Ivan James began cello studies with Phillipa Jackson at the age of ten and went on to study his BMus at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music under Lois Simpson, Nathan Waks and David Pereira. In 1982 Ivan was the Commonwealth winner of the string section of the ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition, playing Bloch’s Schelomo with both the SSO and the QSO. From 1982-83 he was a casual cellist with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra until taking up a position with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In 1984 Ivan was a soloist in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the TSO. Ivan is a dedicated chamber musician appearing with many ensembles including the Tasmanian Symphony Chamber players, Seraphim String Quartet and the Tasman String Quartet, he has played for Tas. Dance tours and many recordings for ABC Classic FM. He has played concerts in Hobart and throughout Tasmania most recently with Virtuosi Tasmania.
Karen Smithies moved to Tasmania from the Central Coast of NSW in 1998. She completed her Masters in Music Performance at the University of Tasmania in 2003, studying with Beryl Sedivka and David Bollard. Upon graduating from Sydney Conservatorium with a Bachelor of music in piano performance and accompaniment, Karen was awarded the “Mollie Neal” scholarship for excellence in Accompaniment. She has appeared as soloist and accompanist with regional orchestras and major vocal ensembles across the Central Coast and in Sydney.
Karen has made several national ABC and 3MBS FM broadcasts with artists such as cellist Christian Woijtowicz, violinists Marina Phillips and Romana Zieglerova, baritones Christopher Richardson and Michael Lampard and the TSO Brass and Friends.
Karen is currently lecturer in Accompaniment at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music and has lectured in piano studies at the University of Tasmania since 2000. In that time she has been busy as a repetiteur, and accompanist of undergraduates, postgraduates and visiting artists at the Conservatorium and throughout Tasmania. Karen regularly plays as orchestral and rehearsal pianist for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and repetiteurs for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Karen lives in on Hobart’s Eastern shore with her husband Matthew and four children and is working on establishing a music centre in Lauderdale and its surrounding areas
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