2019 Our Artists

Taryn Fiebig | Umberto Clerici | James Crabb | Jennifer O’Hara | Stephen O’Connell | Graham Sattler | Kirsten Williams | The Sydney Puppet Theatre | Phillip Bolliger | Bridget Bolliger

Taryn Fiebig | soprano

Taryn Fiebig

Helpmann Award-winning soprano Taryn Fiebig is one of Australia most popular and versatile artists.  In 2017, she sang Musetta (La bohème) for Opera Australia; Michal (Saul) for the Adelaide Festival; major roles in Pinchgut Opera’s Triple Bill and the title role in The Merry Widow for West Australian Opera; in concert, she was soloist with Sydney Philharmonia, Auckland Philharmonia and the Opera Australia Orchestra.

She returns to OA in 2018 in Metamorphosis and makes major concert appearances at the Adelaide Festival, the Huntington Festival, for Sydney Philharmonia and the West Australian Youth Orchestra.  2019 engagements include Despina (Cosi fan tutte) for OA and Selinda (Farnace) for Pinchgut Opera.

Taryn has performed with all the major Australian opera companies, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Ensemble and the Sydney, West Australian, Adelaide and Queensland Symphony Orchestras.

Internationally, she has sung for the Edinburgh Festival (as Lucy Joy in Opera Australia’s production of Bliss), in America for the LA Ear Unit and in the UK with the English Chamber Orchestra and for BBC Radio 4.

In 2004, Taryn joined the Young Artists Program at Opera Australia; she remained with OA as an ensemble member until 2010 before becoming a freelance artist.

Roles for Opera Australia include: Susanna, Zerlina and Despina in Sir David McVicar’s trio of Mozart productions (The Marrigge of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte), Pamina and Papagena in The Magic Flute, Musetta in La bohème, Servilia in La clemenza di Tito, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Clorinda in Cenerentola, Lisa in La sonnambula, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Aphrodite in The Love of the Nightingale, Karolka in Jenufa and The Woodbird and Gutrune in Der Ring des Nibelungen.  Her performance as Lucy Joy in Bliss earned her a Helpmann Award.  For New Zealand Opera, she has sung Esmeralda in The Bartered Bride.

A musical theatre highlight for Taryn was over 200 performances as Eliza Dolittle in Opera Australia’s National Tour of My Fair Lady.

Gilbert and Sullivan roles have included The Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, both Tessa and Gianetta in The Gondoliers and Yum-Yum in The Mikado.

Taryn is also an accomplished cellist leading both the Western Australian Youth Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestra.  She continues to play and appears in concert as both singer and cellist.


Umberto Clerici | cello

Umberto Clerici

Soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist, teacher, cultural innovator: Umberto Clerici’s multifaceted artistic and creative activity can be summed up in these five dimensions.

Born in Turin, Italy, Umberto began studying cello at the age of 5, continuing later at the Conservatoire of Music in Turin. Clerici mastered his art with Mario Brunello and David Géringas, both of whom opened to him new musical dimensions of fantasy and rigour.

At the age of 19 he won the Italian Regional Orchestras contest, and began his career as a soloist. Other international prizes followed: the Janigro Competition in Zagreb and the 2011 International Tchaikovsy Competition (the only Italian cellist in the history of that competition, other than Mario Brunello, to be a Prize winner).

Clerici has played as a soloist all over the world including, among many, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Moscow Russian State Orchestra, the Philharmonia Wien, the Zagreb Philharmonic, Rome, Milano and Florence Orchestras. He has performed in the prestigious concert halls of Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Great Shostakovich Hall in Saint Petersburg and the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome. In 2012 he also played Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo theme with the Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev.

While his solo concerts increased in number, Clerici maintained his chamber music and teaching, finding that these gave him even greater satisfaction than pure performance. At the age of 23 he became assistant Professor at the Salzburg’s Mozarteum Summer Academy.

He joined the Trio di Torino in 2001, but also pursued separate projects with Luis Lortie, Jeffrey Swann, Itamar Golan, Sergej Krilov, Claudio Martinez Mehner, Andrea Rebaudengo, Mario Brunello.
Wishing also to explore the orchestral repertoire and experience a wider music ensemble, Clerici chose to embark on playing in the orchestra, as the principal cellist, with Lorin Maazel’s Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra. For four years he was Principal cello the Teatro Regio di Torino.

In 2014 Clerici was appointed principal cello of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Cello Lecturer at the Sydney University. He made his debut as a soloist with SSO in 2017 with his interdisciplinary project centred on Strauss’ Don Quixote and in 2018 he played the Brahms double concerto.

He recorded several CDs with concertos, solo and chamber music and, in 2017, he realised two new solo recordings for ABC Classics.

Umberto plays a 1722 Matteo Goffriller from Venice and a 1758 Carlo Antonio Testore from Milan.


James Crabb | piano accordian

James Crabb was born in Dundee, Scotland, and started playing the accordion at the age of four. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen with classical accordion pioneer Mogens Ellegaard from 1985-92. He was 2nd Prize Winner of the Gaudeamus Interpreters competition, 1989 in Holland, and was awarded the Carl Nielsen Music Prize, Denmark in 1991.

James Crabb’s acclaimed London debut in the Park Lane Group series at the Purcell Room in 1992 catapulted him to the international concert platform. Since then, he has performed worldwide, pioneering the classical accordion. He has appeared at festivals including Edinburgh, the London Proms, Belfast, Lucerne, Sydney Millennium, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Kuhmo, Brisbane Biennale, ISCM World Music Days and the Gulbenkian Foundation’s Nordic Days.

James has performed with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Elgar Howarth, Martyn Brabbins, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Gunter Schüller, Markus Stenz, Michael Schønwandt, Susanna Mälkki and Peter Eötvös. He has been soloist with many orchestras including the BBC Scottish, the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Sydney, and Melbourne symphony orchestras; and ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Paragon Ensemble, Almeida Ensemble, Nash Ensemble, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Kuhmo Virtuosi. He has had several successful chamber-music collaborations with the violinist Dimitry Sitkovetsky.

James’ great passion and acclaimed authority for the music of Astor Piazzolla have been highlighted by several concert performances with the original members of Piazzolla’s Quintet, Horacio Malvicino, Hector Console and Fernando Suarez-Paz.

In 2003, his highly acclaimed recording Song of the Angel, as soloist and arranger of the works of Astor Piazzolla with the Australian Chamber Orchestra was released. His second recording Tango Jam, of Piazzolla’s music in its original quintet instrumentation with Tognetti, Vassilev, Bibeau and Martin, was released in 2005.

Recent projects have included concerts and recordings with pop stars Martin Hall, Neil Finn and Patti Smith.

James was involved in comic music-theatre for several years with the Danish percussionist and entertainer Thomas Sandberg. Described as a fusion of Monty Python, Spike Jones and Jacques Tati, Standard (2000) and Dask (2003) productions have both been awarded the prestigious Danish Theatre Prize.

James Crabb has been professor of classical accordion at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen since 1995 and held a guest professorship at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria from 1995-2002. He has also given master-classes at music institutions including the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Rotterdam Conservatorium and Toronto University.

James Crabb plays on a Pigini Mythos No.4 model (1992) instrument, tuned and prepared by Leonid Setrakov.


Jennifer O’Hara | visual art and flute

Jennifer O'Hara

Jennifer works across a range of visual art media including motion graphics, painting, sculpture and glass art.

Jennifer has animated artworks combined with film to create projections which respond to performers and visually represent the musical elements to create interactive projection for Chaos | Beauty.

Jennifer works as a visual artist, flautist and is General Manager of the Murray Conservatorium in Albury.


Stephen O’Connell | saxophone

Stephen O'Connell

Stephen is committed to advancing the notion that all art forms are vital for the ongoing health of communities. Stephen has been a committed professional saxophonist and composer for over 30 years and is highly active as a touring musician and recording artist and has written many pieces of music in response to the amazing environment of the Central Australian Outback.

He has released three CDs of his own, one with SOQ entitled Beauty, performed on over 50 CDs for other musicians and has performed with well known singers and instrumentalists. Two of his works have been published in major anthologies, including Tempe Downs (The Old Station), which was published in the Australian Saxophone Anthology and The Afghans, which was included in the Australian Piano Anthology.

In April 2017, Stephen performed as featured soloist at the Chengdu Conservatory with the Sichuan Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra was conducted by the eminent Maestro Zheng Xiaoying and featured 5 pieces written by Stephen and Dr Graham Sattler. In October 2017, Stephen co-wrote and performed in the World Premiere of the show Out of Chaos Comes Beauty.

In February 2018, he performed 6 of his pieces as featured soloist at the Goossens Hall in Sydney with The Metropolitan Orchestra. With Jenny O’Hara, Stephen has co-written a multi arts show named illara, which has featured on the main stage at Canberra’s Enlighten Festival and other theatres in Victoria and NSW.

Stephen has been CEO of the Murray Conservatorium since 2010 and was CEO of the Goulburn Regional Conservatorium from 1999-2010. He is the founding President of the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums and led a review of Music Education in NSW that resulted in millions of dollars of additional recurrent funding becoming available across the state.

In the Australia Day celebrations of January 2017, Stephen was awarded a Medal of the Order Of Australia (OAM) for Service to the Performing Arts in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Music in Australia.


Graham Sattler | baritone

Graham Sattler

Graham began his career as an orchestral trombonist, became a singer specialising in opera and music theatre, and consolidated with a move into conducting and artistic direction prior to commencing research in the field of community music activity.

He holds a Diploma of Operatic Art and Music Theatre, a Master of Performance in Conducting and PhD in Music Education (Sydney University).

He has worked as both trombonist and singer with the Australian Opera; vocal soloist with symphony orchestras in Sydney, Tasmania, West Australia, Auckland and Chengdu; and as a choral, orchestral and music theatre conductor.

Graham is currently Executive Director of Mitchell Conservatorium and casual academic with Central Queensland University. He designs and delivers professional learning music courses for classroom teachers and is a partner in SOQ, creating and performing contemporary Australian Art Song in a variety of collaborative configurations.


Kirsten Williams | violin

Kirsten Williams

Kirsten Williams studied with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium and graduated with a High Distinction in the Performers Diploma at the age of 16. She then studied with Igor Ozim in Switzerland before joining the first violins in the Royal Opera House Orchestra at Covent Garden and spending two years with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. She has been a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra as Associate Leader, and guest concertmaster of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. In 2000 she was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

As a soloist, she has appeared with the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Neuchatel Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonische Akademie Bern, as well as the Metropolitan Orchestra, ACO and the West Australian, Queensland and Sydney symphony orchestras. Her most recent solo appearance with the SSO was in 2015, when she performed Navarra by Sarasate.

A dedicated teacher, she has taught in many leading Sydney schools, given numerous masterclasses, been involved with Sydney Youth Orchestra for many years and toured North America as Artistic Director of the Australian Youth Orchestra Camerata.

She also has a passion for playing music for healing purposes: she has recorded two CDs for the Australian Bush Flower Essences and in 2014 was named Volunteer of the Year for her work playing to the babies in the Intensive Care Unit at Westmead Children’s Hospital. That same year she became patron of the Goulburn Strings Project, designed to bring music education to low-socioeconomic and disadvantaged children in regional Australia, and she travels weekly to Goulburn to give violin lessons to the children involved in the program.


The Sydney Puppet Theatre

Steve Coupe and Sue Wallace are co-artistic directors of The Sydney Puppet Theatre founded in 1984.

We moved to the Southern Highlands, regional NSW, where we built a puppet making and rehearsal studio. We create what we call Theatre of Delight, principally for the family audience incorporating puppetry, acting, music and dance in our shows.

We design workshops for all ages and abilities. We have also created puppetry performances and workshops for various clients the Museum of Contemporary Art, the ABC, the Powerhouse Museum and Discovery Centre, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, the Roads and Transport Authority, Sydney Water, the NSW Fire Department, the Australian Museum, National Parks and Wildlife and Australia’s Wonderland. We have taught puppetry at the University of NSW and have an ongoing association with the Enmore Design College of TAFE.

Most recently (August 2017) we were commissioned by Nautanki Theatre to create and perform shadow theatre in Jungle Book at Riverside Theatre.

We are currently company in residence at Imagin Arta, the Australian Puppet Centre in Sutton Forest NSW, performing every Sunday and organising puppetry workshops and events.



Phillip Bolliger | guitar

Phillip Bolliger

Sydney born Phillip Bolliger began learning classical guitar at age 10. He entered the Sydney Conservatorium High School in Year 7, finishing high school there and continuing on to complete a Performer’s Diploma with Gregory Pikler. On a QE II Scholarship, he furthered his studies in Vienna with Konrad Ragossnig and in Basel with Oscar Ghiglia. As a young musician, Phillip won several prizes for his playing including the 2MBS FM Performer’s Competition and was a finalist in an International guitar competition in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

Phillip has performed with various Sydney orchestras, guitar repertoire including Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasia para un Gentilhombre, as well as Concertos by Vivaldi. He has accompanied many fine soloists – violinists, flautists and singers, including his flautist sister, Bridget Bolliger, in their duo called ‘Flutarre’. Phillip has also worked as a composer and composed various works, mostly for guitar with other instruments. A highlight of his composition studies was the opportunity to assist Peter Sculthorpe with the composition of From Kakadu for guitarist John Williams.

Phillip has recorded and produced two solo CDs – Latin Journey and Guitarreo – and in recent years has moved to the Southern Highlands where he lives with his family.


Bridget Bolliger | flute

Australian-Swiss flautist Bridget Bolliger has been hailed by Fanfare as “the very essence of what flute sound should be…”.

Bridget distinguished herself early, first performing the Ibert Flute Concerto as a soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the tender age of 15.

In 2017 Bridget celebrated her tenth anniversary as Artistic Director and Founder of the Sydney Chamber Music Festival and is the founding director of the New Sydney Wind Quintet since 2004.

A performer at the Huntington Estate Music Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Bridget enjoys her partnership with the British pianist Andrew West, and in 2016 they gave their debut recital in the Utzon Room at the Sydney Opera House.

Dividing her time between performing, recording, and looking after her two children, Bridget is also a dedicated flute teacher at her own Pittwater Flute Academy. She gives masterclasses around Australia and at playwithapro.com, giving online lessons to flute students around the world.

Bridget has held Principal Flute positions with the St Gallen Symphony Orchestra and the Sao Paulo Symphony, and has appeared as guest principal flute and soloist with several European and Australian orchestras including the Basel Symphony, Zurich Opera Orchestra, AOBO and QSO.

Graduating with a soloists degree at the Basel Music Academy in performance under Prof. Peter-Lukas Graf, Bridget enjoyed a busy and varied career in Europe and South America spanning 16 years with multiple performances of Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto alongside some of the world’s greatest harpists including Marielle Norman, Elena Zaniboni and Sarah O’Brien.

Bridget then settled in Sydney in 2004 and soon became a passionate advocate of Australian music. Bridget has premiered several recordings of new Australian works and has recently released a recording of The Laughing Moon by Ross Edwards on ABC Classics.

Bridget’s CD release Dancing Shadows, the complete music for flute and piano by Miriam Hyde, has earned great international acclaim from renowned music magazines such as Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine and Limelight, as has her earlier album Quintopia. Her latest album Timeless, alongside pianist Andrew West, was released this year by Austrian Gramophone.

In her earlier life, Bridget Bolliger pursued a short lived singing career, studying voice at the Music Hochshule of Koln and at the Academica Musica di Bologna, and performed opera roles in Italy at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo and at the Teatro Sao Pedro in Brazil.

Bridget is Powell Artist.




CLICK HERE for our 2019 Programme of Events.


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