Lisa Bucknell

Lisa Bucknell

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Royal College of Music, London

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Lisa is a versatile violist, and enjoys a varied career as a guest artist with chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout the UK and abroad. She has enjoyed trials with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and performs regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Birmingham Royal Ballet. As a chamber musician, Lisa has collaborated with the Sacconi Quartet and Manchester Collective, is the principal solo violist for The Opera Story, and performed in the Alan Bennett play Untold Stories at the National Theatre and on the West End.  

Lisa also regularly plays for TV and film sessions, and has recorded for shows and films including Doctor Who, The Crown, Call the Midwife, Enola Holmes, and Emma.

Lisa holds both an Artist Diploma and a Master of Performance with Distinction from the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Simon Rowland-Jones. During this time, she was supported by the Richard Carne Trust, the Ian Potter Cultural Trust, the Tait Memorial Trust, and the Clemence Charitable Trust, for which she is endlessly grateful.

Last updated 2023

Jason Henery

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Born in Sydney, Australia in 2000, Jason Henery commenced his musical education on the violin at age five, moving to a study of the double bass with his father in late 2010. Jason was principal double bass of the Australian Youth Orchestras (AYO) for several years. Additionally, he has played alongside other principal members in the AYO, performing such chamber works as Mendelssohn Octet op. 20 and Beethoven Septet op. 20. As a soloist, Jason has recently been featured with Ensemble Nouveau, performing Bottesini’s Concerto in B minor. He has also been a finalist in the Alf and Pearl Pollard Award Competition.

Jason received the Merenda Scholarship in 2022 to pursue musical studies in Italy, and a professional performance engagement for a solo recital with the City Recital Hall Prize for his performance of Andrés Martin’s Concerto for Double Bass No.1, accompanied by Paul Cheung.

Last updated 2022

Siobhan Stagg wistfully looking away

Siobhan Stagg

Australian Hometown: Mildura & Melbourne
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Soprano Siobhan Stagg is one of the most exceptional young artists to have emerged from Australia in recent years. After graduating from the University of Melbourne, Siobhan began her career in the Salzburger Festspiele’s Young Singers Project and as a soloist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Highlights in Siobhan’s 2021/22 season include Leonore Fidelio for the Théâtre national de l’opéra-comique with Raphaël Pichon and Ensemble Pygmalion, Sophie Der Rosenkavalier in her debut for the Deutsche Staatsoper and a return to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Elettra in a new production of Idomeneo.

On the concert platform she will sing Mélisande in a concert performance of Pelléas et Mélisande at the Kölner Philharmonie (Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth), Rosalinde in concert performances of Die Fledermaus (Orchestre national de Lyon/Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider), Mozart’s Mass in C Minor (Berliner Staatskapelle/Zubin Mehta), Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (LSO/Kirill Karabits) and she will give the premiere of Brett Dean’s In this Brief Moment. An Evolution Cantata (Orchestre national de Lyon/Markus Stenz) and sing in performances of Exiles, a new work for soprano, choir and orchestra by Julian Anderson (LSO/Sir Simon Rattle, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Robin Ticciati & Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Robin Ticciati).

Among her recent successes is the title role in Massenet’s Cendrillon for the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Pamina Die Zauberflöte for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Sophie Der Rosenkavalier for the Opernhaus Zurich; Mélisande Pelléas et Mélisande for the Opéra de Dijon and Australia’s Victorian Opera; Pamina, Gilda Rigoletto and Cordelia in Aribert Reimann’s Lear for the Hamburgische Staatsoper; Najade Ariadne auf Naxos for the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem staged by Romeo Castellucci at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Adelaide Festival. Her many roles at the Deutsche Oper Berlin include Pamina, Zerlina Don Giovanni, Sophie, Gilda, Micaëla Carmen, Tytania A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Musetta La bohème.

On the concert platform appearances include Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem (Berliner Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann); Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony at the BBC Proms (BBC Symphony Orchestra/Simone Young); Mozart Concert Arias at both the Salzburger Festspiele and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (Ensemble Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon); Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder (Kristiansand Symfoniorkester/Nathalie Stutzmann); Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Asher Fisch) and his Symphony No. 9 (Bamberger Symphoniker/Nathalie Stutzmann); Ravel’s Shéhérazade (Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Marc Soustrot); Debussy’s Ariettes Oubliées orch. Brett Dean (Orchestre National de Lyon/Karl-Heinz Steffens) and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä).

Siobhan became a Director of the Melba Opera Trust Board in October 2020, their first scholarship alumna to be appointed, and the first International Director.

Last updated 2022

Rachel Smith playing violin on beach black and white

Rachel Smith

Australian Hometown: Brisbane
Education: Queensland Conservatorium of Music; Northwestern University, Chicago

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Brisbane-born violinist Rachel Smith has been a member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since 2014, and prior to that was Principal 1st violin in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. She is also a regular guest player with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia.

A keen chamber musician, Rachel is founding Artistic Director of the Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival (now in its 15th year), which takes place on a beautiful sub-tropical island off the coast of Brisbane. Apart from presenting concerts, the festival incorporates an education program for younger school students as well as an intensive chamber music program for tertiary students. 

As a teacher, Rachel has taught and coached extensively from beginner to tertiary level. In 2018 she was appointed on the faculty of St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. She has also been on staff at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Macgregor Summer School, Southern Cross Soloists Winter School and Broughton High School (Edinburgh Music School).  

Rachel completed her undergraduate music studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with Michele Walsh, and her Master’s Degree at Northwestern University, Chicago, where she was awarded a fellowship with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. In 2003 she was recipient of the Lord Mayor’s Performing Arts Fellowship, which enabled her to undertake further violin studies with Ilan Gronich in Berlin.

In 2013 Rachel received an Australia Council grant for a period of study with Sophie Till in the USA in order to deepen her understanding of the elements that make up a healthy technique, thereby aiming at playing with ease and brilliance as well as preventing playing limitations and injury.

Rachel Smith enjoys living in Edinburgh with her husband, cellist Eric de Wit, and two young daughters. Her hobbies include baking, knitting and reading on the couch.

Last updated 2022

Christopher Haycroft with bassoon

Christopher Haycroft

Australian Hometown: Sunshine Coast
Education: Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University; Australian National Academy of Music; University of Melbourne

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Chris Haycroft is a bassoonist from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. He undertook a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in Brisbane, before relocating to Melbourne to attend the Australian National Academy of Music. In 2017 he was a part of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellowship program, before returning to Melbourne to obtain a Masters of Music from the University of Melbourne. Throughout the course of his studies and his continuing professional career, Chris has had the opportunity to perform with several Australian and international orchestras, including the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Sichuan Symphony Orchestra and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. In 2023, Chris continues to live and work in Melbourne, performing regularly with Orchestra Victoria and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Last updated 2023

Robert Ashworth

Robert Ashworth

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Universitaet Mozarteum, Austria; University of British Columbia, Canada

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Robert Ashworth is having a great time being Principal viola for the Auckland Philharmonia Orches­tra.  He arrived from Canada to New Zealand shores in 2003 for a one-year adventure, he found a connection with the country through its music, people and country-side, his animals and family.

He has been guest-​principal viola for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, as well as assistant-principal for the Calgary Philharmonic Orches­tra. He is violist with the Jade String Quartet in Auckland, and also plays with the Australian World Orchestra.

Robert is a twice recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts Award for Emerging Artists and has performed with various groups at international chamber music festivals in Europe, North America, and Japan. He has had the honour of studying with violists Thomas Riebl and Veronika Hagen at the Universitaet Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and with Gerald Stanick at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Last updated 2023

Eliza Sdraulig

Eliza Sdraulig

Australian Hometown(s): Melbourne
Education: University of Melbourne; New England Conservatory (Boston, USA); Australian National Academy of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Eliza Sdraulig is a Sydney-based cellist originally from Melbourne, Australia. Eliza regularly performs as a guest musician with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She has studied at The University of Melbourne, New England Conservatory (Boston, USA) and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). Eliza was an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2018 and a Fellow with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2019.

An avid solo, chamber and orchestral musician, Eliza has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and The University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. She is a founding member of the Chroma Quartet and has performed at various festivals such as the Mimir Chamber Music Festival (USA), Australian Festival of Chamber Music and Huntington Festival.

Last updated 2023

Jonathan bekes

Jonathan Békés

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

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Jonathan Békés is one of Australia’s leading cellists and is a renowned solo artist, chamber musician, orchestral musician and educator.

Békés grew up in Campbelltown, Sydney and began playing the cello at the age of 10. He studied a Bachelor of Music (performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completed the Professional Performance Program at the Australian National Academy of Music. He studied with some of Australia’s leading cellists including Howard Penny, Julian Smiles and Susan Blake. He has worked with and played for some of the world’s leading cellists including Steven Isserlis, Pieter Wispelway, Nicholas Altstaedt, Alban Gerhart and Peter Bruns.

Békés is based in Hobart, Tasmania where he is the Principal cellist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He also plays regularly with the Australian World Orchestra, with whom he toured to Singapore in 2016 and India in 2018. He has also played with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Békés has been principle cellist of the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Momentum Ensemble, the Musician’s Project, the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute and the Sydney Youth Orchestra.

Békés is high demand as a chamber musician and frequently performs alongside world-renowned artists including Anthony Marwood, Stephan Dohr, Ole Bøhn, Howard Penny and Timothy Young. He is a founding member of the world renowned Tasmanian String Quartet, the award-winning Clarendon Trio; semi-finalists in the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, First Place in the 2017 ANAM Chamber Music Competition; as well as the Estivo Trio, who have performed across the world including acclaimed concert tours of China, America, Italy and Norway. Békés tours for Musica Viva and regularly presents chamber concerts across Tasmania as an artist for Virtuosi Tasmania.

As a solo artist Békés performs often across Australia and throughout the world. He has played as soloist with many orchestras across Australia including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Youth Orchestra, the Beecroft Orchestra and the South Coast Orchestra. He presents a series of his own solo recitals and regional tours and frequently tours across Tasmania and mainland Australia.

As an educator Békés is a passionate advocate for music for all people at all forms of life. He has taught extensively across Australia and runs a number of different projects and workshops throughout the country. He regularly takes masterclasses at conservatoriums and schools across the world. As an orchestral tutor and chamber coach Békés teaches around Australia at various institutions and orchestras including the Residential Summer String Camp, the Australian Doctors Orchestra, the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra and the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.

Békés, in his spare time, is a keen sportsman and an outdoors enthusiast. He is an overly passionate golfer, crazed squash player and a true AFL fanatic. He follows the Sydney Swans and the Hobart Hurricanes, and goes on hiking and mountain biking adventures across Tasmania on a regular basis.  For more information see www.jonathanbekes.com

Last updated 2022

Justin Beere holding clarinet

Justin Beere

Australian Hometown(s): Melbourne
Education: Australian National Academy of Music; Queensland Conservatorium of Music; University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Clarinetist Justin Beere is a passionate and vibrant musician with an innate drive to perform and create.

Justin is the Associate Principal Clarinet of Orchestra Victoria and the founding Artistic Director of the Melbourne Chamber Players. Justin has enjoyed a varied career, guesting regularly with leading Symphony Orchestras and chamber music festivals across Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Justin has appeared on numerous live broadcasts for ABC and 3mbs radio, Radio New Zealand, Opera Europa, and ABC Classics.

As a chamber musician, Justin has worked with leading chamber ensembles, Orava Quartet, Flinders Quartet, Arcadia Winds, Hindemith Wind Quintet, and the Melbourne Ensemble. He is currently a member of the Tailors ensemble, Reeds, Bending (reed quintet), and the Glenfern Trio. Justin has also performed in the Port Fairy Music Festival, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Bendigo Festival, Melbourne Festival, Music by the Springs, the Banff Summer Music Festival (Canada) and the Mackay Chamber Music Festival.

Passionate about new Australian music, Justin commissioned many new works by Australian composers and has performed with award-winning new music ensembles Syzygy, Arcko Symphonic Project, Opus House and was a founding member of the Rubiks Collective. Memorable premieres include works by Deborah Cheetham, Nigel Sabin, Paul Dean, Brett Dean, Sam Smith, and Matthew Laing. Justin is also the director of the Continuo Commissioning Circle, a Victoria-based initiative to support the creation of new chamber music and the musicians who bring them to life.

As an Alumnus and Fellow of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), his teachers have included David Thomas, Paul Dean, Stephen Kenyon, and Floyd Williams. He has also performed in masterclasses with clarinetists Andrew Marriner, Michael Collins, Paul Meyer and Dimitri Ashkenazy, Thorsten Johanns, James Campbell, and Frank Celata to name a few. On full scholarship, Justin undertook study in the Professional Performance Program at ANAM, a Master of Music Research degree at the Queensland Conservatorium and several post-graduate degrees on an orchestral woodwind scholarship at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music. He was also the winner of the Nelle Ashdown Memorial Award in 2011 and Robert and Elizabeth Albert Scholarship in 2019.

Justin is active as a music educator with extensive experience teaching in schools across Queensland and Victoria. He is currently the casual lecturer of chamber music at the Melbourne Conservatorium Young Artists Academy and has also conducted masterclasses for the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne and Tasmanian Youth Orchestras.

Last updated 2023

Tony Bedewi midshot

Antoine (Tony) Bedewi

Australian Hometown: Sydney
Education: Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Royal Academy of Music, London

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Antoine Bedewi holds the position of Principal Timpanist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, best known as the host orchestra of the world’s biggest international classical music festival, the BBC Proms.

Prior to joining the BBCSO in 2017 Antoine held the position of Co-Principal Timpanist with the London Symphony Orchestra, whilst simultaneously freelancing with all of the major orchestras in London and the UK. He has also performed around the world with a variety of orchestras and conductors including the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Australian World Orchestra. In 2007 he served as the Principal Timpanist at Chile’s national opera house, Teatro Municipal.

As a percussionist, Antoine appears frequently with the Colin Currie Group, an internationally-acclaimed ensemble founded in 2006 specialising in the music of Steve Reich. With Reich’s personal endorsement the group has performed at international venues including London’s Royal Festival Hall, Louis Vuitton Foundation (Paris), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Opera City Tokyo.

Antoine currently teaches orchestral timpani at London’s Royal Academy of Music, having previously completed his postgraduate studies there in 2005. Prior to this he was awarded a first-class degree in music from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, where he was also presented with the Director’s Prize for all-round excellence and service to the Academy.

His teachers include Simon Carrington and Alan Cumberland, whose virtuosic Two Challenges for Timpani (2003) are dedicated to Antoine.

Last updated 2022