Yelian He plays cello concerto with the Sydney Symphony

2015 is a pretty special year for me. It’s the first year I’ve spent experiencing the 30’s, the first time my cello was swabbed and searched instead of me in an airport, and it’s the first time I’ve performed a concerto without a conductor – and with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to boot.


Speaking of, I must mention that all of these fantastic experiences happened during the month of May as a result of winning the inaugural Australian Cello Awards Grand Prize in 2014 (ACA Website, next competition in 2017). That was a highlight not soon forgotten in itself and I’m sure I’ll be hearing even greater things from CEO Roland Gridiger and his team at MOST. But as I was trying to say, my excitement grew endlessly (so too did practice) as my debut with the Sydney Symphony drew nearer.

On the way to my first rehearsal, I was nervous about what to expect. There have been times in the past where the concerts haven’t lived up to expectations owing to insufficient rehearsal time or difficulties in communication. When I arrived I was greeted by the Concertmaster Andrew Haveron before meeting the Orchestra for some one-on-one time with the Bach Concerto; this is when general & interpretational decisions are brought up so there are fewer surprises during rehearsal. It was clear from the start Andrew was confident and accommodating – vital qualities for a good musician, and a good human being.


A Concerto without a conductor is a trust building exercise, and it’s easy to lose your nerve or get too excited. There’s bound to be more communication between the musicians, leading to more ideas being aired, but you also better know the score intimately! Not only will there be questions from the orchestra, knowing how the 1st violins bow a particular sequence of quavers or how the cellos phrase another section makes all the difference in rehearsals and performances, all the while giving a brilliant unique interpretation of the work.

It’s not difficult when you play with a wonderful orchestra, to get carried away in the passion of a running passage and/or to indulge the slow movement so much everyone else thinks it’s like watching paint dry; it’s happened many times during my earlier years and I’m embarrassed to say that wasn’t too long ago, which is why I advocate discipline and self-control! Having said that, it doesn’t mean I’m to be lifeless on stage when not playing anything either. Here’s me and the SSO taking a couple of minutes off after the rehearsals to shred the piece we just spent hours rehearsing. (It’s definitely the SSO’s good nature that I’m allowed to get away with this…but what can I say? Music’s got to be enjoyed by the ones playing and the ones listening!


About two weeks prior the SSO’s website had listed the concert as SOLD OUT which meant the only chance of securing a ticket was to wait and chance it at the returns desk. As a performer the adoration of your audience is key! Don’t believe me? Try playing for a hall half-empty (or half-full depending on your philosophical bend) and tell me you don’t wish you’d have given more love and attention to them more often; for a concert organizer that’s also a great reason not to see you again any time soon. I’m sure both the Australian Cello Awards and the Sydney Symphony have worked very hard to push this concert to the public, and if anybody else was involved, I thank you sincerely for making all of this a fantastically memorable event!

Tait Winter Prom 2014 at St John's Smith Square

The 2014 Tait Winter Prom was a landmark event for the Tait Memorial Trust at St John’s Smith Square, proudly supported by Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. To see and hear our talented Awardees performing at one of London’s most prestigious concert platforms was thrilling…truly a great night for the Trust and for our young Australians we support.

Tait Memorial Trust Winter Prom 2014

Now in our 23rd year Awards have increased by 30% from 2013  largely due to the more than three fold rise in Tait Friends subscriptions in 2014 and our loyal audience who come to our events and generously give towards our scholarship fund.

Thank you.


We are very grateful for the
support that we receive
from the following organisations:

Principal Partner:
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Australian Business
The Australia Day Foundation
Bailey Nelson UK
The Britain-Australia Society
Cubitt House
Minter Ellison
Oliveto & Olivo Ltd
Royal Over-Seas League
The Thornton Foundation
Treasury Wine Estates

2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square
London Tuesday 9th December 2014
St John’s Smith Square,
Showcasing Australian Talent — An evening of Music and Ballet
Supported by Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Conducted by Kelly Lovelady
Tait Chamber Orchestra
Presented by former Miss Australia, Kimberley Busteed
Directed by Greg Eldridge

Jayson Gillham, Piano
Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano
Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin
Sophie Moffatt, Dancer
Calvin Richardson, Choreographer
Matthew Ball, Dancer
Marlena Devoe, Soprano
Chad Vindin, Piano
Adam Szabo, Cello
Yelian He, Cello
Nicola Crowe, Flute
Gerard Schneider, Tenor

Concert Programme

Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
Handel in the Strand
Jayson Gillham, Piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto: No. 14 in E flat , K. 449
Jayson Gillham, Piano

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
The Lark Ascending
Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Ch’io mi scordi di te? Non temer, amato bene. K.505
Elena Xanthoudakis, Soprano
Jayson Gillham, Piano

Interval 20mins

Gabriel Faure
Kenneth MacMillan 1 – choreography
Requiem, Pie Jesu solo
Sophie Moffatt, dancer 2
Coached by Leanne Benjamin OBE
Marlena Devoe, Soprano
Chad Vindin, Piano

The Swan
The Carnival of the Animals
Calvin Richardson – choreography
The Dying Swan
Calvin Richardson, Dancer 3
Adam Szabo, Cello
Chad Vindin, Piano

Giovanni Sollima (1962- )
Violoncelles Vibrez!
Yelian He & Adam Szabo, Cellos

Kevin Penkin (1992- )
Changing Feet
Nicola Crowe, Flute

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)
La Boheme, Act 1
Che gelida manina
Si, mi chiamano Mimi
O soave fanciulla

Marlena Devoe, Soprano
Gerard Schneider, Tenor 4

1 Performed with the kind permission from The MacMillan Estate
2 Appears with kind permission from The Royal Ballet School
3 Appears with kind permission from The Royal Ballet
4 Appears with kind permission from The National Opera Studio

Winter Prom highlights

Jayson Gillham playing Grainger’s, Handel in the Strand

Xenia Deviatkina-Loh playing Vaughan William’s,  The Lark Ascending

Elena Xanthoudakis singing Mozart’s, Ch’io mi scordi di te? K 505 with Jayson Gillham, piano

Adam Szabo & Yelian He playing Sollima’s, Violoncelles Vibrez!

Marlena Devoe & Gerard Schneider sing the Final scene from Act 1, La boheme, Puccini

Review in Limelight Magazine

Review in Seen and Head

Ádám Szabó , cello soloist – Tait Winter Prom

Ádám Szabó  is playing with us in our Winter Prom @StJohnsSmithSq on Tuesday 9th December at 7.30pm. Adam and Yelian He will be centre stage in the second half when they play Giovanni Sollima’s, Violoncelles Vibrez! with the Tait Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kelly Lovelady

Book tickets here

Ádám was a Tait Awardee last year when he completed his studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and this year is being supported again as he continues his studies with his teacher.

Ádám Szabó

Listen to Ádám Szabó  on Soundcloud

Biography – Ádám Szabó

Ádám Szabó enjoys a busy and varied career as a freelance orchestral player, chamber musician (as a member of the Darlinghurst Duo), and teacher. From December, Ádám will commence work on contract with Opera North as No. 2 Principal Cello; he is also currently on trial as a tutti member of the Hallé Orchestra. Appearances in 2014 include concerts at the Canberra International Music Festival with ACO2 and the Wallfisch Band, duo recitals in Manchester and London, and a full cycle of the Bach Cello Suites presented in association with the Swiss Church in London, to be performed early next year. In December, Ádám will perform Giovanni Sollima’s double cello concerto, Violincelles Vibrez, together with cellist Yelian He and the Tait Chamber Orchestra.

Currently based in Manchester, Ádám works regularly with Opera North, chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru (as principal cello), as well as with the Hallé Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ACO2. Other orchestras he has performed with include the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Chamber Opera, Australian World Orchestra, and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ádám was born in Sydney, and completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2010, under the guidance of Zoltán Szabó and Daniel Yeadon. Upon graduating from the Conservatorium, he was awarded a Sydney Symphony Orchestral Fellowship, after which he was engaged as a contract member of the orchestra. He continued his studies in the United Kingdom, moving to Manchester to study with internationally renowned cellist and pedagogue Hannah Roberts at the Royal Northern College of Music, graduating in 2014 with a Masters in Musi

Ádám Szabó


The Tait Memorial Trust is pleased to be assisting these fine young Australian artists in 2014

In 2014 Tait Awards have increased by 27% from 2013/14. This increase has largely been due to the excellent response to our new Friends scheme and the increased level of donations from our generous supporters. The names of our Friends and our major donors can be found here

With our new ‘Adopt a Performer’ scheme we have two scholarships of £5,000 per annum over three years. The aim of this scheme is to offer continuity of funding to the artists over the term of their academic studies and to link a donor directly with an awardee.

Kevin Penkin, Tait Scholar
Kevin Penkin, Tait Scholar

Last year Kevin Penkin, composer, was the inaugural ‘Tait Scholar’ supported by the Baring family. This year he continues his studies at The Royal College of Music. We are delighted that Kevin has agreed to accept our commission for a new piece of music for flute and orchestra entitled, Changing Feet, to be premiered at our Winter Prom 9th December 2014. Tait Awardee, Nicola Crowe is to play the flute solo.

Waynne Kwon, cello, Higgins Family scholar
Waynne Kwon, cello, Higgins Family scholar

Waynne Kwon, cello is the inaugural recipient of the Higgins family scholarship. Waynne is about to commence his undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Though our Partner organisations we are supporting Gerard Schneider, tenor Royal Over-Seas League; Panayiota Kalatzis, soprano and winner of the 2014 Australian International Opera Awards is the recipient of the Frank and Viola Tait Award and we continue our support of the Sir Charles Mackerras Chair at the Southbank Sinfonia. This years recipient is Nicola Crowe, flute.

Gerard Schneider, tenor
Gerard Schneider, tenor
Panayiota Kalatzis, soprano
Panayiota Kalatzis, soprano

This year we are supporting 4 singers, 3 cellists, 2 accompanists, 3 composers, 1 viola, 1 flute and for the first time we are supporting a Trio, The Darian Trio which is based in Vienna.

We have a fund of £8,000 to support The Leanne Benjamin Awards for 2014/15  This fund was the result of The Leanne Benjamin Awards launch at The Royal Ballet School and a generous donation from Lady Roberttson. These awards will be announced later this year.

Nicola Crowe - Sir Charles Mackerras Chair
Nicola Crowe, flute
Adam Szabo
Adam Szabo, cello
Sam Sakker
Sam Sakker, tenor
Chad Vindin
Chad Vindin, piano
Peter Wilson
Peter Wilson, composer
2011 IFAC Australian Singing Competition Semi-Finals
Joanna Norman, soprano
Lisa Bucknell
Lisa Bucknell, soprano
Luke Styles
Luke Styles, composer

Adopt a Performer – £5,000 per annum over three years

Kevin Penkin, composition
Royal College of Music
Tait Scholar

Wayne Kwonn, Cello
Royal Northern College of Music
Higgins Family Award

Lisa Bucknell, Viola
Royal College of Music

Michael Whalley & Karen Goldie Morrison Award

General Awards

Gerard Schneider, tenor
Australian musician showing the most promise
Royal Over-Seas League Prize

Sam Sakker, tenor
Baring Amis Award

Joanna Norman Soprano
Royal Northern College of Music
The Googie Withers Award

Chad Vindin, Accompanist


Private advanced language lessons

Alison Frilingos, Cello
Darian Trio
Chamber Music Masterclass Manchester, 2015

Adam Szabo, Cello

Private lessons
Thornton Foundation

Sabina Im, Piano
London Master Classes

Peter Wilson, Composer/ Piano,
Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Nicola Crowe, Flute
Southbank Sinfonia
Sir Charles Mackerras Chair

Panayiota Kalatzis, Soprano
Australian International Opera Awards
Frank and Viola Tait Award

Luke Styles, Composer
Julian Baring Award

James Ioelu, Baritone
Tait Memorial Trust Award
Bel Canto Awards
Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation

James Ioelu, Baritone
James Ioelu, Baritone


Ballet – The Leanne Benjamin Awards at The Royal Ballet School
tbc £8,000

Tait Friends at Stoke Lodge 18th March 2014

On Tuesday March 18th the Trust invited our Friends to the home of the Australian High Commissioner, Stoke Lodge. The evening was hosted by Sasha Carruozzo, wife of Mike Rann CNZM the Australian High Commissioner, and by Tait Memorial Trust Chairman, Isla Baring OAM. The Trust are terribly grateful to Mike and Sasha and want to publicly thank them for their generosity in allowing us to use their home to entertain our guests.

Isla Baring OAM giving her welcome speech to our guests
Lindsay Birrell, President of Legacy UK, Isla Baring OAM and Mrs Jenny Dunn
Lindsay Birrell, President of Legacy UK, Isla Baring OAM and Mrs Jenny Dunn
Tait Friends, Mr and Mrs Ian Tegner with TMT Awardee, Benjamin Mellefont
Tait Friends, Mr and Mrs Ian Tegner and Mrs Karen Goldie-Morrison with TMT Awardee 2013, Benjamin Mellefont

We were delighted to welcome many of our most valued and generous supporters, the Deputy Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Todd and his wife, and the Agents’ General of Western Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

Awardees present included: Greta Bradman, Soprano; Benjamin Mellefont, Clarinet; Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin; Sophie Moffatt, Ballet; Kevin Penkin, Composition (2013/14 Tait Scholar); Calvin Richardson, Ballet and Adam Szabo, Cello.

Great Bradman TMT Awardee with Sasha Carruozzo
Greta Bradman TMT Awardee with Sasha Carruozzo

Joining us was Sam Sakker, a young Australian tenor who is to sing at the Royal Opera House in their Jette Parker Young Artist Programme from September 2014, who sang Lehar’s classic, Dein is mein ganzes Herz and the Australian National Anthem all a capella. He has the most thrilling voice with the richest/warmest tone. Adam Szabo, Tait Awardee 2013, played some selections from JS Bach’s cello suites…incredibly beautifully.

TMT Awardees 2013, Calvin Richardson & Sophie Moffatt with Miss Leanne Benjamin OBE and Tait Friend, Mrs Sue Lloyd
TMT Awardees 2013, Calvin Richardson & Sophie Moffatt with Miss Leanne Benjamin OBE and Tait Friend, Mrs Sue Lloyd

 Tait Friends

We launched our new Friends scheme which includes a new initiative called, Adopt a Performer. The scheme would link a donor, or a group of donors, to one awardee for three years ( the length of the typical undergraduate degree or course) For a minimum subscription of £75 Tait Friends receive discounts to Tait events and an invitation to an annual reception. The greatest benefit to all donors is the knowledge that they are making a tangible difference to the life of a young Australian performing artist. More information about our new Friends scheme can be found here

 Julian Gavin, new Tait Patron

Our new Patron, Australian international tenor, Julian Gavin was introduced to our Friends and has agreed to join our Music Board (the selection process for the 2014/15 awards begins soon. Applications for music awards close on Monday 31st March. More info here

The Leanne Benjamin Awards

Isla Baring OAM with Leanne Benjamin OBE
Isla Baring OAM with Leanne Benjamin OBE

An honoured guest was Australian principal ballerina, Leanne Benjamin OBE. Recently retired from The Royal Ballet after a 21 year first class career with the company, Miss Benjamin has agreed to join us to create a new award(s) in her name which will help fund the studies of young Australian dancers in the UK. Called The Leanne Benjamin Awards the Trust are producing a gala reception with a masterclass taken by Miss Benjamin and Australian senior teacher at the school, Mark Annear, at The Royal Ballet School, Floral Street, Covent Garden. This fundraising event will be held in the Linden Studio at The Royal Ballet School on Thursday 12th June. We are very grateful to the staff and students at the school for allowing us to use this excellent venue for our event.



Tickets to this special Tait event are available here


Tait Patron, Julian Gavin with Tait Committee member, Jan Gowrie-Smith and Tait Trustee, Susie Thornton
Tait Patron, Julian Gavin with Tait Committee member, Jan Gowrie-Smith and Tait Trustee, Susie Thornton
Adam Szabo, Cello. Awardee 2013 playing at the Tait Friends event
Adam Szabo, Cello. Awardee 2013 playing at the Tait Friends event
Tenor, Sakker with TMT Executive Director, James Hancock and the Queensland Agent General, Ken Smith OBE
Tenor, Sakker with TMT Executive Director, James Hancock and the Queensland Agent General, Ken Smith OBE
Tait Friend, Mrs Pamela le Couter; TMT Awardee 2013, Greta Bradman and Tait Trustee, Mrs Shirley Barr
Group shot of Awardees with Isla Baring OAM, Julian Gavin, Sam Sakker and Leanne Benjamin OBE
Group shot of Awardees with Isla Baring OAM, Julian Gavin, Sam Sakker and Leanne Benjamin OBE

Australian Chamber Orchestra String Quartet in Manchester

Australian Chamber Orchestra presents

Venue: Carole Nash Recital Room
Date: Saturday 24 August 2013 7:30pm
Promoter: Australian Chamber Orchestra

Anton Webern Langsamer Satz in E flat major
Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet in E flat major op 74
Franz Schubert String Quartet in C major D 956

Rebecca Chan violin
Doretta Balkizas violin
Benjamin Caddy viola
Adam Szabo cello
Yelian He cello

This August, the Australian Chamber Orchestra presents the ACO2 String Quartet, performing in Manchester for the first time. Featuring ACO violinist Rebecca Chan, and Emerging Artists Doretta Balkizas, Ben Caddy, and Adam Szabo, the quartet will play Beethoven’s “Harp” Quartet Op. 74, and Webern’s haunting Langsamer Satz. After the interval, the ensemble will be joined by guest Yelian He to perform Schubert’s mighty String Quintet in C Major.

Concert link

Adam Szabo, Cello is a 2013 Tait Memorial Trust Awardee.