John Bell | Robert Keane | Guy Noble | Andrew West | Bridget Bolliger | NSWQ
John Bell | actor
John Bell is one of the nation’s most illustrious theatre personalities. Award-winning actor, acclaimed director, Bell has been a key figure in shaping the nation’s theatrical identity as we know it over the past 50 years.
After graduating from Sydney University in 1962, Bell worked for the Old Tote Theatre Company, all of Australia’s state theatre companies and was an Associate Artist of Britain’s world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company.
As co-founder of Sydney’s highly influential Nimrod Theatre Company, Bell presented many productions of landmark Australian plays, including David Williamson’s Travelling North, The Club and The Removalists. He also initiated an Australian Shakespeare style with Nimrod productions such as Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth.
In 1990, Bell took on an even greater challenge, founding The Bell Shakespeare Company. Since then, his productions as director have included Hamlet, Romeo And Juliet, The Taming Of The Shrew, Richard 3, Pericles, Henry 4, Henry 5, Julius Caesar, Antony And Cleopatra, The Comedy Of Errors, Wars Of The Roses, Measure For Measure, Macbeth and As You Like It, as well as Goldoni’s The Servant Of Two Masters, Gogol’s TheGovernment Inspector and Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist.
Meanwhile his roles as an actor for Bell Shakespeare have included Hamlet, Shylock, Henry V, Richard III, Macbeth, Malvolio, Berowne, Petruchio, Leontes, Coriolanus, Prospero, King Lear and Titus Andronicus.
Bell also played the title role in two co-productions with Queensland Theatre Company: Richard 3 and Heiner Müller’s Anatomy Titus Fall Of Rome: A Shakespeare Commentary. In addition, he directed Madame Butterfly for an Oz Opera national tour.
Bell’s unique contribution to national culture has been recognised by many bodies. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia and the Order of theBritish Empire; has an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the Universities of Sydney, New South Wales and Newcastle; and was recognised in 1997by the National Trust of Australia as one of Australia’s Living Treasures.
In 2003, the Australia Business Arts Foundation also awarded Bell the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Cultural Leadership Award.
As an actor and director, his many awards include a Helpmann Award for Best Actor (Richard 3, 2002), a Producers and Directors Guild Award for Lifetime Achievement and the JC Williamson Award (2009) for extraordinary contribution to Australia’s live entertainment industry.
Robert Keane | composer
Robert Keane, pianist, composer and conductor, was born in Townsville and completed his schooling in Sydney where, in 1965, he took second place in New South Wales for piano and theory. He won a scholarship to study piano with Alexander Sverjensky at the NSW Conservatorium, and later with Nancy Weir at the Queensland Conservatorium, where he graduated in both piano and composition.
He studied, as a postgraduate student, at the Guildhall School of Music, London and the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki and completed a Masters Degree in composition at University of London. His composition teachers include Edmund Rubbra, Einojuhani Rautavaarra, and Benjamin Britten. He was awarded a PhD from the University of London for his thesis about the complete solo-songs of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.
Keane has written many scores for the theatre, including Dance North’s A Moon of Our Own, and Tropic Line’s Lucky Me!, based on the life of Gladys Moncrieff. He was the first Musical Director of both the Queensland Theatre Company and the Queensland Theatre Orchestra. He has toured regularly in UK, Europe, Australia & USA as accompanist and associate artist. Australian Artists he has worked with include Johnny O’Keefe, Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, Geraldine Turner, Judi Connelli, Barry Otto, Julie Anthony, Graeme Connors, Jill Perryman, Bille Brown, Carol Burns and others.
In 1994 he established the music publishing company, Wits’ End Music. Many of his new “Popular”- style works are on the ANZCA and AMEB syllabuses, and are recorded on CD. In 1995, Keane wrote the official music for the Waltzing Matilda Centenary Celebrations and in 2005 was appointed the writer of Aural Studies for the AMEB’s new MusicCraft syllabus.
Guy Noble | narrator
Guy Noble knew he wanted to be a musician from the age of 8. As a boy, he sang as a soloist with the Sydney Symphony and with the Australian Opera. He studied the piano in Sydney and toured with the Australian Youth Orchestra to the BBC Proms in London, playing in Stravinsky’s Petrouchka.
He has talked about music (as host of ABC Classic FM’s Breakfast Show), recorded it (9 CDs for ABC Classics), and conducted it all over the country and abroad (Sydney Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Queensland Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony, Auckland Philharmonic and Malaysian Philharmonic).
Noble has been able to work with such wonderful performers as Harry Connick Jr, Dianne Reeves, Ben Folds, Clive James, the Beach Boys, the Pointer Sisters, and in great musical theatre shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, South Pacific, Sunset Boulevard and Gypsy.
Andrew West | piano
Andrew West has developed partnerships with many of Britain’s leading singers and instrumentalists. He appears with Emma Bell, Florian Boesch, Lesley Garrett, James Gilchrist, Emma Johnson, Robert Murray, Mark Padmore, Christopher Purves, Hilary Summers and Roderick Williams.
His longstanding partnership with flautist Emily Beynon has led to recordings for Hyperion and the BBC, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Edinburgh International Festival.
Recent performances include the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s Songs from the Same Earth at the Aldeburgh Festival, contemporary recitals at the Vienna Konzerthaus and Nuremberg Festival (of which he is one of the artistic directors) and staged performances of Schubert’s Winterreise at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Lincoln Center, New York.
Mr West has worked with violinist Sarah Chang in Britain and Ireland, and performed with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras throughout Europe. A CD released by his piano quartet, Touchwood, of music by Chausson and Saint-Saëns, was selected as Recording of the Month by the Daily Telegraph.
As a duo pianist he has appeared at the City of London and Cheltenham Festivals with pianist Cedric Tiberghien. For the Michael Clark Dance Company he performed the two-piano version of The Rite of Spring with Philip Moore, firstly at the Barbican and then on tour in Paris, Seoul and Lincoln Center, New York.
Andrew West won second prize at the Geneva International Piano Competition in 1990. He has made solo tours of South Africa, South America and the United States, and given numerous solo recitals at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall. He performed the solo part in Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques under Mark Wigglesworth at Snape Maltings.
Andrew West read English at Clare College, Cambridge before studying at the Royal Academy of Music under Christopher Elton and John Streets. He is Professor of Accompaniment and Chamber Music at the Royal Academy of Music.
Bridget Bolliger | flute
Australian-Swiss flautist Bridget Bolliger was born in Sydney, where she distinguished herself early, studying under Jenny Andrews, Jane Rutter and Vernon Hill and performing the Ibert Flute Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. She graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium High School and was awarded the ASCM with Merit by New South Wales Conservatorium of Music.
At 18 Ms Bolliger travelled to Switzerland to study with Peter-Lukas Graf at the Basel Music Academy. For four consecutive years she was awarded the coveted Study Grant of the Migros/Ernst-Göhner Stiftung, while also winning the UBS Flute Competition in Zürich, the Kiefer Hablitzel Award in Bern and a prize at the Swiss Woodwind Competition in St Gallen. She attended masterclasses with Alain Marion, Jean-Pierre Rampal and William Bennett, and played Principal Flute with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado and Vaclav Neumann, the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach and the
European Community Youth Chamber Orchestra under James Judd.
After graduating with the prestigious Soloistʼs Diploma, Ms Bolliger was appointed Principal Flute with the St Gallen Symphony Orchestra. She also appeared as Guest Principal Flute with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, Zürich Opera Orchestra and Zürich Chamber Orchestra, under conductors such as Nello Santi, Horst Stein, Franz Welser-Möst and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.
Ms Bolliger spent three years in Brazil as Principal Flute of the Sinfonica de São Paulo, before returning to Australia where she has played with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Queensland Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, under conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy and Patrick Summers.
Bridget Bolliger has appeared as concerto soloist with the St Gallen Symphony Orchestra, Basel Symphony Orchestra, Basel Radio Orchestra, Collegium Musicum Basel, Gruppo Concertistico della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano), Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar al Teatro Massimo (Palermo), Orquestra Sinfonica do Norte (Porto, Portugal) and the Sinfonica de São Paulo. She has performed the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto with harpists Elena Zaniboni, Marielle Nordmann and Sarah O’Brien.
As a chamber musician, Ms Bolliger has appeared at the Ainey International Music Festival in Burgundy, the Curitiba International Music Festival in Brazil, the Huntington Estate Music Festival in New South Wales and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Queensland. She has collaborated with many distinguished Australian and British musicians, and with members of the Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras.
Ms Bolliger is founder of the New Sydney Wind Quintet, which has become one of Australia’s leading chamber ensembles, releasing two CDs, commissioning a work from Ross Edwards and giving numerous world premieres. Ms Bolliger is also founder and Artistic Director of the annual Sydney Chamber Music Festival.
As a flute teacher and chamber music coach, Bridget Bolliger has tutored and given masterclasses in Switzerland, Brazil and Australia. She has taught at the Jugend Musik Schule (Rorschach) and was assistant to Michel Debost at the Oficina de Música de Curitiba. She has taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of New South Wales and the Sydney Conservatorium High School, and given masterclasses for the New England Conservatorium of Music, the Sydney Flute Society and the Australian Flute Festival.
New Sydney Wind Quintet (NSWQ) | ensemble
This year the New Sydney Wind Quintet celebrates it’s 10th anniversary. Established in 2004 by five Australian wind players of international acclaim and now recognised as the country’s leading wind quintet, NSWQ performs throughout Australia and Asia, making regular appearances for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Musica Viva Australia.
The players teach at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and are members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra among others, and have held major positions in European and American orchestras.
In 2010, the NSWQ took up a residency for one year at the New England Conservatorium of Music in Armidale, providing concerts, masterclasses and workshops in five towns in the New England region and continues touring around the country to inspire and enchant it’s audience both young and old.
The NSWQ is committed to advocating Australian music for wind quintet: it made the first commercially-available recording of Ross Edwards’ Incantations (Maninyas III), released on CD as well as available for digital download through iTunes.
In 2011 the NSWQ released it’s second CD recording – QUINTOPIA – with works by Ravel, Nielsen and Australian composers Percy Grainger and Lyle Chan also now available on iTunes.
Most recently, in 2013, the NSWQ gave the world premiere of the newly commissioned ‘The Laughing Moon’ – 5 Bagatelles for wind quintet by Ross Edwards.