EDDIE AYRES - Eddie Ayres is a writer, music teacher and broadcaster. He was born on the White Cliffs of Dover and began playing violin when he was eight years old. He studied music in Manchester, Berlin and London, played professionally in the UK and Hong Kong and moved to Australia in 2003. Eddie was the presenter of ABC Classic FM’s breakfast program for many years. Eddie has written two books; 'Cadence', about his journey by bicycle from England to Hong Kong with only a violin for company, and 'Danger Music', describing his year teaching music in Afghanistan. Eddie was born Emma, and transitioned just before his 50th birthday.
CHRIS WILLIAMS - A descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from Queensland, Chris was brought up with Indigenous Australian culture from an early age. Chris began learning the trumpet from the age of 10 and began to win local and national competitions including the National Champion of Champion title. From the age of 15 he was invited to perform as a soloist with various ensembles including the Australian Army Band. A versatile and talented trumpet player in both the classical and jazz genres, Chris has toured with various music ensembles to Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Chris was principal trumpet with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta and has performed with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Chris has performed as a trumpet soloist with the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, the Queensland Pops Orchestra and the Australian Army Band and recorded (trumpet) for ABC TV and ABC Jazz and Classical Labels. He was nominated for the Australian Freedman Fellowship award for Jazz in 2008 and the Australian Young Achiever Award in 2007 and 2008. As a didgeridoo soloist he has performed in Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Australia, Ireland, France, Austria, The UK, Italy, The Holy See, South Africa. Chris studied his Master’s degree in Classical Trumpet Performance at the Royal College of Music in London. Other performance highlights include performing in South Africa as part of the Queens Baton Relay for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a solo didgeridoo performance at the Vatican.
AMALIA HALL - Recently appointed as Concertmaster of Orchestra Wellington, Amalia Hall has received widespread acclaim for her ability to move audiences with her “sumptuous and sweet tone”, inherent musicality and natural facility.
An audience favourite at Bangalow Music Festival 2018, Amalia has won five international competitions plus numerous prizes including the Joseph Joachim, Premio R. Lipizer and International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. Making her debut at age nine with the Auckland Philharmonia, Amalia has been a regular soloist with orchestras in New Zealand, as well as in Europe and Mexico including I Virtuosi Italiani, Munich Chamber Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Filarmonica Marchigiana and Mexico State Symphony Orchestra.
Amalia regularly performs concerti, recitals and chamber music throughout Europe, USA, South Africa, China, and Mexico plus tours for Chamber Music New Zealand and records for Bridge and Atoll Records. Amalia has taught at the University of Waikato as well as in in Italy, England and Mexico. Born in New Zealand, Amalia studied at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music with Pamela Frank and Joseph Silverstein.
LI-WEI QIN -
An exclusive Universal Music China Artist, Li-Wei Qin has appeared all over the world as a soloist and as a chamber musician. After achieving great success at the 11th Tchaikovsky International Competition where he was awarded the Silver Medal, Li-Wei won the First Prize in the prestigious 2001 Naumburg Competition in New York. Described by Gramophone Magazine as, “A superbly stylish, raptly intuitive performer ...”, highlights of recent years include a debut with the London Symphony, Russian Philharmonic, Czech Chamber and Brussels Chamber Orchestras, and return visits to the China Philharmonic, Guangzhou Symphony and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras.
Born in Shanghai Li-Wei moved to Australia at the age of 13, before accepting scholarships to study with Ralph Kirshbaum at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. He was invited to join the BBC 'New Generations' scheme in 2001 and in 2002, and received the Young Australian of the Year Award.
Li-Wei was a professor of cello at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and is also a guest professor at Shanghai and Central Conservatory of Music in China. Li-Wei plays a 1780 Joseph Guadagnini cello, generously loaned by Dr and Mrs Wilson Goh.
GEORGE GAO - Hailed as one of the most exciting, innovative and respected erhu masters today, George Gao began studying the erhu at the age of six and at age 10 won First Prize at the Shanghai Junior Instrumental Soloist Competition and a Silver Medal at the China National Junior Instrumental Soloist Contest. Studying at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto George won all of the three highest prizes of the Beijing China National Invitational erhu Competition, launching his international solo career that has seen him perform regularly in the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. George has appeared as a soloist with orchestras such as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Taiwan National Chinese Orchestra, National Arts Center Symphony Orchestra and I Musici. George regularly performs recitals in prestige venues around the world and is frequently featured on China’s most popular TV channel, CCTV, watched by over a billion people. George has pioneered the development of new music for the erhu, fusing traditional Chinese music with jazz, Western Classical music, New Age, and other ethnic music from different world cultures, and also performs popular music with the Beijing rock band Red Maple Leaf and the pop group Snowman. George Gao is currently a professor in residence of Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts.
KRISTIAN CHONG - 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, USA, and Zimbabwe. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. As concerto soloist he has appeared with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and orchestras in the UK, New Zealand and China. Recent concerto highlights include Shostakovich 2nd, Chopin 2nd, Rachmaninoff 3rd, Beethoven's Emperor in Melbourne, Ravel's Left Hand concerto in Melbourne (Australian Youth Orchestra) and Dunedin (Dunedin Symphony Orchestra) and Saint-Saëns 2nd concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Described by The Age as ‘a true chamber musician at work’, Kristian is highly sought after with extensive collaborations with ensembles. His competition successes include the Symphony Australia Young Performers Award (keyboard) and the Australian National Piano Award.