Lucas Barr

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: Victorian College for the Arts

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Lucas grew up in Melbourne where he could be found busking on the streets of Box Hill at the age of just 15. While studying at the Victorian College for the Arts, Lucas was invited to study in Austria where his teacher and mentor Brian Finlayson was appointed. With the help of a music loving Melbourne arts patron Lucas moved to Klagenfurt in southern Austria at 16 years of age.

Barr moved to Cologne two years later to continue his studies where he met his future wife Suzanne, a clarinettist. During this time Lucas played, toured and recorded with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra as well as playing as a soloist with various string quartets.

Lucas played with the prestigious Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and has played in almost all Australian World Orchestra concert seasons, including tours to India and Singapore. He currently holds a position with WDR Symphony Orchestra in Germany.

Last updated 2018

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 2021

Jonathan Békés

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

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Jonathan started playing cello at 10 years old. He has studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Australian National Academy of Music and has learnt with from such cellists as Howard Penny, Julian Smiles and Susan Blake. He has won numerous awards for his performance including the ANAM Director’s Prize, and First Prize in the ANAM Chamber Competition. He is recipient of the 2016 Accenture Australia Scholarship, the Sydney Conservatorium’s Corinna d’Hage String Scholarship, and has attained his AMus and LMus, both with distinction.

Jonathan is in great demand as a performer, chamber musician and educator across Australia and has taken his cello across the world, having performed across four different continents. He is member of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, a founding member of the award winning Clarendon Trio and plays regularly with the Australian World Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Jonathan has performed chamber music alongside such artists as Anthony Marwood, Stephan Dohr, Ole Bøhn, and Timothy Young and has performed in masterclasses for Steven Isserlis, Pieter Wispelwey, Nicholas Aldstaedt and Alban Gerhadt.

Jonathan has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras around Australia including the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra and the Beecroft Orchestra. In 2011 he played for a full house at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall as part of the HSC ENCORE program.

In his spare time, Jonathan is a passionate Sydney Swans supporter and a committed Hobart Hurricanes enthusiast. He is a keen squash player, an avid golfer and loves to get outside to go hiking and mountain biking.

Last updated 2018

Harry Bennetts

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

Professional Biography
Harry was born in Sydney where he began violin lessons in the Suzuki method at the age of four. He attended the Conservatorium High School, studying violin with Philippa Paige whilst also participating in both the Sydney and Australian Youth Orchestra programs. He then spent several years studying in Melbourne, first with Mark Mogilevski at the University of Melbourne and then with Dr Robin Wilson at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). During his time with Dr. Wilson, Harry won the ANAM concerto competition two years consecutively, performing in the final with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member of the winning string quartet in the 2015 ANAM chamber music competition, and later that year won the Kendall National Violin Competition. He completed his studies with two years in Berlin at the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, mentored by First Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley. 

Since his return to Australia, Harry has appeared as soloist with the Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra Symphony Orchestras. He has performed in recital in the Ukaria cultural centre, Melbourne recital centre, Sydney Opera House Utzon room, Canberra School of Music as well as a number of regional centres. His love of chamber music has seen him perform at The Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville as well as joining with Ensemble Q, a group which he now regularly collaborates with in Brisbane. Before moving to Germany, he was a member of the Affinity String Quartet with whom he toured Europe and the UK, presenting concerts and participating in the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, in the class of Thomas Adès. On this same tour the group received chamber music tutelage from members of the Doric and Belcea string quartets and performed as quintet with Australian Composer and Violist, Brett Dean.

Orchestral Music has long been a passion of Harry’s. After his two year period playing with the Berlin Philharmonic he has performed as guest concertmaster and associate concertmaster with the Queensland and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, and has toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He is currently serving as associate concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

Last updated 2021

Lukas Beno


Education: Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY 
Lukas Beno is Principal Trumpet of the Gewandhausorchester as well as a member of both the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra. Together with other principal brass players he became a founding member of the Gewandhaus Brass Quintett, which successfully tours throughout Europe. He has played as Guest Principal Trumpet with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the NDR Symphony Orchester in Hamburg, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden any many other prestigious orchestras.

Lukas Beno has played as a celebrated soloist with such orchestras as the Gewandhausorchester, the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra and the Camerata Bern. Parallel to his artistic career, he holds regular master classes in Germany as well as in the USA, China, Australia, Venezuela, Cyprus, Brazil, Taiwan and Singapore. Lukas Beno studied with Prof. Günther Beetz in Mannheim.

Last updated 2018

David Berlin

Australian Hometown(s): Sydney & Melbourne
Education: Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Juilliard School of Music, New York

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
David Berlin studied the cello with Lois Simpson at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Juilliard School of Music in New York, with Channing Robbins. For over 25 years David has been at the forefront of music performance here in Australia, as Principal Cello of both the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra from 1985 through to 1988 and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 1989.

David has also made numerous appearances as soloist with these and other Australian Orchestras and was invited to play guest Principal Cello with the Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra.

In 1992, David gave the world premiere performance of the complete works of Cello and Piano by Franz Liszt with Leslie Howard, in London. He has also performed chamber music with violinists Kolja Blacher, James Ehnes, Nigel Kennedy, and Sarah Chang and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, as well as tenor Ian Bostridge.

Along with solo recordings for ABC radio, David has appeared as soloist on the Tall Poppies, Chandos and Naxos labels. His recital disc Barber & Debussy with pianist Len Vorster on the Tall Poppies label was nominated by James McCarthy as one of the best classical CD’s of 2011 in Limelight magazine. In June 2017 David played in the New York Philharmonic Global Orchestra for Alan Gilbert’s final concerts as Music Director.

Last updated 2018

Michael Bertoncello

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: Victorian College of the Arts

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
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

Zoe Black

Australian Hometown: Melbourne
Education: Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School; Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London; Vienna Hochschule

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Zoë Black is a violinist’s violinist, known for her beauty of sound and natural virtuosity. In 1989 she won the National Youth Concerto Competition and in 1991, the string section of the ABC Young Performers Awards.

After graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1992, Zoë was awarded grants from the Australia Council and Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Trust as well as the major performance award of the Australian Music Foundation in London, which facilitated her studies at the Guildhall School of Music under David Takeno and subsequently at the Vienna Hochschule with Michael Schnitzler.

Zoë was appointed assistant leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 1993, touring the world extensively. A committed chamber musician, in 2005 Zoë co-founded the Freshwater Trio with whom she toured nationally and internationally. She has also performed as soloist with various chamber and symphony orchestras and is a regular guest concertmaster with MSO and QSO.

Zoë returned to the ACO in 2012 in a part time capacity, where she regularly led the ACO Collective, performed as soloist and was an integral component of their educational program. More recently, Zoë was a guest leader of the Australian String Quartet in 2016, performing at Festivals in Victoria, Western Australia and in Italy (Rome, Venice and Cremona).

In 2011 Zoë co-founded the innovative duo with pianist/composer Joe Chindamo. The duo has performed at all the major festivals in Australia and recorded three ARIA nominated CDs, (ReimaginingsDido’s Lament and their re-versioning of The Goldberg Variations, premiering the latter at Carnegie Hall in 2015). The duo made their debut Italian performance at the Spinacorona Festival in Naples, at the invitation of renowned pianist Michele Campanella in 2018, and are invited to perform the aforementioned Goldberg Variations at the Bach Festival in Leipzig in 2020. A passionate teacher and tutor, Zoë has taught and tutored at Melbourne University, VCA, VCASS and Monash University.

Last updated 2020

Margaret Blades

Australian Hometown(s): Adelaide & Perth
Education: Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide; University of Tasmania

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Margaret Blades is forging a career as a teacher and chamber musician after having spent many years as a Leader and violinist of various orchestras, including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, and others.

As a soloist, she has appeared with the Adelaide Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Adelaide Chamber Orchestra and WASO, where her solo performances have included an appearance with superstar Nigel Kennedy in Vivaldi’s Double Violin Concerto, and the premiere of works by Richard Mills ,Ross Edwards and James Ledger. She has also performed as soloist in New Zealand and the USA, where she performed the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Emerson String Quartet violist, Lawrence Dutton.

She has performed on stage with some of Australia’s finest artists, including Michael Goldschlager, Geoffrey Tozer, Geoffrey Lancaster, Beryl Sedivka and others, both as a recitalist and chamber musician, for Musica Viva, Adelaide International Festival of Arts, Blackwood River Chamber Music Festival, Barossa Music Festival, and in numerous broadcasts for ABC Classic FM.

Last updated 2018

Kees Boersma

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

PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
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 s 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 2018