Rachel Johnston, cello, mandolin
Trent Arkleysmith, guitar, mandolin, cello, banjo, voice

'Trent Arkleysmith and Rachel Johnston formed their duo Two if by Sea in 2016 and have been captivating audiences ever since with their mix of original and traditional tunes drawn from Celtic, Scandinavian, American and Eastern European styles, performed in the warm colours of guitar, mandolins, cellos and voice.

Both Trent and Rachel started their musical lives studying classical Cello and then took dramatically different paths- Trent running away with the circus and spending many years performing in various circus, theatre, music comedy and street theatre productions around Australia, Europe and Asia, and Rachel studying classical cello at conservatories in the UK, Europe and USA before moving to Australia to play in the Australian String Quartet.

Familiar to audiences at Australia's major festivals, Two if By Sea have been active during the past two years performing house concerts across the country- bringing music directly into the homes of music loving communities while dodging lockdowns and border closures.

A little more adventurous than previous scenarios, this way of doing things has proved to be powerfully in line with the duo's central calling, "To bring music right into people's lives. Not just as something to be experienced by the lucky few as a packaged luxury in a concert hall or as a processed commodity via electronic media, but as a living art form. Something created in your presence by real people, a unique happening that invites the audience in as co-creators of a musical experience." says Rachel.

Trent and Rachel also perform to students across the nation as part of Musica Viva In School's educational program, broadcasting live shows featuring both their music and acrobat Gareth Bjaaland, in a show entitled Timmy And The Breakfast Band.

Two If By Sea

A voyage in sound.

Two if by Sea bring a classical aesthetic to traditional idioms and the result is a sparkling selection of fresh and elegant interpretations across a repertoire that spans oceans. Kreisler, Murena and Piazzola rub shoulders with Bach, Jacob de Bandolim and music from Scandinavia, the Shetlands, the New World and Australia- the common thread being simply the joy of sharing beautiful music!


BLAYLOC & BRYAN Farewell to Trion

ARKLEYSMITH My Heart is in the (Southern) Highlands

JS BACH Prelude Minor or Major

EGGLESTON Crosstuned Cello Suite

MURÉNA L’Indifference

FRASER Beladiti/Black Rose/House at Lonely Hill

KREISLER Schon Rosmarin

ARKLEYSMITH Dragonfly Summer

VÄSEN Scandinavian Set

FOLK SONG Moonshiner

SOLLEE Panning for Gold


BANDOLIM Santa Morena


70 minutes without interval (concert with interval also available)

A power socket within 5m of the performance area

The artists are keen to offer community masterclasses which cater to individual town, including instrumental masterclassises in:

  • Classical or non-classical cello
  • Guitar workshops in open-tuning or rhythmic techniques
  • Ensemble coaching
  • A traditional tune-teaching session (all instruments)
  • Improvisation workshops and
  • Composition sessions

Throughout 2023

Book an artist

Travel to centres in regional NSW is subsidised through the support of Create NSW. Musica Viva can book the artists, arrange all travel and accommodation, provide posters, flyers and program information.
If you are interested in bringing an ensemble to your town or city, please contact:

Sean Moloney

Manager, Special Projects & Regional Touring


02 8394 6662