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SUSAN COLLINS - Artistic Director, Violinist

Sue Collins has appeared numerous times in the ABC's Sunday Live series. She has recorded many times for radio, and has performed as soloist and recitalist throughout Australia, the USA and Europe. She has recorded Raymond Hanson Violin Music (Tall Poppies) with David Miller, having completed reconstructive editions of the Hanson works, published by Reed Music. "...Susan plays these extraordinary scores with a remarkable sureness of touch, following even the most unexpected shifts in phrasing and expressive direction with micro-fine precision. Her warm, rich sound works wonders in bringing this music alive, enhanced by a generous, medium-paced vibrato and sensitivity to dynamic shading"... Julian Haylock, The Strad, May 2009.

At age 14, Susan performed Sarasate’s Zigeunerweissen with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Patrick Thomas at the Sydney Opera House. Since that time, she has performed as concert soloist and recitalist throughout Australia, the USA and Europe. Susan has recorded many times for ABC FM, and many other radio stations in live performance broadcasts as well as studio recorded recitals and has appeared numerous times in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Sunday Live series, performing as recitalist as well as in duo and trio combinations with Kingfisher Trio. Her CD with Duncan Gifford and Sue-Ellen Paulsen of Schumann’s complete Piano trios was released to critical acclaim by ABC Classics. More recently, Susan’s CD recording with pianist Stephanie McCallum of the violin and Piano works for Fritz Hart ‘We have waited a long time for recordings such as this and the wait has been worth it’ (Jonathan Woolf, Musicweb International 2019) Having been appointed Deputy Concertmaster of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra at the age of twenty-three, Susan has since been engaged as Concertmaster with many orchestras around Australia, performing under the baton of Bonynge, Macerras, Cillario, Hickox, Fiore, Young, de Waart and many other distinguished conductors. In 2003 Susan was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for her work with Opera and Ballet, and in 2009 was awarded an Australian College of Educators award. Susan has held Head of Strings positions at the University of Tasmania and University of Newcastle conservatoria from 2006 until 2020. She is currently Music Director of the Riverina Summer School for Strings and Sounds of Summer festival, Adjunct Senior Lecturer at UTas, and teaches violin at Queensland Conservatorium. In recent years Susan has been featured in ‘Synesthesia’ and ‘Dark Mofo’ festivals presented by MONA and has recently been featured in Tasmania’s ‘Ten Days on the Island’ festival. In addition to solo engagements, Susan Co-directs the Battery Point Twilight Series, and has enjoyed the opportunity to perform with Southern Cross Soloists, Sydney Soloists and Ensemble Q.

MICHELE WALSH - Festival Mentor, Violinist

A graduate of the University of Adelaide and winner of the prestigious ABC Instrumental Competition violinist Michele Walsh undertook further studies in London with distinguished violinist Szymon Goldberg.

Michele has appeared as soloist with major orchestras in Australia and has performed in the UK, USA, Europe and South-East Asia. Formerly Associate Concertmaster of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra,  a position she held for over  a decade, she is currently Associate Professor in Violin and  Head of Strings  at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Under her leadership the string faculty has attracted students from all over Australia.

Michele is a founding member of the Griffith Trio which has made several successful international tours and is a frequent guest at chamber music festivals around the country.

Michele has a particular interest in fostering young musicians and working in regional areas. She is very committed to the work of the Australian Youth Orchestra, having served as a Board member and Chair of the Artistic committee for many years. She continues close association with the AYO through membership of the Artistic Committee and Council and regular involvement in their programs.

Michele was Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music Winterschool for many years and is regular guest director of the Mount Buller Summer Chamber Music School. She is in demand as a guest teacher and frequently serves on competition juries in Australia and South-East Asia.  Many of her former students are major competition prize winners and hold positions in Australia, Europe and Asia.

SARAH SCHEERMEIJER - President, Violinist

Born in Germany, Sarah began playing cello before switching to violin to play duets with her twin sister. Tutored in her early years Haruo Goto, Sarah was invited to perform solo before the governor of Queensland at the age of 9, and continued violin studies with the acclaimed and decorated String educator, Elizabeth Morgan AM. Sarah was then a featured artist on ABC 2NR radio and appeared as soloist at the Sydney Opera House and QPAC, featured as soloist with her twin sister in the St George Commercial (1999), the Tropicana Festival (Gold Coast), and performed as a soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Quartet, Orchestra NOVA, the New England Youth Ensemble and at the National String Teachers Convention QLD. Sarah was presented with a full music scholarship to attend Somerville House, a QLD Young Conservatorium of music scholarship, and a music tuition bursary by the St George Foundation. Whilst performing with Somerville Strings, conducted by Loreta Fin, the ensemble won the Premier Grade Strings at the Australian Academy Festival of Music Awards Secondary School String Orchestra. Sarah was awarded the Academic Excellence and the Musical Excellence scholarships at Avondale College, the University of Newcastle Conservatorium Con Ellis Scholarship and the Australian Postgraduate Award whilst studying with one of Australia's foremost performers and educators, Dr Susan Collins. Currently, Sarah is a PhD candidate - Doctor of Philosophy (Music Performance) at UTAS, on a full scholarship as a recipient of the Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend, and is director of the North West Christian Strings Program (Penguin, TAS).  In 2021, Sarah was awarded the AMEB Tasmania Arts Excellence Award for the largest cohort of students from any genre or instrument achieving an A+ in their exam.

PATRICIA POLLETT - Festival Mentor, Violist

Patricia Pollett is one of Australia’s leading string players. 

Well known as an advocate of new music for the viola, she has commissioned, performed and recorded numerous solo works by leading Australian composers. For her solo CDs of Australian music, Patricia has been internationally lauded for her ‘…inspired and virtuosic performances…” (The Strad) and for “… her daring, her imagination, and her innate musicianship…” (The Journal of the American Viola Society). She was honoured for this work with an APRA Australian Music Centre Classical Music Award for the Most Distinguished Contribution to the Presentation of Australian Composition by an Individual. 

Patricia has performed as soloist and chamber musician with major Australian ensembles and orchestras and has extensive international performance experience, particularly with the Italian string ensemble I Solisti Veneti. She was a founding member of the contemporary ensemble Perihelion, and the ensemble White Halo, both resident at the University of Queensland.

Patricia has appeared as guest principal viola with several major orchestras including Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Welsh National Opera Orchestra. She is in demand as a teacher, giving masterclasses for leading education institutions in Australia and overseas including the Australian National Academy of Music and New York University. An active contribution to the development of the arts in Australia has led to her participation on the boards of the Australia Council, the Australian Music Centre, and the Australian Youth Orchestra. She is a Professor on staff at The University of Queensland where she was Director of Performance and Engagement for many years.

LUISIANA MORTON - Tutor, Violinist/Violist

Born in Germany to a musical family, Luisiana moved to Australia before learning the violin at 3 and a half. Tutored in her early years by Suzuki pedagogue Haruo Goto, Luisiana was invited to perform solo before the governor of Queensland at the age of 9. Whilst receiving violin studies with acclaimed string educator Elizabeth Morgan AM, she was a featured artist on ABC 2NR radio and appeared as soloist at the Sydney Opera House and QPAC. Luisiana featured as soloist with her twin sister in the St George Bank television Commercial (1999) and at the Tropicana Festival. She later played as soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Quartet and later was presented with a music scholarship to attend Somerville House. Luisiana performed solo for the National String Teachers Convention QLD, with the New England Youth Ensemble, Orchestra NOVA, and Avondale Orchestra, followed by performance at Parliament House as a "Young Music Achiever". Luisiana also received a music tuition bursary by the St George Foundation, a QLD Young Conservatorium music scholarship and the Marjory Walters Music Scholarship. Directed by Loreta Fin, Luisiana performed with Somerville Strings and the Senior String Consort who won first place in the Premier Grade Strings at the Australian Academy Festival of Music and had the prestigious honour of being presented with the TOAN (The Orchestras Of Australia Network) award for Best National School Orchestra (2004).  Luisiana has experience as a Violin Tutor in both Brisbane and Sydney and is currently Music Coordinator at NWCS.

GYÖRGY DÉRI - Festival Mentor, Cellist

Starting to learn to play the cello at age 6, György Deri was accepted in the class for talented students in the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music at age 9. He then studied at the Academy of Music between 1983 and 1989, during which time he won the prestigious Dávid Popper International Cello Competition, and started teaching in the Faculty of Cello and Chamber Music. His most memorable teachers, who greatly influenced him, were Ede Banda, György Konrád, Melinda Kistétényi, Albert Simon and Ferenc Rados. He began teaching cello and chamber music, as well as directing the chamber orchestra at the Teacher's Training Institute of the Academy of Music in Budapest in 1991, then at the Béla Bartók Secondary School of Music from 1993-1998. With the merging of the Institute and the Academy in 2008, Deri became Associate Professor at the Ferenc Liszt University of Music and the István Széchenyi University in Györ. György Deri obtained his PhD in music from the Ferenc Liszt University of Music in 2012. As Deputy Head of the String Department and head of cello, viola and double bass at the Academy of Music, he organises many programs of study, including diploma and master courses, and entrance exams. He also teaches individual students from all over the world. He is a very active performer, playing with chamber groups such as the Keller Quartet, Trio Art Nouveau, Flas Chamber Ensemble and others, as well as soloist with the Hungarian symphony Radio orchestra, the Philharmonic orchestra in Zugló, the UMZE Chamber Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra in Szendre and the Orchestra of the István Széchenyi University. He is also a jurist for a number of international cello and chamber music competitions in Europe.

Deri also studied composition with István Györ Fekete for 3 years, and has been closely connected with contemporary music ever since, as performer and commissioning works. He is an active member of several contemporary ensembles, including UMZE, Intermoduláció and Componensemble, as well as giving master courses and workshops in contemporary music throughout Hungary, Germany, Spain and Italy. Deri has been an active musician for over 40 years, giving over 1000 performances and recording 22 CDs. He has been awarded the Artijus Award five times by the Supports Approval Committee for Classical Music for his outstanding achievement in Hungarian contemporary music, and in 2004, the Ferenc Liszt Prize for his musical career.

JAMES ANDERSON - Tutor, Cellist

Originally from Wynyard on the North-West Coast of Tasmania, James is currently studying a Master of Teaching at the University of Tasmania, having completed his Bachelor of Music in 2018 studying under Sue-Ellen Paulsen. James currently teaches the cello/strings at The Friends School and The Hutchins School. He enjoys teaching students and chamber groups of all ages and abilities, doing so privately while also regularly working with Tasmanian community orchestras including the Launceston Youth and Community Orchestra, the C-Silk Chamber Orchestra, the Cradle Coast Orchestra, and recently the North-West Christian School Strings Ensemble. James has previously performed in the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute, the Jan Sedivka Camerata, and the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra.

In 2018 James worked with the ensemble Musik Fabrik in Cologne where he performed works by Olivier Messiaen, John Cage and Morton Feldman, while also spending time at the Royal Conservatory of Den Hague in the Netherlands. James has performed in masterclasses with internationally renowned cellists, Raphael Wallfisch and Steven Isserlis. James particularly enjoys studying and performing new music, having performed significant works by Iannis Xenakis and György Ligeti, as well as works by local Tasmanian composers such as Don Kay and Dominic Flynn.

ALEX RAINERI - Festival Mentor, Pianist

Described by Limelight Magazine as “a soloist of superb virtuosic skill and musicality”, Australian classical pianist Alex Raineri (b. 1993) is internationally active as recitalist, concerto soloist and chamber musician. International performances include tours throughout California, South-East Asia, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany and Austria.

Alex has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Radio NZ, California Capital Public Radio, ABC Classic FM and all of the Australian MBS Networks. As a concerto soloist he has featured with the Queensland, Tasmanian, Darwin and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, Southern Cross Soloists, Orchestra Victoria, Four Winds Festival Orchestra, Bangalow Festival Orchestra and the Queensland Pops Orchestra.

Alex has been the recipient of a number of major awards including the Kerikeri International Piano Competition and Australian National Piano Award. Alex is the pianist with the Southern Cross Soloists and other notable chamber partnerships include; Andreas Ottensamer, eighth blackbird, ELISION, Sara Macliver, Natalie Clein, Greta Bradman, Li Wei Qin, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Jack Liebeck, Kathryn Stott, Slava Grigoryan, Brett Dean and many others.

He is the artistic director of the annual Brisbane Music Festival and is a passionate exponent of contemporary music having given 129 world premieres and 89 Australian premiere performances to date. Discography includes; Transfiguration (2019), Inventions (2019), I’ll Walk Beside You – Teddy Tahu Rhodes & Southern Cross Soloists (2018 – ABC Classics) and braneworlds – Kupka’s Piano (2017).


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