Friday Music
September 2018

St Stephen's Uniting Church
197 Macquarie St, Sydney
(opposite Parliament House)

Donation welcome

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7 September

Vera Marcu (viola)

Rachel Dyker (viola)

Steve Meyer (violoncello)



Divertimento in E flat K.563 for String Trio - W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

(i) Allegro
(ii) Adagio
(iii) Menuetto
(iv) Andante
(v) Menuetto
(vi) Allegro


Vera Marcu (violin)

Vera Marcu graduated from the Music University in Bucharest with a Masters Degree in violin performance. She joined the Romanian Opera Orchestra in 1997 and at the same time continued studying in masterclasses and summer academies with Alexandru Gavrilovici and Victor Pikaisen. Vera arrived in Australia in 2000 and started having viola lessons with Anne Louise Comerford and Roger Benedict. She is currently working as a freelance violist with the Sydney Symphony and the Opera and Ballet Orchestra as well as teaching violin and viola at Roseville College and from her private studio.

Rachel Dyker (viola)

Originally from the UK, Rachel Dyker has been living in Sydney with her family since 2012. She enjoys a varied career, working regularly with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra as well as freelancing with other orchestras and ensembles. Rachel holds a violin and viola teaching position at Kambala as well as running a busy home studio for violin and viola students.

Before moving to Australia, Rachel was based in London, working with orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, BBC Scottish Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra. She has played at all the major concert venues in the UK and has also taken part in tours across Europe, the US, Mexico and China.

Teaching has always been a big part of Rachel's life and she built up a reputation over many years as a private teacher both in London and Brighton in the UK. Rachel held a viola teaching position at the Junior Department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and in several schools as well as maintaining a private teaching studio of students of all ages and levels. She has seen many of her students enter the music profession themselves.

Rachel's solo engagements have included a performance of Hindemith's Trauermusik with the Southbank Sinfonia, an appearance at the Ludlow Festival in a recital celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Berlioz and regular recitals of the Suites by Bach around the UK and beyond.

Chamber music has also always been a passion for Rachel, and has taken her all over the world both as a performer and teacher. Rachel was co-founder of the Sussex Schools Chamber Music Scheme in 1996 and was the Musical Director of Regency Chamber Music and The Regency Ensemble from 2009 – 2012.

Rachel holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal College of Music where she studied with Christopher Wellington and Brian Hawkins. On completing her degree at the RCM, Rachel continued her studies privately with Simon Rowland-Jones.

Steve Meyer (violoncello)

Steve Meyer is a versatile cellist who performs regularly in symphony and chamber music concerts throughout Sydney. He studied at the Sydney Conservatorium with Susan Blake and has appeared at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. As a theatre performer Steve has appeared in many stage productions throughout Australia and has toured to Broadway New York with Belvoir St Theatre. He has taught Chamber Music at the Sydney Conservatorium.





14 September

Tracy Wan (violin)

Alastair Duff-Forbes (violin)

Julia Brimo (pianoforte)



'Spring' from The Four Seasons - A. Vivaldi (1768 - 1741)
1st movement - Allegro

Concerto for two violins in A minor, Op.3 No.8, RV 522 - A. Vivaldi (1768 - 1741)
i. Allegro
ii. Larghetto e spiritoso
iii. Allegro

Double violin concerto in D minor BWV 1043 - J.S. Bach (1685 - 1750)
i. Vivace
ii. Largo ma non tanto
iii. Allegro


Tracy Wan began her violin studies at the age of 5. At the age of 10, she made her solo debut with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Chamber Orchestra, performing the Mozart Violin Concerto No.5. She won numerous prizes in the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival, such as 1st prize in the violin concerto competition. There she studied with Alice Waten and then Pavel Prantl. In 1993, she was awarded full scholarship from the Meadowmount School of Music. Tracy Wan won the 1st prize in the 1994 Kocian International Violin Competition in Prague and was invited to perform for the Hong Kong Governor, Chris Patten at the Hong Kong Governor's House.

Having awarded full scholarships from The Australian Institute of Music for the Young Musicians Program and SCECGS Redlands, Tracy Wan continued her violin studies with Alice Waten in Sydney in 1995. She won 1st prize in the 1998 Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition; as well as 1st prize in the 1999 Polish Concerto Competition and the Multiple Instruments Concerto Competition 2000. In 1998, she was awarded a full music scholarship from St. Andrew's Cathedral School. Her solo performances frequently broadcasted on the 2MBS-FM. In 1999, the Pan Pacific Music Camps awarded her a full scholarship to participate in the International Violin School.

In 2002, Tracy Wan was awarded the International String-Player Award and was placed second in the Gisborne International Music Competition in New Zealand. Her live performance was selected for broadcast on Concert FM, Radio New Zealand. She also recorded for "Young Australia", ABC Classic FM. She was the associate concertmaster of the Bishop Symphony Orchestra at the Australian Youth Orchestra music camp 2002. She led the Viva String Quartet from 2001- 2003, which won the 1st prize in the Open Age String Quartet Competition at MacDonald's Performing Art's Challenge 2003. The quartet was invited to perform in the 4th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Tracy Wan held a full scholarship for her Bachelor of Music in performance at the Australian Institute of Music. There she was granted Advanced Diploma of Music in performance in 2003.

Tracy Wan relocated to Melbourne in 2004, to fulfil her commitments as an Academy Musician at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and was the concertmaster of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Symphony Orchestra.  She performed as a soloist with the ANAM Chamber Orchestra, playing the Bach Violin Concerto No.2 under the baton of John Harding and recorded for the "Hush Collection" CD vol.II which is now distributed around Australia. Tracy Wan graduated from the VCA – Melbourne University with Bachelor of Music in performance (Honours) 2004.

After studying with Zakhar Bron and Benedict Cruft, Dean of Music at HKAPA in 2005, Tracy Wan began her Master of Music in performance under Kathleen and Allison Short scholarships with the Chair of String Unit, Goetz Richter at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2006. She performed in Julian Rachlin's masterclass and gave solo recitals in NSW. In 2007, Tracy Wan performed live on 2MBS-FM as part of the "Emerging Young Artist Series".

Tracy Wan founded the Sapphire String Quartet which was selected to perform for the APEC Summit at the Sydney Opera House on the 8th September 2007. The Quartet has played in masterclasses for the Borodin String Quartet and the Artemis String Quartet. In 2010, Tracy led the Sapphire Ensemble into the finals of the Musica Viva Chamber Music Competition.

Tracy Wan has been a member of the Australia Opera and Ballet Orchestra since 2007 and was invited to perform with the Macau Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and she performed as a soloist in the opera by candlelight concerts in Canberra.


Alastair Duff-Forbes began playing the violin at the age of five and the piano at the age of seven. He attended the Conservatorium High School on scholarship. During that time, he studied the violin with Alice Waten and Goetz Richter, and the piano with Stephanie McCallum. Alastair obtained his A.Mus.A for violin in 1998 and for piano the following year. He was awarded the L.Mus.A for violin in 2002.

In 2001, Alastair began his studies for a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium, majoring in violin performance, continuing his studies under Goetz Richter. Since then, he has received a number of Scholarships including the Matteson and Nancy Roberts Scholarship, the Chapple Bremner Award and a Rotary Scholarship. Alastair graduated with honours at the end of 2004 and studied for a Master of Music in violin performance at the Sydney Conservatorium under Chris Kimber and Carl Pini. Alastair has participated in masterclasses with artists of international renown, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Dene Olding, Lara St. John, Walter Verdehr, Charles Castlemann, the Borodin Quartet, the Goldner String Quartet and the Belcea Quartet. Alastair reached the semi-finals of the Kendall National Violin Competition in 2001.

As a soloist, Alastair has performed many concerti including the Barber Violin Concerto with the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the Mozart A Major Violin Concerto with Orchestra 143, the Bach Double Violin Concerto with Tracy Wan and Orchestra 143, and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Balmain Sinfonia. In 2012, Alastair performed the world premiere of Chernobyl, violin concerto, by Aaron Kenny with the Bourbaki Ensemble – a work that was written especially for Alastair.

Alastair has been an active chamber musician for many years, and has been a member of many different ensembles including the Sapphire String Quartet, the Stables Quartet and the Stables Trio. He has performed in a wide variety of events including the 2006 Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, the 2007 APEC leaders' conference at the Sydney Opera House, and the world premiere of 'Dreams and Visions' by John Petersen, in 2011.

Alastair has been a member of many orchestras, including the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Sydney Youth Orchestra and Eminence Symphony Orchestra. He has been Concertmaster of the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, Bourbaki Ensemble and Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra. He is currently Concertmaster of Balmain Sinfonia. Alastair studied conducting with Henryk Pisarek in 2003 and 2004. He has performed as a conductor in various concerts including with Orchestra 143 in 2010.



21 September

Divas on Demand


Singers: Andrea Quaglia, Lisa Munckton, Mikayla Tate, Natalia Melnik and Olivia Morberger 

Pianist: Wendy Dixon

'Primavera' - Giacomo Puccini Il Tabarro - Andrea and ladies
'Morire?' - Giacomo Puccini - Lisa
'Se come voi' - Giacomo Puccini Le Villi - Natalia
'Quando m'en vo' - Giacomo Puccini La Bohéme - Mikayla & Olivia
'Les Fueilles Mortes' - Jacques Prévert - Andrea
'Calypso' - Benjamin Britten - Olivia
'As when the Dove' - George Handel Acis and Galatea - Mikayla
'Nymph' - Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Natalia
'Ne poy krasavitsa' - Sergei Rachmaninov - Lisa
'Angels and Demons' - Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Andrea & Natalia
'The Soul flew up to heaven' - Modest Mussorgsky - Olivia
'O mio babbino caro' - Giacomo Puccini Gianni Schicchi - Ladies

Wendy Dixon - Soprano & Artistic Director

As a soprano Wendy has maintained a successful international career in opera, oratorio, concert and recital work, and remains an active recitalist. She is an established singing teacher, currently tutoring at Open Academy USyd, the Australian Institute of Music and her own private studio. She is presently enrolled as a Doctoral student at USyd. Wendy is founder and director of Sydney Art Song Society Inc., producer and musical director of Opera Boot Camp Australia, curator of Cushion Concerts at CHIME and artistic director of Divas on Demand. She is a founding member with David Miller (piano) of Grevillea Ensemble renowned for their innovative programs.


Olivia Morberger - Soprano

Since beginning her musical studies, Olivia has explored both orchestral and vocal realms but has now landed herself in the world of singing. Olivia has performed as a clarinetist with orchestras at Parliament House, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Sutherland Shire Symphony Orchestra, for various operas and musicals, toured with the Symphony of Australia, and performed at The Art Gallery of NSW and St Andrews Cathedral. With her hands advancing before her age, Olivia lay her clarinet to rest and strolled into the land of big voices and even bigger 'hair.' Since then Olivia has sung with Sutherland Symphony Orchestra, competed in eisteddfodau, performed in the Australian Institute of Music's opera gala, sung with the UNSW Collegium Musicum Choir and is a regular performer with Divas on Demand.


Andrea Quaglia - Soprano

After graduating from Sydney Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music degree Andrea lived in the U.K. where she performed the roles of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Stogumber music festival; Norina in Don Pasquale, Mayer Lismann Opera; First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Stowe Opera and Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, The University of London Opera. She has performed extensively in recitals in Australia and abroad featuring music of France, Germany, Spain and Latin America. Later this year she will play Icilio in La Caduta with Gandharve and present Mexican art songs with Duo Deconet.


Natalia Melnik - Soprano

Natalia was born in Russia and moved to Sydney in 2013. At the age of thirteen she was granted a place in a children's concert choir Cantilena and later became the choir soloist, performing in numerous concerts and touring in Russia and Europe. Natalia continued her studies in Valentina Levko's Center of Vocal Art and later at the Australian Institute of Music. Currently Natalia is studying towards her Postgraduate Research Degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Natalia is an active performer appearing in lunchtime concerts at St.Stephen's Uniting Church, in the Sutherland Shire Symphony Orchestra Christmas concert 2016, in recitals at Glebe Justice Center, Australian Hall and others. In 2017 Natalia will sing in the production of the opera "La Caduta De' Decemviri" by A. Scarlatti performing the role of Valeria.


Mikayla Tate - Soprano

Mikayla holds a BMus in Classical Voice from AIM and is currently studying her Masters of Music. She has performed in musicals and opera in both Queensland and NSW including most recently AIM's production of Hänsel und Gretel (Dewfairy/Sandman and Gretel alternate). She has performed with companies such as Operantics, Pacific Opera and is looking forward to an Australian premiere of La Caduta de Decemviri with Ghandarve Music in which she will originate Virginia. Other credits include: Symphony of Australia tour, soloist performances with Sutherland Shire Symphony Orchestra, recitals at the Art Gallery of NSW, St Stephens and St Andrews and in 2016 Mikayla attained second place in the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition.


Lisa Munckton - Soprano

Lisa is recently returned to singing after many years pursuing other interests.  Prior to the break she performed professionally in the chorus of the Lyric Opera of Queensland and with Opera Australia in Tasmania.  She has also enjoyed singing with many amateur choruses, both as a soloist and as a chorister.  Early in her career she performed as a soloist with Tasmanian orchestras in works ranging from the Messiah, light opera, opera excerpts and a debut of a contemporary Australian composition.  She has performed roles in amateur opera and light opera companies, including: Yum Yum and Pitti Sing (The Mikado), Casilda (The Gondoliers), Diana (Orpheus in the Underworld) and CioCiosan (Madame Butterfly).  In 2017 Lisa made her debut with Rockdale Opera, singing the role of Sister Genevieve in Suor Angelica.





28 September

Jennifer Chou

Organist, Toorak Uniting Church, Melbourne


"Diptyque" - essai sur la vie terrestre et l'éternité bienheureuse (1930) - Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)

Elevation from Mass for the Convents - François Couperin (1668-1733)

"… des étoiles et des oiseaux… Hommage à Joan Mirò" (2017) - Bernard Wayne Sanders (b.1957)

Variations sur un Noël bressan (1e) - Jean Bouvard (1905-1996)

The Messenger on the Hill, Rejoice - Ad Wammes (b. 1953)


Jennifer Chou is Director of Music at Toorak Uniting Church. She regularly performs in Melbourne and within Australia as a recitalist. She has given solo recitals in town halls and cathedrals in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. Elsewhere, she has appeared as solo recitalist in venues including Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London, Magdeburg Cathedral, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Wellington and Auckland Cathedrals in New Zealand; and in festivals in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and in the Philippines.

Jennifer is a sought after organ teacher. She has taught for the Australian Catholic University in her early years in Australia after arriving Melbourne in 2004. She became a Suzuki Organ teacher in 2013. She teaches people of all ages to play the organ using a combination of the traditional and the Suzuki Method. Since 2015, she is the organ instructor at Melbourne High School where boys between the age of 14 and 18 from any background may learn to play the organ.

Born in Hong Kong, she graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in organ performance. She was awarded a scholarship to study the organ with Wolfgang Rübsam at Northwestern University at which she obtained a Master of Music degree and the Certificate of Performance with honour. She furthered her studies at the Conservatoire National de Région de Rueil-Malmaison in Paris in the organ class of Susan Landale and obtained the Prix de Virtuosité à l'unanimité avec les félicitations du jury. Following that, she specialised in French baroque and North German repertoire with Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen at the Centre d'Etudes Supérieures de Musique et Danse in Toulouse in Cycle de Perfectionnement. She obtained the Premier Prix d'Orgue à l'unanimité in the frame of the Toulouse les Orgues International Festival upon the completion of her studies. In 2003 she won Mention Speciale in the Biarritz International Organ Competition.


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