About the Sydney Soloists

 andrew narrow

Andrew Haveron studied at the Purcell School and the Royal College of Music and in 1996 was the highest British prize winner at the Paganini Competition for the past 50 years. In 2004 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent for his services to music.

He joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Co-Concertmaster in 2013, and became Concertmaster in 2016. He is highly respected around the world as a soloist, chamber musician and concertmaster. As a soloist, he has played concertos with conductors such as Colin Davis, Roger Norrington, Jiří Bělohlávek, Stanisław Skrowaczewski and John Wilson, as well as David Robertson, performing a broad range of well-known and less familiar repertoire with many of the UK's finest orchestras.

As first violinist of the internationally acclaimed Brodsky Quartet (1999-2007), Andrew's work included collaborations with artists ranging from Anne-Sofie von Otter and Alexander Baillie to iconic crossover work with Elvis Costello, Björk, Paul McCartney and Sting. He recorded more than 15 albums with the quartet, many of which won awards such as Diapason d'or and Choc du Monde de la Musique. He has also appeared with numerous other chamber groups, such as the Nash and Hebrides ensembles, the Logos Chamber Group, Kathy Selby, and the Omega Ensemble.

Andrew is in great demand as a concertmaster and director, and has worked with all the major symphony orchestras in the UK and many others around the world. In 2007 he became concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and in 2012 he joined the Philharmonia Orchestra. He also led the World Orchestra for Peace at the request of Valery Gergiev, and he has been the leader of the John Wilson Orchestra since its inception. In addition to his work in Australia, he has recently appeared with orchestras in Singapore, Hong Kong and London, and has toured with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.


 Umberto Clerici Rehearsal

Umberto Clerici began the study of cello when he was five at the Suzuki School of Turin. He later attended the classes of Mario Brunello, David Geringas and Steven Isserlis. In 2007 he took the master’s degree (PhD course) at the University of Music Nürnberg-Augsburg with Julius Berger.

He has been a Laureate or prize winner in many international competitions, including the Janigro Competition in Zagreb and the Rostropovich Competition in Paris, the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 2011. He has also received many Awards including: the “Galileo 2000” awarded in Florence in 2003, the Mozarteum prize in Salzburg, the "Pressenda Award" 2005 for the best young soloist of the year and the Scanno Prize 2007.

In 1999 he made his debut as a soloist playing Haydn’s D Major cello concerto in Japan. Afterwards he performed with many orchestras including the San Petersburg Philharmonic Academic Orchestra, State Symphony orchestra of Russia in Moscow, Philarmonia Wien, “I Pomeriggi Musicali” in Milan, Orchestra of Rome, Brighton Philharmonic, Zagreb Soloist, Orchestra da Camera di Mantova, “Haydn” Orchestra of Trento and Bozen, Symphony Orchestras of Istanbul and Ankara and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra collaborating with conductors like Alexander Dmitriev, Aldo Ceccato, Christoph Poppen , Lu Jia, Dimitri Sitkovetzki, Barry Wordsworth, Ola Rudner and Lukas-Peter Gra .

Umberto has performed in major concert halls such as the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Big Hall of the Musik Verein in Wien and the "Auditorium Parco della Musica" in Rome. In 2003 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival.

He has recorded the first Saint-Saens cello concerto. He has also recorded a CD of  music for cello and orchestra by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.

Umberto was Principal Cello of the Teatro Regio in Turin for 4 years. He is now Co-principal Cellist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

He taught at the Perosi Academy in Biella. He is now Lecturer in Cello at the Sydney Conservatorium. In the summer season he teaches, together with Julius Berger, at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He has given master classes at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Augsburg Hochschule (Germany), Moscow Conservatory and Istanbul Conservatory.

Umberto  has performed in chamber music groups with many famous musicians. Since 2001 he has performed with the “Trio di Torino”.

Roger Benedict Rehearsal

Roger Benedict is Principal Viola with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has worked as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, teacher and conductor. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (where he was later a professor), and the International Musicians' Seminar, Prussia Cove. In 1991 he was appointed Principal Viola of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and in 2002 Principal Viola of the Sydney Symphony. He is also Artistic Director of the orchestra's Fellowship program, and has performed as guest principal with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

As a soloist he has appeared with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Ulster Orchestra, and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, Japan. He has performed Strauss's Don Quixote many times, and with the Sydney Symphony he has performed Mozart's Sinfonia concertante, Berlioz's Harold in Italy, Ford's Unquiet Grave and Vaughan Williams' Flos Campi.

Other solo highlights include performances with cellists Lynn Harrell and Steven Isserlis, and concerts for the opening of the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2009. He has appeared at London's Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, as well as all the major festivals and concert series in the UK. His chamber music partners have included Lorin Maazel, Simon Rattle, Louis Lortie and Leif Ove Andsnes, and he has performed as a guest artist with the Tinalley String Quartet and Sydney Soloists.

He has recorded several concertante works for BBC Radio 3, including Michael Berkeley's Viola Concerto, of which he gave the premiere, and he is frequently heard on ABC Classic FM. His debut recital CD Volupté (music by Koechlin and Jongen), was released in 2010. He has also released a recording of Flos Campi with the Sydney Symphony.

Roger Benedict is also a conductor, regularly directing orchestras at the Sydney Conservatorium and Australian National Academy of Music, the National Youth Orchestra in London and Aldeburgh, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. In addition to leading the Sydney Symphony Fellowship program, he is a Senior Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, a European Union Orchestra tutor, and was an orchestral mentor for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 in Sydney. 

 Francesco Celata Rehearsal

Francesco (Frank) Celata graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1987, then studied in Amsterdam with Piet Honingh (Concertgebouw Orchestra) and Siena with Giuseppe Garbarino. In 1991 he was appointed Principal Clarinet with the then Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. He joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1993 as Associate Principal Clarinet and has appeared as soloist on several occasions.

He has also appeared as soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia, and on a number of occasions between 2003 and 2009 he appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra as guest Principal Clarinet, performing on international tours and recordings.

Frank is a founding member and Artistic Director of the Sydney Soloists, and is a member of the New Sydney Wind Quintet.

Frank is also a dedicated teacher, and since 1994 has taught clarinet at the Sydney Conservatorium, where he is a Lecturer in Clarinet. He has given masterclasses in Australia and overseas. In 2013 he joined the staff of the Conservatorium of Music in Hobart as Lecturer in Orchestral and Chamber Music.



Alex Henery Rehearsal

Alex Henery is Lecturer in Double Bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Since 1998 Alex has played principal double bass with the Sydney Symphony. He has performed regularly as a soloist in various music festivals, including performances of Bottesini’s Double Concerto Passione Amorosa, and Bottesini’s Concerto No.2 with the Sydney Symphony.

Alex moved to Australia from the UK and studied the bass at the Sydney Conservatorium from 1985-86 before moving to New York and later Boston to continue his studies. In 1989, he returned to the UK, where he began his professional career, working initially with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

He played co-principal bass in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1990 and in 1992 took up the co-principal position with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra. During his time in London, he was also a regular guest principal with the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and many of London’s chamber orchestras.


 Robert Johnson

photograph: Louise Kennerly

Robert Johnson studied horn at the NSW Conservatorium and after spending a year in the ABC Training Orchestra he joined the West Australian Symphony Orchestra as Third Horn. He was appointed Principal Horn in 1977 and appeared numerous times as soloist with the WASO and the Perth Wind Quintet, which regularly toured Western Australia and recorded for ABC Radio.

He joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Horn before leaving in 1979 to pursue further study in Europe and the USA. Returning to Sydney in 1981, he took up the position of Principal Horn with the Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra, and in 1986 he rejoined the SSO as Principal Horn.

In 1990 Robert Johnson performed Strauss's Horn Concerto No.1 and devised a program for the SSO's Music for Spring series, appearing as soloist and conductor. In 1991 he acted as Artistic Director for the Amadeus Wind Players' series of concerts at the Sydney Conservatorium, and also appeared as soloist with the SSO in performances of Ross Edwards' Aria and Transcendental Dance at the Seymour Centre. Other highlights with the SSO include performances of Mozart's Horn Concerto No.2 in 1992 and Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings in 1993.

Robert Johnson works regularly with the Australia Ensemble and Sydney Soloists, and was a founding member of the Chamber Soloists of Sydney. He has also taught at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Canberra School of Music.

 Todd Gibson Cornish

Todd Gibson-Cornish is from New Zealand, and is currently Principal Bassoonist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

He recently graduated from the Royal College of Music in London with a BMus (Hons) First Class degree, as a Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholar supported by a Douglas and Hilda Simmonds Award. He was awarded the Tagore Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the RCM, which will be presented to him by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2017.  His teachers at the RCM were Joost Bosdijk, Andrea de Flammineis and Julie Price. 

In the UK, Todd has played as Guest Principal with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and as an extra with the London Symphony Orchestra. He successfully auditioned for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in early 2016 and took up the role of Principal Bassoon immediately following his graduation. 

Todd has played on a number of recordings with the RLPO, Philharmonia, and recently recorded Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

As a chamber musician, Todd has taken part in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and toured for Chamber Music New Zealand.