2020 The Tenor From Oz – Australia’s own Bocelli

From a closed West End theatre stage of lockdown to the recording studio, ‘This is Me’ Paul Ettore Tabone’s new album is crafted from the heart. From 4 years on the stage of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, in the role of Ubaldo Piangi, tenor, Paul Ettore Tabone is about to release his first album, ‘This Is Me’.

‘In the shadow of lock-down and theatre closure I missed singing, performance and audiences – and for me, this became a time to reflect on my journey and the burning need to get on and make my first album, and re-popularise this fabulous art form.’

Paul Tabone, November 2020

From a small town, on a sugarcane & pumpkin farm in the tip of Far North Queensland (Australia) to a leading tenor opera & musical theatre singer is the stuff of fantasy and dreams, but that is the story of Paul Ettore Tabone.
He fell in love with singing at the age of 6 and followed his dream to study music, graduating from CQUniversity in 2009 with a Bachelor of Music Theatre degree. Since then he has been in huge demand – and has been dubbed, ‘Australia’s answer to Andrea Bocelli’.

Paul says, “I loved opera from the very first moment I heard it – and as a small boy couldn’t understand why everyone around me didn’t share that love.”

At 28, Paul was chosen by Signora Nicoletta Mantovani (wife of the late renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti), to perform as one of four tenors at the world renowned, Arena in Verona, sharing the stage with operatic icons, Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Jose Carraras and Ambrogio Maestri to an audience of 20,000, in memoriam to Luciano Pavarotti for the 100th year birthday celebration of the Arena in Verona. It was here in 2014 at the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation that Paul met music producer/arranger/ composer, Robin A Smith who is working with him on the album.

Robin said, “Paul has a beautifully warm and rounded tone and is an incredibly versatile singer. He can cover all material from Bocelli and Pavarotti to high opera; Neapolitan songs, and his Caruso is formidable. His style is as original as it is eclectic – a classical crossover, luscious and rich,
reflected perfectly in the songs he has chosen for this album.”

‘Every song in the album is special to me and reflects who I am and where I come from and the people and places that matter to me. I’ve lived in Italy and UK and sang all over the world, but I’m close to my roots and have a deep love and respect for the land, the earth and my heritage, Australia’s heritage. It’s important my album reflects this.’

Paul Tabone, November 2020

With the help of Wirandjuri Soprano/Composer, Shauntai Batzke, Paul had part of the song, ‘I am Australian’ translated into an Aboriginal language to pay respect to the Wirandjuri people, the first people of his nation, and he continues the song in Italian, honouring his own family and all the Italians who have made Australia their home. He sings the song performed at his own parents wedding – a gift for them and a homage to Pavarotti and he sings songs he loves, with a passion he hopes to share with people who may never go and watch opera, but who will be inspired by the joy and heart.

More about Paul’s Career:

  • Duca di Mantova – Rigoletto (G. VERDI) – National Opera Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania.
  • Tribute concert for Luciano Pavarotti, New York City Centre, Broadway – organised by the Foundation
  • Lead roles in opera around the world including Opera National, Bucharest, Teatro Del Giglio, Lucca, Italy, Teatro Carlo Felice, Genova, Italy.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, (Liebe Stirbt Nie – Phantom II) Love Never Dies – Hamburg’s Operettenhaus.

TV credits include:

  • Love Never Dies – Universal Studios International

Theatre credits include:

  • The Dirty Apple (Opera Queensland)
  • Love Never Dies (RUG Australia),
  • 100th Birthday Celebration (Arena Verona, Italy)
  • West Side Story (Carlo Felice Theatre, Italy),
  • Madama Butterfly (Teatro Del Giglio, Lucca, Italy)
  • Rigoletto (Opera Nationala Bucaresti, Romania)
  • Love Never Dies (Stage Entertainment)
  • The Phantom of The Opera (Cameron Mackintosh LTD)

Other credits:

  • Regular Performances at Buckingham Palace/Scottish Guard Vocalist,

About Producer, Robin A Smith

Robin has composed and arranged for such artists as Jose Carreras; Andrea Bocelli; Luciano Pavarotti, Robert Alagna; Michael Crawford; Cher; Enrique; Bacharach; and produced albums for Tommy Emmanuel and Margaret Urlich. He lived in Noosa for several years and understands Paul’s love for Australia and his wish to create and translate this love in, ‘This is Me’.

The Tenor from Oz’ debut album “This is me” will be released for pre-sale on February 15, 2021 together with the video clip of the track “Paradiso” (an arrangement of Bryan Adams “Heaven”). Pre-Sale copies will be personally signed and include a free gift. Copies can be pre-ordered at www.paultabone.com and will be available for worldwide purchase on May 2, 2020 via all online music platforms including Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and Itunes.


Jayne Ambrose

Ambrose Management Sydney

TEL (+61) 02 8383 9500 (+61) 0415 221 470

EMAIL jayne@ambrosemanagement.com


Michelle Blair

Michelle Blair Management

TEL (+44) 0203 664 9897

EMAIL press@michelleblairmanagement.co.uk

Stars of Covent Garden in Recital at Australia House

Australian soprano Lauren Fagan sings ‘Sleep’ by Sergey Rachmaninoff

With the full, and generous support of the Australian High Commissioner we were given permission to film several concerts in July 2020 in the beautiful surroundings of the Exhibition Hall of the Australian High Commission, London. The concert series was sponsored by Australian international logistics company, Voyage Control.

New Zealand – Tongan tenor, Filipe Manu sings ‘La Ricordanza’ by Bellini

The second concert featured Royal Opera House Covent Garden soloists, former members of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, Lauren Fagan, soprano; Kiandra Howarth, soprano; Filipe Manu, tenor & Samuel Sakker, tenor accompanied by Sergey Rybin.


Hosted, and with the full support of the High Commissioner, His Excellency the Honourable George Brandis QC, the ‘High Commissioner – outstanding Australians & New Zealanders in Performance Series’ of online concerts was a major step forward for our Tait Tuesdays at Home series. The series Musical Director was Australian international conductor, Jessica Cottis in concerts featuring outstanding performing artists from Australia & New Zealand from Opera, Musical Theatre and the Concert platform.

The four concerts were:

Joseph Tawadros AM – The Art of the Oud – Joseph Tawadros AM

Stars of Covent Garden in Recital – Lauren Fagan, Kiandra Howarth, Filipe Manu & Samuel Sakker accompanied by Sergey Rybin.

Leslie Howard & Friends – Quintets – Morgan Goff, Leslie Howard, Naoko Keatley, Bridget O’Donnell, and Tim Walden

Golden Age of Musical Theatre – Embla Bishop, Corinne Cowling, Morgan Cowling, Jeremy Kleeman, Josie Lane, Brenton Spiteri, Chad Vindin

Photos by Hannan Images


Financial Assistance for Artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis:

The Tait Memorial Trust has established an Emergency Relief Fund for Australia/New Zealand Artists to assist our talented young artists who overnight lost 6 months or more of work.

CAF Bank Ltd

Tait Memorial Trust

Sort Code: 40 52 40

Account Number: 00033630

CAF donate: https://bit.ly/CAF_TaitERF

PayPal: https://bit.ly/PayPal_TaitERF

To book: http://taitmemorialtrust.org/events/

Joseph Tawadros AM performs at Australia House

With the full, and generous support of the Australian High Commissioner we were given permission to film several concerts in July 2020 in the beautiful surroundings of the Exhibition Hall of the Australian High Commission, London. The opening concert featured internationally acclaimed Oud virtuoso, Joseph Tawadros AM. Joseph was recently announced as the 2020 winner of the 2020 ARIA Awards World Music category. This is his 5th win of this prize. Attached is a recording of Joseph playing his composition, ‘Dreaming Hermit’.

Hosted, and with the full support of the High Commissioner, His Excellency the Honourable George Brandis QC, the ‘High Commissioner – outstanding Australians & New Zealanders in Performance Series’ of online concerts was a major step forward for our Tait Tuesdays at Home series. The series Musical Director was Australian international conductor, Jessica Cottis in concerts featuring outstanding performing artists from Australia & New Zealand from Opera, Musical Theatre and the Concert platform.

The four concerts were:

Joseph Tawadros AM – The Art of the Oud

Stars of Covent Garden in Recital – Lauren Fagan, Kiandra Howarth, Filipe Manu & Samuel Sakker accompanied by Sergey Rybin.

Leslie Howard & FriendsQuintets – Morgan Goff, Leslie Howard, Naoko Keatley, Bridget O’Donnell, and Tim Walden

Golden Age of Musical Theatre – Embla Bishop, Corinne Cowling, Morgan Cowling, Jeremy Kleeman, Josie Lane, Brenton Spiteri, Chad Vindin


“One of the most impressive musicians to emerge in Australia … with a dazzling technique dispensing hair-raising tempos… His writing displays a real depth of emotion …revelling in a zest for life and celebration.”


Photos by Hannan Images

Joseph Tawadros, oud

At 35, Joseph Tawadros is established as one of the world’s leading oud performers and composers. A virtuoso of diversity and sensitivity, Joseph performs in concert halls worldwide and is known for his brilliant technique, deep musicianship and joyous style of performance. His drive to push musical boundaries has led to many collaborations with significant performers and a solid repertoire of innovative, original music. He has recorded 14 albums – Storyteller, Rouhani, Visions, Epiphany, Angel, The Prophet: Music Inspired by the Poetry of Kahlil Gibran, The Hour of Separation, Band of Brothers, Concerto of the Greater Sea, Chameleons of the White Shadow, Permission to Evaporate, Truth Seekers, Lovers and Warriors, World Music, Live At Abbey Road and The Bluebird, the Mystic and the Fool. Joseph has received 12 nominations and achieved five ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards – in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2020 for Best World Music Album – and as a contributor to the Ali’s Wedding soundtrack album in 2017. Joseph’s 2018 album is The Bluebird, The Mystic and The Fool. He recently released his album with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey. Born in Cairo, and a resident of Sydney since he was 3 years old, Joseph was nominated for Young Australian of the Year in 2014, received the NSW Premier’s medal for Arts and Culture in the same year and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (AM) for his services to music and composition in 2016. Joseph is acknowledged for expanding the oud’s notoriety in mainstream western culture and has also been recognised in the Arab world, appearing on the judging panel of the Damascus International Oud competition in 2009, and taking part in Istanbul’s first Oud festival in 2010. He has toured extensively, headlining in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East, and has collaborated with celebrated artists such as Zakir Hussain, Sultan Khan, Béla Fleck, John Abercrombie, John Patitucci, Jack DeJohnette, Richard Bona, Roy Ayers, Joey DeFrancesco, Howard Johnson, Jean Louis Matinier, Ivry Gitlis, Camerata Salzburg, Christian Lindberg, Neil Finn, The Grigoryan Brothers, Kate Miller-Heidke and Katie Noonan. He has performed and recorded with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the Academy of Ancient Music in London, making him the first and only Australian composer whose music has been performed by this prestigious orchestra. He has regularly performed with the Sydney, Adelaide and West Australian Symphony orchestras. Joseph is currently based in London, UK but travels often to perform including Australian tours each year. Highlights include performing his own works with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms in Dubai and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s premiere Joseph’s Concerto for Oud & Orchestra.


Financial Assistance for Artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis:

The Tait Memorial Trust has established an Emergency Relief Fund for Australia/New Zealand Artists to assist our talented young artists who overnight lost 6 months or more of work.

CAF Bank Ltd

Tait Memorial Trust

Sort Code: 40 52 40

Account Number: 00033630

CAF donate: https://bit.ly/CAF_TaitERF

PayPal: https://bit.ly/PayPal_TaitERF

To book: http://taitmemorialtrust.org/events/

Kiandra Howarth wins Bel Canto Award

We are all thrilled for 2019 #TaitAwardee Kiandra Howarth for winning this years AUD$30,000 Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award and Foundation #BelCantoAward which was recently announced in Sydney. Kiandra was also awarded the AUD$1000 Audience Choice Prize, and was also placed third in the Elizabeth Connell Prize for Aspiring Dramatic Sopranos, winning $5000.  The Gold Coast-born soprano holds the distinction of being the first finalist to ever participate in both competitions, Kiandra is a former member of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme,

Kiandra secured her Bel Canto Award win with a performance of Dove sono from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Ch’il bel sogno di Doretta from Puccini’s La Rondine. In the Elizabeth Connell Prize, the soprano sang Das war sehr gut, Mandryka from Strauss’ Arabella and Senza Mamma from Puccini’s Suor Angelica.

Second place in the Bel Canto Award was awarded to New Zealand soprano Eliza Boom who won the AUD$10,000 Richard Bonynge Award, while Australian soprano Michelle Ryan received the AUD$5000 DECCA Award & the Tait Memorial Trust Award for placing third.

Earlier this year Kiandra and fellow Tait Awardee, Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano delighted our Tait Friends singing, “We’ll Gather Lilacs” by Ivor Novello at our annual Friends event at Stoke Lodge, the official residence of the Australian High Commissioner, London. We thank the High Commissioner, His Excellency the Hon George Brandis QC most sincerely for inviting us into his home for such a special occasion.

To learn more about the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation please click here



Directed by Douglas Lawrence

 “Simply phenomenal” General Anzeiger Bonn

 The ACC invites listeners to explore a new concept in concert programming. Great works for choir are matched by year with voyages in search of Terra Australis, the fabled Great Southern Land, and later expeditions charting Australia and Antarctica.

 Directed by Douglas Lawrence, the Australian Chamber Choir is on its seventh concert tour of Europe, with stops including St Martin-in-the-Fields, the cathedrals of Bonn, Berlin and Ribe, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Hanover, Darmstadt, Piern, Tübingen, Stuttgart and Koksijde on the Flanders coast.

In this uniquely Australian program, music by European composers from 1504 to 1937 is complemented by contributions from Australian poets and composers. Our program begins and ends with the words of Indigenous poet, Bill Neidjie, set to music by Australian composer, Tom Henry. Bill Neidjie, elder of the Gagudju clan of North Western Australia –negotiator, peace-maker, last surviving speaker of the Gagudju language – was keen to ensure that the rich history of his people would not be forgotten. He broke taboos by publishing some of their traditional stories or Dreaming in two volumes of poetry. The poems speak of a land of the imagination, timeless place where the spiritual world meets the physical. Some would say that all art comes from such a place:

This earth I never damage.
I look after.
This ground and this earth,
like brother and mother.
Earth …

LONDON:  16  July at 7.30 pm:

St Martin in the Fields, Candlelight Series
Trafalgar Square, London, UK

“in music that seems to penetrate into visionary dreamscapes … the choir consistently impressed with their exploration of sonority and atmospheric depth” Echo Darmstadt

“Magnificent! Transporting!” Schwäbische Zeitung, Germany

“complete stylistic perfection” Dagbladet, Ringsted, Denmark
“flawless intonation, impeccable blend, marvellously pure intervals, seamless contrapuntal vocal movement and … careful emphasis on text delivered an exceptional concert” Sydney Morning Herald

BOOKING/INFO: www.AusChoir.org/terra-australis

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: David Hudson Tel: 020 7831 3282 (office hours)
Mobile: 07810 823720
Email: dhudson100@hotmail.com

 The Program in more detail

At each point on this voyage of musical discovery, we present a great choral work that is contemporary with a significant moment in the mapping of the Australian continent.

Flemish explorer Dirk den Hartog was the first European to land on Australia’s western coast in 1619.  In the same year, Flemish composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck wrote the buoyant eight-part Hodie Christus natus est for the Christmas season.

The remains of explorer, Matthew Flinders were discovered in January this year during an archeological dig under London’s Euston Station. Flinders died at the age of 40, the day after his book, A Voyage to Terra Australis was published in 1814. In the same year, Beethoven published his Abschiedsgesang (Farewell Song). With this song, the ACC remembers Matthew Flinders, farewelled in the same year at St James’ Church graveyard, now the site of Euston Station.

Prussian explorer Ludwig Leichhardt walked from Australia’s northernmost settlement at Darling Downs (Queensland) with a party of Indigenous and non-Indigenous men, covering 3,000 miles, to reach Australia’s northernmost tip at Port Essington (Northern Territory) fourteen months later.  In the same year, 1844, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy composed one of his heavenly part-songs: Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen über dir (For he commanded his angels to watch over thee). The text could have been written expressly for Ludwig Leichhardt. However, four years later, attempting to reach Australia’s west coast on foot, his party disappeared without trace.

French cartographer, Oronce Finé demonstrated uncanny prescience when in 1531, before any European had set foot in Australia, he published an atlas in which he described the Indigenous inhabitants of Terra Australis as follows: They “lead good honest lives and are not cannibals … they have no letters, nor do they have kings, but they venerate their elders and offer them obedience”. Around the same time, the Portuguese music theorist and composer, Vicente Lusitano wrote an astounding example of chromatic polyphony, entitled Heu Me Domine (Alas Lord). When this was published in Venice in 1561, Lusitano, who was of African heritage, became the first published black composer.

On 3 June 1769, Captain James Cook trialled new equipment, tracking the transit of Venus from the island of Tahiti. Immediately afterwards, Cook broke the seal on an envelope bearing the inscription Secret Instructions to Captain Cook from the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. In it he was instructed to search for Terra Australis. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Cook’s opening of the secret instructions in 2019, the ACC has commissioned Australian poet Mark Tredinnik and Australian composer, Alan Holley to write a new work, forming the centrepiece of the Terra Australis program.

Also on the program are works by Josquin des Prez, JS Bach, Debussy and Messiaen, each paired with a voyage or expedition of discovery. With the enormous contribution of Indigenous people in Australia’s exploration largely overlooked until at least the middle of the twentieth century, the ACC in the extensive program notes provided (in hard copy and online), shines a spotlight on the important role of Indigenous people in journeys charting the Australian continent.


 MELBOURNE                  16   June at 3 pm: Our Lady of Mount Carmel
210 Richardson St, Middle Park, Vic

HAMBURG                      30   June at 10 am: St Michaelis
Englische Planke 1, Hamburg

RIBE                                    2   July at 11 am: Cathedral, Ribe Cathedral Summer Concerts
Torvet 15, 6760 Ribe, Denmark

COPENHAGEN                4   July at 4 pm: Trinitatis, Summer Concerts at Trinity Church
Pilestraede 67, 1150 Copenhagen, Denmark

BERLIN                               6   July at 6 pm: Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtnisskirche, Berlin
Choral Vespers in the Kaiser Wilhalm Memorial Church
Breitscheidplatz, 10789, Berlin, Germany

BERLIN                               7   July at 10 am: Berlin Cathedral (service)
Am Lustgarten, Berlin Mitte, Germany

HANNOVER                      9   July at 6 pm: Christuskirche, Hannover
Conrad-Wilhelm-Hase-Platz 1, Hannover, Germany

BONN                               10   July: Remigiuskirche (Beethoven’s Church) Music in St. Remigius,
Brüdergasse 8, Bonn, Germany

KOKSIJDE                       12   July: Our Lady of the Dunes, Koksijde (guests stay in Bruges)
International Summer Organ Festival, Koksijde
Kerkplein 2, Koksijde, Belgium

PARIS                               14   July at 11.00 am: American Church, Paris. This is in lieu of the choir’s planned performance at the Cathedral of Notre Dame
65 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris

LONDON                         16   July at 7.30 pm: St Martin in the Fields, Candlelight Series
Trafalgar Square, London, UK https://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/whatson-event/terra-australis-land-of-the-imagination/

DARMSTADT                  17   July: Pauluskirche, International Summer Organ Festival
Paulusplatz, Niebergallweg, Darmstadt, Germany

PRIEN                               19   July at 6 pm: Pfarrkirche Mariä Himmelfahrt
Marktplatz, Prien am Chiemsee, Germany

TÜBINGEN                      20   July at 7 pm: Freie Waldorfschule
Rotdomweg 30, Tübingen, Germany

STUTTGART                   21   July at 7.30 pm: Nikolauskirche, Stuttgart International Organ Festival   Werastrasse 120, Stuttgart, Germany

MACEDON                      10   August at 3 pm: Church of the Resurrection, Macedon
Corner of Mt Macedon Rd and Honour Avenue, Macedon, Australia

GEELONG                        11   August at 3 pm: Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, Geelong
136 Yarra St, Geelong, Australia

SYDNEY                           25   August at 3 pm: Great Hall, Sydney University
with Amy Johansen – organ. Presented in co-operation with the University of Sydney Organ Concert Series, Camperdown, NSW, 2006

BOOKING/INFO: www.AusChoir.org/terra-australis

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: David Hudson Tel: 020 7831 3282 (office hours)
Mobile: 07810 823720
Email: dhudson100@hotmail.com

Tait Awardee to compete in the 2019 BBC Young Dancer competition!

Chloe Keneally has been a Tait Awardee since joining the English National Ballet School in 2016.  She is completing her third year which is flying to a close.  As an exciting development opportunity for Chloe, the English National Ballet School nominated her to compete in the 2019 BBC Young Dancer competition.  This is held every two years and this year will see five talented young South Asian, contemporary, ballet and street dancers dance for a place in the Grand Final in May. Each dancer will perform three pieces, two solos and a duet, which showcase versatility and individuality.  A panel of expert judges will choose a winner.

We look forward to seeing how Chloe progresses.  Look out for her in the final for the ballet category which will be shown on BBC 4 on the 3rd May.  Fingers crossed we get to see her in the Grand Final on the 18th May on BBC 2.  Stay tuned!

Lauren Fagan selected as Australian representative in 2019 Cardiff Singer of the World

We are delighted to confirm that Lauren Fagan is to be the Australian representative in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

To be selected as your nation’s representative is  a great honour, we are thrilled for her

Twenty singers from 15 countries have been chosen for this summer’s competition.
The contestants come from 15 countries – three Russians, two each from South Korea, Ukraine and USA, and others from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, England, Guatemala (for the first time), Mexico, Mongolia, Portugal, South Africa and Wales.

Lauren was supported by the Trust in 2013 & 2014 during her studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Her award was funded by Michael Whalley OAM & Karen Goldie-Morrison.

To learn more about how to support a young artist from Australia or New Zealand please contact James


To learn more click here

Glowing reviews for Jessica Cottis conducting ‘The Monstrous Child’

The reviews are in for the world premiere of The Monstrous Child’ by Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon, a new production directed by Timothy Sheader and designed by Paul Wills, at the Linbury Theatre, The Royal Opera House. We are thrilled to see that #TaitAwardee, and Chair of the Tait Music Board, Jessica Cottis has received such glowing reviews for her work. Brava Jessica, we are so proud of you.

Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Tait Trust

“I had tickets for the opening night of The Monstrous Child,  and it was sensational!  Jessica Cottis was brilliant the way she handled this modern music, the incredible production, and the singers in this new opera. Bravo to Covent Garden at the newly refurbished  Linbury Theatre. The reviews say it all! We are so proud of Jessica who is really making her way Up!! I am sure.”

Isla Baring OAM with Jessica Cottis

 The Times: 

“…superbly delivered by the Aurora Orchestra under Jessica Cottis’s direction” 

The Telegraph:

“Jessica Cottis conducts the Aurora Orchestra with aplomb.”

Financial Times

“…strikingly brought to life by the Aurora Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis” 

The Arts Desk: 

“Jessica Cottis directs members of the Aurora Orchestra with incisive clarity, deploying her forces strategically, always mindful of the singers who must project Simon’s text without the help of surtitles. It’s no small praise to say that you hardly lose a word.”

The Stage: 

“riotously conveyed by the Aurora Orchestra under the baton of Jessica Cottis” 

Classical Music: 

“Cottis creates an ideal balance”

Planet Hugill: 

“In the pit, Jessica Cottis drew a striking sound world from the players of the Aurora Orchestra” 


Connor D’Netto youngest ever Composer-In-Residence at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music

Connor D’Netto set to shine in home state, in a year of major works!

We are thrilled to share this wonderful news about our 2017 -2019 Tait Scholar at the Royal College of Music. 25-year-old Brisbane-born composer – Connor D’Netto, was unveiled last  week as this year’s Composer-in-Residence for the internationally famed Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) – and the youngest in the 29-year history of the event!

Under the leadership of acclaimed pianist and Artistic Director Kathryn Stott, the AFCM this year will feature five world premieres and five Australian premieres from composers around the world, and 40 of the best chamber musicians on the planet – including 15 international artists, five of whom are performing in Australia for the first time, and with D’Netto as the Composer-in-Residence, also at the festival for the first time

Taking over Townsville for 10 days of world-class music-making from Friday 26 July to Sunday 4 August, the AFCM will celebrate music from over 80 composers, 21 of whom are alive today. World premieres by D’Netto and fellow Australian composer Jessica Wells will feature.

AFCM’s 2018 promotional video

While D’Netto is making his AFCM debut, his music isn’t! Last year Australian musicians Claire Edwardes and Karin Schaupp premiered his vibraphone and guitar duet Brief Moments, which received a wonderful audience response.

“Over the moon is an understatement!  It’s such an honour to be taking up this residency, one that has been held by some of Australia’s most celebrated composers whom I admire greatly. It’s such an incredible opportunity to work with so many of the world’s best soloists and chamber musicians, and I’m also really looking forward to working with the students at the Winterschool.”

Currently based in London studying his Master of Music at the Royal College of Music, D’Netto is proudly Brisbane born and bred – having lived at Wishart until his move to the UK capital in 2017.

And he is excited about the year ahead, one which sees world premieres of his works around the globe. Already he has composed a new piece for leading Australian songstress Katie Noonan for her upcoming album with the Australian String Quartet, The Glad Tomorrow, which sets the searing poetry of Australian writer and activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal to music (the album was recorded a few weeks ago and will premiere during the Queensland Music Festival in July).

Connor is also co-writing a ballet with fellow musician Matthew Lomax in London called Non-Place. A 50-minute work for dancers, chamber orchestra, electronics and visuals, inspired by French anthropologist Marc Augé’s writings on transience, anonymity and out-sense of individuality in public spaces, it’s a collaboration with London’s Central School of Ballet. To premiere on April 26 at the Britten Theatre, the score will be performed by chamber orchestra Cats Cradle Collective and conducted by António Breitenfeld Sá-Dantas – with both Matthew and Connor performing the electronics and visuals.

As for his musical muses and mentors, D’Netto says it’s a moving feast!

“If you asked me a couple of years ago, I’d have said the likes of John Adams and Steve Reich, a few years before that I’d say Barber, Bartok, Stravinsky, and before that it would have been some musical theatre composers, Jason Robert Brown for example, and film composers like Hans Zimmer. Now? Having fairly recently worked with Bang On A Can, I’m incredibly inspired by the work and works of Julia Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon. Other contemporary composers include Unsuk Chin, Nico Muhly, Caroline Shaw, Kaija Saariaho and Donnacha Dennehy.”

“I also get as much from “popular” music artists as I do “classical composers” – from artists like Troye Sivan, Haim, Local Natives and CHVRCHES, to Sufjan Stevens, Blood Orange and Knower, bands like Palm, Grizzly Bear, Radiohead and Foals, and electronic artists like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Autechre, Floating Points and Rival Consoles. And of course, where would I be without my composition teachers over the years, Stephen Stanfield, Robert Davidson and William Mival.”


Connor D’Netto is a composer of contemporary classical music, described as “the model contemporary Australian composer” by ABC Classics. His music has been commissioned and performed across Australia and the world and in July this year, it will star at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

In 2017, he was selected for a fellowship with the prolific New York new-music collective Bang On A Can. His music was featured at Bang On A Can’s Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MASS MoCA), having travelled to the USA to take part in a three-week residency with the ensemble.

Two years before that, he was named winner of Chamber Music Australia’s Australian New Works Award, with his winning work, String Quartet No. 2, becoming the set work in the finals of the 7th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition at the Melbourne Recital Centre. He has also been awarded an APRA Art Music Fund Award 2018, the Brisbane City Council’s Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artists Fellowship 2018, a Brisbane Arts and Cultural Innovation Award 2017, the Percy Brier Memorial Composition Prize 2016, and the Donald Tugby Musicology Prize and Scholarship 2015.

He is also the artistic director, producer, and co-founder of the Brisbane-based contemporary classical concert series “Argo and in 2018, was shortlisted as a finalist in the APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards in the “Excellence by an Individual” category for his artistic direction of Argo throughout its 2017 Concert Season.

As a performer, Connor is one half of “We Are Breathing” alongside American cellist Ben Baker. After the pair met in July 2017 when both were artists-in-residence at the MASS MoCA, they sought to collaborate on a project bringing together their various musical backgrounds spanning classical, folk and electronic music, their love of diverse musical styles from minimalism, electronica, alt-rock and jazz, and their drive to create art that breaks down the barriers between genres and audiences.

Connor is a trained classical bass, also a talented photographer, videographer and visual-artist, creating and shooting not only material for his music, but also for a number of other artists and musicians. He has a Bachelor of Music (Honours), graduating with First-Class Honours in 2016 from the University of Queensland. Connor is a Tait Trust Scholar at the Royal College of Music, where he is completing his Masters, with his studies further supported by the Australian Music Foundation Award, the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Young and Emerging Artists Fellowship, the Tait Performing Arts Association, a Churchie Foundation Scholarship, The Julian Baring Award and by the Big Give Campaign at RCM.

International Artists of the 2019 AFCM
Roberto Carrillo-Garcia (Double Bass++) UK Australian debut
Rachael Clegg (Oboe) UK Australian debut
Alexandra Conunova (Violin) Moldova Australian debut
Amy Dickson (Saxophone) UK Returning Artist
Liza Ferschtman (Violin) Holland Australian debut
Pavel Fischer (Violin) Czech Returning artist
Martin Kuuskmann (Bassoon) Estonia AFCM debut
Yura Lee (Violin) USA AFCM debut
Wu Man (Pipa) China AFCM debut
Johannes Moser (Cello) Canada AFCM debut
Charles Owen (Piano) UK AFCM debut
Kathryn Stott (Piano) UK Artistic Director
Jennifer Stumm USA Australian debut
Ruth Wall (Harp) UK AFCM debut
Australian Artists of the 2019 AFCM
Lotte Betts-Dean (Mezzo-Soprano) AFCM debut (London)
Timothy Constable (Percussion) Returning (Sydney)
Connor D’Netto (Composer-in-Residence) AFCM debut (Brisbane/London)
Aura Go (Piano) AFCM debut (Melbourne)
Ben Jacks (Horn) Returning (Sydney)
Elizabeth Layton (Violin) AFCM debut (Adelaide)
Christopher Moore (Viola) Returning (Melbourne)
Neal Peres de Costa (Harpsichord) Returning (Sydney)
Timo-Veikko Valve (Cello) AFCM debut (Sydney)
Sally Walker (Flute) AFCM debut (Melbourne)
Arcadia Winds (Wind Quintet) AFCM debut (Melbourne)
David Reichelt (Oboe), Kiran Phatak (Flute), Lloyd Van’t Hoff (Clarinet) and Matthew Kneale (Bassoon)
Australian String Quartet AFCM debut (Adelaide)
Dale Barltrop (Violin), Francesca Hiew (Violin), Sharon Grigoryan (Cello) and Stephen King (Viola – has been to AFCM previously)
Ensemble Liaison AFCM debut (Melbourne)
David Griffiths (Clarinet), Svetlana Bogosavljevic (Cello) and Timothy Young (Piano)

Dates and Ticket Details

General public tickets, passes and holiday packages go on sale on Monday 25 February.

AFCM Friends have been able to purchase tickets since 3 December. The AFCM Friends program is new to 2019 – join now at afcm.com.au/friends.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music: 26 July – 4 August 2019 | Townsville, North Queensland

www.afcm.com.au | Facebook | Twitter | #afcm19

AFCM principal partners include; Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, and Townsville City Council. The multi-award-winning Australian Festival of Chamber Music is recognised as a major event on the Tourism and Events Queensland calendar. The Queensland Government is proud to support the Australian Festival of Chamber Music through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. Queensland, just the place to experience Australia’s best live events.


For more information, artist interviews or imagery etc, please contact Kath Rose for the AFCM on 07 3357 9054 or 0416 291 493 or email kath@kathrose.com

Tait Awardees to star in Opera North production of La Boheme

We are delighted to announce that #TaitAwardees, Lauren Fagan, and Samantha Clarke are to sing major roles in Opera North’s production of La Boheme later this year. Lauren is to sing Mimi, Samantha the role of Musetta.

Lauren Fagan
Lauren was generously supported by a grant from Trust donors, Michael Whalley OAM & Karen Goldie-Morrison for the duration of her advanced operatic studies in 2013 and 2014. This financial support assisted with her fees at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where she was a member of the prestigious Opera Course. After graduation Lauren was offered a coveted place in the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House which gave her two years of training as a junior principal.


A review of her recent appearances as Alcina with the Handel Festspiele, Karlsruhe, Germany.

“Unusually for Europe, the two main roles were sung by Australians, up-and-coming soprano Lauren Fagan and the more established countertenor, David Hansen. Fagan was a convincing sorceress from the very start, with a strong rich soprano, inducing sympathy in “Ombre pallide” as her shades desert her, spitting venom in the trio “Non è amor” and finally collapsing as all conspire to defeat her. ” Sandra Bowdler, 25 February 2019. Bachtrack.com

Lauren Fagan, Alcina. Handel Festival, Karlsruhe 2019 ©Felix Grünschloß

Lauren’s website

Samantha Clarke
Samantha is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music and is supported by a grant from Tait donor, The Thornton Foundation and is currently in her second and final year at the Opera School at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Samantha Clarke in the title role of Handel’s Theodora © RNCM

Samantha is also supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and was recently awarded the Nora Goodridge Developing Artist Award from the Australian Music Foundation
Samantha is a Baroness de Turckheim Scholar at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

“There was no lack of chemistry between him and Samantha Clarke as a pure-toned and vulnerable Anne Trulove. Her Act 1 aria “Quietly night” (with Ana Docolin’s beguiling bassoon) and florid cabaletta (with a fabulous closing top C) were both wonderful – her traversal from despair to determination utterly convincing.”  , 06 September 2018 | Bachtrack.com

Samantha’s facebook page