The Dowager Countess of Harewood (1926 – 2018)

We were honoured to have had the Dowager Countess of Harewood as our Patron for so many years. We go back such a long way and shared many wonderful times in London and Australia. She was always so supportive of our work, and we shall miss her presence enormously.
Lord & Lady Harewood | Credit: Getty Images
We were terribly saddened to learn of her passing. As a small token of our affection for a great Australian it is our privilege to dedicate our 2018 Winter Prom to her memory.
Isla Baring OAM and the Tait Trust family

Tait Music Board

2018 Music Board members

We are delighted to welcome Belinda McFarlane and Amy Dickson to our Board in 2018 and thank these two outstanding artists for agreeing to assist us with the difficult task of judging this year’s applicants.

Dr Helen Ayres 
Isla Baring OAM 
Jessica Cottis (Chair)
Amy Dickson 
Jayson Gillham 
Deborah Humble 
Belinda McFarlane 
Anthony Roden 
Katrina Sheppeard

Chloe Keneally wins prize at the English National Ballet School

We are delighted to report that Chloe Keneally; Tait Awardee, recipient of a Leanne Benjamin Award; has successfully completed year one at the English National Ballet School.

She appears to be flying through her studies having been awarded the First Year Female Student Progression Award/Most Progressed.  Well done to Chloe and we look forward to hearing more about your progression into Second Year.

To learn more about the Leanne Benjamin Awards please go to our website here (Photos: Victor Gonzalez)

Chloe Keneally, Biography

Australian ballerina, Chloe Jane Keneally completed her first year at the English National Ballet School and is about to start her second in September.

With the English National Ballet School, Chloe is currently studying around 50 hours per week and is working towards a Diploma in Professional Dance at Level 5. She has had many performance opportunities such as being chosen to dance for the Slaughter and May performance, perform her own choreography solo in the Christmas Show and perform in the finals of the Choreography Competition. Prior to this she trained at the Debra Whitten School of Dance completing her RAD Advanced 2 exam achieving 96%, Advanced Foundation 98% and Advanced 1 95%.

In April 2016, Chloe competed in the 2016 Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York and was offered a scholarship to The New Zealand School of Dance.

Some recent achievements include:

  • In 2015 Chloe was selected to participate in the Royal Ballet (Upper School) Summer School in London.
  • Participated in the City of Sydney Eisteddfod and was a Finalist in the Robert and Elizabeth Albert Scholarship (top 8%) and then placed 2nd (out of 80) for the 15 years’ classical section.
  • Received the encouragement award for the 2015 RAD Jacqueline Morland Awards and was awarded the most outstanding classical dancer of Brisbane Eisteddfod
  • Was part of the Australian Ballet School Interstate training program from level 1 through to “Invitee”, and also continued to train weekly with the Queensland Ballet Junior training program (since 2012).
  • Danced the lead role of the Sugarplum fairy in 2015 in my ballet school end of year concert, dancing the challenging Grand Pas de Deux and variation with a professional male ballet dancer as guest artist.

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Viola, Lady Tait (nee Viola Wilson), Founding Patron of the Tait Memorial Trust | THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

Viola, Lady Tait’s zest for life was an inspiration. These qualities remained with her always together with a remarkable memory, clarity of mind and youthful outlook. With a prodigious vocal talent she excelled in the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan, beginning as a chorister with the Carl Rosa Company in the United Kingdom, graduating to the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, and was given a year’s contract as principal soprano. Accepting a contract to tour Australia in 1940, she was to meet and marry her future husband, Frank Tait.

She was a champion of new and emerging talent, adjudicating for numerous scholarships and awards both in Australia and overseas. As an adjudicator for The Mobil Quest in 1950, Viola was instrumental in launching Joan Sutherland’s career. This passion for supporting young artists continued throughout her life, in 1992 she inspired her daughter, Isla Baring, to organise a fundraising concert in support of a young Australian singer, Liane Keegan, who was newly arrived in London. It kicked off with a Christmas Concert at Australia House. The concert was a great success and became the foundation of our yearly events. Liane went on to have a major international career, she sang Erda in the recent Opera Australia, Ring Cycle.

Programme for JC Williamson's production 'Chu Chin Chow', Theatre Royal 26 May,1923
Programme for JC Williamson’s production ‘Chu Chin Chow’, Theatre Royal 26 May,1923

In 1984, the Performing Arts Collection, housed at the then newly opened Victorian Arts Centre, received a significant donation from Lady Tait of 300 costume designs by leading European theatrical designers of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. The designs had been imported for use in re-staging productions in Australasia by the commercial theatre management J.C. Williamson Ltd and its forerunners.

Another of her loves was writing and researching Australian theatrical history. She amassed a formidable collection of theatrical memorabilia and was the author of The Family of Brothers (1971), which chronicled the contribution of the Tait brothers to Australian theatre.

Lady McKell and Viola Tait at opening of the ballet, ca. 1950 1 photograph
Lady McKell and Viola Tait at opening of the ballet, ca. 1950

Her last book, Dames, Principal Boys and all that: A History of Pantomine in Australia (2001) was lavishly launched at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, the home of the Tait-Williamson empire. When Viola’s death was announced the illuminated sign outside the Theatre read “Farewell Lady Tait, Star”.

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Viola Wilson (1938-39)   

Source: The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive         

[Born Pressburg, Austria-Hungary 1 Nov 1911, died Melbourne, Australia 6 Feb 2002]

Viola Wilson, whose real name was Viola Hogg, studied singing for six years at the Scottish National Academy of Music. In 1935 she was engaged by the Carl Rosa Opera Company and sang in the chorus of Die Fledermaus at the Lyceum Theatre, London. After tours of the British Isles and South Africa, she graduated to principal soprano.

Upon returning to London she auditioned with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and was given a year’s contract as principal soprano, taking Viola Wilson (her maternal grandfather’s name) as her stage name at Rupert D’Oyly Carte’s suggestion. From May 1938 to June 1939 she appeared with the Company as Patience in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. Three of these parts were shared with other artists at various times: Patience and Phyllis with Ann Drummond-Grant until December 1938, and Gianetta with Helen Roberts. Miss Wilson also appeared on occasion in 1938-39 as Rose Maybud in Ruddigore and Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard. She left the D’Oyly Carte in June 1939.

Viola Wilson then accepted an offer from Nevin Tait, J. C. Williamson’s London director to tour Australia and New Zealand in the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. In the 1940-42 Williamson tour she appeared as Aline in The Sorcerer, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Princess Ida in Princess Ida, Rose, Patience, Phyllis, and Elsie. While in Australia, she met and married Frank Tait, later Sir Frank, the youngest of the five Tait brothers who were then running the Williamson Company. She retired as a singer in 1946 but remained involved with the Williamson Company, serving for a time as an artistic director.

Viola Wilson in character as Elsie in Gilbert and Sullivan's The yeoman of the guard, 1940?] [picture] / S.J. Hood
Viola Wilson in character as Elsie in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The yeoman of the guard, 1940?] [picture] / S.J. Hood

Following Sir Frank Tait’s death in 1965, Lady Viola Tait, as she was then known, wrote an informal history of the Williamson-Tait partnership. In “A Family of Brothers: The Taits and J. C. Williamson; a Theatre History” (William Heinemann, Melbourne, 1971) she also provides a good deal of information about her own life and career.

Lady Tait retained her interest in the performing arts thoughout her life and was a patron of many arts organizations, including the Tait Memorial Trust. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne, and was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990. In her later years she published a book on the history of pantomime in Australia, “Dames, Principal Boys…and All That” (Macmillan, Melbourne, 2001)

Source: Viola Wilson

Honouring The Tait Brothers

The Tait Memorial Trust was formed in 1992 by Isla Baring and the Trustees to honour the enormous contribution that Isla’s father, Sir Frank Tait, and his four older brothers had made to the arts in Australia. The Tait brothers; Charles (1868-1933), John Henry (1871-1955), James Nevin (1876-1961), Edward Joseph (1878-1947) and Sir Frank Samuel (1883-1965), concert, film and theatrical entrepreneurs, were five of the nine children of John Turnbull Tait (1830-1902), a tailor from Scalloway, Shetland Islands, Scotland, and his English wife Sarah, née Leeming. Tait migrated to Victoria in 1862 and settled at Castlemaine where he married Sarah. Charles, John, Nevin and Edward were born there and educated at Castlemaine State School. About 1879 the family moved to Richmond, Melbourne, where Frank was born. Edward and Frank attended Richmond State School; Frank later studied at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School.

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The brothers’ earliest presentations centred on the Athenaeum Hall in Collins Street. Their concerts often included popular, short, film screenings and this interest led them to join with Millard Johnson and William Gibson in the production of The Story of the Kelly Gang which premièred on 26 December 1906. Running for more than an hour, it was the longest narrative film yet seen in Australia, and possibly the world. It was directed by Charles Tait and much of the film was shot on his wife’s family’s property at Heidelberg; his wife (who played the role of Kate Kelly), children and brothers all took part. The film, which cost £1000, was extremely successful, and was said to have returned at least £25,000 to its producers.

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In 1902 John, Nevin and Frank founded J. & N. Tait, concert promoters. Charles, while remaining with Allan’s, guided the business, and Edward, still with Williamson, watched from the sidelines. Nevin made his first trip to London in 1903 and engaged a number of celebrity artists to tour Australia, including the Welsh Male Choir, soprano Madame Albani, violinists Haydn Wood and Marie Hall, and (Dame) Clara Butt with her husband Kennerley Rumford. Nevin’s further forays resulted in tours by the Royal Besses o’ th’ Barn Band, Emma Calvé, the Cherniavsky Trio, John McCormack and Harry Lauder.

The Taits presented world famous celebrities such as Melba, Chaliapin, Flagstad, Pavlova, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Paderewski, Harry Lauder, Oistrakh, Margot Fonteyn, Menuhin, Marcel Marceau, Gracie Fields, Kreisler, Heifetz, Danny Kaye, Victor Borge, Katherine Hepburn, Sir Robert Helpmann; the musicals My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, South Pacific, The Pajama Game and many others. They brought out the Shakespeare (Stratford) and Old Vic Companies, and toured the Borovansky Ballet, not to mention all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

The Taits, Johnson and Gibson merged their film interests in 1911 to form Amalgamated Pictures which continued to produce features and newsreels. Amalgamated combined with its main opposition, Australasian Films, in 1912, and the Taits then concentrated their energies on concert presentation and occasional film exhibition.

In 1913 J. & N. Tait took a twenty-year lease on a prominent site in Collins Street and constructed a large, luxurious concert-hall, the Auditorium, which opened in May with a gala concert by Butt and Rumford. It was used by the Taits as their principal concert venue until 1934 when it was remodelled and leased to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Edward—’E.J.’—had maintained his involvement with J. C. Williamson Ltd (affectionately known as ‘the Firm’). He became business manager in 1911 and general manager in 1913, following Williamson’s death. Strained relations with (Sir) George Tallis and Edward’s continuing close association with his brothers’ activities made his position difficult: he left Williamson’s in 1916 and joined J. & N. Tait, looking after their affairs in Sydney. A few months later Nevin moved permanently to London to act as their overseas ‘anchor’. J. & N. Tait now expanded to include theatrical presentations and challenged Williamson’s domination of Australian live theatre. The Taits’ first production was Peg o’ my Heart, a comedy romance which proved highly popular. Other plays, pantomimes and musicals followed.

In 1920 the J. & N. Tait and J. C. Williamson interests combined, with J. & N. Tait continuing as a separate company to promote celebrity artists. Over the next two decades many of the world’s greatest concert and stage stars appeared in Australia under the Williamson/Tait aegis, among them Melba, Galli-Curci, dal Monte, Chaliapin, John Brownlee, Heifetz, Percy Grainger, Paderewski, Menuhin and Pavlova.

Alert to the early possibilities of wireless, the Taits in 1924 formed on behalf of J. C. Williamson Ltd the Broadcasting Co. of Australia Pty Ltd which was granted the licence for 3LO radio in Melbourne. When 3LO came under the control of the government-franchised Australian Broadcasting Co., Williamson’s, with Allan’s and the Age newspaper, were granted a licence to operate 3AW which went on air in 1932 from studios in His Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne. Later, a modern studio complex was built in La Trobe Street.

‘The Firm’s’ theatrical headquarters were located in the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, from where they controlled a network of theatres across Australia and New Zealand. An attempt to extend their theatrical production activity to London in 1928-29 failed, but their pre-eminence in the theatrical and concert field in Australia and New Zealand remained unchallenged.

The Depression brought hard times for the Taits. Both the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, and His Majesty’s, Sydney, were sold for redevelopment; His Majesty’s, Melbourne, partly burnt out in 1929, did not reopen until 1934. Charles died in Sydney on 27 June 1933 of hydronephrosis and was buried with Anglican rites in Springvale cemetery, Melbourne. His estate was sworn for probate at £19,404. ‘The Firm’ survived both the Depression and a short period in 1938-39 when the Taits temporarily lost control of the business to New Zealand-based interests. They kept their theatres open through the war years by staging revivals of past successes and sending their evergreen Gilbert and Sullivan Co. on tour.

Although the Australian Broadcasting Commission began its own programme of celebrity concert artists, many continued to appear for J. & N. Tait, including Gracie Fields, Marjorie Lawrence, Jan Peerce, David Oistrakh and Marian Anderson. Williamson theatres hosted tours of companies led by Cicely Courtneidge, Anthony Quayle, Vivien Leigh and (Sir) Robert Helpmann. Among the major musicals presented by ‘the Firm’ after World War II were Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma!, Camelot, My Fair Lady and Oliver!

Two of the brothers died in the post-war decade: Edward of cancer at Point Piper, Sydney, on 12 July 1947 and John—’the grand old gent of the theatre’—at his Malvern home in Melbourne on 23 September 1955. Both were cremated. Their estates were sworn for probate in Victoria at £22,427 and £66,979 respectively.

On 7 March 1961 Nevin died in London, leaving an estate valued at £72,886. His wife Bess Norriss had won a reputation as a miniature portraitist. Born in Melbourne, she had studied at the National Gallery of Victoria School of Art before setting up a studio in London. In 1907 she was made a member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters. She exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Paris Salon and on return visits to Australia. Examples of her work are in the galleries of New South Wales and Victoria, and in the Royal Collection.

The last of the brothers, Frank, was knighted in 1956. His dream to present Joan Sutherland in her homeland was fulfilled. At the close of her triumphant season, he died at Portsea on 23 August 1965. Survived by his wife and three daughters from each of his marriages, he was cremated. His estate was valued for probate at £121,743. Following his death, ‘the Firm’s’ fortunes faded. Production ceased in 1976, and its theatres were sold.

For over seventy years the Taits had combined to bring to Australians some of the best of the world’s musical and theatrical attractions. While their philosophy of quality entertainment, well presented, rarely failed to win audiences, they sometimes resorted to jaded revivals of popular musical comedies. Although they were criticized for not encouraging local talent, they did provide—without any form of government subsidy—employment and experience for thousands of singers, musicians, actors and backstage personnel, and lifted the standard of Australian theatre.

Frank Tait helped form the Australian Ballet, and was Chairman of the Board until his death. In 1957, he was made a Knight Bachelor by the Queen in recognition of the major contribution he and his brothers had made in their dedication to Australian theatre. It was Sir Frank’s ambition to present Dame Joan Sutherland to the Australian public after her international acclaim. The Sutherland Williamson Opera Company was formed in 1963. As Artistic Director Richard Bonynge engaged a team of world renowned principals and internationally successful Australian artists. One of the principals was Luciano Pavarotti, a young tenor from Modena; the chorus was Australian. There was no government subsidy and the fate of Williamson’s future rested on the success of the venture.

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Sir Frank lived to see his ambition fulfilled. The triumphant Melbourne opening heralded the return of Dame Joan to her homeland: it was a season never to be forgotten. He died at the age of 81 after the Melbourne season finished and while the company were in Adelaide. It was the end of an era in the history of Australian theatre. In Richard Bonynge’s words, “Sir Frank Tait has done the greatest service to Australian Theatre and to the arts of anyone we know”

Largely drawn with thanks from Australian Dictionary of Biography here

Select Bibliography

  • C. Kingston, It Don’t Seem a Day Too Much (Melb, 1971)
  • V. Tait, A Family of Brothers (Melb, 1971)
  • J. West, Theatre in Australia (Syd, 1978)
  • A. Pike and R. Cooper, Australian Film, 1900-1977 (Melb, 1980).

Brian Castles-Onion on preserving La Stupenda | Limelight

Wonderful article published in Limelight Magazine about Brian Castles-Onion’s quest to save and share the recordings from Australia’s operatic past. Volume 1 sold out (let’s hope they press some more CDs). These recordings have particular significance for the Trust as Isla Baring’s father, Sir Frank Tait, produced this tour as part of the JC Williamson/ Sutherland Opera Company. It was Sir Frank’s ambition to present Dame Joan Sutherland to the Australian public after her international acclaim. The Sutherland Williamson Opera Company was formed in 1963. Richard Bonynge as Artistic Director engaged a team of world renowned principals and internationally successful Australian artists. One of the principals was Luciano Pavarotti, a young tenor from Modena. The chorus was all Australian. There was no government subsidy and the fate of Williamson’s future rested on the success of the venture.

Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti enjoying a game of Tennis in 1965. Photo Isla Baring

Sir Frank lived to see his ambition fulfilled. The triumphant Melbourne opening heralded the return of Dame Joan to her homeland. It was a season never to be forgotten. In Richard Bonynge’s words: “Sir Frank Tait has done the greatest service to Australian Theatre and to the arts of anyone we know.”

Sir Frank died at the age of 81 after the Melbourne season finished and while the company were in Adelaide. It was the end of an era in the history of Australian theatre.

We are thrilled that Maestro Castles-Onion has produced a professionally mastered collection of recordings, not only of the Tour but also of Robert Allman, June Bronhill & Nance Grant. It truly is a remarkable achievement.

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The opera conductor has taken on the task of ensuring that these Aussie greats are not forgotten.

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Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by many singers of celebrity. These famous names were not only on record – having collected opera recordings from the age of four – but also personal friends. Over two decades ago, when I first realised the need to preserve old tapes to CD format, I wrote to four dozen singers who had performed in Australia in the decades since the 1940s, asking if they had any ‘recordings’ of themselves. Most of these Australian-born singers had never been offered the luxury of studio recordings and the only captures of their voices and artistry were from ‘live’ performances on tape. These primitive sound relics, which have lain silent for decades, hold a wealth of wonderful voices, which are our operatic history!

La Sonnambula from the Sutherland- Williamson Grand Opera Season of 1965. Photo from Brian Castles-Onion’s Private Collection
Three years ago, I commenced the Great Australian Voices series on Désirée Records in the hope that future generations would have the opportunity to hear how their musical ancestors sounded, what they sang, how they sang, who they sang with and what they thought about their roles.

So far, Nance Grant, Robert Allman and June Bronhill have each been honoured with 3CD sets. Nance and Bob were close friends for many years. Bob eventually became like an uncle and we spoke daily. I knew his thoughts and opinions on the world of opera – then and now – and he was the obvious choice for the premiere set of the series. He was the greatest Australian baritone of his era at a time when we boasted also the voices of John Shaw and Raymond Myers! His voice and art had not been captured in the recording studio… a profound oversight.

Desiree Records - Australian Artists Collection
Desiree Records – Australian Artists Collection

The first CD release set the format – a complete audio coverage from the earliest broadcasts in singing competitions to the ‘final’ stage performance; an accurate biography containing important casts and dates; personal thoughts on favourite roles and colleagues, with rare photographs on and off-stage. Even their favourite colour has been chosen for the cover and CD artwork! The Allman set was completed and came from the manufacturer two weeks before his untimely death. Bob had the pleasure of knowing that his operatic career had been preserved to be heard by future generations.

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Nance Grant was one of the greatest of all Australian sopranos. Christian Thielemann told me personally that he considered her to be one of the three greatest Sieglindes he’s ever heard on record. (High praise for a singer who never had the opportunity to sing outside Australia!) Her final performance shows her shining on high Ds with a Nilsson-like brilliance in arrangements created for Joan Sutherland.

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June Bronhill’s recording career was extensive but her ‘opera’ career had not been documented. Unlike the previous releases, I was unable to interview her in person because she died in 2004 and her autobiography does not show what I believe to be the ‘real’ Bronhill. Despite this, I contacted a dozen friends and colleagues who had known her and succeeded in producing what has been called the ‘definitive Bronhill biography’.

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The long-awaited release of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera Season of 1965 has been enormously popular. The excerpts on this 4CD set, recorded in less-than-studio conditions, display the essence of Sutherland in full flight. Here is a full, healthy voice wedded to an immaculate vocal technique, innate musicality and a generosity of stage presence that personified ‘La Stupenda’. All the operas in the 1965 season are represented – with and without Sutherland. The original tapes range in audio quality from excellent (those recorded by ‘management’ from placed microphones on the proscenium) to those recorded by a hidden microphone in a coat lapel. These audience recordings capture the more unusual partnerships like Joan Sutherland and Alberto Remedios in Lucia, or Elizabeth Harwood and Luciano Pavarotti, also in Lucia.

Final night of La Sonnambula. Sutherland/ Williamson tour 1965
Final night of La Sonnambula. Sutherland/ Williamson tour 1965

Many more surprises are in the pipeline. Two sets will hit the shelves in the early part of 2017. One honouring Australia’s greatest ever soprano and the other an international star who had their career tragically cut short. But no more hints…

– See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/features/brian-castles-onion-preserving-la-stupenda#sthash.yRT4vLzI.dpuf

Source: Brian Castles-Onion on preserving La Stupenda, Limelight Magazine

Seraphim Trio to play for the Tait Trust | Dedicated to Janet Alstergren Webb

Concert at St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico
Monday, 23rd January at 7 for 7.30pm

This concert is dedicated to the memory of  Janet Alstergren Webb (1944 – 2016), beloved friend of the Tait Family.

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Janet Alstergren Webb

We are thrilled to confirm that ABC Classics Artists, Seraphim Trio, will perform for us on Monday the 23rd January at St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico. Join us as we venture into the Viennese salon of Beethoven and Schubert. Our program captures the explosion of Beethoven into Viennese life with his first publication and the devastating inner explorations of Schubert during his last year. Our journey promises to be an adventure of sound, emotion and conversation.

The proceeds from this concert will go towards our awards for 2017.

Concert Programme

Beethoven Op. 1 No. 1 (25 mins)
1. Allegro
2. Adagio cantabile
3. Scherzo: Allegro assai
4. Finale: Presto

Schubert trio in E flat Op. 100 (45 mins)
1. Allegro
2. Andante con moto
3. Scherzando: Allegro moderato
4. Allegro moderato

Over the last two decades, Helen Ayres, Anna Goldsworthy and Tim Nankervis have remained steadfastly committed to chamber music – from building the contemporary repertoire, to developing new audiences and teaching the next generation of performers. Inspiring others through intelligent programming and a deep knowledge and love of chamber music, Seraphim Trio never fails to delight audiences.

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“…absolute sonic cohesion and uniform musical maturity…a masterclass in chamber music technique and ensemble.”  The Australian

“One of Australia’s finest” ArtsHub

“It’s important to acknowledge technical achievement but this performance was about so much more. The Seraphims delivered Beethoven’s music with empathy, not just for the composer’s intention, but also for each other’s contribution to the work.” ArtsHub

Winners of the Piano Trio Prize and the Audience Choice Award at the Australian National Chamber Music Competition in 2001 (now the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition), Seraphim Trio has regularly performed at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Peninsular Summer Music Festival and in 2013, Opera Australia’s Ring Festival in Melbourne.

Alongside its acclaimed subscription series Seraphim Trio is frequently broadcast on ABC Classic FM and on the MBS network, and maintains a robust commissioning program, having recently premiered new works by Graeme Koehne, Andrew Ford, Elena Kats-Chernin, Calvin Bowman, Anne Boyd, Benjamin Martin, James Ledger. Seraphim frequently collaborates with Australia’s leading musicians: most recently with Diana Doherty, Paul Dean, Lisa Harper-Brown and David Elton.

The group has studied in Germany with Hatto Beyerle, and in Australia with William Hennessy, Eleonora Sivan, Mark Mogilevski, Ronald Farren-Price and Lois Simpson.

Learn more about Seraphim Trio

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Helen Ayres joins Tait Music Board

We are delighted to confirm that Helen Ayres has joined our Music Board. Helen is a Doctoral graduate from the University of Melbourne where she studied with Mark Mogilevsky and completed research into the music of the Romanian violinist and composer George Enescu, and served as Acting Head of Strings in 2007.

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We were very lucky to have Helen as our concertmaster in our recent Tait Winter Prom, her experience and leadership was a pivotal part of the Tait Chamber Orchestra’s success. Helen is also a member of the internationally acclaimed, Seraphim Trio.

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Their new CD, Beethoven Piano Trios is available to buy from the ABC online here

Helen Ayres

Helen is a Doctoral graduate from the University of Melbourne where she studied with Mark Mogilevsky and completed research into the music of the Romanian violinist and composer George Enescu, and served as Acting Head of Strings in 2007. She is a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and its flagship ensemble, the Australian Octet.

Helen has previously held a full-time position with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared as guest principal with Orchestra Victoria and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Helen has tutored for the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Young Australian Concert Artists and Young Symphonists programs, continuing a long association that started when she toured as concertmaster of the AYO to Asia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and America.

As a regular chamber music recitalist and founding member of the Seraphim Trio, Helen is a guest of the Sydney International Piano competition and appears at music festivals throughout Australia.

Helen’s solo repertoire includes the Sibelius, Beethoven triple and Brahms double concertos. Her previous teachers have been Alice Waten, William Hennessy and Beryl Kimber. She currently lives in London where she performs as a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and is undertaking a year of pedagogical observation at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Helen is delighted to have performed as Concertmaster of the Tait Chamber Orchestra.

Anna Goldsworthy

Anna is a founding member of Seraphim Trio, and records for the ABC Classics label. She is currently a Lecturer at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Research Fellow at the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Moore Memorial Music Scholar at Janet Clarke Hall. Described by The Australian as a ‘musical ambassador’, and the Sydney Morning Herald as “one of the very best young non-fiction writers in Australia”, Anna Goldsworthy is an award-winning pianist and writer. Her first book, Piano Lessons, is an Australian best-seller and has been released in the United States and Korea, adapted for the stage, and is currently in development as a film. Anna’s writing has appeared in The Monthly, The Age, The Australian, and Best Australian Essays. Her new memoir Welcome to Your New Life is now available and her Quarterly Essay was released in June 2013.

Timothy Nankervis

Timothy studied at the Australian Institute of Music with Lois Simpson, graduating with Honours in 1998. He was awarded a Big Brother scholarship in 1995 and travelled to London where he studied with William Pleeth and Raphael Wallfisch. In 1999, he took up a scholarship to study with Vadim Chervov at the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music in Kiev.

He returned to Australia and completed his Master’s degree at the University of Melbourne in 2002, studying with Nelson Cooke. He has also studied with Georg Pedersen, Denise Lawrence and David Berlin and prior to his appointment with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he was enrolled as a Doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne.

In 2000 he performed in a competition at the Australian National Academy of Music and was one of two musicians selected to perform as a soloist with Orchestra Victoria, playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Timothy Nankervis has won numerous awards for cello performance and chamber music and is a member of the acclaimed Seraphim Trio as well as performing with the Sydney Soloists and Linden String Trio. In 2004 and 2008, he performed with his colleague from the Seraphim Trio, violinist Helen Ayres, in the Sydney International Piano Competition to provide competitors with a piano trio for the chamber music component of the competition.

As a soloist, Timothy Nankervis has performed throughout Australia and has featured in numerous broadcasts for ABC Classic FM and 2MBS-FM.

Tait Patron: Danielle De Niese on The Barber of Seville | Glyndebourne

Our Patron, Australian soprano, Danielle de Niese starred in the  Glyndebourne 2016 production of The Barber of Seville. The BBC has just announced its Christmas schedule and we are delighted to share the news that the acclaimed production will be shown on BBC Four this December. The broadcast will be preceded by a documentary that follows Danielle de Niese in her preparations for the role of Rosina.

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Birth of an Opera:
Danielle de Niese on The Barber of Seville
7.00pm, Sunday 18 December, BBC Four

Offering unparalleled insight into the process of staging an opera, the documentary follows Danni as she prepares to make her debut in the opera’s starring role of Rosina. It also features interviews with director Annabel Arden, conductor Enrique Mazzola, designer Joanna Parker and key Glyndebourne figures.

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Immediately afterwards, at 8.00pm, audiences can watch the opera in full, recorded live this summer.

Source: Glyndebourne

Leanne Benjamin joins Prix de Lausanne panel 2017 | Gramilano

We are delighted to report that our Patron, Leanne Benjamin AM OBE, has been asked to join the jury of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne 2017. This is a great honour and acknowledges Leanne’s stature in the world of classical ballet.

 Leanne Benjamin in The Royal Ballet's Manon ©ROH Johan Persson, 2011
Leanne Benjamin in The Royal Ballet’s Manon ©ROH Johan Persson, 2011

This year the Tait Memorial Trust, Leanne Benjamin Awards proudly supports three young Australian dancers:

Lauren Songberg, ballet – English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally, ballet – English National Ballet School
Rebecca Blenkinsop, ballet – Royal Ballet School

The article below was published by gramilano.com on the 30th November.

Jury members announced for the Prix de Lausanne 45th edition

dancing-basilio-during-the-lausanne-final

The jury of 2017 is composed of nine major personalities from the dance world, presided over by the ’s Director, Kevin O’Hare.

O’Hare said,

The Prix de Lausanne is a wonderful opportunity for me to see the talented dancers of tomorrow. I see it as more than a competition; it is a place where our young dancers are encouraged, cared for and given the feedback that provides the foundation for their future careers.

Each of the jurors has a link with one of the competition’s partner schools and companies, or is a former prize winner. Other aspects taken into consideration in forming the panel are having a wide geographical representation, a mix of experiences, and a representation of different styles of dance.

The jury of this edition is made up of the following members:

  • Kevin O’Hare: Director, Royal Ballet London – President of the jury (England)
  • Leanne Benjamin: Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1981 (England)
  • Paola Cantalupo: Artistic and Educational Director, Ecole Supérieure de Danse Cannes-Mougins Rosella Hightower and Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1977 (France)
  • Gigi Hyatt: Director of Education and Deputy Director, Hamburg Ballet (Germany)
  • Sue Jin Kang: Artistic Director, Korean National Ballet (Korea)
  • Goyo Montero: Ballet Director and Choreographer, Staatstheater Nürnberg and Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1994 (Germany)
  • Aki Saito: Prix de Lausanne Laureate 1991 (Japan)
  • Christian Spuck: Artistic Director, Zurich Ballet (Switzerland)
  • Stanton Welch: Artistic Director. Houston Ballet (United-States)

Shelly Power, who is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer for the 2017 Prix de Lausanne, said,

I am honored to present the 2017 jury who collectively bring years of experience ranging from teaching, performing, directing and choreographing worldwide. Kevin O’Hare as President and his team of jury members will open doors and make dreams come true for the talented few who are about to embark on the next and perhaps most important step of their careers.

 

Booking
Tickets for all Prix de Lausanne 2017 events go on sale 15 December 2016
on prixdelausanne.org

 

Source: Jury members announced for the Prix de Lausanne 45th edition