2018 MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL PIANO AND STRINGS FESTIVAL
Miranda Brockman (Cello)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Miranda Brockman has been a permanent cellist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 1999. She completed a Masters Degree in Music Performance at Melbourne University with Nelson Cooke. Her earlier teachers were Christian Wojtowicz, Marianne Hunt and Kate Finnis. She has performed as principal cellist and soloist with a number of Australian orchestras, including the Australian Pops Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Miranda is a keen chamber musician. As a child she played in the Brockman String Quartet and in later life was a member of the prize-winning Lyric Trio at Melbourne University. She was a founding member of Trio Anima Mundi and regularly appears in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chamber Music Series of concerts. Her playing has been broadcast on both ABC FM and 3MBS FM. As a cello teacher Miranda has over two decades of experience both privately and through giving master classes. She regularly oversees young cellists in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Mentor programme and also acts as an examiner for Monash University and the audition panel for Melbourne Youth Music’s instrumental groups.
Dobbs Franks (Conductor)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
World-renowned conductor Dobbs Franks has a career spanning over 50 years, conducting symphony, opera, ballet, music theatre and chamber ensembles. He is also an accomplished vocal, conducting and piano teacher. Dobbs holds a Masters degree from the Julliard School of Music, New York, where he also taught for a number of years. He was also a teaching faculty at the Manhattan School of Music and at the Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music at Monash University. As a conductor, soloist, and chamber musician, Dobbs has performed in 49 of the 50 states in the USA, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Israel, Scotland, Ireland, Greece, Switzerland England, Korea, Indonesia, China, Japan, Philippines, Turkey, Hong Kong and Thailand. He has held several distinguished positions, including being the music director of the Australian Ballet, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Ballet, the conductor of Opera Australia and the Head of Music of the Australian Opera Studio. Dobbs has also been a guest conductor of orchestras including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, International Foundation for Arts and Culture in Japan, Peking Opera and Dance Orchestra and Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra in China. Most notable among Dobbs’ premiere performances are the Australian premiers of West Side Story (1960) and Porgy and Bess (1965). He has also released over twenty CD and DVD recordings.
Kenji Fujimura (Piano)
Deputy Head of School
Associate Professor Kenji Fujimura is an internationally-renowned concert pianist and composer with over twenty years of teaching experience at the tertiary level. He is frequently invited to give concerts and masterclasses throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, ABC-FM and TV, MBS-FM, and Bravo! Canada. His recordings have received international acclaim from prestigious publications such as the Gramophone and were awarded prizes such as the 2013 Musicweb International Recording of the Year, 2014 Limelight Magazine Recording of the Year for Chamber Music, and 2015 Musicweb International Recording of the Month etc.. He is a founding member of Trio Anima Mundi and is also a prize-winning composer, having won numerous awards including the William Lincer Foundation International Composition Award in New York and the Singapore Asian Composers Festival etc.. In 2015, Associate Professor Fujimura was invited to become an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, for his outstanding contributions to music. He is currently Deputy Head at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University and an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board.
Lisa Grosman (Violin/Viola)
Lecturer in Strings
Lisa Grosman began learning violin at the age of five and was the Concertmaster of the Australian Youth Orchestra. She studied with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Australian Institute of Music before receiving a scholarship to study viola with Professor Bruno Giuranna at the University of Limerick, where she completed her Master of Arts in Classical String Performance. For 15 years, Lisa was a member of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, during which time she toured extensively throughout Europe, America and Asia, and worked with directors such as Anthony Marwood, Pekka Kuusisto, Richard Tognetti, Maxim Vengerov, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Jorg Widmann and Steven Isserlis. For four years, Lisa was the Director of Strings for the Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Education and Outreach Project, and she was also the solo violist with the contemporary music group “Crash Ensemble” for nine years. Since to returning to Australia, Lisa has been Guest Principal Viola of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She is currently lecturer in strings at Monash University.
Ian Holtham (Piano)
Head of Keyboard
The University of Melbourne
Professor Ian Holtham is one of the most distinguished and highly-regarded pianists and pedagogues in Australia. He has performed throughout Europe, Asia and Australia and has broadcast regularly with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, appearing as a soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as well as with other orchestras and conductors. He has also adjudicated all the major musical awards and scholarships in Australia and given masterclasses internationally. Since 1995, Professor Holtham has released numerous recordings, including the complete Etudes, Preludes, Ballades, Scherzi, and Impromptus of Chopin, the piano music of Robert Schumann and Beethoven, the complete Well Tempered Clavier by J.S. Bach, and a collection of new piano compositions dedicated to him by Australian composers. All of Professor Holtham’s CDs have received critical acclaim and are testimony to his breadth and depth as a musician. Professor Holtham is a Steinway artist and has been the Chair of the Australian Music Examinations Board at both the state and federal levels. He was also the inaugural Head of Studies at the Australian National Academy of Music. Since 1998, he has held the position of Head of Keyboard at The University of Melbourne.
Tamara Smoylar (Piano)
Coordinator of Piano
Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Tamara Smolyar represents the finest traditions of the famous Russian piano school and comes from a family of musicians spanning over four generations. Tamara graduated from the Kiev State Conservatorium of Music with High Honours and gained a Master in Music (Performance) degree from the University of Melbourne. She has recorded for Russian Radio and Television, 3MBS FM, ABC Classic FM, and has appeared on SBS and China's National Television. She is a winner of the First Chamber Music Competition (Ukraine) and was also awarded the title of Best Accompanist of Ukraine and USSR. Since arriving in Australia in 1990, Tamara has been in constant demand as a teacher, lecturer, adjudicator, and performer. She has performed recitals, concertos, chamber music, and taught masterclasses throughout Australia, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Romania. With over twenty-five years of teaching experience, Tamara has fostered generations of students who now themselves respected teachers. Tamara is currently Coordinator of Keyboard at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University.
Len Vorster (Piano)
Len Vorster left South Africa for Australia in 1983 after completing post-graduate piano studies with the eminent pianist Lamar Crowson at the University of Cape Town. He made his concerto debut with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in 1976, and has recorded Michael Easton's Concerto on Australian Themes with the State Orchestra of Victoria for Naxos. He also gave first performances of the work in Italy, Hungary, Germany, and with the Royal Academy Orchestra in London in 2001. Len has released numerous solo and chamber music recordings and received many awards, including a Gramophone Magazine award for his Naxos recording of Holst's The Planets. With Merlyn Quaife, he was also nominated for an Aria award for his Naxos recording of music by Manuel de Falla. In 2001 he formed a duo with David Berlin, Principal Cellist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The Berlin Vorster Duo toured Taiwan in 2003 and their CD Reflections was re-released for the Taiwan market. Len Vorster is the founding Artistic Director of Port Fairy Spring Music Festival. He is currently on the piano staff at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.