About the Artists

 Sophie Rowell violin Headshot

                                 photo credit: Jacqui Way

Sophie Rowell, Violin

Recently appointed Associate Concertmaster with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, violinist Sophie Rowell has had an extensive performing career as a soloist, chamber musician and principal orchestral violinist both in Australia and abroad.

After winning the ABC Young Performer’s Award in 2000 which resulted in solo performances with all major Australian symphony orchestras, Sophie founded the Tankstream Quartet which won string quartet competitions in Cremona and Osaka. Having studied in Germany with the Alban Berg Quartet the quartet moved back to Australia in 2006 when they were appointed to the Australian String Quartet. For 6 years she toured, recorded, participated in chamber music festivals and enjoyed performing that wonderful repertoire all over the globe. Special highlights included playing in the QuartetFest Bonn as part of the Beethoven Festival and giving performances for remote communities on Cape York in Far North Queensland.

Since 2012 Sophie has traveled the world playing in principal violin positions with orchestras including the Scottish & Mahler Chamber Orchestras and the Vancouver, Sydney & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, as well as participating in many chamber music festivals in Australia.

Sophie studied with Alice Waten in Sydney and participated in numerous master classes with incredible musicians such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Norbert Brainin (Amadeus Quartet) and Walter Levin (LaSalle Quartet.)

She now teaches at the Australian National Academy of Music having previously taught at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide and the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. She has also given master classes in the UK, France, Singapore and Australia.

Although Sophie loves music she can always be tempted to exchange her violin for a pack of cards in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. 


Kristian Chong piano headshot

                               photo credit: John Tsiavis

Kristian Chong, Piano

One of Australia's leading pianists, Kristian Chong has performed throughout Australia and the UK, and in China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, and Zimbabwe. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. As soloist he has appeared with the Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, and orchestras in the UK, New Zealand and China, and highlights include Rachmaninoff’s 3rd (Sydney Symphony), the Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapody in Beijing and Canberra, Britten (Adelaide Symphony Orchestra) Ravel's Left Hand concerto (Australian Youth Orchestra and Dunedin Symphony Orchestra) and Saint-Saëns 2nd (Melbourne Symphony).

A highly sought after chamber musician, Kristian’s extensive collaborations include the Tinalley and Australian String Quartets, violinists Dale Barltrop, Natsuko Yoshimoto, cellist Li-Wei Qin and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, with whom he has recorded with ABC-Classics. Others include violinists Ilya Konovalov, (concertmaster Israel Philharmonic), Vadim Gluzman, Elizabeth Layton, Alexandre Da Costa and Jack Liebeck, violist Christopher Moore, and clarinetists Michael Collins and Philip Arkinstall. His festival appearances include the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Adelaide, Huntington Estate, Mimir and Bangalow Festivals. Other recent highlights include Australian Music Week on Gulangyu Island (Xiamen) with the Melbourne Symphony, piano trios and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Yoshimoto and Qin, and the complete Beethoven Piano & Violin Sonatas at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Kristian studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Piers Lane and Christopher Elton, and with Stephen McIntyre at the University of Melbourne, where Kristian teaches piano and chamber music. His competition successes include the Symphony Australia Young Performers Award (keyboard) and the Australian National Piano Award. He is also director of the series Kristian Chong and Friends at the Melbourne Recital Centre.