About the Goldner String Quartet

 2021 1 Goldner String Quartet Next Concert
Photo credit:  Keith Saunders

Goldner String Quartet

The Goldner String Quartet is unique amongst Australian String Quartets in that it has retained the same four members throughout its 30- year existence.  The old adage of a string quartet being like a musical family has extra meaning for the Goldners.  Consisting of two married couples and working so closely as one musical family, they have lived through the highs and lows that any family experiences and have shared both joys and profound challenges.

Whilst they feel they have much still to contribute as individual musicians and performers, they feel 2024 is the right time to bring the Goldner String Quartet to a close.

Named in honour of Richard Goldner, founder of Musica Viva Australia, the Quartet is now widely recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent string quartet and an ensemble of international significance, one of the best in the world. 

They are named in honour of Richard Goldner, the founder of Musica Viva Australia.

Their performances have been acclaimed throughout Australia, UK, Europe, USA, the Asia-Pacific, and New Zealand. They regularly appear at major festivals at home and abroad and have curated their own Music in the Hunter festival for almost three decades.  They are Quartet-in-Residence at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville.

Special projects have included a ten concert retrospective of 20th century quartets for the Adelaide Festival in 2000, an international project with Sydney’s Sister Cities and the complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets. The cycle performances were recorded live over three weeks by ABC Classics and the 6 volume CD set won the 2009 Limelight ‘Best Classical Recording’ Award. The recordings of the complete Quartets of Peter Sculthorpe and of Carl Vine, in the presence of the composers, is another important legacy.

Numerous other CDs have been released - mostly on the Hyperion label (11 CDs featuring long- time collaborator Piers Lane, piano) and also on ABC Classics, Tall Poppies and Naxos labels. Rave reviews including the Diapason D’Or, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone magazine, BBC Music Magazine and in Limelight magazine, among others, have followed.

The Goldners’ own DVD Documentary about renowned composer Peter Sculthorpe, recorded live with the composer's participation in 2012, and entitled “The Quartets” is a significant historical document - also released by ABC Classics.

As the string members of the Australia Ensemble (Resident at UNSW since 1980) they have enjoyed an even longer shared musical history with colleagues such as David Bollard and Ian Munro (piano), Geoffrey Collins (flute), Nigel Westlake, Alan Vivian, Catherine McCorkill, and David Griffiths (Clarinet).

The Goldner String Quartet has had many happy collaborations with international artists such as Piers Lane, Kathryn Stott, Nicholas Daniel, Michael Collins, Boris Berman, Torleif Thedeen, Dong Suk Kang, Rainer Moog, Katia Buniatishvili, James Crabb, Roderick Williams, Katya Apekisheva, Jack Liebeck, William Barton, Edgar Meyer and numerous other noteworthy artists. As Quartet-in- Residence at AFCM Townsville, the Goldners have formed the backbone of many Festival programs, performing there almost every year since the mid-1990s.

The Goldners have often collaborated with other String Quartets and have performed the Octet repertoire with international ensembles such as Tokyo String Quartet, the Dover, Danish, Elias, Vertavo, and New Zealand String Quartets, and closer to home, the Australian, TinAlley, Orava and Flinders Quartets.

Throughout the years, the Goldners have mentored many young musicians through programs of the Australian Youth Orchestra, Musica Viva Australia, Australian National Academy of Music, AFCM Townsville and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The Goldner String Quartet has a strong history of regularly premiering new works, commissioned from many of Australia’s leading composers, and has enjoyed particularly close working relationships with Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Carl Vine, Nigel Westlake, Matthew Hindson and Paul Stanhope.



2021 1 GSQ Dene Olding Biography

Photo Credit:  Keith Saunders 

Dene Olding, Violin 

Dene Olding is one of Australia’s outstanding violinists. He is first violinist for the Goldner String Quartet and the Australia Ensemble (resident at the University of New South Wales).  He is also Concertmaster Emeritus of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and is Artistic Advisor for Australia's Young Performers Awards.  He was recently appointed Chair of the Australian Music Foundation.

As a soloist he has worked with all of the Australian Symphony and Chamber Orchestras in a range of repertoire. He has performed over forty concertos and worked with some of the world’s leading conductors. He has performed world premieres of violin concertos by Carl Vine, Ross Edwards, Bozidar Kos and the Double Concerto for violin and viola by Richard Mills, written for him and his wife, Irina Morozova. 

Dene has also held the position of Leader and Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and is often sought after to lead/direct concerts with many other orchestras. He has also been the Artistic Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Festival Chamber Music Concert Program. He appears regularly at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and at many festivals in Australasia and Europe. In 2010 he appeared at the Edinburgh Festival as soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Vladimir Ashkenazy. 

Solo recordings include a sonata disc of Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart for ABC Classics with his father, Max Olding, the CD premiere of concertos by Frank Martin and Milhaud and concertos by Samuel Barber and Ross Edwards (Maninyas) – winner of the 1994 A.R.I.A. award for “Best Classical Recording” and the prestigious Cannes award. He has also recorded the Hindemith violin concerti with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under Werner Andreas Albert for CPO. His numerous chamber music CD’s have also received acclaim. 

He has been awarded the Centenary Medal of Australia and has received numerous awards and accolades for his performances in all spheres of music-making. Dene is passionate about the future of classical music and sees his former role as Artistic Adviser and frequent jury member for the Michael Hill International Violin Competition as making an important contribution to that end.

Dene plays a fine Joseph Guarnerius violin made in 1720. 

2021 1 GSQ Dimity Hall BiographyPhoto credit:  Keith Saunders

Dimity Hall, Violin

Dimity Hall is well known to national and international audiences as a member of both the Goldner String Quartet and the Australia Ensemble at UNSW with whom she has performed, toured and recorded extensively, to critical acclaim. Dimity made her solo debut with the Sydney Symphony in 2002 performing Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, later recording the work for ABC Classics. She has also been soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane’s Camerata of St John amongst others.

Formerly Principal Second Violin of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, she has also appeared with them as guest Leader and with the Sydney Symphony as guest Principal. Dimity has performed as guest Concertmaster with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and with the Adelaide and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras and has performed as a member of the Australian World Orchestra.

Dimity was a juror for the 2003 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and has coached young chamber musicians for Musica Viva, the Sydney Conservatorium, ANAM and the Australian Youth Orchestra. From 2008 - 2016 Dimity combined with semi-finalists in their chamber music performances as part of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia.

In 2017 she and husband Julian Smiles performed for James Crabb’s ‘Ukaria 24’  festival where they also worked alongside the AYO Momentum ensemble. In 2019, Dimity and Julian were resident artists for the Queensland Conservatorium’s Side by Side program: coaching individual string players, chamber music ensembles and leading a chamber orchestra of staff and students.

Dimity plays a Nicolo Gagliano violin on long term loan from the Olding family.


2021 1 GSQ Irina Morozova Biography 250w 401hPhoto Credit:  Keith Saunders

Irina Morozova, Viola 

Irina Morozova, one of Australia’s leading violists, has been principal viola of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and guest principal of the Sydney Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras.

She is a foundation and current member of both the Australia Ensemble at UNSW and the Goldner String Quartet. With these two groups she has performed in nearly 30 countries around the world and has recorded extensively – particularly for the Hyperion Label in the UK and for Tall Poppies and ABC Classics in Australia. 

She has regularly appeared as a soloist with major Australian and New Zealand orchestras.  She frequently performs as a soloist together with her husband Dene Olding and they premiered the double concerto written for them by Richard Mills.

A member of distinguished chamber music juries, she presided on the juries of the Shostakovich International String Quartet Competition in St Petersburg, Russia, the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and was invited to perform and adjudicate at the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition on the Isle of Man.

Irina often tutors at the Australian National Academy of Music and at various Australian Youth Orchestra camps and was involved in the establishment of the Huntington Ensemble Challenge which encourages and provides tutoring for music students in country areas (initially around Mudgee) to play chamber music.

Irina plays a viola made for Richard Goldner by A.E. Smith of Sydney in 1947.

2021 1 GSQ Julian Smiles Biography 250w 401hPhoto Credit:  Keith Saunders

Julian Smiles, 'Cello

Julian Smiles has been a central figure in cello performance and teaching in Australia for over 25 years. He began his professional career when he was appointed principal cellist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra at the age of 19 and rapidly gained prominence as a chamber musician in performances for Musica Viva, Kathryn Selby and Friends and at the Huntington Estate Music Festival. In 1991 he was invited to join the Australia Ensemble at UNSW and in 1995 he and his fellow founder members formed the Goldner String Quartet. With these two groups he has performed to critical acclaim at major venues and festivals throughout the world, made over 30 CDs on leading labels, and premiered many works by Australian and international composers. 

Julian’s appearances at festivals over the years have included artistic collaborations with musicians such as Piers Lane, Tasmin Little, Edgar Meyer, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Amy Dickson and James Crabb. He has also been a collaborative artist in the chamber music round of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia on numerous occasions. 

Julian is active as a soloist with numerous concerto appearances. During 2018 Julian’s high standing as a performer was recognised by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, as their inaugural “Artist in Focus”. In this role he performed recitals and appeared as soloist with his wife Dimity Hall and pianist Piers Lane in performances of the Beethoven Triple Concerto. He has also premiered works for solo cello by eminent Australian composers such as Carl Vine and Mark Isaacs.

Julian has appeared frequently as guest principal cello with orchestras including the Sydney Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, and Australian Opera and Ballet, and over the last few years has performed frequently as guest principal with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He is also an ongoing member of the Australian World Orchestra. 

In 2007 Julian was a member of the international jury for the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and since 2004 has played as a guest musician performing chamber works with semi-finalists in the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia.

Julian has developed a school of cello playing based on thorough and ongoing analysis of musical and technical issues that sees him sought after as a teacher and chamber music coach. He has held teaching positions at the Australian Institute of Music and Canberra School of Music, and is currently Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Cello at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

An alumnus of the Australian Youth Orchestra, Julian has remained committed to coaching young musicians in that organisation. He has also worked with students of the Australian National Academy of Music and in 2019 he and Dimity curated a “Side by Side” project of mentoring and performances at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

He has also served as a juror for a number of major competitions, including the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2007 and the Gisborne International Music Competition in 2019.

Julian plays an 1827 Lorenzo Ventapane cello.