An internationally acclaimed artist, Ms Lea has played in the world’s great music centres, performing in the Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Royal Concertgebouw, the Berlin Schauspielhaus and the Franz Liszt Hall. Growing up in Adelaide, Ms Lea’s remarkable musical talents were rewarded when she was 19 by an offer from the celebrated Australian String Quartet to join them as a permanent member.
With the ASQ, apart from the extensive touring, Ms Lea recorded frequently for such labels as Naxos and ABC Classics. The repertoire represented in these recordings is not only the standard classics of chamber music but also an incredible volume of works by Australian composers. For her contributions to Australian culture, Ms Lea has been awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for Advancement of Music as well as the Advance Australia Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Arts. Based in Hobart, Tasmania since 1998, Ms Lea has continued to enrich the Tasmanian community with concerts, broadcasts and recordings. For 20 years she was the Associate Concertmaster of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Ms Lea’s sound has been described by Limelight Magazine as “…thrillingly suspenseful…painful in its beauty and with fantastic textural contrasts”. Possessing an innate musical versatility Ms Lea comfortably shifts from her role in the TSO to soloist and to chamber musician.
Photo credit Rémi Chauvin
Benedict Lea Violin
Benedict Lea began studying violin in Adelaide at the age of five. He studied with John Gould and then with Ronald Woodcock at the Elder Conservatorium of Music at the University of Adelaide. During his time as a B.Mus (perf.)
student he was a member of the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra and the South Australian Opera Company Orchestra where he also played as concert master under several well known European conductors. Throughout his training, he was a member of both the National Music Camp Association and the Australian Youth Orchestra, playing as principal second violin and also as concert master. Having completed his degree with highest honours, he began
studying with Professor Gerhart Hetzel (long time first concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic) at the highly acclaimed ” Hochschule für Musik” in Vienna, Austria. He was soon accepted as a casual player in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and (as it is the same orchestra) the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. After five years of post graduate study and the untimely death of his teacher, he became one of the first foreigners ever to win a full time position with the State Opera Orchestra and subsequently the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He has played under the baton of Carlos Kleiber, Sir Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Ricardo Muti, Christian Thielemann, Pierre Boulez, Valeri Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, Mariss Jansons and Andris Nelsons to name but a few.
During his employment with the orchestra he has also been very active as an international chamber musician, winning the “Vienna Mozart interpretation” prize (also won several times by the “Alban Berg Quartet”). He has toured extensively in Europe, America and Japan as well as other Asian countries in both his chamber music and orchestral capacities. Although he only gets the chance to return home every couple of years, he has a keen interest in the younger generation of budding musicians. He lives in Vienna.
Tobias Lea Viola
Born in Adelaide, Tobias Lea is one of a family of three musicians. His twin brother Benedict is a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and his sister Elinor began her professional career as second violinist with the Australian String Quartet, a post she held for nine years. She now works with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Tobias received his early music education from the Flinders Street School of Music in Adelaide. Aged 12 he began violin studies with Ronald Woodcock at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide.
During his studies for his Bachelor of Music (Performance) degree, Tobias worked with the South Australian Opera Orchestra and as a casual member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He graduated with distinction in 1986 and immediately left for Vienna to continue his studies, changing from violin to viola. After four years of intensive study at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik, with Prof. Siegfried Führlinger, he won the position of Principal Viola of the Teatro alla Scala opera house in Milan under Riccardo Muti. During the following four years he learned a great deal of the opera repertoire and was also invited to join the Quartetto della Scala, giving concerts around the world.
In 1994 Tobias joined his brother Benedict in the combined Vienna Philharmonic and Austrian State Opera Orchestra, winning the position of Principal Viola. He fosters a lively interest in chamber music, playing with the Vienna Chamber Ensemble amongst various other groups. His extensive experience as a soloist includes performances of Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” with he Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti, in Vienna, Japan, Canada, South America and New York’s Carnegie Hall. He also performed Bartok’s Viola Concerto in Vienna’s Musikverein Hall, again with the Vienna Philharmonic under Riccardo Muti.
Working with students is a particular passion of his, and he has held masterclasses all over Europe, as well as in Japan, China, South East Asia, India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
William completed a Bachelor of Music Degree with 1st class honours at the Elder
Conservatorium in Adelaide, Australia followed by the Advanced Performance Programme at the Australian National Academy of Music and a Diplom at the Hochschule für Musik Köln in Germany.
He has performed in several of Australia’s leading orchestras including the Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. William has been a permanent member of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra since 2007.
William has been broadcast in recital several times on ABC Classic FM and has tutored for youth orchestras in Adelaide, Hobart and for the Australian Youth Orchestra Young Symphonists Programme. He has been a guest soloist with the Nelson Symphony Orchestra in New Zealand. As a chamber musician William has performed throughout Australia and Europe and has collaborated with artists as diverse as Katie Noonan and Deborah Cheetham to Tommy Emmanuel and Neil Gaiman.
In 2018 William appeared several times as guest associate principal and principal viola with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. He was also a soloist and conductor with the Derwent Symphony Orchestra in Hobart. William is a viola tutor for the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.
Photo credit Rémi Chauvin
David Berlin Cello
David Berlin studied cello with Lois Simpson at the Sydney Conservatorium and with Channing Robbins at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
For over 30 years David has been at the forefront of music performance in Australia, as Principal Cello of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (1985 – 1988) and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (since 1989).
David has made numerous appearances as soloist with these and other Australian orchestras and has been invited to play guest Principal Cello with the Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra.
In London in 1992, David gave the world premier performance of the complete works for cello and piano by Franz Liszt, with Leslie Howard.
David has performed chamber music with violinists Kolja Blacher, James Ehnes, Nigel Kennedy and Sarah Chang and pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman, as well as tenor Ian Bostridge.
He has appeared in numerous festivals, and in chamber music projects has toured to Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand.
Along with solo recordings for ABC radio he has appeared as soloist on the Tall Poppies, ABC Classic and Decca labels.
His recital disc Barber & Debussy with pianist Len Vorster on the Tall Poppies label was nominated by James McCarthy as one of the best Classical CDs of 2011 in Limelight magazine.
More recently his recording of French Cello Sonatas with pianist Benjamin Martin on the ABC Classic label has been very positively received including Limelight Editor’s Choice 2021 and significant streaming activity on Spotify.
David plays on a cello made by Ivan Zgradic in California in 1982.
Photo credit Laura Manariti
Anna Pokorny is a freelance cellist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. She has the pleasure of performing regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria. Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Anna completed studies at the University of Western Australia, Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and the International Menuhin Music Academy in Switzerland (under the tutelage of Dr Suzanne Wijsman, Howard Penny and Niall Brown respectively). As a chamber musician Anna has appeared at numerous festivals and concert series around Australia and internationally including the Adam Chamber Music Festival, Musica Viva Festival, Ukaria Concert Series, Perth International Arts Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre Local Heroes, and Melbourne International Arts Festival. Anna performs regularly with Melbourne based gut-string ensemble Wattleseed and the Melbourne Chamber Players.
Anna is passionate about music outreach and education. She has performed in aged care centres across Victoria through the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Music Always series, as well as schools’ concerts with Inventi Ensemble, Musica Viva, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and the ACO Collective. She has tutored for the Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy and Melbourne Youth Orchestras, and in 2022 was a juror in the Musica Viva Strike a Chord competition. She has also worked with the music therapy team and ACO’s Inspire Quartet at the Melbourne Children’s Hospital.
Photo credit Kristian Gerhardt