About The Flinders Quartet



Flinders Quartet Bio

Photo credit:Pia Johnson

Flinders Quartet (FQ) is one of Australia’s most loved chamber music ensembles. A quartet for the twenty-first century, FQ approaches its third decade with acknowledged musical skill and maturity, presenting dynamic and stirring performances of a full spectrum of repertoire. 

Committed to industry development, FQ regularly commissions and premieres works by Australian composers. Their 2020 season includes the premieres of new works by Katy Abbott, Deborah Cheetham AO; and emerging composer Ella Macens (participant in FQ’s 2017 Composer Development Program). In their ongoing mission to further the Australian tradition of chamber music, FQ has previously commissioned and premiered works by Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Elena Kats-Chernin, Stuart Greenbaum, Paul Dean, Paul Grabowsky, Ian Munro, Iain Grandage, Andrew Ford, Calvin Bowman, Tom Henry and Matt Laing. In 2016, FQ launched its annual Composer Development Program, working to further the career of emerging Australian composers. 

FQ continues its own subscription season and undertakes regular regional and interstate touring, performing for festivals and concert presenters throughout Australia. International engagements have taken FQ to the UK, Singapore, Canada, and most recently, Sweden and Finland, where they performed the complete string quartets by Sibelius. 

FQ have a steadfast commitment to the development of Australian chamber music, musicians and audiences. As teachers and mentors, they have worked with the Australian Youth Orchestra and its developmental programs for young chamber groups. They also work with the Victorian Amateur Chamber Music Society and are regularly invited to tutor at secondary and tertiary institutions throughout Australia and in 2018, FQ were appointed Artistic Patrons of John Noble’s Quartet Program; an initiative that reaches student and amateur musicians in regional Victorian through mentoring and shared performances.







 Photo credit:Pia Johnson

 Thibaud Pavlobic-Hobba, Violin

Thibaud, an Australian-French violinist, was born in Tasmania. He began playing the violin after receiving it as his fifth birthday present. He studied in Tasmania under Peter Tanfield and he also attended the Australian National Academy of Music where he studied with Paul Wright and Bill Hennessy.

He has performed with the Tasmanian and Sydney symphony orchestras, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. In 2012 he was an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra under Zoë Black and Helena Rathbone’s mentorship. He continued to tour with the ACO for the next years and joined the Orchestra as a part-time musician in 2016.

Thibaud won the audience choice prize at the ANAM Chamber Music Competition with his piano trio in 2014. He has played with members of the Brodsky Quartet, Nicolas Altstaedt, Alban Gerhardt and Anthony Marwood. He has also performed at many festivals around Australia as well as touring nationally with the Sydney Dance Company.




Wilma 250 w

Photo credit: Pia Johnson

Wilma Smith, Violin

Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra between 2003 and 2014, Wilma Smith combines her love of the symphonic repertoire with a busy chamber music life.

Wilma studied at Auckland University. Her early early professional experience was with the Auckland Symphonia  and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. She then continued her studies in Boston at the New England Conservatory with the legendary Dorothy DeLay and Louis Krasner, playing in masterclasses for many others including Joseph Gingold, Yehudi Menuhin and Sandor Vegh.

She was founding first violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, prizewinners at Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International Competitions and winners of the Naumburg Award for Chamber Music. She also worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and led the Harvard Chamber Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society and Banchetto Musicale, a period instrument baroque orchestra. An invitation to form the New Zealand String Quartet took her back to Wellington in 1987 and she was first violinist of the quartet until her appointment as Concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1993. During her years with the quartet they toured New Zealand and Australia extensively and performed at the Tanglewood Festival. Prior to her departure for Melbourne, the NZSO honoured her with the title of Concertmaster Emeritus.

Wilma has enjoyed duo partnerships with pianists Michael Houstoun and Ian Munro and, since moving to Melbourne, has performed with the Munro/Smith/Berlin Trio, Ensemble Liaison, the MSO Chamber Players and Hopkins Quartet. Her chamber music collaboration with Steven Isserlis for the 2008 International Festival of the Arts in Wellington led to her ongoing participation in his Open Chamber Music Seminar at Prussia Cove in Cornwall, England.

In 2012, Wilma began curating her own chamber music series, Wilma & Friends, in which she invites a collection of her illustrious musical colleagues to join her in unique combinations of chamber music. She is also a committed teacher of violin at Melbourne University and privately. 




Photo credit: Pia Johnson

Helen Ireland, Viola  

Originally from Adelaide, Helen has made Melbourne her home since moving in 2000 to attend the Australian National Academy of Music. Helen is also a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and teaches viola at Melbourne University. A graduate of the Canberra School of Music, Helen was awarded the Erica Haas prize for chamber music. She participated in several Australian Youth Orchestra tours, becoming principal viola of the Camerata in 1998. In 1996, Helen was a finalist in the viola competition at the International Winter School for Strings.  

Helen has worked with many leading Australian orchestras, including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She plays regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria where she has been guest principal and associate principal.  

Helen is qualified as a Feldenkrais practitioner and looks forward to helping other musicians with this work.

Helen is a founding member of Flinders Quartet.





Photo credit: Pia Johnson

Zoe Knighton, 'Cello

After starting cello at the age of nine with Jill Kahans, and graduating from the University of Melbourne with the highest mark of her year, Zoe went on to establish herself as one of the country’s most sought after cellists. Having studied with Christian Wojtowicz, Michel Strauss (Paris), Nelson Cooke, and Angela Seargeant, she has continued this legacy by teaching at The University of Melbourne, Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University, The University of Tasmania, The Australian Youth Orchestra, The Victorian Amateur Chamber Music Society, as well as other masterclasses and workshops.

Zoe has played numerous concertos with Melbourne orchestras, and with pianist Amir Farid made an impressive debut at the Melbourne Recital Centre to great critical acclaim in 2009. Their partnership continues with recordings for ABC, concerts throughout Australia and the release of five CDs on the MOVE label. She has been praised for her “thrilling tenor sound” (Limelight Magazine), “sublime phrasing”, and “many great technical demands which Knighton carried off with ease.”

Zoe continues to freelance with Melbourne’s orchestras and is a regular panelist for national and international competitions.

Zoe is a founding member of Flinders Quartet.



 Vatche Jambazian

Photo credit: Petra Gent

Vatche Jambazian, Piano 

Sydney-born pianist Vatche Jambazian completed his Master of Music at The Juilliard School following studies at the Sydney Conservatorium.  Following his international debut in Armenia, Vatche has performed extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Vatche was awarded the Fine Music Station Young Performer of the Year (NSW), was a finalist at ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year and a prizewinner at the Los Angeles International Piano Competition and Australian National Piano Award.

Concert engagements have seen him perform at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, City Recital Hall, The Foundling Museum, Zipper Hall, and the Lincoln Centre where he gave the New York premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Light and Matter Piano Trio through the Rolex Arts Initiative.   

Vatche has been featured on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music Station 2MBS and WQXR Radio (NYC).  He  was recently appointed Principal Pianist of the Omega Ensemble and currently holds the position of Academic lecturer at the Australian Institute of Music.