FEATURED ARTISTS

JASON GILLHAM | PIANO

Australian-British pianist Jayson Gillham is recognised as one of the finest pianists of his generation. He performs with the world’s leading orchestras with recent highlights including engagements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Auckland Philharmonic, Christchurch Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra amongst many others. In recital, Jayson Gillham appears at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Louvre Auditorium, and across Australia. Jayson has recorded three albums with ABC Classics including a solo program and concertos by Beethoven, Medtner and Rachmaninoff with Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, as well as a complete Beethoven Concerti cycle with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra recorded live by ABC Classics. 

ISABELLA MOORE | SOPRANO

Award-winning New Zealand soprano Isabella Moore is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara. Her opera work includes the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Giulietta in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, Gulnara in Verdi’s II corsaro, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello and the title role of Hine-nui-te-pō in NZ composer Celeste Oram’s opera, He Pūtōrino Mākutu with the San Diego Symphony. Winner of the 2015 Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award, the 2014 Marianne Mathy Scholarship, the 2014 New Zealand Aria Competition, and the 2014 New Zealand Lexus Song Quest Competition, Isabella has performed as a soloist with the Auckland Philharmonic and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Isabella has performed at Westminster Abbey, for BBC TV, and at the Royal Albert Hall with ‘Whānau’ Voices of Aotearoa. Isabella recently appeared as a guest soloist for the IFAC Australian Singing Competition Grand Final Concert in Sydney and at the 2019 Pacific Games held in Sāmoa. She has taken part in master classes with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Montserrat Caballé, Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and Sir Richard Bonynge. 

The Orava Quartet, founded in 2007 by brothers Daniel Kowalik (violin) and Karol Kowalik (cello), Thomas Chawner (viola), and joined in 2011 by David Dalseno (violin), is one of the most exciting string quartets of its generation. The Quartet has performed in Canada, the United States, United Arab Emirates, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Philippines, as well as for Queen Sofia of Spain and Pope Benedict XVI. As graduate Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado (USA), they working closely with the world-renowned Takács Quartet and toured the US extensively. The winners of two awards at the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition in Melbourne, the Orava’s are Quartet-in-Residence with the Camerata - Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, and have performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Huntington Estate Music Festival; the BBC Proms Melbourne, Queensland Music Festival, Melbourne Festival, Sydney Opera House VIVID Festival and the Musica Viva Festival amongst many more. They released their debut album for Universal Music in 2018, for worldwide release on a major classical label in February, alongside performances for New Zealand Festival, Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Music Series, Melbourne Recital Centre, Canberra International Music Festival, Darwin Entertainment Centre and more. The quartet regularly collaborate with musicians such as harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, trumpet soloist Paul Merkelo, the Goldner Quartet, pianists Piers Lane, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Olga Kern; singers Katie Noonan, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, and guitarists Slava Grigoryan and Karin Schaupp. 

A descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from Queensland, trumpet and didgeridoo player Chris Williams began his music studies from an early age. Chris studied trumpet at the Royal College of Music in London and was appointed Principal Trumpet of the Australian Youth Orchestra for two year. As a professional trumpet player, Chris has toured extensively through Europe and Asia and performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London as well as with the Tasmanian Symphony, Principal Trumpet with Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Pops Orchestra. Chris has performed as a trumpet soloist with the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, the Queensland Pops Orchestra and the Australian Army Band. He was nominated for the Australian Freedman Fellowship award for Jazz and for the Australian Young Achiever Award twice. As a didgeridoo soloist Chris has performed extensively in the UK, France, Ireland, Austria, Italy, Israel and throughout Africa, with highlights including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Vatican. 

Praised by Gramophone Magazine for his “captivating sensitivity” and “exhilarating authority,” Australian cellist Richard Narroway enjoys an international career as a sought-after performer, recording artist, and teacher. He has given performances across Australia, North America, Europe, and Asia, including concerts at the Kennedy Center, Chicago Symphony Center, Koerner Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. In 2017, Richard made his recording debut with Bach’s Six Cello Suites, released to international acclaim. Gramophone described the recording as “riveting...an adventure in expressive possibility.” Richard was awarded top prizes at the 2010 Stulberg International String Competition, Third Beijing International Cello Competition, the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition, and the Australian Music Foundation Young Musician Award, and was recently awarded the prestigious 2020 Freedman Classical Fellowship. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Northwestern University, Richard completed his Doctorate at the University of Michigan. In 2018 he was named a Rebanks fellow at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Currently, Richard is Lecturer in Cello at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne.

Eric Avery is a violinist, dancer and composer from the Ngiyampaa, Yuin, Bandgalang and Gumbangirr people of northern NSW. Working with his family’s custodial songs predominantly in the Ngiyampaa language, Eric seeks to revive and continue on an age-old legacy—continuing the tradition of singing in his tribe—utilising his talents to combine and create an experience of his people’s culture. Eric’s practice explores the deep relationship between Indigenous and non indigenous forms and narratives through the combination of dance and music. Eric is an Associate Artist with the Indigenous, intercultural dance theatre company Marrugeku, and has performed with and composed for the Black Arm Band, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Desert Song Festival 2019 and has opened for Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens as well as appearing in TEDxSydney 2019. Eric performed at the 30th anniversary of the Australian Parliament House and in 2021 will be touring Australia with Tina Arena. Eric hopes to highlight connection to culture through his music. 

PAULA NAZARSKI | ACTOR

Paula Nazarski recently appeared in To Kill a Cassowary at Jute Theatre. For QTC, Paula has appeared in, Head Full of Love (National Tour for QT) Mother Courage and Her Children (co-production with QPAC), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (co-production with Black Swan State Theatre Company), An Oak Tree, The Crucible, The School of Arts (co-production with QPAC). Other Credits: Queensland Arts Council/ Artslink: My Story, Your Story, Tales My Mother Told Me, Blow ‘Em; State Library of Queensland: A Night with Paula Nazarski, Yarnin Time, Yuletide Celebrations; QUT: Box the Pony; NAIDOC Week: This Woman’s Journey; Kooemba Jdarra: The Mack, Bitin’ Back, True; Canto Choir: 1975; Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts: Up the Road; Brisbane Festival: Are We There Yet? Film: The Second Sense & Centsability, Australia Day, After The Apology, The Butterfly Tree. Television: Wake In Fright, Hoges, Deadline, The Bureau of Magical Things. Positions: Emerging Artist 2011 – Queensland Theatre Company, Australia Council for the Arts – Indigenous Artist Mentorship 2011. Training: Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts, ACPA; Cert IV in Training and Assessment. Paula is from the Quandamooka country. 

SOUTHERN CROSS SOLOISTS

Southern Cross Soloists (SXS) is synonymous with excellence, delivering quality music-making both in Australia and internationally. Over the past 25 years, SXS has established itself as one of Australia’s pre-eminent chamber music ensembles. Comprised of leading soloists from across Australia, SXS creates and performs dynamic, unique and world-class musical experiences for audiences of all ages. SXS annually employs over 85 artists and art workers, mentors the next generation of performers and offers participation opportunities across a broad spectrum of activities. It has established itself as a company with a growing national and international reputation, performing, learning and celebrating music through intimate connections with artists, audiences and communities. 

As a Company-in-Residence of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, the group has developed a strong community profile; building and engaging with new audiences. SXS communicates through a vibrant and collaborative approach to performance, and fosters creative partnerships with leading soloists, composers, cross-art forms and cross-genres. SXS curate and deliver a national performance program to an expanding audience across Australia and internationally whilst continuing to nurture and develop emerging chamber music talent and provide meaningful engagement in regional communities. SXS provides opportunities for emerging artists through its flagship SXS Next Gen Artists Program, nurturing some of Australia’s most in-demand young musicians today.

In its 19th year the Bangalow Music Festival, presented by Southern Cross Soloists, is a major event in the Australian arts calendar. Performing with Australian and international artists and providing meaningful community outreach to regional NSW, Southern Cross Soloists are Tania Frazer (Artistic Director, Oboe), Ashley Smith (Clarinet), Alan Smith (Violin), Jonathan Henderson (Flute) and James Wannan (Viola).

GLADYS CHUA | PIANO

Perth-based pianist Gladys Chua is in high demand as a performer and teacher, and is currently on staff at the UWA Conservatorium of Music and Penrhos College. A sought-after collaborator across an adventurous range of repertoire, she has performed in projects with the West Australian, Melbourne, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Townsville), Perth International Arts Festival, Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Tutti World Youth Music Festival Beijing, and Synaesthesia at the Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart). Formative years in Perth were followed by studies at ANAM and the University of Melbourne. Gladys co-curated A Single Day at the 2017 Fremantle Festival, and has toured eastern Australia with Ensemble Peregrine. Most recently, she has performed concerts for Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, and for WASO’s Ensemble Editions series. 

Nick Mooney is an Australian-Austrian horn player and currently the principal horn of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra. After completing a commerce degree Nick studied horn with David Thompson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music before being awarded a place in the prestigious Southbank Sinfonia training programme in London in 2016. Aside from his regular position in the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, Nick has maintained a busy freelance career in the UK, including regular engagements as guest principal with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra and has recorded with these orchestras for Deutsche Grammaphon, Decca, and Universal Music. As a chamber musician Nick has relished collaboration with the Allegri Quartet, Marryat players of London, Selby and Friends, and members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. 

SEAN O'BOYLE | COMPOSER

Awarded the Order of Australia in 2015 for services to music, Sean O’Boyle AM compositions have been performed and/or recorded by all the major Australian orchestras including the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Tasmanian, West Australian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Queensland Youth Orchestra and Melbourne Youth Orchestras. European Orchestras include; Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique Divertimento. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, and by North American orchestras including the Dallas, Atlanta, Tacoma, Lexington, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestras and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. He has written and produced music for more than 150 CDs recorded in collaboration with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Sean wrote the ABC’s Broadcast theme for the Sydney Olympics and his music was used exclusively for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, for the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Sean has a keen interest in the music of indigenous Australians and in 2001 he collaborated with didgeridoo maestro, William Barton, in composing his Concerto for Didgeridoo and Orchestra.  This concerto was ranked #32 in the ABC Classic FM “The Classic 100 Concertos” & #87 in ABC Classic 100 - 20th Century. As a Conductor, Sean has conducted in concert halls as diverse as the iconic Sydney Opera House - Avery Fischer Hall (NYC) – Queens Hall (London) – Roy Thompson Hall (Toronto) to great concert spaces under the stars in outback Australia. Sean is proud to have had a wonderful artistic relationship with the Southern Cross Soloists for more than 25 years.

Sean O’Boyle AM has collaborated with this project as Resident Creative Artist of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium.

BRENDA GIFFORD | COMPOSER

Brenda Gifford is a Yuin woman, originally from Wreck Bay, south coast NSW. She is currently the Inaugural First Peoples Composer in Residence with Ensemble Offspring and her works have been performed in Australia and overseas including at the Canberra International Music Festival and at National Sawdust in New York. Brenda was a member of the 2020 Composing Women program at Sydney Conservatorium and her composition was nominated for an Aria in 2019 for the ABC CD, Music for the Dreaming. Brenda has twenty years’ extensive experience as a musician, composer, saxophonist and teacher and is a member of the band Mixed Relations. She toured extensively nationally to Aboriginal communities around Australia and internationally to Native American communities and the Pacific Islands. She has worked with Kev Carmody, on his album Eulogy (for a black person) playing saxophone on the track Blood Red Rose. She wrote the album sleeve notes for the reissued The Loner Album by Uncle Vic Simms. She has done over one hundred interviews and oral histories with Aboriginal musicians.

JOHN ROTAR | COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE

Growing up in a musical family, John Rotar started piano at the age of six, and composition at nine, and at 12 had his first orchestral work performed by the Bundaberg Youth Orchestra. Since then John has had his works performed and commissioned by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Southern Cross Soloists, Australian Youth Orchestra, Queensland Youth Orchestras, Flinders String Quartet, UQ Symphony Orchestra, Southern Cross Voices, among others, and has garnered such awards as the 2013 Queensland Wagner Society National Composition Prize, the 2014 Fanfare Artology Prize, 2015 Percy Briar Memorial Prize, and the 2016 Jean Bogan Youth Prize. Since 2013, John has worked as an arranger with the Southern Cross Soloists on a number of projects including their QPAC subscription concerts and Bangalow Music Festival concerts, as well as their ballet collaborations with Expressions Dance Company. John is currently undertaking his doctorate studies in composition at the University of Queensland. 

REUBEN FLOWER | PIANO

ADFAS Byron Bay Scholarship Recipient 

Currently studying piano with Anna Grinberg, Reuben Flower is a 3rd year dual Bachelor of Music (Honours) and Bachelor of Science student at the University of Queensland, majoring in performance and mathematics. From Kyogle, New South Wales, he began piano with Fiona Kerr 13 years ago and completed an AMus before moving to Brisbane in 2018 for further study. At UQ, Reuben has consistently placed in the finals of the Burnett William Wendorff Memorial Prize for Classical Piano and has performed several times in the UQ Lunchtime Concert series (His next appearance will be joining the vocal quartet Seran8 to perform Brahms’ Liebeslieder Walzer on 27th May). Reuben’s musicality is driven by an appreciation of contrapuntal music and especially enjoys playing works by J.S. Bach, Prokofiev and R. Schumann, and improvising counterpoint himself. Reuben enjoys playing music with others, and sharing classical music through teaching and performance. 

The 2021 Next Gen Artists are
Julia Hill Violin (photo) and Francis Atkins Piano (photo), Drew Gilchrist clarinet, Kyle Brady viola, Erna Lai cello, Amelia Cherry double bass, Jamie Dodd bassoon and Jordan He composer.

Under the guidance of the Southern Cross Soloists, the Next Gen Artists are a collective of young musicians on the cusp of their professional careers in Australia. With few formal pathways to take music graduates
to their professional careers, the SXS aim to share our collective
expertise with these young artists across the year, providing performance opportunities, helping to raise their local profile and gain vital skills needed as a portfolio musician.

Next Gen provides a bridge between tertiary study and a professional music career, offering quality opportunities to work alongside leading professional musicians and arts workers. Our Next Gen artists are affiliate musicians of the Southern Cross Soloists, who proudly offer a variety of performing and learning opportunities, allowing our artists to gain invaluable professional experience, networking, exposure and skill development.

Next Gen artists get to spend a year observing the inner workings of the Southern Cross Soloists, watching our rehearsals, coming to concerts, playing alongside us and meeting their future audiences.


Teamed with our collective of soloists, Next Gen artists are offered chamber music coaching sessions, aiding their preparation for the year’s performances, as well as arranging private lessons from visiting artists. Next Gen artists share the stage with the Southern Cross Soloists and visiting international guest artists at the annual Bangalow Music Festival.