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Sophie Curtis

Program Director - Sophie Curtis


Sophie Curtis is passionate about sharing the benefits of music making with others. Trained in Perth WA as a classical cellist, Sophie’s combined loves of chamber music and education inspired her to establish the WA Young Artists Chamber Music Program (WAYACHAMP) in 2011. Since its inception the Program has fostered the development of over 1000 young West Australian musicians from Kununurra to Albany, provided teaching work to over 40 local artists and commissioned two new compositions for a student string quartet by a local WA composer.


Sophie’s freelance performing career spans the roles of soloist, chamber musician, orchestral section leader and recording artist and sees her perform in solo/principal roles with various ensembles around WA. Sophie has extensive experience as an educator, having taught both piano and cello for over 20 years and toured nationally as part of the Musica Viva In Schools Program. Sophie is currently an active member of the Australian Strings Association (AUSTA), coaches chamber music ensembles as part of WAYACHAMP and is often invited to be a guest adjudicator or examiner at schools and performing arts festivals across Perth.


Sophie is currently undertaking doctoral studies at UWA, researching pedagogical approaches to chamber music education in pre-tertiary students.


Sophie has two children and in her spare time likes to bake and enjoy nature with her family.

Katherine Potter - Tutor | Viola

Katherine Potter is a freelance violist and emerging composer with an interesting musical background, having completed Bachelors of Music in both jazz performance (WA Academy of Performing Arts) and classical performance (University of Western Australia, with First-Class Honours, studying under Tzvi Friedl). Katherine has been a member of the Sartory String Quartet since 2003, performing nationally and overseas, and was a 2006 Australian Chamber Orchestra Emerging Artist. Katherine has performed as a casual violist with the WA Symphony Orchestra since 2007 and from time to time plays as Principal Violist with the Perth Symphony Orchestra. Katherine has composed concert, film and dance music which has been performed in Australia, the US and Canada, and has a predilection for writing new soundtracks for 1920s silent films. Katherine has been a recipient of two DCA Development Grants and an Australia Council Artstart grant.

Margaret Blades - Tutor | Violin

Margaret Louise Blades has held leading positions with both the Adelaide and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, and now is frequently invited as a Guest Leader to other orchestras in Australia and Europe. She has appeared as a soloist on numerous occasions, including giving premiere performances of new works by Australian composers Ross Edwards, James Ledger and Richard Mills. Her solo performances also include an appearance alongside superstar Nigel Kennedy in Vivaldi Concerto for 2 Violins, and Lawrence Dutton of the Emerson Quartet in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.


Margaret has performed on stage with some of Australia’s finest artists, including Michael Goldschlager, Geoffrey Tozer, Geoffrey Lancaster, Beryl Sedivka and others, both as a recitalist and chamber musician, for Musica Viva, Adelaide International Festival of Arts, Blackwood River Chamber Music Festival, Barossa Music Festival, and in numerous broadcasts for ABC Classic FM. She has also toured with the Sydney Symphony and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and has appeared as guest soloist and director of the Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra.

Margaret is also a committed teacher, and is passionate about educating the younger generation in the joys and challenges of learning the violin.

Grace Ah-quee - Tutor | All strings

Grace Ah-quee trained in Sydney : working with the Australian Ballet and Opera Orchestra & recorded for many commercial recordings for film and advertising. Her main passion over the last 2 decades has been presenting and touring chamber music concerts for both Adults and children. She also focuses her life’s professional experience to work as a youth conductor for WAYO and Perth Summer Orchestra Camp.

Grace plays for Perth Symphony Orchestra, Fremantle Chamber Orchestra and Perth Chamber Orchestra and is Director for Perth Summer Orchestra Camp.

Paul Wright - Tutor | Violin

Adelaide-born Paul Wright began violin studies with Lyndall Hendrickson at the age of 8, and three years later was awarded a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School in England. He went on to study at the Guildhall School in London, after which he was accepted as a student at the Julliard School in New York, where he studied under Ivan Galamian. He has performed with many orchestras and ensembles in Australia and America as a director, soloist or concertmaster, including the Australian String Quartet, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble of the Classic Era, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Paul spent 2009-2010 as resident teacher and chamber music coach at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. Upon his return to Perth in 2011, Paul was appointed Winthrop Professor at The University of Western Australia where he held the position of Head of Strings until retiring mid-2015 to focus on a variety of freelance pursuits. In 2015 Paul was appointed Senior Music Fellow of St George’s College where he mentors the Early Music Ensemble, String Quartet and Chamber Orchestra of St George’s College. 

Jessica Gethin - Conductor

Listed by the Australian Financial Review as one of ‘100 Most Influential Women’ in Australia for 2015, award winning Australian conductor Jessica Gethin has won praise from audiences and critics alike for her dynamic energy, outstanding musicianship and abounding presence on the podium. 


Jessica has performed on stages throughout Europe, United Kingdom, United States, Asia and Australia. After graduating with a music performance degree on violin, Jessica spent five years on the podium in the exclusive Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program, receiving a podium scholarship to study under internationally renowned conductors across Australia. In 2011, Jessica commenced her first official appointment as Chief Conductor of the Perth Symphony Orchestra (Western Australia) and Artistic Director of the Perth Chamber Orchestra in 2013. In 2015, Jessica won the Brian Stacey Emerging Australian Conductor Award, was announced as one of six Inaugural Fellows selected internationally into the Institute of Women Conductors for five years with The Dallas Opera as well as being recipient of a 2016 Winston Churchill Fellowship for ‘Performance Excellence in Classical Music’. 2017 saw Jessica nominated for Limelight Australia's 'Top Twenty Artists' for the year, make her debut performance at the Sydney Opera House and receive the West Australian Opera's prestigious Bendat Award for 2018. 


Jessica’s musical experience covers a diverse range of genres, conducting and directing across baroque and classical symphonic stages to opera, contemporary and film score. Her unique collaborations have seen her work with internationally acclaimed opera singers in gala concerts to rock icons, to fine artists painting, classical and contemporary dancers, film screen and recording studios. An advocate for the arts, Jessica is regularly engaged as a guest speaker, clinician and adjudicator for festivals, competitions and music eisteddfods as well as arts presenter and key note speaker on the topics of the arts, leadership and diversity.

Shaun Lee-Chen - Tutor | Violin

Shaun Lee-Chen is a dedicated violin teacher and internationally celebrated performer with a special interest in historical performance and 19th century violin pedagogy. He was a member of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) for more than a decade before taking up the position of Artist in Residence at the UWA Conservatorium of Music.
Shaun is the Concertmaster of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO), appointed in 2016, and his soloist credentials include performances with WASO, Queensland Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO).
He has been guest assistant and Associate Concertmaster with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and TSO, and performs regularly with WASO.
In 2015, the ABO’s album ‘Brandenburg Celebrates’, which included Shaun as a featured soloist, was nominated for an Aria Award for Best Classical Album. 

James Huntingford - Tutor | Piano

James is player of both modern and historic keyboard instruments. He began piano studies with Philip Johnston, and graduated from the ANU School of Music, where he studied piano under Susanne Powell and Prof. John Luxton, and fortepiano under his most influential mentor, Prof. Dr Geoffrey Lancaster AM. James has performed as soloist with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, National Capital Orchestra and the chamber orchestra Musica da Camera. He has also performed with the Canberra Choral Society, Oriana Chorale, members of the Brandenburg Orchestra, the Strange Weather Gospel Choir (both as artistic director and accompanist), and Woden Valley Youth Choirs. James was winner of the Austrian Embassy's Haydn Festival Competition (2009), and has been twice winner of the ACT's National Eisteddfod Open Piano Recital. He received his L.Mus.A in 2006. In 2013 James was awarded the Australian Society of Music Educators' Lady Callaway Award, for his diverse musical and artistic services to the Canberra community.

Helen Kruger - Tutor | Violin

Helen Kruger is a Perth violinist and has just returned from 15 years in the UK, studying at the Royal Academy of Music(RAM), London and working with the leading early music ensembles and orchestras throughout the UK, Europe and Australia. Helen performed with the OAE for 13 years, as a concerto soloist, section leader and tutti player. She was the Director of the Junior Royal Academy of Music chamber program for 7 years and a founding director of the South Hampstead String Program.
Helen was a core member of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment education team for 10 years, delivering cutting edge projects throughout the UK. She was the Founding Director of a music improvisation program for the homeless for 2 years, before moving on to launch the North London Chamber Music Course. Helen started the Little Baroque Co. whilst completing her Masters at RAM which toured the UK and Europe for over 13 years before she moved back to Australia. Helen played in the Kruger Quartet for 4 years, performing in South Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the UK, Eastern Europe, Russia and Trinidad. Helen directed the Stoke Newington Early Music Festival for 2 years.

Mark Coughlan - Tutor | Piano

For many years Mark Coughlan has held leadership roles at state and national levels in the performing arts and higher education sectors. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Musica Viva Australia and was Federal Chairman of the Australian Music Examinations Board. Mark has also been Chairman of the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference and was Head of the School of Music at the University of Western Australia for eight years.
As a concert pianist Mark has performed in Europe, South East Asia and around Australia and broadcasts regularly on ABC Classic FM. Mark is also a distinguished piano teacher and mentor, a former head of keyboard at the University of WA, AMEB federal examiner and a regular guest teacher at the Pan Pacific Summer Schools in Sydney.
Mark is currently Artistic Director of the Government House Ballroom concert series, Music on the Terrace. He is also engaged in a wide range of arts activities as a pianist, musical director, conductor, lecturer and music critic for The Australian newspaper. Mark is a member of the Board of Directors of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Chairman of the Government House Foundation of WA and a committee member of the St George’s Cathedral Arts Foundation.

Tatiana Kobets - Tutor | Violin

With a Master of Music from Kiev Conservatorium of Music, Tatiana has performed regularly with Chamber, Symphony and Opera and Ballet Orchestras in Kiev, Ashland (USA), Sydney and Perth. She has played chamber music with leading Australian musicians in Sydney, Adelaide and Townsville as well as teaching in Europe, the USA and Australia. She has been on staff at the Elder Conservatorium of Music (Adelaide) and is currently tutoring at the UWA School of Music.

Semyon Kobets - Tutor | Violin

Dr Kobets is an International Soloist, Chamber musician, Pedagogue and Conductor. He has performed extensively, taught and given masterclasses in Europe, the USA, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He has recorded for Melodia, Music Heritage Society, Koch International Classics and the ABC. He has had the priviledge of premiering works, and had works written and dedicated to him by Australian, Ukrainian and Armenian composers. He has collaborated with world renowned composers and musicians such as A. Schnittke, A. Part,  L. Crowson, O.Krysa, D.Olding, P. Neubauer, R. Moog, I. Schnittke and F. Sherry among others.

Michael Goldschlager - Tutor | Cello

Born in New York City, cellist Michael Goldschlager is perhaps best known to Australian audiences as the cellist of the Macquarie Trio through their many recordings and concerts, and as a chamber music cellist, having performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music on no fewer than six occasions – so far. His recent critically acclaimed CD recording of the complete Bach suites for ABC Classics/Universal entered the ARIA charts at #17 and became a best seller.


In 2013 and 2015 he toured with the Australian World Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. He was principal cellist of the WASO for six years and is a frequent guest principal with the Tasmanian and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. He has toured Europe as principal cellist of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and has recorded with all of these ensembles. In New York he performed with the city’s finest musical organisations, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.


Michael Goldschlager was a Coordinator of Strings at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia and was Head of Performance at WAAPA. He sits on the International Advisory Board for and the Australian Cello Awards, and regularly offers inspirational talks about performance anxiety and practicing at schools and universities.

Pascale Whiting - Tutor | Violin

Pascale began her violin studies at the age of seven, playing and touring nationally and internationally from a young age with the Western Australian Youth Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra and various small ensembles. She graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Music (Performance) degree in 2007. Pascale regularly performs with various Symphony and Chamber orchestras and currently holds the position of Principal Second Violin with both the Perth Symphony and Perth Chamber Orchestras. She is in demand as a performer and recording artist on both baroque and modern violin, across a wide range of musical genres with local and visiting international artists. As a music educator, Pascale has performed and toured throughout metropolitan and regional WA and interstate with the Musica Viva In Schools over a ten year period, in addition to being engaged as a tutor for the WA Young Artists Chamber Music Program and teaching violin at a number of Perth schools and privately. Pascale is a founding member of Sartory String Quartet since its inception in 2003 with performances in Japan, and throughout Australia at a number of chamber music festivals and concert series.

Raymond Yong - Tutor | Piano

Raymond Yong has gained widespread recognition as a pianist around Australia, performing solo recitals, concertos with orchestra, and chamber music concerts with some of Australia’s finest musicians and ensembles. He has given chamber music performances at Musica Viva’s Huntington Festival, the Melbourne International Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, and the Linari Classic in Italy. He has been engaged as piano concerto soloist with many of the major orchestras in Australia.
Also known as a conductor, Raymond made his conducting debut in 2010 with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. He was the founding Artistic Director of Orchestra 21, Music Director of the Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Victoria Chorale. 
Raymond is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and also holds the German Artist’s Diploma from the Hannover University of Music and Drama. Raymond was a Young Visiting Artist at the Australian National Academy of Music, and has been a guest lecturer and piano teacher at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He is currently based in Perth, Western Australia where he is Music Fellow at St George's College.

Jon Tooby - Tutor | Cello

Jonathan Tooby, cellist and conductor has been working in music professionally in Perth for over 30 years. Jon studied cello at the Royal College of Music in London with two fabulous teachers, Christopher Bunting and William Pleeth. During his time there he also freelanced with several orchestras including the Halle, BBC and London Philharmonic Orchestras. Whilst there he also developed a passion for chamber music, specifically music for Piano Trio. In 2015 after 20yrs of playing trios he embarked on a new journey playing string quartets with a new ensemble. He is currently Artistic Director of the Darlington Chamber Music Series, now in its 14th year. The Darlington Ensemble also regularly gives concerts at Churchlands SHS and will be Artist in Residence at UWA in 2017. Jon is also passionate about youth music. He teaches at Guildford Grammar School, Churchlands SHS and also at UWA. In the past he has tutored for AYO in the YACA program and at National Music Camps. In more recent times he has turned his focus to conducting and in 2017 he has numerous engagements including 3 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra including a season of “The Great Gatsby,“ collaborating with the WA Ballet. He will also work with the WA Youth Orchestra.
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Kathy Potter tutor info
Paul Wright
Jessica Gethin
Grace Ah-quee
Shaun Lee Chen
Michael Goldschlager
Pascale Whiting
Raymond Yong
Jon Tooby
Semyon Kobets
Tatiana Kobets
Mark Coughlan
Helen Kruger
James Huntinford
Margaret Blades
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