Final Round Jury | Strike A Chord

Wilma Smith

Wilma Smith is Musica Viva Australia’s Artistic Director of Competitions, Second Violinist of the Flinders Quartet, curator/violinist/violist of Wilma & Friends, Guest Concertmaster of orchestras throughout Australia and New Zealand, a regular player with the Australian World Orchestra and a committed teacher. 

Born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand, Wilma studied in the US with the legendary Dorothy DeLay. She was founding first violinist of the Lydian Quartet, winners of the Naumburg Award and prizes at Evian, Banff and Portsmouth International String Quartet Competitions. She worked regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

Invited by Chamber Music New Zealand to return home to establish the New Zealand String Quartet, Wilma was first violinist until her appointment as concertmaster of the NZSO and then the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Since retiring from the MSO, Wilma has prioritised her chamber music roots, enjoying old and new collaborations in the US and New Zealand as well as Australia. With her old friend, Victoria Jones, she is Co-Artistic Director of the annual Martinborough Music Festival. 

Wilma plays a 1761 Guadagnini violin and occasionally a fine Chinese viola. 

Howard Penny

After studies in Canberra Howard Penny was based in Vienna for 30 years. Winning the ABC Young Performers Competition, concerto performances include Sydney Opera House, Vienna Musikverein and Suntory Hall Tokyo. Former principal cello with Vienna Chamber Orchestra, he is a long-standing member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, working with the world’s leading conductors and soloists. As a chamber musician he has appeared in Wigmore Hall, Salzburg Festival, Beethoven Festival Bonn and KREMERata Lockenhaus, and performed throughout Europe, U.S.A. and Japan. He has recorded over 50 chamber works in various formations from trio to nonet. A regular guest with Concentus Musicus (Harnoncourt) and for ten years lecturer in historical performance practice at the University Mozarteum Salzburg, he was musical co-director of two Mozart operas for the 2006 Salzburg Festival cycle. He has been a faculty member at ANAM since 2007, is now Head of Strings, and co-director of both the Sanguine Estate Music Festival and the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival. 

Vatche Jambazian

Sydney-born pianist Vatche Jambazian completed his Master of music at The Juilliard School
following studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Having performed globally and nationally throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Australia, he
has appeared in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre,
UKARIA and City Recital Hall Angel’s Place and has been featured on WQXR Radio (New York classical
radio) and ABC Classic.

Vatche’s recent performances have seen him perform as soloist and chamber musician with artists
such as David Greco, Eleanor Lyons, Flinders Quartet, Omega Ensemble, Umberto Clerici, Lauren
Fagan, Harry Ward, Lloyd Vant Hoff and Ian Munro as well as being a featured artist in the Bangalow
Festival, Adelaide Hills Summer Festival, Bowral Autumn Music Festival and the Orange Festival. In
2022 Vatche premiered Phillip Glass’ Third Piano Concerto in City Recital Hall, and recently the World
premiere of Grammy award winning composer Caroline Shaw’s Harpsichord Concerto.
Vatche is currently on faculty at the Australian Institute of Music, Principal Pianist of the Omega
Ensemble and Artistic Director of the Bowral Autumn Music Festival.

First Round Jury | Strike A Chord

Alex Raineri

Alex Raineri is active Internationally and throughout Australia as a recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, writer, producer and educator. He is based in Brisbane, Australia. 

International performances include tours throughout America, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Southeast Asia and New Zealand. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Queensland, Tasmanian, Darwin and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, Four Winds Festival Orchestra, and the Queensland Pops Orchestra. He has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Radio NZ, ABC Classic FM and Australian MBS Networks.  

Alex is Artistic Director of the annual Brisbane Music Festival. He is a passionate exponent and commissioner of contemporary music, having given 127 World Premieres + 163 Australian Premieres to date. He has commissioned over 70 works. 

Major awards include the Kerikeri International Piano Competition and Australian National Piano Award. He was the recipient of the Queensland Luminary Award in the 2021 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Awards and received a Kranichsteiner Musikpries at the International Summer Courses for New Music (Darmstadt, Germany). 

Alex is a radio-presenter on 4MBS Classic FM, a reviewer for The Music Trust’s ‘Loudmouth’, and holds associate artist positions at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University + University of Queensland.  

Molly Kadarauch

Molly Kadarauch is a renowned and passionate educator and has taught music students of all ages and abilities including at the Queensland Conservatorium, Melbourne Conservatorium, Australian National Academy of Music and Australian Youth Orchestras. In her youth she was a student of Irene Sharp (CA) and Joan Dickson (Purcell School of Music, London). She received her Bachelor’s of Music studying under Laurence Lesser (student of Piatigorsky) and for postgrad as a Fulbright scholar with Wolfgang Boettcher (Former principal of the Berlin Philharmonic) before relocating to Australia where she joined the Australian Chamber Orchestra as a core member and Associate Principal cellist from 1996-2004. In 2004 she decided to move to Melbourne (her favourite touring venue) where she built a diverse freelancing career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and educator both nationally and abroad. In 2010 she co-founded Sutherland Trio together with Elizabeth Sellars (violin) and Caroline Almonte (piano) who have made regular performances at the Melbourne Recital Centre, broadcasts for ABC Classic and 3MBS, and toured nationally. Other notable engagements have included tours to India and Australia with the Australian World Orchestra and as a soloist at the Melbourne International Cello festival.

Jury | Strike A Chord Novice Section

Eliza Shephard

Winner of the ABC Young Performers Award, Eliza Shephard is a vibrant performer based in Melbourne and is quickly paving her way as a performing artist, collaborator, and curator. She is a teaching associate at Monash University and received her Master of Music through Griffith University. Eliza has studied and performed in Canada, New Zealand and USA and trained at the Australian National Academy of Music in the Professional Performance Program. She has received many awards including the ANAM Director's Prize and the International Woodwind Player Award at the Gisborne International Music Competition. 

A fervent contemporary musician, Eliza has established a course on experimental techniques, ‘The Extended Flute’, and is a specialist on the Glissando Headjoint. She was a finalist in the Classical Freedman Fellowship in 2021 and has performed extensively as part of Opera Australia’s regional tours. Eliza is passionate about amplifying the voices of female musicians and composers, and her project ‘March of the Women’ is earning her a name as a strong and dedicated performer of Australian and international female composers’ music. ‘March of the Women’ is a month-long recording project running from 2020-2023 where Eliza showcases works by female composers for both solo flute and within chamber settings, and she has now recorded a total of 124 works. 

Jonathan Békés

Jonathan Békés started playing the cello at 10 years old and has studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Australian National Academy of Music. He has learnt with cellists such as Howard Penny, Julian Smiles and Susan Blake and won numerous awards for his performance including the ANAM Director’s Prize and First Prize in the ANAM Chamber Competition.  

Békés is in great demand as a performer, chamber musician and teacher across Australia and has taken his cello across the world, having performed and taught across five different continents. He has been the Principal Cellist of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra since 2021, a founding member of both the Tasmanian String Quartet and award-winning Clarendon Trio and plays regularly with the Australian World Orchestra and the Southern Cross Soloists. Békés has appeared as soloist with numerous orchestras around Australia including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Hobart Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. 

In his spare time, Békés is a passionate Sydney Swans supporter and a committed Hobart Hurricanes enthusiast. He is a keen squash player, an avid golfer and loves to get outside to go hiking and mountain biking.