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Born in India, Shanul studied Information Technology at Charles Sturt University in Australia. He launched his singing career as lead vocalist for heavy metal bands, releasing three studio albums and fronting national tours over 8 years. Concurrently he explored the classical singing technique as a stylistic expression and in late 2012 relocated to Melbourne to commence his classical singing studies. Shanul has since appeared regularly on the concert, recital and theatrical stages. During 2014 he made his operatic debut as ‘Don Ramiro’ in Rossini’s La Cenerentola for Opera Australia’s Victorian schools tour and was later engaged to sing the titular role of Massenet’s Werther with the Lyric Opera of Melbourne.
During 2015 Shanul joined Cheryl Barker, John Bolton Wood and Sally-Ann Russell as a featured artist at Stonnington’s ‘Opera in the Park’ and Marina Prior at Gippsland Opera’s ‘Opera by the Lakes’. He sang as a featured artist with the Penrith Symphony Orchestra at ‘Opera in the Q’ under the baton of Paul Terracini and also took part in Opera Australia’s month long season of Aida on Sydney Harbour. 2016 saw Shanul as a featured soloist at the annual ‘Opera in the Alps’ and ‘Opera in the Market’ gala concerts, alongside Greta Bradman and Teddy Tahu Rhodes under the baton of Guy Noble. He joined David Hobson for his second ‘Opera by the Lakes’ in March and starred in ‘Canzoni Di Mio Padre (Songs My Father taught me)’ at the Melbourne Recital Centre under the baton of Daniele Ciurleo. During this time he also made his oratorio debut with the Frankston Symphony Orchestra as the tenor soloist/Obadiah in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and sang the role of ‘Florville’ in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with the Lyric Opera of Melbourne.
In late September 2016 Shanul relocated to Cardiff, UK to commence an MA in Advanced Vocal Studies at the prestigious Wales International Academy of Voice under the directorship of renowned tenor and vocal coach Mr. Dennis O’Neill CBE. While at WIAV Shanul has worked with several distinguished visiting coaches including Mo. Richard Bonynge, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Nuccia Focile. Shanul briefly returned to Australia in early 2017 to take part in his second ‘Opera in the Alps’ and ‘Opera in the Market’ gala concerts. In April 2017 Shanul was awarded the ‘Canto Lirico’ and ‘Rossini International’ awards at the ‘Concorso Internazionale Musicale Citta di Pesaro’ (CIMP), an annual competition held in Pesaro, Italy to celebrate the works of the Italian composer G.Rossini.

Australian Pianist, Producer and Presenter, Caroline Almonte, has a reputation as a gifted, versatile and sensitive artist. She studied with Stephen McIntyre at the VCA and  Oxana Yablonskaya at the Juilliard School, New York. She has won numerous awards, including the ABC Young Performer’s Awards and the international chamber music competition in Italy “Trio di Trieste”.

Caroline gives regular solo and chamber music recitals around Australia and overseas. She has performed in the United States, Canada, UK, Italy, South America, Japan and China, appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival, Bologna Festival,  Melbourne and Adelaide International Cello Festival, the Dunkeld Weekend of Music, the Huntington Estate Music Festival, the Perth International Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, which included a live broadcast on ABC classic FM of Bach Goldberg Variations.

Her many musical collaborations include working with members of the Australia Ensemble, the Australian String Quartet, Escher String Quartet, Flinders Quartet, Yvonne Kenny, Ralph Kirschbaum, Ian Munro, Li Wei, Miki Tsunoda  – Duo Sol, Pieter Wispelway, Susie Park,  Daniel Hope and Sarah Chang, along with violinist Elizabeth Sellars and cellist Molly Kadarauch, Caroline is the founding member of the Sutherland Trio, in honour of Australia’s matriach of Australian composition – Margaret Sutherland.

Alongside her stage performances, Caroline continues a prolific teaching career and is passionate about working with young people. She teaches piano and chamber music at the University of Melbourne and has been involved in several projects with the AYO, MYO and AMEB where she recorded and produced the recent solo piano series. Caroline’s recording career for ABC Classics include the Peggy Glanville Hicks “Etruscan” Piano Concerto with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra , Duo Sol and a recording of English Songs with Yvonne Kenny. She was delighted to support the HUSH music Foundation, performing Nigel Westlake’s ‘Diving with George’ with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Caroline has recently returned from residencies in New Zealand and China, teaching and performing, including Chu Wang Hua’s Piano Concerto with the Shanghai Philharmonic at the international Piano Festival in Shanghai, and performances with the Fujian Symphony Orchestra and Xiamen Philharmonic.

David Griffiths is Senior Lecturer in Clarinet, Coordinator of Woodwind and a member of Ensemble Liaison ensemble-in-residence at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University.

He has appeared with the New Zealand, Goldner, Tin Alley and Flinders String Quartets, the New York Wind Soloists, the Australia Ensemble @UNSW, the Southern Cross Soloists, members of the Cleveland, Shanghai and American String Quartets. He has also   collaborated with Nemanja Radulović, Ray Chen, Anthony Marwood, Henning Kraggerud, Emma Matthews, Cheryl Barker, Peter Coleman-Wright, David Jones, Paul Grabowsky, Tony Gould, performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, Port Fairy Festival, Woodend Winter Arts Festival and has performed chamber music with Principal members of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.

He has held positions as Associate Principal Clarinet with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Principal Clarinet of the Macau Orchestra and Principal Clarinet of the Shanghai Radio Orchestra. He has appeared as Guest Principal with all of Australia’s major symphony and opera ballet orchestras along with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He was also Co-Principal of the 2000 National Repertory Orchestra (US), acting Principal of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic and has performed with the New World Symphony, the New York City Opera, National Company, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the China Philharmonic, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

David’s recordings with Ensemble Liaison of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time for the Melba Recordings label and Trios of Brahms, Beethoven and Bruch for the Tall Poppies label have won high praise from critics around the world. Originally from Armidale NSW, he studied at the Canberra School of Music with Alan Vivian before completing his Master of Music from the Manhattan School of Music under the direction of Charles Neidich, Ricardo Morales, Alan Kay and David Krakauer.

Svetlana was born in Belgrade, Serbia, into a family of prominent Yugoslavian musicians. She studied at the prestigious Special High School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium of Music, Moscow, the Peabody Conservatorium, Baltimore, and the Cologne Hochschule of Music. In her student years she worked with legendary cellists, Daniel Shafran, Boris Pergamenshikov and Antonio Janigro. Even before she could perform, she was on stage at age 6 turning pages for her mother in performance with cellist Andre Navara.

In her professional years she has toured Europe, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand as a soloist and chamber musician include recent performances at the Belgrade International Cello Festival and the KotorArt festival in Montenegro. As an orchestral musician she held the position of Associate Principal Cello with the Rheinische Philharmonie and has worked with the North German Radio Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, Cologne Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony and Singapore Symphony Orchestras.

She is a founding member of the unique and critically acclaimed trio, Ensemble Liaison. With Ensemble Liaison she directs and performs a 3-concert series at the Melbourne Recital Centre along with regular performances for Musica Viva, ABC Classic FM, and appearances at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Port Fairy and Woodend festivals. She has collaborated with many wonderful Australian and International artists including Nemanja Radulovic, Emma Matthews, Cheryl Barker, Peter Coleman-Wright, Ray Chen, Wilma Smith, Henning Kraggerud, Paul Grabowsky, David Jones and Tony Gould.

Svetlana’s recordings with Ensemble Liaison of Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ for the Melba Recordings label and Trios of Brahms, Beethoven and Bruch for the Tall Poppies label have won high praise from critics around the world. Her other passion is for teaching where she teaches at cello and chamber music at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University.

Ben Opie is an oboist whose talents extend across the entire repertoire for oboe. He performs regularly at national and international festivals. Ben’s virtuosity, innovation and diversity and have led to performances of Bach in a goldmine, Mozart at 4am as part of Melbourne’s White Night as well as sell out performances in leading venues around Australia. His passion for contemporary music has led him to work with ensembles such as the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Opera Parallele, Ensemble Offspring and Magik*Magik Orchestra. He has performed at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music since its inception in 2013, and in 2015 presented a mixed media presentation of new  works including a world premiere House of the  Beehives by Melody Eotvos for flute, oboe, electronics  and  video  and  the  Australian premiere of Johannes Kretz’s Urban Gypsies for oboe & electronics. Ben has commissioned many new works for oboe and regularly gives both national and international  premieres.

He  has  had  extensive training in historically informed performance  practice,  studying  with leaders in  the field such as  Susan  Harvey  (USA),  Geoffrey Lancaster (Aus) and Genevieve Lacey (Aus). He  founded  Inventi  Ensemble  in  2014  and  is  currently  co-artistic  director. These ensembles have commissioned and premiered numerous new works by composers such as Luke Styles and Melody Eotvos and have performed in leading venues and festivals. Through Inventi Ensemble, Ben also established twice-weekly interactive music workshops in Melbourne’s immigration detention centres,  custom  workshops  for  the  visually  impaired  and  established  3  different  concert  series  in  local  communities  around Melbourne.

Ben has been working with orchestras around the world for his entire career; his diverse expertise and experience make him in demand as an orchestral musician. Ben  has  performed  in  Germany,  France,  Bahrain,  America  and  Australia  as  a  soloist, collaborative and orchestral musician. He holds degrees from the Australian National University (AUS), the Johannes Gutenberg Hochschule für Musik (Germany) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (USA).   His work across the globe has earned him multiple awards and recognitions in the field of  music, such as  the Phyllis C  Wattis Foundation Scholarship (USA), the San  Francisco Conservatory of  Music Award  for New Music  (USA), the  42nd International Summer  Course  for  New  Music  Scholarship,  Darmstadt  (Germany),  the  Carmel  Music  Competition  Finalist  (USA)  and  the Inaugural Double Reed Challenge, section Oboe winner (AUS).

Ben has collaborated with many different artists, including visual artists, poets, video installation artists, dancers, sound artists and radio documentary producers. Throughout his career he has been passionate about all art forms. He has also recently been involved in  working  with  indigenous  artists  in  remote  communities,  collaborating  with  them  musically  through  workshops  and performances. Ben has been engaged as an expert leader in his field, tutoring students from the Australian Youth Orchestra Young Symphonists program, several of the Melbourne Youth Music programs, masterclasses at the Australian National University, and was the oboe specialist for Graham Abbott’s ABC Classic FM Keys to Music broadcast. He was guest artist at the 2014 Australian Double Reed Society Conference and 2015 New Zealand Double Reed Society Conference and received an invitation to present at the 2015 International Double Reed Society conference in Japan.

For this year’s Albury Chamber Music Festival, Ben will be joined by the following musicians, comprising the Ben Opie Quartet:

Jenny Khafagi is a violinist born and educated in Brisbane, Australia, and has lived inMelbourne since 2010. A freelancer, Jenny plays regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s regional touring group, ACO Collective. Recently she has also travelled to New Zealand to perform as Guest Concertmaster of the Auckland Philharmonia, as well as appearing as Guest Concertmaster and Guest Associate Concertmaster of Orchestra Victoria in Melbourne.In 2012, Jenny was invited to join Syzygy Ensemble, a critically acclaimed contemporary classical music ensemble, which has since maintained regular residency at the Melbourne Recital Centre as Local Heroes. Syzygy has performed at the Metropolis New Music Festival, the Melbourne International Festival and the Queensland Festival, and was nominated for a Helpmann Award in 2012 for Best Chamber Music. Jenny is also a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ‘Inspire’ String Quartet, a group which provides live music education to disadvantaged students around Australia

William Clark was awarded a Bachelor of Music from Melbourne University where he was Principal Viola of the University Symphony and String Orchestras. From 2013-2015, Will completed ANAM’s Professional Performance Program as a student of Christopher Moore and Caroline Henbest. An enthusiastic performer of new music, William has premiered numerous Australian works as soloist and chamber musician by composers including Russell Gilmour, Don Kay and Larry Sitsky.

He has performed at the 2010 Perth International Festival, the 2011 Musica Viva Festival, the 2012 Four Winds Festival, the 2013 Perth international Festival, the 2014 Canberra International Music Festival, and in 2015 he will tour Australia as founding violist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Inspire Quartet. William performs regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s ACO2. With Affinity Collective, William won first prize in the 2015 ANAM Chamber Music Competition.

Paul Zabrowarny is a Melbourne-based cellist with a strong interest in contemporary repertoire. After completing a Bachelor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium under the guidance of Janis Laurs, Paul studied for four years at the Australian National Academy of Music. Paul has performed recitals throughout Australia and Europe and has appeared frequently as a soloist with a number of orchestras. He is also a keen chamber musician and is the cellist of the ACO Inspire String Quartet. Paul has performed in concerts that have been broadcast on radio and television, including solo performances on ABC Classic FM, Radio Suisse Romande and local radio in Adelaide and Melbourne.

In 2007, Paul received grants from the Ian Potter Foundation and the Australia Council to undertake a Master’s of Music Performance at the Conservatoire de Lausanne, Switzerland – in the class of Patrick Demenga. This study included a focus on performing contemporary music and exploring a variety of extended cello techniques. Paul has worked with many of the major Australian orchestras and performs regularly with Orchestra Victoria. Paul was an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and has continued to perform with ACO2.


Orpheus Piano Trio formed in early 2012. Comprising pianist Helena Kernaghan, violinist Kaori Sparks & cellist Sam Goble, the trio enjoy the challenge of being an interstate, rural dwelling ensemble with members calling Albury & Castlemaine home.

All members of the Orpheus Piano Trio are established performers in their own rights, and have gained experience performing and studying internationally throughout Europe, Asia and Australia. Sam and Helena have been collaborating in duo and trio combinations since meeting at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1997. Kaori and Helena first collaborated in 2011 for the Help Japan fundraiser concert series in their current hometown of Albury. In 2012 Orpheus Piano Trio presented a program of works by Schubert and Brahms for their concert series The Light & the Dark. These performances were well received by large crowds at venues in their hometowns, and they also performed at Melbourne’s Bennetts Lane jazz club for the 2012 William Poskitt Memorial Fundraiser concert.

Their 2013 concert series featured works by Beethoven, Brahms & Debussy, with successful performances as part of their regional tour in Albury, Wodonga, Bright, Wangaratta & Wagga Wagga. The Wangaratta concert was recorded live and released as their current CD.2014 included performances at The Capital Theatre Bendigo, St Matthews Church Albury & Holy Trinity Cathedral Wangaratta, with the inclusion of some duo repertoire and Shostakovich’s famous Trio Op.67. 2015 featured two performances in November – one at the Adamshurst Ballroom in Albury and Wagga’s Riverina Conservatorium with a program of all French works, featuring the magical Ravel Piano Trio. 2016 was an exciting year for the trio as they are featuring as Ensemble-in-Residence for the 1st annual Albury Chamber Music Festival. Recent performances include venues such as the Castlemaine Gaol, Cope-Williams Winery in Romsey, The Capital Theatre in Bendigo and South West Music, Deniliquin. They will be recording an album in 2017 featuring trios by Dvorak and Shostakovich.

Helena Kernaghan finished her Masters in Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2005 under the tuition of Dr Donna Coleman. She commenced her studies in 1996 at the VCA under the tuition of Caroline Almonte, and soon established herself as an accomplished chamber musician, accompanist and soloist. In 1997 she established the Abraxas Piano Trio which featured Sam Goble on cello, and this was when Helena & Sam first began collaborating on musical projects. In 2002 she commenced her Masters degree and worked as an accompanist and performer until leaving Melbourne at the end of 2005. Performance highlights during this time included performing as soloist in Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques at Government House, a duo piano recital with Will Poskitt of Stravinsky’sLe Sacre du Printemps at the ABCs Iwaki Auditorium, and soloist in Gerswhin’sRhapsody in Blue with The Opus 21 Big Band. Since 2006 Helena has lived in Albury enjoying the challenge of teaching and maintaining an active performing life. In this time she has focused on family life, classroom and private teaching, MD work for productions, working with the Orpheus Piano Trio and continuing her work as a duo-pianist. In recent times he has performed with Donna Coleman, Shanul Sharma, Sally-Anne Russell and is currently Artistic Director for the Albury Chamber Music Festival.

Sam Goble finished his degree studying under Tim Walden and Josie Vains in 2006 at the Victorian College of the Arts. In 1996 he was awarded a Melbourne Symphony Young Artist Award for which he chose the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto in A minor to workshop and broadcast. Other awards include the Piers Coepmore Scholarship for Cellists, and in 1999 he won the John Gaitskell Mensa Memorial Award for the most outstanding end of degree recital for that year. In 2000, Sam toured with the Cologne Youth Philharmonic through Wales and Northern France, in part as soloist. Returning to Australia in 2001, he in 2002 recommenced study for Honours, again at VCA. In 2004 he completed the first year of his Masters degree and went to Germany to study at the Hannover Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany for three semesters with Tilmann Wick, returning in 2006. He now works as a freelance cellist and teacher.

Kaori Sparks (nee Nogi) was born in Sukagwa City, Fukushima-ken, Japan. She began playing violin at the age of four and gained entry to the Musashino Music University in Tokyo. She studied violin, viola and piano there, graduating in 2002. She studied violin under Hiroshi Nishida, Robert Davidovich and Katsuya Matsubara; violin-piano duo with Georgi Badev, and chamber music with Sandor Nagy and Kalman Berkes. Kaori toured Europe as a member of the Tokyo-Budapest String Quartet, and Tokyo-Budapest Ensemble five times between 2004-2006, under the directorship of concert clarinettist and conductor, Kalman Berkes. She performed at various music festivals including: Zell am See Music Festival (Austria) in 2005-06; Salzburg Open Air Mozart Festival 2005; Budapest String Festival 2005-06. She also performed with the Salzburg Festival Orchestra and Hungarian National Orchestra. In 2005 the Tokyo-Budapest Ensemble received sponsorship from the EU Cultural Exchange Committee and held recitals at the Hungarian Embassy and Tsuda Hall in Tokyo. The latter venue saw the world premiere of Hungarian pianist/composer Gyorgy Vukan’s Five Jokes. Kaori scaled back her concert performances in 2007 and concentrated on teaching, both adults and children. She and her family relocated to Albury, Australia in early 2009.

Ria Angelika Polo was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. She began to learn piano aged five and then organ from the age of eight. She was awarded International Undergraduate Music Scholarship from The University of Melbourne. At the age of 22, she obtained a Master of Music Studies (Performance/Teaching) majoring in piano, under the guidance of Professor Max Cooke OAM.

Ria has been performing the organ at various places such as Melbourne Town Hall, Scots’ Church, St. Michael’s Uniting Church, St Paul’s Cathedral, Ormond College at The University of Melbourne and events such as Southern Grampians Promenade of Sacred Music and Open House Melbourne. In 2013 she won the Warrnambool Eisteddfod Organ Competition and in 2014 she played the theme for ABC TV’s Q & A program when it was recorded live at the Melbourne Town Hall. Ria gave her first solo concert on the Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ at the Organ-ic Lunch concert and The Scots’ Church International Organ Series in 2015.

Ria was the Organ Scholar at Scots’ Church from 2014-2015 under the guidance of Douglas Lawrence OAM and promoted as Assistant Organist in 2016. Ria is also a piano teacher, accompanist, music arranger and music director of Ria Music Design Studio. She also teaches at Monash University Foundation Year. For more information, please visit www.riaangelika.com

In just seven years Acacia Quartet has won great respect for their versatile and inventive programs which couple established repertoire with the unorthodox. Acacia has recorded six albums – three of which earned nominations for an ARIA Award for ‘Best Classical Album’ and an APRA-AMCOS Art Music ‘Award for Excellence’. Their CD recordings ‘Blue Silence’ of the complete works for string quartet by Elena Kats-Chernin and ‘An AIDS Activist’s Memoir’ by Lyle Chan have both received ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Limelight Magazine.

Acacia are passionate about supporting Australian composers, working with young musicians and sharing their love of music with audiences of all ages. Their performances feature regularly on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music 102.5 and Qantas In-flight Entertainment. Acacia’s most recent recording ‘I Was Flying’ with ARIA award winning pianist and composer Sally Whitwell for ABC Classics reached #2 on the Classical iTunes Top 100 Chart and became an ARIA finalist in 2015.

In addition to their special relationship with composers Kats-Chernin, Chan and Whitwell, Acacia has worked closely with composers Gordon Kerry, Joe Chindamo, Moya Henderson, Jeremy Rose, Nicholas Vines, Ross Fiddes, Nick Wales, Andrew Batt-Rawden and Joe Twist. They have collaborated with leading Australian pianists Phillip Shovk, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Gerard Williams and Sally Whitwell, clarinetists David Griffiths and David Rowden,violist Emile Cantor, bassoonist Kim Walker, flautist Jane Rutter, saxophonist Nick Russoniello and Michael Duke, didgeridoo player William Barton and sopranos Anna Fraser, Jane Sheldon and Amelia Farrugio.

Acacia has performed at the Melbourne Recital Hall, Sydney Opera House, City Recital Hall, The Concourse Sydney, the National Galleries of VIC and NSW (Resonate Series), the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, the Peninsular Summer Music Festival, the Bowral Autumn Music Festival, Four Winds Pavilion, Albury Music Festival, Bellingen Music Festival, Music By The Sea Festival in Brisbane and at the Roundhouse in Vancouver, Canada. In May this year Acacia Quartet was invited by the Christine Raphael Foundation in Germany to perform four concerts in Berlin and record the debut album of three of Günter Raphael’s six string quartets. This album is due for release at the end of 2018.







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