We are proud to have a full program of seven concerts lined up once again for the 2023 Season of Song. Please continue to keep an eye on announcements on this page or via email regarding changes in program or ticket availability. Subscribe to our email list on the Contact page or make sure to check this page a few days before each concert to be aware of changes in performers, times, et cetera. If you have booked tickets for a performance, you will of course be notified of changes if you have provided a valid email address that you regularly check.

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Season of Song Concert 1

Schumann and Britten – Love and War

Sunday 26th February at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Kent McIntosh (tenor), Robert Johnson (horn), Sharolyn Kimmorley AM (piano) and Rob Wilton (speaker) (Tasman Soloists)

The Tasman Soloists take you from the depths of love lost to the heights of love gained via the lyrical brilliance of Robert Schumann. Rob Wilton joins us, reciting poems by Edith Sitwell in ‘The Heart of the Matter’ by Benjamin Britten. This haunting work explores London’s Blitz in World War 2. Folk songs and a sparkling G&S favourite conclude this wonderful and varied program.

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Season of Song Concert 2

Touches of Sweet Harmony

Sunday 2nd April at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Christina Wilson (mezzo-soprano) and Alan Hicks (piano)

The works of William Shakespeare are rich with reference to songs, singing and the power of music. His own lyrics and verse have been crafted by composers into a vast treasury of songs. The selection for this program ranges from Elizabethan, through inspired German and French translations, to contemporary English and Australian settings.

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Season of Song Concert 3

Women Who Move the Heart

Sunday 21st May at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Sonia Anfiloff (soprano) and Alan Hicks (piano)

Mathilde Wesendonck, Emily Dickinson and Amy Beach, three women who have made an impact with the pen, either in poetry or the poetry of music. Join Sonia Anfiloff and Alan Hicks for a journey through big emotions of love and tragedy as only women know how, the nature of human emotion and the emotions of Nature’s seasons.

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Members’ soiree

Members’ soiree

Sunday 4th June at 3pm
St Albans Church, 34 Chappell street, Lyons

In a manner reminiscent of the earliest Lieder societies, members will sing a few songs for each other, their friends and other members. Two accompanists will be available, but you can sing with your own accompanist if you prefer. If you wish to take part, please contact Peter Chandler (peterchandler416 [at] gmail [dot] com or 02 6230 3490) by 14 May to discuss details.

All members are very welcome to attend this free event as part of the audience on the day.

Season of Song Concert 4

Expressionist Impressions

Sunday 23rd July at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Sarahlouise Owens (soprano) and Katherine Day (piano)

During the ages composers have striven to find their voice and the musical tone of their time. The sound palette flowing from the 19th century to the 20th brought rich colours and diversity in music and the expression of their storytelling in songs.
With influences from the jazz era and the turbulence of two wars, the richness of music was expansive. Featuring works of Strauss, Marx, Zemlinsky, Jentsch, Debussy and Franz.

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Masterclass by Liane Keegan

Saturday 5th August at 2pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Applications are now invited from advanced students (not necessarily tertiary) of classical voice and from voice-piano duos, to participate in a masterclass with Liane Keegan, renowned Australian dramatic contralto and teacher. Canberra based singers are encouraged to apply. Please access further information and call for applications here .

Audience members will be welcome, to book tickets online please click here

Season of Song Concert 5

Die schöne Müllerin

Sunday 3rd September at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Brenton Spiteri (tenor) and Andrea Katz (piano) (Songmakers Australia)

Songmakers Australia celebrates 200 years of Die schöne Müllerin (The Fair Maid of the Mill), a song cycle based on 20 poems written by Wilhelm Müller. I feel myself to be the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world. Imagine a man whose health will never be right again, and who in sheer despair over this ever makes things worse and worse, instead of better; imagine a man, I say, whose most brilliant hopes have perished, to whom the happiness of love and friendship have nothing to offer but pain… My peace is gone, my heart is sore, I shall find it never and nevermore… I may well sing now, for each night, on retiring to bed, I hope I may not wake again…. With these poignant words Schubert described his state of mind after writing Die schöne Müllerin.

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Season of Song Concert 6

The Mysterious Forest

Sunday 15th October at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

Susannah Lawergren (soprano) and Bernadette Harvey (piano)

Pianist Bernadette Harvey joins soprano Susannah Lawergren for a selection of songs about the
mysteries of nature, bookended by two versions of ‘The Forest’ by Mozart and Ross Edwards. Nestled
between exquisite cycles of songs by Mozart, Grieg, Haydn and Edwards, we are brought briefly back
to reality in Katy Abbott’s ‘The Domestic Sublime’, where laundry is considered as worthy of poetry
and music as Nature and conclude with the most mysterious, beautifully atmospheric songs in the
program, Ross Edwards’ ‘Five Australian Songs’, written between 1979 and 2021, the final one
written especially for Susannah and Bernadette.

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Season of Song Concert 7

America Sings!

Sunday 19th November at 3pm
Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest

A.J. America (mezzo-soprano) and Roland Peelman (piano)

From Kurt Weill to Australia’s own Peggy Glanville Hicks, composers flocked to the United States during the 20th century. Some were searching for new opportunity, but many were fleeing atrocities across Europe. At the same time, American Art Song emerged out of its German romantic roots and started to find its own character. In America Sings, AJ America and Roland Peelman explore the changing world of American Art Song.

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The Artists

Born in Auckland, Kent McIntosh began his professional musical life as a full time French Horn player in the RNZ Navy Band. He studied music in Wellington, Sydney and at the Canberra School of Music, where he graduated M.Mus in 2001. Roles include Tamino and Monostatos in the Magic Flute, title role: Albert Herring, Quint: The Turn of the Screw, (Canberra) Servant/Chauffeur: Capriccio, Registrar: Madama Butterfly (Opera Australia). Highlights as oratorio soloist include Messiah, St John Passion, Monteverdi Vespers, Bach B minor Mass, CPE Bach and JS Bach Magnificats, Carmina Burana, Elijah, The Creation, Puccini’s Gloria and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Kent has given numerous recitals in the ACT, Sydney, Melbourne, Regional NSW and NZ. He performed with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in several concerts, and also at the Opera Australia 2004 NYE Gala. Kent has been broadcast twice on ABC Classic FM, most recently in the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings on ‘Sunday Live’. Kent has enjoyed 23 years either part or full-time in the chorus at Opera Australia, performing on over 3000 occasions with the company.

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Robert Johnson studied the French horn at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. After holding the principal horn positions with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Opera Australia Orchestra, he was appointed Principal Horn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1986, a position he retired from in 2017. During his time with the SSO, he performed as soloist in works by Mozart, Richard Strauss, Benjamin Britten and Ross Edwards, and in 2005 he was the horn soloist in the SSO’s first performance of Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars.
In 2009 he commissioned and premiered with the SSO a new horn concerto, Lightfall, by Sydney composer Christopher Gordon. He has also appeared as guest principal with all the major Australian orchestras, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He has played chamber music with the Australia Ensemble, Sydney Soloists and New Sydney Wind Quintet, and has appeared at the Huntington and Townsville chamber music festivals. As a teacher he has worked as Senior Horn Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Canberra School of Music, and he has appeared as Artist in Residence at universities and music schools in Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Hong Kong. In addition to playing the horn, he sings Mediæval and Renaissance songs in his ‘other life’ as a countertenor and has conducted ensembles of musicians from the SSO on a number of occasions as The Chamber Soloists of Sydney in “off the beaten track” repertoire.

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After studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sharolyn Kimmorley joined the Music Staff of The Australian Opera and has assisted in the preparation of a vast range of works with many distinguished singers and conductors. In 1985 she became Principal Repetiteur for The Australian Opera and in 1987 was appointed Head of Music Staff. From 1994 to 1999 she was the company’s Artistic Administrator, following which she was Opera Australia’s Director of Music Administration until June 2003.
Sharolyn is regarded as one of Australia’s finest vocal coaches and accompanists. She has recorded for ABC Classics, taken part in Chamber Music Concerts, and accompanied some of the world’s most distinguished recitalists including Dame Joan Sutherland, Håkan Hagegård, Neil Rosenshein, Bryn Terfel, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Sir Thomas Allen, Désirée Rancatore, Barbara Bonney, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, David Hobson, Keith Lewis, Yvonne Kenny, Inessa Galante, Dennis O’Neill, Ian Bostridge, Kathleen Battle, Jonathan Lemalu, Peter Coleman-Wright and Cheryl Barker.
In January 2009 Sharolyn became a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work as an accompanist and the nurturing and mentoring of emerging artists. Sharolyn is currently Artistic Adviser to the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust, Artistic Director of The Opera Club (Christchurch) Chorus Director for Opera New Zealand (Christchurch) and Guest Vocal Coach at the Tiroler Festspiele in Erl, Austria.

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Rob Wilton studied English and Politics at ANU and University of Sydney. He has also studied medicine, history, philosophy and navigation. He taught English, History and other subjects at Narrabundah and Phillip (Canberra) Colleges for over three decades. He maintains a strong interest in literature, history, poetry and music.

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Winner of the Australian Singing Competition’s Marianne Mathy Award and prize-winning graduate of The Canberra School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and the National Opera Studio, London, mezzo-soprano Christina Wilson has appeared in performances throughout the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia. She has sung as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, Canterbury Cathedral and in recital at the Wigmore Hall, the Temple Square and the Paris Conservatoire. With Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Belfast Opera and the State Opera of South Australia she has sung the roles of Clitemnestre, Carmen, Cenerentola, Rosina, Cherubino, Dido, Dorabella and in recent years for Handel in Theatre, the roles of David (Saul), Irene (Theodora), Dejanira (Hercules) and Storgé (Jephtha) staged at the Canberra Playhouse and conducted by Brett Weymark.
Christina is currently a core member of Songmakers Australia, Australia’s only professional art song ensemble, performing regularly at the Melbourne Recital Centre in concert and broadcast for ABC Classic FM. As an artist with the Flowers of War project, she has sung in concert around Australia, in Paris and Amiens, France and Oxford and London, as well in recordings for the Australian War Memorial and ABC Classics – in 2017 A race against Time, songs of Frederick Septimus Kelly with Alan Hicks, piano and in 2019 with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in a selection of Kelly songs orchestrated by the project director, Christopher Latham. A Lecturer in Voice at the ANU (2009-12) and in Voice and Performance at the University of Canberra (2013-18), she is now Sydney-based and teaches Classical Song and Voice Works at the Sydney University Conservatorium Open Academy and is a Performance Tutor at UNSW. She has given masterclasses at AIM, NIDA, die Universität fur darstellende Kunst, Vienna, and adjudicated at the Sydney, National, Wollongong and Taree Eidsteddfods and the Melbourne Liederfest.

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Alan Hicks is one of Australia’s foremost vocal coaches and accompanists. Formerly a staff member at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and Head of Voice (2008-12) at the ANU Canberra School of Music, he currently works in Vocal and Opera Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as coach, accompanist and tutor in diction. After postgraduate study at the RNCM in Manchester Alan remained in the UK for 15 years, performing in song and chamber recitals at the Wigmore Hall, St Johns Smith Square, the Purcell Room, Three Choirs Festival, for Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now! and in recordings and broadcasts for the BBC. Recent recital, theatre and festival work include the world premieres of The Diggers Requiem in Amiens, France and The Weight of Light at The Street Theatre, Canberra, where he also performed as Alain/Claude in the award-winning Bijou, subsequently touring NSW and in seasons at La Mama Courthouse, Melbourne, the Depot Theatre, Sydney, and The Butterfly Club, Melbourne. He is a member of the Trio Campanaccio, an official accompanist for the Australian Flute Festival, and the Australian Opera Foundation. A regular performer in The Flowers of War project concerts, in 2016 Alan recorded songs of Frederick Septimus Kelly for the ABC Classics CD A Race Against Time, and in 2018, completed a major project for the Australian War Memorial, recording 100 songs and pieces of music from the AWM’s collection of sheet music which can now be heard via this website: https://www.awm.gov.au/visit/exhibitions-online/Music-WW1

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Sonia Anfiloff moved to Vienna in 2010 after completing a Master of Music degree, majoring in voice performance, at the ANU where she was the recipient of the Kornfeld Scholarship. That year she performed the role of Dido and was awarded third prize in the Australian National Eisteddfod Aria Competition. Whilst studying at the ANU School of Music she performed many roles, including Sly in the world premiere of Grimm and the Blue Crown Owl, written by Joshua McHugh, and Minna in Rautavaara’s Gift of the Magi for the Canberra International Music Festival.
During her studies and since her graduation, Sonia has performed often as a soloist in several Requiems, Masses and Passions. 2009 marked the beginning of Sonia’s touring career, when she revisited her role as a Dame in Co-Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. In 2012 Sonia performed Strauss’s Four Last Songs in Vienna. In 2013 she was awarded first prizes in the Australian National Eisteddfod and the Orange Eisteddfod and was a quarter-finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod. 2013-14 had Sonia performing her first role in Vienna as Elisabetta in Verdi’s Don Carlo. While living abroad, Sonia returned to her home town of Canberra in most years to give numerous Embassy concerts, to compete in competitions and perform in oratorios and recitals throughout Victoria, NSW and the ACT. In 2018 Sonia was an Artist in Residence at The Street Theatre.
Having returned to Canberra in 2019, Sonia is now Head of Choirs at Canberra Girls Grammar School and lecturer in voice at ANU School of Music, while continuing with as many performance opportunities as available.

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Sarahlouise Owens graduated from ANU BMus (Hons) and postgraduate studies from Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. She has worked in many of Europe’s illustrious theatres, such as, Brussels’ La Monnaie, Paris Chatelet, Theater Hagen, Frankfurt and Hannover, including several years with the Bayreuth Wagner Festival. She was also engaged with WDR (Cologne Radio). Since her return to Australia in 2007, Sarahlouise has established herself as a concert artist and recitalist of art song, as well as a conductor of community choirs. She has been soloist with the Canberra Choral Society, University of Canberra Chorale, National Capital Orchestra and the Canberra International Music Festival, as well as given regular recitals for Art Song Canberra and Wesley Music Centre. She co-established ‘Opera in a Nutshell’ which performed La Traviata, and an early music ensemble, ‘Les musettes’. Her next project is to source enough funding to commission a show based on the incredible adventures of the world’s first truly international Diva, Anna Bishop. To learn more, please see: www.cantaviva.com/the-bishop-victoriana

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Sydney based pianist Katherine Day is a recording artist with MOVE records and formerly principal pianist for the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Katherine has appeared as a concerto soloist with numerous community, pro-am and professional orchestras around the country. Her most recent collaborations were with Canberra soprano Sarahlouise Owens at the Wesley Music Centre ACT, and Opera Australia’s Bradley Cooper at the Hydro Majestic in the Blue Mountains.
During COVID-19 Katherine created her own online music school, employing tutors in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Vienna. Her company Music To You received a digital grant from Create NSW in 2020, and was a finalist in the WSABE awards 2020.
A graduate of the Royal College of Music, the Victorian College of the Arts, and a participant in the first International Summer School of Music at the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium, Katherine maintains professional links to colleagues throughout the world. Katherine has been an editor for the AMEB, working on the last edition of the flute technical workbook, and has been an examiner for the VCA, the ANU, and an adjudicator of various concerto competitions and Eisteddfods. Katherine was the recipient of the 2007 Liederfest accompanist award and the Bill Burrell scholarship 1994.

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Unique in the musical landscape of Australia, Songmakers Australia brings together some of the country’s leading singers and instrumentalists in a diverse repertoire comprising some of the pinnacles of all chamber music. Under the artistic patronage of Graham Johnson, founding director of the acclaimed London-based Songmakers Almanac, pianist Andrea Katz teams with soprano Merlyn Quaife, mezzo-soprano Christina Wilson, tenor Brenton Spiteri and bass-baritone Nicholas Dinopoulos in inspired programs that feature a dynamic interplay of song and chamber music. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, the ensemble continues their pursuit for musical excellence and the promotion of international and Australian vocal chamber music. They present a yearly subscription series at the Melbourne Recital Centre, where they have been Local Heroes since 2011, as well as numerous invitations to perform at leading festivals and recital series Australia-wide (Melbourne Festival, Art Gallery of NSW, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Art Song Canberra, MDCH and the Art Gallery of Ballarat). They are regularly heard in national live-to-air broadcasts. For more information see www.songmakersaustralia.com

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Susannah Lawergren has sung with some of the foremost ensembles, composers and festivals in Australia. Her repertoire is always varied, recently singing cantatas with Bach Akademie Australia, Schubert’s Winterreise in the Utzon Room, opera arias with harpist Georgia Lowe at the Art Gallery of NSW, new compositions for the POW Requiem in Canberra and on tour with the Song Company and singing while flying in harness with Legs on the Wall in Elena Kats-Chernin’s ‘Wild Swans’.
In 2021, she and Bernadette Harvey premiered a new work by Ross Edwards for the 150th anniversary of the Art Gallery of NSW which they are looking forward to playing for Art Song Canberra in 2023.

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Acclaimed international performer and teacher Bernadette Harvey was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2000 for her contribution to Australian Music. Dr Harvey has won many accolades since her first medal in a Sydney Eisteddfod at the age of two and a half, including the ABC ‘Young Performer of the Year’ in 1987.
She has been a guest artist for the past eleven years at the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival , Arizona. She presented the world premiere of Pierre Jalbert’s Piano Quintet with the Jupiter Quartet. She also appeared with the Tokyo Quartet and the Shanghai Quartet in the premiere of Carl Vine’s Piano Quintet, Fantasia in 2013. She and the Shanghai Quartet later presented the Australian premiere of the Bright Sheng Piano Quintet, Dance Capriccio. Bernadette is renowned for championing new works. Her performance and collaboration with the British artist Cornelia Parker’s installation ‘War Room’ at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in January 2020 for the Sydney Festival introduced a new and evocative piano sonata ‘Ode’ by Peggy Polias (a reflection on the apocalyptic nature of war) and a new commission by Australian composer, Donald Hollier. The concert is another in Harvey’s series ‘The Sonata Project’. Bernadette Harvey performs regularly as a Musica Viva Artist in Australia. Her 2022 tour with Harry Bennetts and Miles Mullin-Chivers received high critical praise and featured the world premiere of a stunning new piano trio by Donald Hollier. She has recently been performing with the Streeton Trio and has appeared this year in concert at the MRC with critically acclaimed oboist, Diana Doherty. She has had several piano concertos written for her, including ‘Rubia’ by Melbourne composer Tim Dargaville, which she premiered with the Academy of Melbourne Orchestra, and by Ross Edwards and Donald Hollier. She recently gave the Australian premiere of ‘Night’, the first Piano Concerto by her American colleague Kevin Puts, performed with the Llewellyn Sinfonia, conducted by her sister Rowan Harvey-Martin in Canberra. Her playing has been described by one reviewer as: “Gifted with a rare physical control of the instrument and intellectual and interpretative qualities to match … dispatched with a Horowitz-like virtuosity … blisteringly virtuosic … It drew me to the edge of my seat.” (Neville Cohn, West Australian)

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AJ is a performer, conductor and creative producer. She is the Artistic Director and founder of Luminescence Chamber Singers and Children’s Choir and currently serves as Chair of the Minister’s Creative Council. AJ performs regularly as a soloist and a consort singer in Sydney and Canberra, appearing with the Luminescence Chamber Singers, the Choir of St James’ King St, Cantillation, Pinchgut Opera and Vox Plexus (Melbourne). Recent engagements include performances of Mendelssohn’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with Belvoir Theatre and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as well as appearances at the Canberra International Music Festival and Four Winds Festival.

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Born in Belgium, Roland Peelman has been active in Australia over 30 years as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers and musicians alike. For his commitment to the creative arts in Australia, he has received numerous accolades, including the NSW Award for ‘the most outstanding contribution to Australian Music by an individual’ in 2005. In 2006 he was named ‘musician of the year’ by the Sydney Morning Herald and he has since featured regularly as one of the most influential people in the Australian arts scene. Over a period of 25 years, he transformed The Song Company into one of Australia’s most outstanding and innovative ensembles. In addition, he instigated and directed an impressive list of new work, orchestral, vocal and operatic.
Roland worked for seven years with Opera Australia (1984-91) before becoming The Song Company’s Artistic Director (1990-2015) as well as Music Director of Sydney Metropolitan Opera (1989-94) and the Hunter Orchestra in Newcastle (1990-97). Roland is currently the artistic director of Canberra International Music Festival. He is a regular collaborator with Ensemble Offspring and various other projects in Australia and overseas, both as conductor and pianist.

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