1st May 2016, Sunday 2pm – Wyselaskie Auditorium
Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata in G minor Op. 5, No. 2
Kol Nidrei Op. 47
Le Grand Tango
Blair Harris – Cello
Born and bred in New Zealand, Blair began his cello studies under the guidance of Gary Wilby and Dr Rolf Gjelsten. Blair’s passion for music quickly took hold and led him to win the Top Scholar Award for Music in the National Qualifications Examinations of New Zealand.
Blair completed his Bachelor of Music with professor Markus Stocker at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. Blair won every performance prize offered by the university and was inducted into the Golden Key Club for excellence, graduating amongst the top 5% of his cohort at Griffith University.
Deciding to further his studies, Blair took up a position at the Australian National Academy of Music where he was offered a full scholarship. The next three years would prove decisive for Blair. His extensive studies with Alexander Baillie, Janis Laurs, Steven Isserlis and David Strange broadened his mind to the endless possibilities of interpretation and technique. Blair has attended the Mozarteum Akademie Salzburg, studying under Tsyoshi Tsutsumi, and the International Music Seminars Prussia Cove.
Since embarking on a professional career Blair has had numerous soloist engagements with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Barrier Reef Orchestra and the Preston Symphony. His solo and chamber music repertoires have been recorded extensively for ABC Classic FM and 3MBS-FM Melbourne. In 2010 Blair was awarded 1st prize at the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition, and the John Hopkins Performance Fellowship.
Blair’s true passion lies in the chamber music realm. He has collaborated with many of Australia’s leading ensembles including the Australian String Quartet, Streeton Trio, Seraphim Trio, Ensemble Offspring and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra.
As an avid devotee of new music, Blair is a member of the contemporary chamber music group Syzygy Ensemble. Currently an ensemble in residence at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Syzygy is known for dynamic performances of modern chamber music repertoire. In 2012 Syzygy were nominated for a Helpmann Award in the ‘Best Chamber Music Performance’ category.
Blair currently plays on a very fine cello by renowned modern luthier Adrian Studer.
Caroline Almonte – Piano
Melbourne-born Caroline Almonte has a reputation as a gifted, versatile and sensitive artist. She studied with renowned pianist Stephen McIntyre at the VCA and Oxana Yablonskaya at the Juilliard School, New York. She has won numerous awards, including winner of the keyboard section of the ABC Young Performers Awards and 1st prize at the international chamber music competition in Italy “Trio di Trieste”.
Caroline gives regular solo and chamber music recitals around Australia and internationally. She has appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival, Adelaide International Cello Festival, Dunkeld Weekend of Music, Huntington Estate Music Festival, Perth International Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, which included a live broadcast on ABC classic FM of the Goldberg Variations.
Along with violinist Elizabeth Sellars and cellist Molly Kadarauch, Caroline is the founding member of the Sutherland Trio, in honour of Australia’s matriarch of Australian composition – Margaret Sutherland.
Her many musical collaborations include working with members of the Australia Ensemble, the Australian String Quartet, Escher String Quartet, Flinders Quartet, Yvonne Kenny, Ralph Kirschbaum, Ian Munro, Li-Wei Qin, Miki Tsunoda – Duo Sol, Pieter Wispelway and recently in recital with Susie Park, Sarah Chang and Daniel Hope.
As a soloist, Caroline has performed with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras including Rachmaninov and Mozart Piano concerti.
Alongside her various performances, Caroline continues a prolific teaching career and is passionate about working with young people. She teaches piano at the University of Melbourne and has been involved in several projects with the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Melbourne Youth Orchestra and the Australian Music Examinations Board and regularly gives both piano and chamber music masterclasses.
Caroline has appeared as a member of the jury at the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Bach Competition and was on the panel of ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Award.
Caroline’s recording career for ABC Classics include the Peggy Glanville Hicks “Etruscan” Piano Concerto with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Duo Sol and a recording of English Songs with Yvonne Kenny. She was delighted to support the HUSH music Foundation, performing Nigel Westlake’s “Diving with George » with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Upcoming performances include residencies at both Auckland University, New Zealand and Xiamen University, China, where she will open the International Piano Festival performing the Yellow River Piano Concerto.