2015 Adjudicator Pianoforte

 

Helen O'Brien

 

Helen is a Geelong-based teacher and performer of piano, harpsichord and fortepiano. As a young student she studied piano with Margaret Hair and the late Roy Shepherd MBE. After graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts she studied Fortepiano (early music) and was awarded a Netherlands Government Scholarship to further her studies in Den Haag. As well as being a performer and teacher, she has Masters’ degrees in Film Studies, Creative Writing and Musicology and is a published writer in both academic and creative fields.

 

Helen has taught piano at Geelong Grammar School, Geelong College and Ballarat Grammar School and has tutored and lectured in both Music and Writing disciplines at tertiary level at Swinburne University and the former Victorian College of the Arts. She is the current Editor of the Victorian Music Teachers’ Association and maintains an active interest in all facets of piano pedagogy through her work with the VMTA and also as a member (Editor) of the Organising Committee of the upcoming Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference in July 2015.

 

Helen’s adjudications have included the Royal South Street Competitions, the Music Society of Victoria, Mt. Gambier Eisteddfod and this year the prestigious Regional Competition of the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition, Burnie Tasmania and several Victorian Eisteddfods.

Len Vorster

Len Vorster left South Africa for Australia in 1983 after completing postgraduate studies with the eminent American pianist Lamar Crowson at the University of Cape Town.  In 1976 he made his concerto début with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and has since performed in the USA, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Taiwan, in London with the Royal Academy Orchestra and in all capital cities of Australia.

 

Len has recorded some 30 albums as a solo artist and accompanist.  As a concerto soloist he recorded Michael Easton’s ‘Concerto on Australian Themes’ with the State Orchestra of Victoria for Naxos.  Len received a Gramophone Magazine award for his Naxos CD of the two-piano version of Holst’s ‘The Planets’ with Robert Chamberlain and with Merlyn Quaife he was nominated for an Aria award for his Naxos CD of piano music and songs by Manuel de Falla.   Further releases include the complete songs and solo piano music of Lord Berners for Marco Polo with British tenor Ian Partridge, Brahms clarinet chamber music with Deborah de Graaff and Georg Pedersen for ABC Classics, the solo piano and chamber music of Lennox Berkeley and the music of Samuel Barber, both for Naxos and a solo CD Summer Waves.

 

In 2001 Len formed a duo with David Berlin, Principal Cellist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The Berlin Vorster Duo toured Taiwan in 2003 and their CD ‘Reflections’ was re-released for the Taiwan market.  In 2010 they released a ‘Barber and Debussy’ for Tall Poppies.  Len regularly performs with La Prima directed by Alison Rae Jones and with Promac Productions directed by Chris McKenna. He has performed with the Melbourne Musicians conducted by Frank Pam, the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Chris Kopke and with the Geelong Chamber Orchestra conducted by Stephen Roth.

 

Len Vorster is currently on the piano staff at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.  Teaching is an important part of his life and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience.  He is often invited to be on judging panels for music competitions and conduct masterclasses.   In addition to his busy performance and recording schedule, Len is the founding Artistic Director of the popular Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.