Jo studied the viola with Christopher Marting in Melbourne and Frederick Riddle in London. During her many years in London, she held Principal positions with the English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet and the English Touring Opera. She was a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for thirteen years and their Education Director for two years. She was a regular freelance player ith the English Chamber Orchestra, the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. As a chamber musician, Jo was a member of the Priory trio for 6 years, and played regularly with the Orchestra of St. John's Chamber Ensemble and Endymion Ensemble, with whom she premiered many works of contemporary British composers. She has appeared as soloist in the UK, Australia, China and South America.
Since returning to Australia late in 2006, Jo has held positions as Lecturer in Viola at the Tasmanian Conservatorium and Head of Strings at St. Michael's Collegiate. She has appeared as Guest Principal Viola with the Melbourne Symphony Orhcestra and was a member of the Diemen Quartet from 2011 - 2013. She is currently the violist of the Elanée Ensemble, plays regularly with Virtuosi Tasmania and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, teaches at the UTas Conservatorium and has a large private teching studio. She tutors annually at the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute in Hobart and the Residential Summer String Camp in Ulverstone, Tasmania.
Born in Edinburgh, Stuart Thomson began playing the double bass at age nine and later joined the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, which inspired him to become a professional musician. He studied with Duncan McTier and Corin Long at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester and was awarded the Eugene Cruft Prize for Double Bass. While at the RNCM he began working professionally with the Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras. Subsequent freelance work included engagements with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Philharmonische Werkstatt in Switzerland. In 1999 he joined the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2001 moved to Australia to play with the Sydney Symphony. The following year he was appointed Associate Principal of The Queensland Orchestra and in late 2003 took up the post of Principal Double Bass with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO). He has also received invitations to guest as principal with the Adelaide and West Australian Symphony orchestras. In 2005 he made his solo debut with the TSO playing alongside Alex Henery in Bottesini's Passione Amorosa for two double basses. Then again in 2011 with Tubin's concerto for double bass and in 2015, he performed the Australian premiere of Tan Dun's Double bass concerto The Wolf. In December this year he will appear again as soloist with The Wolf and the TSO in Hobart and on the TSO's tour of China. An active chamber musician, he is a founding member and co-artistic director of the Elanée Ensemble focusing on music for viola and double bass. He also teaches at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.
Jennifer grew up in Tasmania and at age 12 was invited to study with Professor Gediga-Glombitza at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. At age 16 she made her public debut with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Schumann's A minor Piano Concerto, having previously recorded the Rimsky-Korsakov Piano Concerto with the TSO. Two years later she performed the Rubinstein Piano Concerto No 4 with the TSO and, that same year, was the youngest graduate of the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music, where she was awarded a high distinction as a double major in piano performance and accompaniment. Other concertos in her repertoire include works by Beethoven, Brahms, Dohnányi, Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky, and she has appeared as soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover.
In 1989 she began work as a repetiteur with the State Opera of South Australia and subsequently joined the Victorian State Opera Young Artist Programme. Between 1997 and 2001 she was repetiteur at the Staatsoper Hannover and was a full-time member of the music staff with Opera Australia from 2001 to 2012. She has more than 90 operas in her repertoire. Jennifer, a member of the Kettering Piano Quartet, is now living in Hobart, and is in demand as a soloist, accompanist and vocal coach.
Botaniko (Esperanto for botanical) is a small group of dedicated botanical artists, many of whom were past or present students of Lauren Black (one of Australia's leading botanical artists), independently started meeting regularly to paint in 2014. The group was formally named Botaniko in 2015. Their first exhibition as a group (December 2014 - March 2015), was held in the Asylum, at Port Arthur, depicting some of the plants introduced into the gardens in the mid 1800's. Today's exhibition is a small selection of works from some of the Botaniko artists' past projects, including Port Arthur. Some members of Botaniko are currently pursuing a project depicting plants grown in the Reverend Robert Knopwood's kitchen garden located at the rear of Narryna, Hampden Road, Battery Point. Botaniko has also been invited by the Port Arthur Management authority to return and focus on culinary, medicinal and industrial plants introduced during the 1800s.
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