In early 2017 the orchestra of the CANBERRA BACH ENSEMBLE (CBE) will transition from modern to Baroque instruments and down to Baroque pitch, A=415Hz.
When the CBE was established in 1999, the use of Baroque instruments in Australia was much less widespread than it is today, and (with one or two notable exceptions) generally confined to smaller, specialised chamber ensembles and individual Baroque music specialists scattered around Australia. At that time, it was a very difficult task to outfit an entire orchestra on Baroque instruments to perform Bach's cantatas, particularly in Canberra.
In the intervening years since then, the of use of Baroque instruments has grown substantially around the country. Many of Australia's pioneering Baroque musicians who went to Europe to study and play have since returned and have passed on their skills to students here. Thanks to this substantial dissemination of these beautiful instruments and musical skills, it has become feasible for the CBE to begin the process of integrating them into our concert performances of Bach Cantatas.
The CANBERRA BACH ENSEMBLE was successfully relaunched in late 2016 with 2 performance programs of 8 Bach cantatas, firstly BWV 119, 131, 138 and 34, followed closely by an Advent program BWV 61, 36, 62 and 140. It became evident that we would need to introduce Baroque instruments into the CBE orchestra to improve the sound, pitching, intonation and balance issues of what is expected of a Bach Cantata performance group today. During this time, the CBE was very pleased to hear from Baroque musician colleagues around the country who indicated their support for the CANBERRA BACH ENSEMBLE and are interested in taking part in its future performances.
Viola da Gamba - The Marais Project
Jennifer Eriksson completed her initial musical studies at the then NSW State Conservatorium of Music studying music education and cello with Barbara Woolley. Her first viola da gamba lessons were undertaken with Catherine Finnis in Sydney. She subsequently studied the viola da gamba with Jaap ter Linden at the Rotterdam Conservatorium for three years where she completed post-graduate studies in baroque music. She formed The Marais Project in 2000. Jennifer also directs the Musica Viva in Schools ensemble, Sounds Baroque. She was a founding member of the viol consort, “Seaven Teares” and in collaboration with renowned jazz musicians Matt McMahon and Matt Keegan, she assembled “Elysian Fields”, Australia’s only electric viola da gamba group, in 2015.
Since returning to Australia from Australia in 1988 Jennifer has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Victorian State Opera Orchestra, Salút Baroque, Opera Australia, the Renaissance Players, The Early Dance Consort, The Sydney Consort, Sydney Chamber Choir, The Parsons Affayre and numerous other ensembles.
Viola da Gamba
Catherine Upex studied the ‘cello with Dorothy Sumner and Georg Pedersen, obtaining her AmusA in 1990. As a member of the SBS Youth Orchestra she toured Europe, Taiwan and the Pacific and participated in several recordings for SBS Television. Catherine completed her Bachelor of Music (Honours) at Sydney University in 1997, performing the Saint-Saëns ‘cello concerto with the Sydney University Orchestra. She has also made several chamber music recordings for 2MBS FM and ABC FM. During this period, Catherine studied viola da gamba with Jennifer Eriksson. She has performed on the instrument in several ensembles including The Renaissance Players, the Conservatorium Baroque Orchestra, Salut! Baroque, The Sydney Consort, Lautetia, La Folia, the Opera Project and Zarabanda. Catherine enjoys teaching ‘cello in several Sydney schools. Along with lutenist Tommie Andersson, Catherine has been a member of The Marais Project from the founding of the ensemble in 2000 and has performed in virtually every concert. She regularly appears with Jennifer Eriksson as a duo and has toured interstate with her on several occasions.
Oboe, Oboe d'amore, Oboe da caccia
Aaron has performed on modern and historical oboes throughout Australia and the United States. In Australia, Aaron has performed with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Victorian Opera, Ludovico's Band, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Lyric Opera – Melbourne, Sydney Philharmonia and as principal oboe with the Early Music Ensemble at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. As a modern oboist, Aaron held principal positions with Melbourne Opera and the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and performed as guest principal oboe with The Metropolitan Orchestra – Sydney. Most recently Aaron performed in the Melbourne production of Les Miserables.
Moving to NYC in July 2012, Aaron performed with many ensembles including Juilliard 415 (The Juilliard School), Manhattan School of Music, American Baroque Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Sebastians Chamber Orchestra, New Opera New York, Symphonie des Dragon (Boston Early Music Festival), Operamission, Early Music New York and Grande Harmonie. Aaron was a guest artist at the Boston Early Music Festival and performed in the BEMF Fringe concerts. Aaron was a founding member of the NYC based wind quintet “Vortex Street”.
Aaron studied modern oboe at the Victorian College of Arts, Melbourne with Anne Gilby and Stephen Robinson and baroque oboe with Kirsten Barry.
Andrew commenced oboe studies at Victorian College of the Arts in 1987 and completed a Graduate Diploma at la Trobe University before undertaking a Masters degree at the University or Western Australia (awarded 2002). Andrew has a strong interest in Baroque music and plays on historic copies with several ensembles, including the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Melbourne Bach Ensemble. He has appeared at many festivals including the Melbourne International festival. His professional playing feeds into his teaching and uses it to inspire and energize his students.
Jennifer initially focussed on Boehm flute and piccolo but transitioned to traverso in 2007. She studied under Melissa Farrow and completed her BMus Honours at the University of NSW in 2008. She then completed her Masters of Cultural Material Conservation at the University of Melbourne in 2010, writing her thesis on the Conservation of simple system flutes in museum collections. During this time she studied with Greg Dikmans and played traverso with the Melbourne Conservatorium Baroque Orchestra, performing Bach Cantatas, chamber music and Charpentier’s Les Arts Florissants. Jennifer also performs on other simple system flutes particularly traditional Irish and Australian music and is thrilled to join the Canberra Bach Ensemble for this concert.
Robyn Mellor studied recorder in Perth with Nicholas Lander, then from 1986-1988 in the Netherlands with Leo Meilink in Utrecht and Michael Barker in the Hague. Since returning to Australia Robyn has performed extensively on the recorder in solo recitals and in chamber groups, with a repertoire ranging between medieval, renaissance and baroque styles and avant garde contemporary music. She was a founding member of the Ensemble of the Golden Age, presenting historically informed baroque performances in Sydney, Canberra and Newcastle, and has performed with many of Australia’s leading recorder players and other outstanding early music specialists over the past 30 years in Australia and New Zealand. Her performances have been broadcast on ABC FM and Radio New Zealand.
At the same time, Robyn has pursued a career as a music educator and administrator (as musical director of Canberra’s Music for Everyone), and is much in demand as a recorder teacher both privately and for recorder workshops throughout Australia. Robyn is the director of women’s vocal ensemble, Polifemy and the leader of the recorder group Walking the Dog; she has in recent years presented diverse concerts of early and modern music in Canberra with these groups, and has also appeared in Canberra’s international chamber music festival.
Robyn has performed with the Canberra Bach Ensemble in both its earlier and current incarnations. In the forthcoming concert she will perform on a baroque treble recorder at A=415 pitch made for her in Australia by Joanne Saunders.
Graduating with high distinction from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Matthew also studied at the ANU School of Music where he was awarded the Erica Haas prize for the most outstanding instrumentalist of the year. Since graduating he has accepted a position studying at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and has enjoyed numerous professional engagements with Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Canberra Symphony Orchestra. In addition to orchestral work, Matthew pursues a vibrant chamber music career, having recorded professionally with Lunaire Collective and performed with Ensemble Q, Ensemble Ephemeron, and Aquilo Quintet with whom he won the 4MBS Ross Peters Chamber Music Prize. As a soloist, he has performed concerti with the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra and presented numerous solo recitals. His most recent success saw him awarded First Prize at the Australasian Double Reed Competition (Elite Section). Matthew’s recent explorations into historical performance have led to studying baroque bassoon under Brock Imison and Lyndon Watts, with additional lessons or workshops with Dominic Teresi (The Juilliard School & Tafelmusik), and Howard Penny (former Head of Historical Performance Practice at Mozarteum in Salzburg). He was awarded first prize in the 2016 Baroque Competition of the Australasian Double Reed Society and looks forward to further performances on historical bassoon with the Canberra Bach Ensemble.
Cornetto - Baroque Trumpet
John Foster is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of performance on historical trumpets and cornetto, and is the Artistic Director of the renowned ensemble Australian Baroque Brass . John has also been a member of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 2001-2013. John has appeared as soloist at festivals and concert series worldwide and performed as soloist with many leading orchestras and ensembles, including: the Sydney Symphony, Sydney Philharmonia, Queensland Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Norwich Baroque (United Kingdom) among others. In 2011 John also performed J.S.Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.2 with Belgium's leading baroque orchestra 'Il Fundamento'. John was also a soloist for the launch of the Kammerorchester Basel (Switzerland) 2012 season.
He has made several solo recordings including: 'Flourish' (ABC Classics), 'Music of a Golden Age Vol.1', 'Revolution' vol.2, 'Trumpets of the Realm' vol.3 (Tubicium Records). John is dedicated to education and has given master classes throughout the world, including at the Juilliard School of Music (USA), Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester), the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Northwestern University (Chicago), Indiana University, Bern University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland), and Conservatorio da Belo Horizonte (Brazil) among numerous others.
In 2010 John released a book: 'The Natural Trumpet and Other Related Instruments' (http://www.kookaburramusic.com/page21/trumpet.html), which has received great critical acclaim. He is also the owner and curator of Australia’s largest collection of historical trumpets, which he enjoys exhibiting throughout Australia. John recently made a guest appearances on ABC television series the "Collectors" and live performances on 'The Morning Show'...
Baroque Trumpet / Baroque Horn
Simon graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Performance) with first class honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2008 and went on to complete a Diploma of Early Music in 2009, specialising in Baroque Trumpet under Leanne Sullivan. He has also had the privilege to undertake further study with many of the leading baroque trumpet players in the world such as Friedemann Immer, Niklas Eklund and David Staff.
While Simon does not pursue professional music full time, he has performed in the US, UK, Europe and Asia and works with many of Australia’s leading Early Music practitioners in the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Bach Academie Australia, Bach Band @ St James and Australian Baroque Brass. This year he made his Baroque horn debut playing 1st Trumpet and Solo Horn in Bach’s B Minor Mass with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs at the Sydney Opera House.