Alexandra Bak -soprano
Alexandra Bak - soprano
Alexandra Bak is a graduate of WAAPA where she studied cello, classical voice and musical theatre. She is the recipient of several prizes including the Faith Court Scholarship, Art Song Perth’s Ralph Thompson Memorial Scholarship and a Lisa Gasteen Opera Summer School Scholarship.
Alexandra has appeared regularly with WA Opera since 2008 and sang the role of Una Novizia in Suor Angelica. Other roles include Hansel in Hänsel und Gretel with Opera Box, Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief at the Fringe World Festival, Leischen in Bach’s Coffee Cantata and Galatea in Acis and Galatea with Black Swan Baroque, Sandman/Dew Fairy in Hänsel und Gretel at the Australian Opera Studio.
Alexandra is also in demand as a concert soloist, having performed at the annual Best of British concerts at the Perth concert hall since 2005 and the Vienna Pops' New Year’s Eve concerts since 2010.
Geoffrey Bourgault du Coudray - clarinet
Geoffrey Bourgault du Coudray - clarinet
Geoffrey Bourgault du Coudray grew up in WA, attending Churchlands SHS and then going on to study clarinet at the Conservatorium of Music and at UWA's School of Music.He spent the following 8 years performing with various ensembles, including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), and teaching the clarinet at a number of schools.
In 2003 Geoffrey took up the position of Associate Principal clarinet/ E flat clarinet with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO), and two years later moved to the principal chair. During his period playing for the ASO, he also taught clarinet at the Elder School of Music, at the University of Adelaide and played as guest principal clarinet with The Queensland Orchestra and The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
In 2012 Geoffrey moved to Bridgetown with his wife Sally Boud and son Louis, and in 2013 he and Sally took over the direction of the Blackwood River Chamber Festival.
Since then his engagements have included performances with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the WA Philharmonic Orchestra and WASO, playing the Bruch double concerto with Sally Boud and the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra, and chamber music performances with the Darlington Ensemble.
Ben Caddy - viola.
Ben Caddy - viola
Ben Caddy is a member of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. He played the violin for twelve years before taking up the viola in 2009. He was awarded the 2009 Vose Memorial Prize at the University of Western Australia for the most outstanding performance of a concerto and the Margaret Bello prize for chamber music.
Ben studied at the Australian National Academy of Music from 2010-2012. In 2010 he was the viola player in the ensemble that won the ANAM Chamber music competition. He was a 2013 Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist and has toured internationally with the ACO. Ben studied with Ivan Vukčević and Maxim Vengerov at the International Menuhin Music Academy and at the Haute école de musique de Genève with Gábor Takács-Nagy from 2013-2015. In 2014 he was the Principal Viola of the United Nations Orchestra on their tour of Spain.
Kirsty Collins - double bass.
Kirsty Collins - double bass
Scottish-born Double Bass player Kirsty Collins completed her Honours Bachelor of Music Degree at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, in 2007. She continued her studies with Jiri Hudec, Principal Double Bass of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Performance with Distinction in 2008. In the UK she began her playing with the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland at the age of 10 then performed throughout Europe with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland including playing at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, London. During her studies she played with orchestras including Britten Peers Symphony Orchestra, The Halle and toured China with the Amadeus Orchestra.
Kirsty moved to Perth in 2008 where she lives now with her husband and three children. She has performed with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra, the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra, the Western Australian Philharmonic and Camerata 1685. In January Kirsty performed with Music Book and Chimera Ensemble in the world premiere production and recording of Matt Ottley's 'Teacup-One Boy's Story'.
Emilie Grimes - viola.
Emilie Grimes - viola
Emilie Grimes has been an active orchestral and chamber musician since she first began playing the viola at age twelve. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, she holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Montreal. Her teachers have included Michael Tree, Steven Tenenbom, and Neal Gripp.
Emilie has participated in numerous festivals including the Banff Centre Masterclasses, the Sarasota Music Festival, the NAC’s Summer Music Institute, the Domaine Forget chamber music festival and the Music Academy of the West. She has toured with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany, and served as principal viola of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada as a recipient of the orchestra’s Leadership Award. She has been featured in the My First NAC showcase and has appeared on WQXR, New York City’s classical music radio station, playing baroque viola with Juilliard’s historical performance ensemble. Emilie has been a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 2012, and is a member of the Vancouver Academy’s Ensemble-in-residence, The Koerner Quartet.
Robert Hofmann - baritone
Baritone Robert Hofmann has sung many roles with the West Australian Opera including Koko in The Mikado, Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Hobson in Peter Grimes and John Styx in Orpheus in the Underworld as well as Opera Under the Stars in Broome and Opera in Albany. From 2010 to 2016 Robert toured to WA regional centres and around Perth with the company’s Opera in Education Program.
Robert burst onto the cabaret scene with pianist Tommaso Pollio in Desperately Young at Heart winning the Cabaret Award (WA) at Perth Fringe World 2014 in its world-premiere season and touring to Sydney and Melbourne to critical acclaim. His follow-up show, It Ain’t Vot You Do It’s Ze Vay You Do It! premiered at Perth Fringe World in 2015 with a rave review in The West Australian and a sold-out season. In 2015 he performed Desperately Young at Heart at Downstairs at the Maj before taking it to Edinburgh Festival Fringe receiving rave reviews. In 2017 Desperately Young at Heart made a triumphant return to Perth Fringe World in a sell-out season with four-star reviews in The West Australian and Out in Perth. This show has also toured to some WA regional centres.
Robert’s new cabaret, What the Fandango?! with piano accordionist Cathie Travers made its world premiere at Perth Fringe World 2018 with 5-star reviews and full houses and continues to play at venues around the Perth metropolitan area.
Since 2011 Robert has performed in the hit show Divalicious, Opera Rocks! touring to Broome, WA regional centres and Adelaide Fringe and the Sydney Opera House to rave reviews. He also stars in Divalicious’ critically acclaimed show based on Mozart’s The Impressario which played at Perth Fringe World 2016 and 2017 and Sydney Opera House in 2017.
Robert is also an experienced concert soloist and has has performed Bach’s St Matthew Passion, St John Passion and Mass in B minor, Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Faure’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Vaughan William's Five Mystical Songs, and Messiah with the St Georges Cathedral Consort/Choir under the direction of Joseph Nolan.He has also performed Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with Collegium Symphonic Chorus and Haydn’s The Seasons, Verdi’s Requiem, with the UWA Choral Society. Robert also enjoys singing Lieder at Art Song Perth recitals and makes his debut with Chimera Ensemble on Sunday 26 August 2018, performing two Schubert Lied, Ave Maria and Erlkönig.
Emma Jayakumar - soprano/composer.
Emma Jayakumar - soprano/composer
Soprano Emma Jayakumar has sung internationally as a soloist both in recital and on the operatic stage at the Vienna State Opera, with British Youth Opera in London and has toured Ireland, England and Tel Aviv. She has been the recipient of several high-profile singing scholarships over the years including the Vienna State Opera Award, the AIMS Institute summer school Award in Graz, the Herald Sun Aria and was the Dame Joan Sutherland Award recipient toward her studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2006.
On return to Australia Emma turned her attention to teaching and fulfilled her ambition to devise and perform her own music in the Operatic genre. She co-founded Lark Chamber Opera with pianist Tommaso Pollio, for which she has also devised and composed original operatic scenes for children, and toured extensively across WA schools in 2011 with their first show ‘Rather Beastly’. Emma wrote and performed the classical song cycle Sky In The Pie! for Art Song Perth and for an ABC Recital Broadcast in 2013, has composed music for, and performed with Music Book and the Chimera Ensemble. Emma composed a virtuosic work for Soprano and small ensemble entitled The Birdwoman, and in 2017 Emma performed in the world premiere and recording of Matt Ottley's musical dramatisation of the book Teacup, by Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley.
In 2015 Emma commenced study as a Ph.D. student, embarking on a full-scale children’s opera project, aiming to create work in the genre to nurture, and encourage, the next generation of opera audience members. Her new opera, Beyond the Wall is based on the story The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, and will be performed in concert at the end of 2017.
Semra Lee-Smith -violin
Semra Lee-Smith - Violin
Semra Lee-Smith was born in Penang, Malaysia and commenced violin lessons aged 3 with her mother, Hooi Tong Lee. She gained her Bachelor of Music degree at the WA Conservatorium of Music, studying with Pal Eder. Semra also holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatorium, Amsterdam, studying with Istvan Parkanyi. She undertook string quartet studies with the Halcyon String Quartet at the Australian National Academy of Music and at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada. Tutors included Hatto Beyerle, the Arditti Quartet and David Takeno. In 2000, Semra won a position with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. She started in a tutti position with WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) in 2003 and was appointed Associate Principal 2nd Violin in 2004. In 2009, she won the Assistant Concertmaster job and in 2014, she was the Acting Associate Concertmaster. Semra is a founding member of the Darlington Piano Trio, the core ensemble for Darlington Concerts. The trio commissioned James Ledger’s Inscriptions and recorded Roger Smalley’s piano trio for UWA’s centenary celebrations Luminosity CD. She also features regularly in the Fremantle Arts Centre’s Soft Soft Loud series. Semra’s versatility as a performer has seen her record Troy Roberts’ jazz/string quartet Xenden Suite, back Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers at the Big Day Out and feature as a soloist with WASO. In addition, she is a lecturer in violin at UWA and is an AMEB examiner.
In 2000, Semra won a position with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. She started in a tutti position with WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) in 2003 and was appointed Associate Principal 2nd Violin in 2004. In 2009, she won the Assistant Concertmaster job and in 2014, she was the Acting Associate Concertmaster. Semra is a founding member of the Darlington Piano Trio, the core ensemble for Darlington Concerts. The trio commissioned James Ledger’s Inscriptions and recorded Roger Smalley’s piano trio for UWA’s centenary celebrations Luminosity CD. She also features regularly in the Fremantle Arts Centre’s Soft Soft Loud series. Semra’s versatility as a performer has seen her record Troy Roberts’ jazz/string quartet Xenden Suite, back Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers at the Big Day Out and feature as a soloist with WASO. In addition, she is a lecturer in violin at UWA and is an AMEB examiner.
She started in a tutti position with WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) in 2003 and was appointed Associate Principal 2nd Violin in 2004. In 2009, she won the Assistant Concertmaster job and in 2014, she was the Acting Associate Concertmaster. Semra is a founding member of the Darlington Piano Trio, the core ensemble for Darlington Concerts. The trio commissioned James Ledger’s Inscriptions and recorded Roger Smalley’s piano trio for UWA’s centenary celebrations Luminosity CD. She also features regularly in the Fremantle Arts Centre’s Soft Soft Loud series. Semra’s versatility as a performer has seen her record Troy Roberts’ jazz/string quartet Xenden Suite, back Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers at the Big Day Out and feature as a soloist with WASO. In addition, she is a lecturer in violin at UWA and is an AMEB examiner.
Andrea Mendham - violin.
Andrea Mendham -violin
Andrea Mendham received her Bachelor of Music from The Australian National University and participated in further study in Vancouver, Canada, and at Deakin University in Melbourne. In 2012, she started working as a casual member of WA Symphony Orchestra and continues to perform with them regularly. She also performs as a freelance violinist with many ensembles and orchestras in Perth, including Chimera Ensemble, Perth Symphony Orchestra, Perth Philharmonic Orchestra, Fremantle Chamber Orchestra and Les Trois Amies. Andrea teaches privately and at St Marys Anglican Girls School. She has completed studies in Music Education.
Pinnacle String Quartet
Pinnacle String Quartet
Rebecca Glorie - Violin 1, Cerys Tooby - Violin 2, Rachael Kirk - Viola, Fotis Skordas - Cello.
The members of Pinnacle String Quartet are all full-time musicians with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and combine a heavy orchestral schedule with quartet rehearsals and concerts. Formed in 2009, the quartet has undertaken a huge variety of chamber concerts in Perth as well as performing with artists such as Katie Noonan. The Pinnacle Quartet has also toured in regional WA as part of WASO’s Community Engagement program.
As well as a common love of chamber music, the members of the quartet also share an interest in dogs and ice cream!
Rebecca Glorie - Rebecca was born in Hong Kong. She studied at WAAPA, then spent 2 years at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne before taking up a position in WASO in 2006. In 2010, Rebecca was awarded a Churchill Fellowship which enabled her to study at the Eastman School of Music. Rebecca also performs as a soloist and concertmaster of Fremantle Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of Chimera Ensemble.
Cerys Tooby - Born in South Africa, Cerys attended Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, then studied Maths at the University of Cambridge. She held positions in the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra before joining WASO in 1999.
Rachael Kirk - New Zealand-born Rachael studied viola in Auckland, Adelaide and Koln, Germany. She was a member of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Arioso String Quartet before moving to Perth and joining WASO in 1993.
Fotis Skordas - Fotis was born in Adelaide and moved to Perth to join WASO in 1988. He studied with Janis Laurs from the Australian String Quartet at the University of Adelaide. Fotis is also a member of I Cellisti, a cello quartet that has toured Japan on a number of occasions including playing for dignitaries at the Australian Pavilion of World Expo Japan in 2005.
Lisa Rowntree - piano.
Lisa Rowntree - piano
Lisa Rowntree is an accomplished pianist, accompanist, and teacher, who lives in Perth, WA. She performed the Brahms Piano Quartet in g with Chimera Ensemble at Music Amica and Trinity College in 2015, and will be performing with guest artists Pinnacle String Quartet and Alexandra Bak for the City of Joondalup's Sunday Serenades concert in December 2017.