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Michael Dauth: Concertmaster

Michael Dauth studied with Franz Josef Maier and The Amadeus Quartet in Cologne, Germany and with Yfrah Neaman at the Guildhall School in London. Soon after, he became Concertmaster of Hanover's NDR Orchestra and the same year successfully auditioned for the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan.

He was invited to lead the Berlin Philharmonic Octet, Berlin Piano Trio and Chamber Virtuosi. In 1988 he left Berlin and moved to Australia, where he had spent four years of his childhood. That year he became Concertmaster of the London Symphony Orchestra and was a founding member, Special Concertmaster and Artistic Director of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Japan, a position he still holds today.

Michael Dauth travels frequently around the world as a soloist, having appeared with major orchestras in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. His array of chamber music partners includes Wenzel Fuchs, Phillip Moll, Karl Leister, Gerhard Oppitz, Leif Ove Andsnes, Cyprian Katsaris, Hiroku Nakamura, Geoffrey Tozer and Piers Lane, and he has appeared at all the major festivals including Salzburg, Lucerne, Berlin and Tokyo.

Every year for the past ten years Michael Dauth has opened the New Year's Concert in Japan's major concert halls. In 2002 he released CDs, leading and directing an all-Johann Strauss program and performing the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets with his Japan-based Sunrise String Quartet and Wenzel Fuchs.

His recordings include the Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn violin concertos, the Beethoven Romances, Saint-Saëns' Rondo Capriccioso, the Meditation from Thaïs, works by Kreisler and the world premiere recording of Toru Takemitsu's Nostalgia. Michael Dauth is also a strong advocate of contemporary music and has performed concertos by Kurt Weil, Gubaidulina, Korngold and Schnittke.

He is frequently a guest professor and a juror at international violin competitions.

Michael Dauth plays the 1714 Lang Stradivarius.

Michael Dauth


Dene Olding

Dene Olding: Concertmaster

Dene Olding, recognized as one of Australia's most outstanding instrumentalists, has already achieved a distinguished career in many aspects of musical life. As a soloist, he has won many awards and he has performed over thirty-five concertos including many premieres, with some of the world's leading conductors and orchestras.

Dene is regularly heard as a soloist with all the major Australian orchestras and has worked with, amongst others, Edo de Waart, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Stuart Challender, Sir Charles Mackerras, Jorge Mester, Gunther Herbig, Werner Andreas Albert and David Porcelijn. He has given the Australian premieres of Lutoslawski's Chain 2 with the composer conducting, Elliott Carter's Violin Concerto and the Violin Concerto of Philip Glass. In addition, he has performed world premieres of violin concertos by Ross Edwards and Bozidar Kos and the Double Concerto for violin and viola by Richard Mills, written for himself and his wife, Irina Morozova.

He attended the Juilliard School in New York from the age of fourteen as a scholarship student of Ivan Galamian and Margaret Pardee. He graduated in 1978 with a Master of Music Degree and was awarded the Morris Loeb Prize. Other studies included master classes with Nathan Milstein and further lessons with Herman Krebbers and Gyorgy Pauk. In 1985, he was awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to further his musical studies and during that year, became a Laureate of the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium International Violin Competition.

As a chamber musician, Dene Olding is well-known to audiences as first violinist for the Australia Ensemble (resident at the University of New South Wales) and is a founding member of the Goldner String Quartet. His positions as a Concertmaster have included leadership of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Solo recordings include a sonata disc of Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart for ABC Classics with his father, Max Olding, the CD premiere of concertos by Frank Martin and Milhaud and concertos by Samuel Barber and Ross Edwards (Maninyas) - winner of the 1994 A.R.I.A. award for "Best Classical Recording" and the prestigious Cannes award. Most recently, he has recorded the Hindemith violin concerti with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under Werner Andreas Albert for CPO.

Other varied activities have included Artistic Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Festval Chamber Music Concerts. Conducting has become an increasingly important part of his musical life with past appearances with the Sydney Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia and further invitations as soloist/conductor with chamber orchestras in Australia and the USA.

He rejoined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Co-Concertmaster in 2002 whilst maintaining his varied solo and chamber music activities. Solo engagements in 2002 include Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, bassoon, violin and cello with the Melbourne Symphony and Shostokovich's Violin Concerto No 1 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Dene Olding plays a fine Joseph Guarnerius made in Cremona in 1720, which is maintained by Sydney Luthier, Gabor Balogh.

Gu Chen: 1st Violin

Chen Gu, born in Shanghai, started to play the violin when he was four years old.

1986, he won the first prize in the junior section of the Shanghai Music Competition for young Musicians and gave his first public performance after winning the competition.

1993, he was a prize winner of the 5th National Violin Competition in China.
He gave recitals and solo performances with major orchestras in Shanghai and many other cities of China.

1996, he moved to Sydney and studied for his Bachelor’s degree of music at the Australian Institute of Music as the only full scholarship student. And the same year, he won the first prize in National Chopin and Weiniawski Competition in Townsville, Queensland.

1997, he was a prize winner of the 7th International Weiniawski and Lipinski Violin Competition for Young Violinists in Lublin, Poland.

1998, he won the second prize in the Novosibirsk International Violin Competition in Novosibirsk, Russia, organized by Prof. Zakhar Bron. 

1999, he won the Richard Goldner Scholarship, Kendal Violin Competition and the Dorcas McClean Scholarship of the Melbourne University. And he was also one of the string finalists of the ABC Young Performer’s award of Australia.

2000, he was a prize winner of the International Yehudi Menuhin violin competition in Folkeston, England.

He gave recitals and concerto performances frequently in China, Taiwan, HongKong and Australia.

He is a permanent member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 2001 and since September  2002, he has appeared as a guest concertmaster with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. And he is currently studying with Charmain Gadd.


Gu Chen

Sophie cole

Sophie Cole

Sophie Cole: 1st Violin

Originally from the ‘Gong, Sophie has been playing the violin since she was 3 years old. (She literally can’t remember or imagine life without it!) After studying at the Conservatorium there (and making her solo debut at 16 with Tommy Tycho’s International Orchestra) she completed a Bachelor of Music at the Canberra School of Music, studying with Miwako Abe. In her final year she auditioned successfully for a position in the Melbourne Symphony, which she held for 3 years. In Melbourne she appeared as soloist with several orchestras, including an Australian premiere of Roger Smalley’s Konzertstuck for Violin and Orchestra. Travelling to London, she established a successful freelance career, playing with most of the major London orchestras, and touring extensively through Europe and the U.S.

Based in Sydney since 2001, Sophie again freelanced for a number of years, in the main dividing her time between the Sydney Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, with whom she has toured Australia many times, as well as Europe and Japan.
She has become involved in the contemporary music scene, first in London with such groups as Sinfonia 21 and the Bennelong Ensemble, and now here where she performs regularly with Ensemble Offspring and Halcyon, as well as Sonic Art Ensemble.

In 2005 Sophie auditioned successfully for a position in the 1st Violins of the Sydney Symphony, and took up this position in early 2006.


Amber Davis: 1st Violin
Amber has been a permanent member of the violin section of the Sydney Symphony since 1996 prior to which she studied at the Conservatorium of Music with Alice Waten. She has performed with many other ensembles throughout the country and overseas and is very passionate about the development and exposure of classical music in the community.
Amber Davis

Amber Davis

Rosalind Horton

Rosalind Horton: 1st Violin

Rosalind Horton has been a member of the first violins since 1986. She has performed, toured and recorded with the Sydney Symphony as well as taking part in the major tours to the US and Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Kuala Lumpur.
 Born in New Zealand, Rosalind began learning  violin and piano at age eight, gaining LRSM in 1975. She graduated as Bachelor of Arts at Auckland University in 1976 and gained a Secondary Teacher’s Diploma in 1977. From 1978-86 she studied in the post-graduate performers course at the Royal College of Music London, with viola as second study. Until 1986 she played in the 1st violins of the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, a company whose exciting and often innovative productions led to a love of opera. She played in other symphony orchestras and chamber groups as a student and on a freelance basis in Europe and the UK.
In 1986 Rosalind moved to Sydney. She is married with two children.

Jennifer Hoy: 1st Violin

After beginning studies at the age of 4 through the Suzuki Method, Jennifer competed with success at numerous regional competitions in NSW, winning the New England String Championship on several occasions.  She received the Mayor of Tamworth’s Award for Contribution to Music in 1993, and was Dux of Calrossy School in the same year.

Upon matriculation Jennifer was placed 5th in the HSC for 3 Unit Music, and subsequently awarded entrance scholarships for both The Womens’ College and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying with Goetz Richter.  Her undergraduate years encompassed chamber music performances
(Barossa International and Camden Haven Festivals), international touring with the Australian Youth Orchestra & Camerata Australia and ABC FM broadcasts.  She was also a member of the Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Wolfram Christ.  As a member of the Concordia String Quartet Jennifer undertook short term study with the Vertavo, Australian, Ying and Alban Berg Quartets.

After graduating with 1st Class Honours Jennifer embarked on a successful freelance career as well as undertaking a Master of Music with Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music.  During this time she also attended summer schools in Europe and Canada, including Domaine Forget, Orford Advanced Music Sessions and the Mozarteum.

Jennifer was appointed to a permanent position in the 1st Violin section of the SSO in 2001 and has also been on staff at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music since that time.  She still enjoys a variety of freelance activities, including work for the ACO, recording and performing for artists such as Bernie Hayes, Sneeze and The Whitlams, and various chamber music projects.  In April 2004 Jennifer undertook a 4 month secondment to the Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken in Germany.


Jennifer Hoy

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson: 1st Violin
Georges Lentz: 1st Violin

Born in Luxembourg (Europe) in 1965, Georges Lentz studied violin and music theory at the Luxembourg Conservatoire, the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (with Pierre Amoyal) and at the Hannover Musikhochschule (with Jens Ellermann), where he completed his post-graduate studies (Solistendiplom) in 1990, having played the Khatchaturian violin concerto as a soloist with the North German Radio Orchestra. He has been a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 1991. In Sydney he has been a member of, amongst others, the Hazelwood Quartet and the contemporary music group Sydney Alpha Ensemble.

Through a number of high profile international performances and CD releases, Georges Lentz has also established himself in recent years as one of Australia's leading composers - this despite the fact that he rarely writes new compositions, rarely accepts commissions, and tends to work on each of his pieces over a number of years. Since 1989, he has been working on a cycle of works called "Caeli enarrant..." ('The Heavens are telling...' - Psalm XIX). His music is concerned with astronomy, a love of the Australian landscape and Aboriginal art, and reflects the composer's spiritual beliefs, questions and doubts.

Georges Lentz' compositions have been widely played in many European countries as well as in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China. Many leading ensembles have performed his works, among them: Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln (Cologne Philharmonic), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Continuum New York, Ensemble Oriol Berlin, Ensemble 24 Sydney, Australian String Quartet, Vilnius String Quartet, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Cleveland New Music Ensemble... His music has been played at important festivals and in many of the world's great concert halls, including the Philharmonie Berlin, Konzerthaus Vienna, Wigmore Hall London, Carnegie Hall New York, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Sydney Opera House...

Georges Lentz was awarded a special commendation as one of the top entries at the 1991 International Composers' Competition in Vienna, and in 1997 he won the Paul Lowin Prize for orchestral composition, the most prestigious composition prize in Australia. His orchestral work 'Guyuhmgan' was the top recommended work at the 2002 UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. He is currently writing a solo viola and orchestra work for the German soloist Tabea Zimmermann, co-commissioned by the BBC, the Echternach Music Festival and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and to be premiered in July 2005.

Georges Lentz' works are published by Universal Edition in Vienna.


Georges Lentz

Nicola Lewis

Nicola Lewis

Nicola Lewis: 1st Violin
Alexandra Mitchell: 1st Violin

Alex’s desire to be a violinist began when she was five. It took her a year to convince her parents to start violin lessons. She won her first competition at the age of ten and gave her first recital at eleven whilst studying with Marie Roberts (OAM) in Adelaide.

When Alex was fourteen she came to live in Sydney to study with Alexandru Todicescu. That same year Alex became concertmaster and soloist with the SBS Youth Orchestra. During her time with the orchestra she toured much of Europe and the UK and made her first CD at fifteen, playing the Saint-Saens Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso.

At seventeen Alex won the National Youth Concerto Competition, gained her Licentiate Diploma (LMusA) with Distinction and became the youngest ever player to win a permanent position with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

In 2000 Alex was awarded a Big Brother Scholarship to undertake study in London with Emanuel Hurwitz who then invited her to attend the Yellow Barn Music Festival in Vermont, USA. This involved five weeks of intensive chamber music and private lessons.

In January of 2001 Alex won a Fellowship with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In April that same year Alex won a full-time position in the first violin section of the Sydney Symphony where she continues to perform.

In both 2005 & 2006 Alex was a string finalist in the Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards playing Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.1 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No.1 with the Queensland Orchestra.

Alex frequently appears as a chamber musician with members of  the SSO and continues to develop her solo playing with Robin Wilson at the Australian Institute of Music. Alex currently plays on a 1938 Arthur E. Smith violin kindly lent to her by Sydney Symphony concertmaster Dene Olding.

Alexandra Mitchell

Alexandra Mitchell

Leone Ziegler

Léone Ziegler: 1st Violin

Leone commenced violin and piano studies with her mother, violinist Eva Kelly, at the age of 5. She won her first Eisteddfod at 7 and throughout her school years amassed an impressive array of awards. In 1977 she graduated from the Conservatorium High School with an ASCM with merit on both instruments having studied with Nancy Salas, Robert Pikler & Harry Curby. She continued to win competitions and scholarships.

During her B.Mus studies she was several times leader of AYO, including a season at the Adelaide Festival and was twice winner of the String Section ABC Concerto Competition in 1980 and 1983.

In 1984, after working with ACO Leone subsequently gained a 1st violin position in the Sydney Symphony. After winning numerous study scholarships, Leone undertook a year’s study in London, Vienna & Switzerland, studying with Manny Hurwitz, Frederick Grinke and Pierre Amoyal. She was invited to play at the Haslemere Festival in England and performed at summer Schools in Europe.

In 1991 she furthered these studies in London with an Sydney Symphony Friends Scholarship. She plays in the Gagliano String Quartet with her sister, Fiona and husband Pierre Emery and represented Australia in 1988 at the International String Quartet Competition in Portsmouth, England. The Quartet made their highly successful Musica Viva debut and have toured Queensland and the Northern Territory as well as premiering a number of commissions.

Leone has been a member of the SSO since 1983 and has worked with many ensembles including Seymour Group, Australia Ensemble, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, as well as being in demand as a teacher and adjudicator. She has two sons, Douglas and Jacques.

Kirsten Williams: Associate Concertmaster

Kirsten Williams was born in Sydney and began the violin at the age of four. After studying with Alice Waten at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music and graduating with the Performers Diploma (DCSM), she continued her studies with Igor Ozim in Switzerland. While in Europe, Kirsten was invited to perform as soloist with the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonische Akademie Bern and the Neuchatel Chamber Orchestra.

After completing her studies, Kirsten was invited to join the Royal House Orchestra at Covent Garden, before accepting full time work with The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, touring and recording with the orchestra for the next two years.

In 1992 she returned to Australia and was appointed Associate Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The following year she was Director and soloist with the Orchestra in the Mostly Mozart series, and was the soloist on the Orchestra's cultural tour of China. Later that year she was a recitalist at the Mittagong Festival, the Melbourne International Festival and the Edith Cowan University in Perth.

Kirsten has appeared as soloist with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and gave the Australian premiere of Nigel Butterly's Violin Concerto with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

In 1999 Kirsten was appointed Co-Associate Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and in 2001 was Director of Camerata Australia's tour of Canada and the USA.

Kirsten resides in Sydney with her young daughter Jessica.


Kirsten Williams

Fiona Ziegler

Fiona Ziegler: Assistant Concertmaster

After early training at the Conservatorium High School, Fiona Ziegler played in the Australian Youth Orchestra touring with it to China. The following year she toured Asia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and after three years as a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, which she toured Asia, Europe and the UK, she joined the Sydney Symphony in 1983, and is currently Assistant Concert Master.

Fiona Ziegler has twice been state finalist in the ABC Young Performers'Awards and has travelled to the UK on a Sydney Symphony Friends' Scholarship, studying with Eugene Sarbu, and early music with Carl Dolmetsch.

She began violin and piano studies at the age of five with her mother, Sydney violinist Eva Kelly. At the Conservatorium High School she studied violin with Christopher Kimber and Harry Curby, piano with Nancy Salas and cello with Lois Simpson. She also attended master classes with Valery Klimov, Igor Ozim and the Quartetto Beethoven di Roma.

Fiona Ziegler is one of Sydney's leading baroque violinists and performs with Ensemble de la Reine. She was a founding member of The Australian Fortepiano Trio, the Trio Pollastri and her baroque trio, Concertato.

She has performed regularly with the Renaissance Players, Sydney Chamber Choir, Coro Innominata, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Sydney Soloists. Fiona was a member of  the Sydney String Quartet for 4 years and has led the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra since 1992.

Fiona Ziegler is also a founding member of the Gagliano String Quartet, which was chosen as the sole Australian representative at Portsmouth in the Fourth International String Quartet Competition under the direction of Yehudi Menuhin.

Fiona Ziegler's chair is sponsored by Ian and Jennifer Burton.

Julie Batty: 1st Violin

Julie Batty

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