Chamber Music

Chamber music is an important focus at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music. The School boasts five outstanding chamber music ensembles who all regularly perform at the School as well as nationally and internationally.

Blackwood Ensemble

Kenji Fujimura – piano
David Griffiths – clarinet
Elizabeth Sellars – violin
Tamara Smolyar – piano
Lisa Grosman – viola
Merlyn Quaife – soprano

The Blackwood Ensemble was established by prominent Australian chamber musicians and Monash University staff members Elizabeth Sellars (Sutherland Trio) and Kenji Fujimura (Trio Anima Mundi) as an ensemble in which advanced students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University are provided the opportunity to perform with a core group of staff from the school, including Sellars, Fujimura, David Griffiths (Ensemble Liaison), Lisa Grosman (Fidelio Quartet), Merlyn Quaife (Songmakers Australia), and Tamara Smolyar (Duo Chamber Melange). This creation of a permanent ensemble where students are able to present concerts with professional staff is unique in the Australian tertiary sector. Debuting to high acclaim in early 2013, the Blackwood Ensemble gives performances of a diverse range of chamber music repertoire, pending instrumentation available in each semester. Past events have included performances at the Melbourne Recital Centre and Federation Square.

Ensemble Liaison

David Griffiths – clarinet
Svetlana Bogosavljevic – cello
Timothy Young – piano

Ensemble Liaison is a unique chamber music partnership formed in 2006 between David Griffiths (clarinet), Svetlana Bogosavljevic (cello) and Timothy Young (piano). As suggested by their name, collaborations form the basis of their artistic and musical vision, and partners to-date have included, Peter Coleman-Wright, Cheryl Barker, Emma Matthews, Ray Chen, Henning Kraggerud, Wilma Smith, Tony Gould, Caroline Henbest, Simon Oswell, Ellizabeth Sellars, Roy Theaker, Fiona Sargeant, Monica Curro, Alex Henery, Mardi McSullea, Roger Jonsson, David Jones and principal members of the Australian Ballet.

Ensemble Liaison performed their debut concert for ABC Classic FM in 2006, which featured in “The best of Sunday Live” for that year, and their inaugural Concert Series was held at the BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne in 2007. In 2010 they were invited to relocate to the stunning Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at the Melbourne Recital Centre. ENSEMBLE LIAISON have performed across Australia and recently throughout New Zealand where they undertook a critically acclaimed 10-concert tour for Chamber Music New Zealand with violinist Wilma Smith. Critics have hailed their performances with superlatives such as “spellbinding”, “flawless”, “a revelation”, “moving”, “joyous”, “polished”, “stunningly blended”, “engaging”, “powerful and having boundless lyricism, enthusiasm and dexterity”.

They have been regularly recorded for broadcast on ABC Classic FM and 3MBS and have released recordings on both the Melba Recordings and Tall Poppies labels.

Trio Anima Mundi

Kenji Fujimura – piano
Rochelle Ughetti – violin
Noella Yan – cello

Since its inception in 2008, TRIO ANIMA MUNDI has been presenting concerts that bring an eclectic mix of repertoire from the great masters to little-known works. Praised as a ‘trio of vitality, charm and aplomb’ (The Age), the Trio’s members – Kenji Fujimura (piano), Rochelle Ughetti (violin), Noella Yan (Cello) – are seasoned performers and have gained a reputation for excellence and a sumptuous sound world. The Trio’s 2013 debut CD has been hailed ‘as to chamber music this has to be the CD of the year and, perhaps, many years to come.’ with positive critical reviews from across the globe, including a 2013 Musicweb International Recordings of the Year accolade.

In 2017 TRIO ANIMA MUNDI present their tenth annual concert series, They have recently signed deals with Divine Art Records (USA) to record the piano trios of Coleridge-Taylor, Forrester, Warner, and Ellicott, as well as with Toccata Classics (UK) to record the piano trios of Algernon Ashton – both for release in 2018.

Duo Chamber Melange

Ivana Tomaskova – violin
Tamara Smolyar – piano

Duo Chamber Melange is a wonderful partnership of a decade long collaboration between internationally acclaimed musicians, Ivana Tomaskova (violin) and Tamara Smolyar (piano). The ensemble and each of them produced numerous recordings for national and international broadcasters and performed in many prominent venues across three continents. A number of composers have written music for them as soloists and chamber musicians. Duo Chamber Melange’s versatile repertoire embraces classical and contemporary music with recent performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Franck, Rachmaninoff, Dvorak, Smetana, Constantinescu, Eben, Martinu and world premieres of renowned Australian and European composers. Chamber Melange has recorded for ABC Classic FM, 3MBS, Romanian and Czech National Radio and released Cds on Move and Schimmel International Artist Collection Labels. Their masterful performances are engaging and moving, a true art of music- making.

Fidelio Quartet

Bobby Macindoe – violin
Isin Cakmakcioglu – violin
Lisa Grosman – viola
Rachel Atkinson – cello

The Fidelio Quartet has been described as one of the most exciting new forces on the concert stage of Melbourne, offering a wealth of experience from having performed the Symphonic repertoire numerous times. Each member of the Fidelio Quartet has an enviable reputation among the finest artists in Australia. The four musicians have shared the concert platform and toured internationally together for decades in the Melbourne Symphony. The Quartet members have performed together for MSO Chamber Players, ABC Classic FM broadcasts, ABC Sunday Live Programs and Chamber music performances with visiting MSO soloists. They have performed as chamber musicians in much of Europe, Asia and throughout Australia to great critical acclaim.

Formed in 2017, they have just commenced a three-year project to perform the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle – sixteen works in total.

Songmakers Australia

Merlyn Quaife AM – soprano
Sally-Anne Russell – mezzo soprano
Andrew Goodwin – tenor
Nicholas Dinopoulos – bass-baritone
Andrea Katz – piano

Unique in the musical landscape of Australia, Songmakers Australia brings together some of the country’s leading singers and instrumentatilsts in a diverse repertoire comprising some of the pinaacles of chamber music. Under the patronage of Graham Johnson, founding director of the acclaimed London-basedSongmakers Almanac, the team presents inspired programs that feature a dynamic interplay of song and chamber music. The ensemble presents a yearly subscription series at the Melbourne Recital Centre, where they have been Local Heroes since their foundation in 2011. They enjoy numerous invitations to perform at leading festivals and recital series Australia-wide and are regularly broadcast nationally in live-to-air broadcasts.

A strong commitment to contemporary Australian composition has led to the world premiere performance of Gordon Kerry’sFive Cantos from John Kinsella’sDivine Comedy and the Australian piremiere of Stephen Hough’sOther Love Songs. In 2014, they commissioned a new song cycle for vocal quartet and piano four-hands by Melbourne composer Roger Heagney to an original text by Graeme Ellis.

Sutherland Trio

Elizabeth Sellars – violin
Caroline Almote – piano
Molly Kadarauch -cello

The Sutherland Trio brings together the unique talent of three of Australia’s most experienced and distinguished musicians. Collectively, its members are international prize-winners who have played with ensembles of the highest acclaim, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Duo Sol and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

The Sutherland Trio was named in honour of the distinguished Australian composer, teacher and music pioneer Margaret Sutherland, who was a key figure in the development of the present Victorian Arts centre. Since its formation at the end of 2010, the Trio has enjoyed an active concert schedule performing at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Iwaki Auditorium and on ABC Classic FM and 3mbs radio. Sutherland trio presents an annual Salon series at Melbourne Recital Centre where it can be heard in its upcoming concert on 25th September, 2013 with talented young tenor Daniel Todd performing acclaimed American composer Richard Danielpour’s setting of Rilke’s poems “Songs of the Night”.