the Gewandhaus Brass Quintett, which successfully tours throughout Europe. 

He has played as Guest Principal Trumpet with many prestigious international orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra in Hamburg and the Bavarian Radio Symphony.

Also as a celebrated soloist, Lukas Beno has performed with many European orchestras including the Gewandhausorchester, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra and the Camerata Bern. 

Parallel to his performing career, Lukas Beno holds a professorship at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts and gives regular master classes in Germany, USA, China, Australia, Venezuela, Cyprus, Brazil, Taiwan and Singapore.

Last updated 2022

Michael Brooks Reid playing violin

Michael Brooks-Reid

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: University of Melbourne

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
A member of one of Europe’s finest chamber orchestras, Camerata Bern, Michael works closely with musicians such as Steven Isserlis, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sergio Azzolini, Antje Weithaas and Eric Höbarth (Quartuor Mosaïques), often in a chamber music context, as well as being regularly called on to lead and direct the ensemble himself.

Currently based in Munich, Michael makes guest appearances with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, German Radio Philharmonic, Bavarian State Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, Sinfonia of London and Kammerakademie Potsdam and is a member of the Australian World Orchestra. Michael has played under many esteemed conductors, including the late greats Pierre Boulez and Claudio Abbado.

Since 2017, Michael has been a member of the Logos Chamber Group at the Joy of Music Festival in Hong Kong, where he has played chamber music with renowned members of the Hong Kong International Piano Competition jury including Peter Donohoe and Pascal Rogé.

As soloist, Michael has toured with the Camerata Bern and Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, recently performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in Melbourne, regional Victoria and throughout the Canton of Bern to critical acclaim.

From 2004-2008, Michael was Leader and Artistic director of the Australian Classical Players, where he programmed and directed the concert season from the first violins. Following this, Michael joined the Hamer Quartet, with whom he won the inaugural Asia-Pacific International Chamber Music Competition in 2008 and was subsequently named in The Age newspaper’s annual ‘100 most influential people in Australia’ list. Michael’s violin was made by Nicolo Gagliano in Naples in 1751.

Last updated 2023

Damien Eckersley holding double bass

Damien Eckersley

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

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
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 2023

Cameron Campbell looking at camera

Cameron Campbell

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

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Cameron Campbell was fortunate to begin playing the violin at age 7 due to a compulsory strings programme at school. After a term, he was deemed to be tall, and was thus moved onto viola to fill the viola positions in the school orchestras. After learning at the Queensland Young Conservatorium with Bridget Crouch from the age of 12, he began tertiary education at the Queensland Conservatorium studying with Bridget Crouch and Graeme Jennings and later received 1st class honours from the University of Queensland in 2013 studying with Patricia Pollett. Following tertiary study, he relocated to London for a year where he was a member of the Southbank Sinfonia. It was in May this year that he had the opportunity to perform Bruch’s Romanze for viola and orchestra as soloist with the orchestra at St. Martin in the Fields. He then moved back to Australia and attended the Australian National Academy of Music for one year after which he relocated again to the UK.

In the UK he works with the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera in a variety of settings including international touring and session work. He was also on trial for Section Leader of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Co-Principal No. 2 of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Sub-principal No. 3 of both the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic. He accepted a Tutti Viola position in the Hallé in 2017 where he currently plays. He enjoys a variety of freelancing around his position in the Hallé and is currently on trial for Tutti Viola in the Philharmonia Orchestra. 

Last updated 2023

Rebecca Chan holding violin

Rebecca Chan

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: Australian National Academy of Music; Sydney Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Rebecca Chan was born in Melbourne and studied violin with Alice Waten at the Australian National Academy of Music and Sydney Conservatorium and with William Hennessy at Melbourne University, where she also completed degrees in Medicine and Arts.  

Now based in London, Rebecca has been Associate Leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra since 2018 and has been invited as guest leader of many other orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She has also been guest principal second violin with the LSO, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Bern and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Rebecca was the winner of the string section and Nelly Apt Scholarship in the ABC Young Performers Awards, the ANAM concerto competition and the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition and was a prizewinner at the International Citta di Brescia Violin Competition.  She has played as soloist with a number of orchestras, including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide, Tasmanian and Canberra Symphony Orchestras, Mikkeli City Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.  

Rebecca is currently a member of the Piatti Quartet, prizewinners at the Wigmore International String Quartet Competition.  

She has toured Australia, Europe and Asia and played in numerous festivals around the world as a chamber musician, and in venues such as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna and Concertgebouw Amsterdam as well as in regular series at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre.  Rebecca was a founding member of the Hamer Quartet (winners of the first prize, the audience prize and Musica Viva award in the 2009 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition) and the Australia Piano Quartet.  She was a core member and regular guest director of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.  Rebecca was a core member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra from 2010-2015.  

Last updated 2023

Stefan Cassomenos

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: University of Melbourne; Australian National Academy of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos is one of Australia’s most vibrant and versatile musicians. He has been performing internationally since the age of 10, and is now established as one of Australia’s leading pianists. As the recipient of multiple prizes including the Second Grand Prize in the prestigious International Telekom Beethoven Competition Bonn 2013, Cassomenos has performed throughout Europe and Asia, and now performs regularly in Australia, Germany and the UK. He has performed concertos with several major Australian symphony orchestras, as well as orchestras overseas.

Cassomenos is a founding member of chamber ensemble PLEXUS, which since launching in 2014 has commissioned and premiered over 100 new works. Cassomenos’ own compositions are regularly commissioned and performed throughout Australia. Cassomenos and violinist Monica Curro were the Artistic Directors of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival in 2019.

Last updated 2023

Nat Chee holding violin

Natalie Chee

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Natalie Chee began her musical career at the age of 4 on piano. By age 10 she studied violin with Alex Todicescu, a professor at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and member of the Sydney String Quartet.

After winning numerous competitions and prizes in Australia, a young teenage Natalie appeared as a soloist with all of the Australian Symphony Orchestras whist she was in still in high school. In 1994 Natalie was accepted into the Soloist Class of Prof. Igor Ozim in Berne, Switzerland where she received her Soloist Diploma in 1998 with High Distinction.

Still a student, Natalie was invited to become a member of Camerata Bern in the position of 2nd violin leader. During this time, she also co-founded the chamber music ensemble ‘Tiramisu’ and the Mozart Piano Quartet. She toured North and South America, Europe and Australia with these groups and made prominent labels in Switzerland and Germany.

In 2000, Natalie won the position of 1st Concertmaster of Camerata Salzburg – a position she held until 2009. In 2009, Natalie became 1st Concertmaster of the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart. She is a regular guest Concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was given the honour of leading this orchestra in the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ in 2014.

As of 2019 Natalie became the Concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne.

Last updated 2023