John North, Janis Cook


John North, viola

Janis Cook, piano

2.00pm Sunday, 4 SEPTEMBER 2011
29 College Crescent, Parkville

Meet the Artists

John North began violin studies in Melbourne at the age of nine under the tutelage of his musical relatives. John’s grandfather, JB North was the leader of Alberto Zelman’s Orchestra, when it gave its inaugural concert in 1906 as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO).  During the 1930’s the MSO split into two, a professional orchestra, which retained the MSO name and an amateur group that became the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra. In 1974, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, John began a 28-year playing career with the MSO until his retirement in 2003. As a current member of the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra, John carries on the family’s now 105-year association with that orchestra.

Early in his playing career, John studied the violin with Elsie Steele and Hermia Barton before moving to New Zealand in 1965 and taking a position as a violinist in the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra (NZBCSO). It was during this time that John developed an interest in the viola, which he then studied under Gavin Saunders as part of a Bachelor of Music (History and Literature) at Victoria University of Wellington. In 1969, he moved to the viola section of the NZBCSO. After eight years with the NZBCSO John returned to Melbourne and began his long involvement with the MSO.

He is an experienced soloist and chamber music player and alternates his playing between two Australian violas, one made by Lloyd Adams (1933) and the other by Mark Pengilley (1995).

John has a long association with the Society as a member, as a performer and as a committee member. He was first elected to the committee in 1976 and later held the position of Vice President before being elected President for five consecutive terms between 1996 and 2001.

On 3 December 2001 at the final concert of the Society’s 80th anniversary year, John performed with Joy Fletcher (cello) and Mary Knights-Rutten (piano) works by Handel, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Bartok and the premiere of Robert Trumble’s “Miniature Suite for Viola and Cello”.

 Janis Cook’s career includes appearances as a soloist with leading professional and community orchestras, recording sessions for many movie soundtracks, including Babe, Cosiand The Dish. She also held the position of keyboard artist for two decades with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and toured with them to Japan, Europe and Russia.

In more intimate ensembles, Janis has collaborated with many fine musicians for concerts in chamber music series, direct radio broadcasts and music festivals, and has been involved in the debut performance of many Australian and international compositions.

Janisis the founder of COOK & Co., a unique chamber concept presenting superb music through the artistry and musicianship of fine performers in a creative format. The premise is proving very successful; following the inaugural series in 2008, COOK & Co.’s ABC Sunday Live direct broadcast of May, 2009 was replayed in the Best of Sunday Live in 2010. This year sees an exciting new events partnership with Monash Gallery of Art.


  1. History of the Society& Launch of the History Booklet 2. A Musical Interlude

Ancangelo Corelli (1653-1713): Sarabanda and Giga arr. Arnold

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937): Pièce en Forme de Habarera (1907)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): From Suite for Viola and

Orchestra/Pianoforte (1934)

  • Prelude
  • Galop