CSO 2022: Who’s who

Headshot of Jessica Cottis
Jessica Cottis, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director (Image: Kaupo Kikkas)
Chief conductor & Artistic Director

Award-winning conductor Jessica Cottis, named ‘2019 Classical “Face to Watch”’ (The Times, UK), is much in demand, working regularly with leading orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Opéra Orchestre national Montpellier, new music ensembles such as London Sinfonietta and Bang on a Can, as well as numerous re-invitations at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the prestigious BBC Proms. She has recorded for the BBC, ABC, and Decca Classics labels.

One of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today, 2022 marks Jessica Cottis’s second season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Under her leadership, the orchestra has already developed a number of important new initiatives, including significant commissions and championing of Australian works. Recognised for her engaging, wide-ranging and thought-provoking programming, Cottis’ domain is music of the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. This season she will conduct major works by Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky in Canberra, and make highly anticipated debuts with orchestras including Bremer Philharmoniker, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Oslo Philharmonic, and Royal Danish Opera.

A gifted communicator, Jessica works widely as an advocate for classical music. Described as a “cool, contained, super-articulate and engaging” (The Scotsman), she is a frequent contributor on BBC radio and television, commenting on a wide range of arts-related topics, from opera to architecture, synaesthesia, the environment, and acoustics.

Jessica Cottis’ early musical career was as an organist. Awarded first class honours at the Australian National University, she continued her studies in Paris with pioneering French organist Marie-Claire Alain. After a wrist injury halted her playing career, she began conducting studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying with Colin Metters and Sir Colin Davis. She went on to serve as Assistant Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, where she worked closely with mentors Sir Donald Runnicles, Charles Dutoit, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. More recently she was honoured with the title of Associate of the Royal Academy.

Jessica Cottis resides in London, and outside of music pursues her passion for butterflies all over the world.

Llewellyn One – Redemption, 13 / 14 April 2022
Llewellyn Four – Infinite Possibilities, 23 / 24 November 2022
CSO Summer Prom, 3 December 2022

Headshot of Simon Hewett
Simon Hewett, Principal Guest Conductor (Image: Penny Bradfield)

Simon Hewett studied clarinet and conducting at The University of Queensland, graduating with First Class Honours and a University Medal. After receiving a German government scholarship, Simon continued his conducting studies at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Franz Liszt’ in Weimar, Germany from 1998 to 2001.

From 2002–03, Simon was a member of Opera Australia’s Young Artists’ Programme and has since returned regularly to Opera Australia as a guest conductor. For his 2012 performances of Salome, Simon won a Green Room Award for ‘Best Performance in Australia of an Opera’.

In 2005, Simon was invited by Simone Young to join the Hamburg State Opera as Resident Conductor and Assistant Music Director. From 2010–2016, he was Principal Conductor of the Stuttgart Opera. After conducting the premiere of John Neumeier’s Parsifal at the Baden Baden Festspielhaus in 2006, Simon was appointed Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Ballet. In addition to regular performances in Hamburg, he has toured with the Hamburg Ballet to the Salzburg Festival and to Australia, the USA, Hong Kong and Japan.

Simon has appeared with the Queensland, Melbourne, Sydney and West Australian symphony orchestras and is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. In 2020, Simon moved with his family back to Brisbane where he has taken on the role of Music Director of the Queensland Youth Orchestras Organisation. Under his direction, the Queensland Youth Symphony received a Gold Award from the Online World Youth Orchestras Festival, one of only two such awards worldwide. In 2022, Simon will return to the Vienna State Opera for performances of Onegin

CSO Special – Messiah, 8 / 9 July 2022 
Llewellyn Three – War and Peace, 14 / 15 September 2022

Portrait of Benjamin Bayl
Benjamin Bayl, Conductor (Image: Bart Barczyk)
Benjamin Bayl
Guest conductor

Benjamin Bayl is co-Founder of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra and Associate Director of the Hanover Band. He was the first Australian Organ Scholar of King’s College Cambridge, before studying conducting at London’s Royal Academy of Music. He was Assistant Conductor to the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer, and assisted Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Richard Hickox.

Benjamin recently made debuts with Mahler Chamber Orchestra in the Berlin Philharmonie, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica Medellín and Philharmonie Zuidnederland. He has conducted extensively throughout Italy, Germany and Scandinavia; in Australasia, he appears with the Sydney, Queensland and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras and the Hong Kong and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestras. Benjamin directs a range of repertoire, with a focus on historically informed Baroque, Classical and Romantic music, and world premieres. He has conducted in the festivals of Edinburgh, Melbourne, Cartagena, Euro Klassik, Ruhrtriennale and Chopin Festival Warsaw.

Operatic highlights include Wiener Staatsoper, Dutch National Opera, Staatsoper Berlin, Royal Danish and Norwegian Operas, Opera Oviedo, Budapest State Opera, Polish National Opera, Deutsche Oper am Rhein and Opera Australia. In the period instrument world, he conducts Concerto Copenhagen, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Collegium Vocale Gent and Australian Haydn Ensemble. He also works with young musicians at ANAM and the Netherlands and Slovak Youth Orchestras.

Llewellyn Two – Miracles in the Age of Reason, 18 / 19 May 2022

Kirsten Williams playing violin
Kirsten Williams, Concertmaster (Image: Martin Ollman)
Kirsten Williams

Kirsten Williams studied violin with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium and Igor Ozim at the Bern Konservatorium. She has been a member of the Opera House Orchestra at Covent Garden and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Associate Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra; and Associate Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony. Kirsten has also performed widely as a soloist, chamber musician and guest orchestra leader. Kirsten has also been a mentor and tutor of Sydney Youth Orchestra and Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO), and Head of Strings at the Hume Conservatorium.

Kirsten has a passion for music and healing. She has recorded two CDs for the Australian Bush Flower Essences and, in 2014, was named Volunteer of the Year for playing music in the Westmead Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit. In 2014, she became patron of the Goulburn Strings Project, a music education initiative for students in low socio-economic, regional areas.

Internationally praised for his compelling performances, Australian-British pianist Jayson Gillham is recognised as one of the finest pianists of his generation. He performs with the world’s leading orchestras with recent highlights including engagements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Auckland Philharmonic, Christchurch Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra amongst many others.

Portrait of Emma Sholl laughing and holding a flute
Emma Sholl, Flute (Image: Israel Rivera)
Emma Sholl
Flute, Artist in Focus

Emma Sholl began working with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the age of 19. In 2003, she was appointed Associate Principal Flute.

In 2002-03, she studied in Geneva with Jacques Zoon. During that time, she performed in St Petersburg and Moscow as part of the World Orchestra for Peace. Accolades include first prize in the National Orchestral Flute Competition (1999), the ABC / Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards (2001 – Other Instruments category) and the National Solo Flute Competition (2002).

Emma has appeared as guest principal with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian World Orchestra and the Adelaide, Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian symphony orchestras, among others. She has appeared as soloist with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the Adelaide, Tasmania and Sydney symphony orchestras. 

As a chamber musician, Emma has performed in festivals across Australia and with groups including the Australia Ensemble, Sydney Omega Ensemble and Southern Cross Soloists. She recorded Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 with Angela Hewitt, Alison Mitchell and the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as an album for flute and harp, Vignettes, with Jane Rosenson.

Emma lectures in flute at the Sydney Conservatorium. She plays a 14kt rose gold Burkart flute.

Featured in 
Chamber Classics – French Connections, 13 February 2022
Llewellyn Two – Miracles in the Age of Reason, 18 / 19 May 2022

Portrait of Courtenay Cleary holding a violin
Courtenay Cleary, Violin (Image: Pia Johnson)

Courtenay graduated with a Master of Music from The Juilliard School (New York), where she studied with Naoko Tanaka and received the M & E Cohen and Charles H. Bechter scholarships. Courtenay received a Bachelor of Music with first class honours from the Royal Academy of Music (London) where she studied with Maureen Smith.

In 2017, Courtenay performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey for the Royal Commonwealth Service, broadcast on BBC television. In 2018, she performed at Buckingham Palace for the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. 

Courtenay has performed at prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, St James’ Piccadilly, Regent Hall, Colston Hall and the Lincoln Centre. Recent Australian performances include Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Willoughby Symphony and Orchestra Corda Spiritus, the Australian premiere of David Lang’s Mystery Sonatas, and two solo recitals at QPAC.

Courtenay has received prizes from the Tait Memorial Trust and ABRSM, as well as the Dame Joan Sutherland and Guy Parsons awards. Courtenay was recently awarded a full scholarship to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy in contemporary violin music at the University of Queensland.

Featured in
Llewellyn One – Redemption, 13 / 14 April 2022

Headshot of Kristian Chong
Kristian Chong, Piano (Image: John Tsiavis)

One of Australia’s leading pianists, Kristian Chong has performed throughout Australia and the UK, and in China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the USA and Zimbabwe. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist.

As a soloist, Kristian has appeared with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian symphony orchestras, and orchestras in the UK, New Zealand and China, with recent highlights including Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, and Saint-Saëns Second and Rachmaninoff’s Paganini Rhapsody with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, Kristian is highly sought after with collaborations including the Tinalley and Australian String Quartets, cellist Li-Wei Qin, violinists Sophie Rowell, Satu Vänskä, Dale Barltrop and Daniel Dodds, flautist Megan Sterling and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, with whom he has recorded with ABC-Classics. His festival appearances include the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Adelaide, Huntington Estate, Mimir and Bangalow Festivals.

Kristian studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Piers Lane and Christopher Elton, and with Stephen McIntyre at the University of Melbourne, where Kristian teaches piano and chamber music. 

Featured in
Llewellyn Three – War and Peace, 14 / 15 September 2022

Headshot of Markiyan Melnychenko outdoors
Markiyan Melnychenko, Violin

Ukrainian-Australian violinist Markiyan Melnychenko is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in New York and the Australian National Academy of Music.

He is a winner of national and international competitions including Melbourne Recital Centre’s Great Romantics competition and the Oleh Krysa Competition in Ukraine, has been the recipient of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition Development Prize and a 2019 Churchill Fellowship.

He has held the position of Lecturer In Violin at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and is currently principal 1st violin with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.

He has performed in New York’s Alice Tully Hall at the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC,  and in 2013 was selected to perform at the US Capitol as part of Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.

Markiyan appears regularly, as a concerto soloist, with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, in the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Local Heroes recital series and the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall’s streamed concerts and has a wide-ranging experience as a chamber music player.

© Weaver Artist Management 2021

Featured in
Llewellyn Four – Infinite Possibilities, 23 / 24 November 2022

Headshot of Chloe Lankshear
Chloe Lankshear, Soprano (Image: 2:1 Studio)
Chloe Lankshear

Chloe Lankshear is an accomplished, Sydney-based soprano who enjoys a varied career of performative mediums, from operatic productions to classical contemporary recitals and commission premieres.

Chloe has performed with State Opera South Australia and Pinchgut Opera and as a featured soloist with Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Bach Akademie Australia. She is a Principal artist with The Song Company and a permanent member of St James Choir, Kings Street.

In 2020, Chloe was an artist in Pinchgut Opera’s film A Delicate Fire as well as their mini-series of recorded madrigals. She also recorded a ‘Behind Doors’ concert with duo partner Heathcliffe Auchinachie at Phoenix Central Park Studio. More recently, Chloe performed as soprano soloist for the premiere of Paul Stanhope’s Requiem (City Recital Hall) and for Pinchgut Opera’s program of Monteverdi’s Vespers.

Chloe was recently engaged as a soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Richard Tognetti for their program ‘Baroque Revelry’. She was also recently named Pinchgut Opera’s inaugural Taryn Fiebig Scholar for 2021-23 and will appear in their 2021 opera production of Platée.

Featured in
CSO Special – Messiah, 8 / 9 July 2022

Portrait of Tobias Cole
Tobias Cole, Counter Tenor (Image: Michele Mossop)
Tobias Cole
Counter Tenor

Award-winning singer, actor, producer, choral conductor and artistic director of Handel in the Theatre, Canberra, Tobias Cole has performed with the major opera companies, festivals and Australian symphony orchestras as well as with companies in New Zealand, England and the United States. Notable performances include Handel’s Julius Caesar (Title Role, Opera Australia – Helpmann nomination), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon, OA – Green Room nomination), Xerxes (Title Role, NZ Opera, Victorian Opera – Green Room Award), Death in Venice (Apollo, Chicago Opera Theater), How to Kill Your Husband (Studz, VO), Akhnaten (Title Role, State Opera of South Australia) and HMS Pinafore (Captain Corcoran, Hayes Theatre).

Tobias is a regular performer in his hometown of Canberra, appearing in the Playhouse (Handel in the Theatre), Street Theatre (Cold Light), at Smith’s Alternative and in the National Portrait Gallery.

Dedicated to youth music development Tobias directs a number of choirs and vocal ensembles for children and young adults including Canberra Children’s Choir and ANU Chamber Choir as well as his own professional vocal quartet Clarion.

Featured in
CSO Special – Messiah, 8 / 9 July 2022

Headshot of Andrew Goodwin
Andrew Goodwin, Tenor
Andrew Goodwin

Andrew Goodwin has appeared with opera companies and orchestras in Europe, Asia and Australia including the Bolshoi Opera, Gran Theatre Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, La Scala Milan, Opera Australia, Pinchgut Opera, Sydney Chamber Opera, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, the New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Moscow and Melbourne Chamber Orchestras, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, and in recital with pianist Daniel de Borah at Wigmore Hall, the Oxford Lieder, Port Fairy and Canberra International Music Festivals.

Recent engagements include Lysander, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Adelaide Festival); Jacquino, Fidelio (West Australian Opera); Nadir, The Pearlfishers (State Opera South Australia); Diary of one who disappeared and Rape of Lucretia (Sydney Chamber Opera); Artaxerxes title role, Egeo in Cavalli’s Giasone and Florival in Grétry’s L’amant jaloux (Pinchgut Opera); Berlioz L’Enfance du Christ and Mozart Requiem (MSO); Brett Dean’s The Last Days of Socrates and Mozart Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento (SSO); Messiah (Sydney Chamber Choir, NZSO, QSO and MSO); Bach Magnificat and The Rake’s Progress title role (Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra). Andrew is also a founding member of the new Australian Vocal Ensemble, AVE.

Featured in
CSO Special – Messiah, 8 / 9 July 2022

Close up, black and white portrait of Adrian Tamburini
Adrian Tamburini, Bass (Image: Andrew Keshan)
Adrian Tamburini

Adrian has enjoyed a long and varied career as an opera singer, concert performer, music educator, director and producer.

In 2017, Adrian was the winner of Australia’s prestigious singing award, the Australian Opera Awards (YMF, MOST). His singing has featured on cinema releases of opera, DVD, international recordings, motion picture soundtracks, radio, and television.

He is proud to have worked with companies such as Opera Australia, West Australian Opera, Melbourne Opera, Lost and Found Opera, Pinchgut Opera, National Opera, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Zelman Symphony Orchestra, Sydney University Graduate Choir, Melbourne Bach Choir, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Over the past few years he has focused on sharing his passion for music by teaching the next generation of musicians at Pure Harmony Music Studio in Melbourne. Adrian has worked with renowned conductors and directors such as Asher Fisch, Andrea Molino, Andrea Battistoni, Jonathan Darlington, Pietari Inkinen, Carlo Montanaro, Renato Palumbo, Guillaume Tourniaire, David McVicar, and Francesca Zambello, as well as Australians Jessica Cottis, Barry Kosky, Bruce Beresford, and John Bell.

Featured in
CSO Special – Messiah, 8 / 9 July 2022

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