Stephen Cuttriss, bandoneón
Stephen Cuttriss is a Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist and early-career academic based in Melbourne. He is an ethnomusicologist and specialist in Latin American music, holding a PhD in Anthropology. His research examines the cultural resurgence of Argentinian tango music in 21st century Buenos Aires. As part of his doctoral fieldwork, Stephen spent 2016 living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying the bandoneon. He has quickly become one of Australia’s premier bandoneonists and tango specialists. As a soloist Stephen has performed and recorded with some of Australia’s most sensational classical music figures including the Nexas Quartet and pianist-composer Daniel Rojas. As co-founder and creative director, Stephen also performers regularly throughout Australia with the Mendoza Tango Quartet. At home in Melbourne he is a co-director and the first bandoneonist of the Melbourne Tango Orchestra, and regularly performs other groups including Faro Negro. He has performed at numerous festivals across Australia including the Woodford Folk Festival, National Folk Festival, Lorne Festival of Performing Arts, MONA FOMA, Cygnet Folk Festival, Australasian World Music Expo, Queensland Music Festival, Snowy Mountains Music Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival, Caloundra Music Festival, Manifest Festival and Brisbane Festival.
Amy Lynch, bandoneón
Amy Lynch is a Melbourne based bandoneonist who specialises in Latin American music. She graduated from the University of Tasmania Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music, majoring in classical piano. Amy was awarded Commonwealth scholarships and the highest marks in her cohort, achieving the Dean’s Roll of Excellence. Amy lived in Buenos Aires for three years, where she studied the bandoneon and orchestration with respected maestro Rodolfo Mederos. Amy is a founding member of Melbourne Tango Orchestra and a leading figure in its initial collaboration and workshops with Beunos Aires-based teaching organisation Tango a la academia. Amy has has toured extensively with many tango and South American folkloric groups including performances at the National Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Cygnet Folk Festival.
Paloma Bica, violin
Paloma Bica is a Melbourne-based classical and tango violinist with over 10 years of performance experience in Argentina, Uruguay and Australia. She holds a Master of Teaching from the University of Melbourne and Bachelor of Music from the Victorian College of the Arts. Paloma spent her early years studying at the Conservatory of Montevideo and returned to Buenos Aires to perform in the 10th intake of Orquesta Escuela Tango Emilio Balcarce, Buenos Aires’ professional school for tango musicians. Paloma regularly performed with the city’s most respected contemporary tango groups, including Orquesta El Arranque, Elvino Vardaro and Sans Souci, and feminist tango collective, China Cruel. She has performed with tango luminaries Ignacio Varchausky, Ramiro Gallo and Guillermo Rubino. In Melbourne, Paloma is an in demand and experienced contemporary tango musician and teacher, leading the string section of Melbourne Tango Orchestra and an integral member of many small contemporary tango groups in this city’s vibrant tango scene.
Natasha Conrau, violin
Natasha Conrau is a Melbourne-based violinist who plays modern and baroque violin with orchestras such as Orchestra Victoria, Victorian Opera, Inventi Ensemble and The Argonauts. Natasha has performed as a chamber musician and soloist with the ASTRA Chamber Music Society, Monash Art Ensemble, Gloriana Chamber Choir, Melbourne Boys Choir, and at festivals including Homophonic, Melbourne Festival, Ballarat on the Goldfields, Port Fairy Spring Music Fest, BIFEM and Artlands. Natasha also frequents the Melbourne gig scene performing with songwriters Grand Salvo, Georgia Fields, Luke Howard, Canary, The Twoks and Nina Ferro amongst others. In 2016 Natasha co-founded Solstice piano trio, who are dedicated to commissioning works by Australian composers. Solstice have performed at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Dots and Loops and many other venues around Victoria.
Andrew James, piano
Andrew James is a Melbourne-based contemporary pianist who plays with groups such as Quarter Street, Melbourne Tango Orchestra and as a freelance musician and music arranger. He graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in Music Performance and Monash University with a Bachelor of Music (First-Class Honours) in jazz and ethnomusicology. Andrew studied and performed in Buenos Aires and Havana. Andrew established the local contemporary tango scene by forming groups such as Colectivo29, Tango Collusion Trio and Melbourne Tango Orchestra. Performing at Australian music festivals such as WOMADelaide, Perth Festival, Alice Springs Desert Arts Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, and local venues in Melbourne, Andrew has introduced new horizons from Latin America to Melbourne. Thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts, Andrew attended ‘Tango for Musicians’ in Portland Oregon to study with tango icons Ramiro Gallo and Hernan Possetti for three consecutive years and has been invited to Codarts in Rotterdam in 2021. Quarter Street has won awards from Music Victoria, sold records in Brooklyn, Venezuela and Europe, received radio in London and was invited to play in Montreal Jazz Festival. Quarter Street performed to over 15,000 people at Federation Square on New Year’s Eve 2016 for Multicultural Arts Victoria and is a favourite on the Melbourne music scene.
Chris Gelok, double bass
Chris Gelok is a Melbourne-based double bassist and music educator. She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a degree in double bass and moved to Europe to study music performance at Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam and Maastricht Conservatorium, where she graduated with high distinction in Uitvoerend Musicus (Masters) and Docerend Musicus (teaching specialisation). In the Netherlands Chris performed and recorded with Limburg Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Antonio Lucia, Netherlands Ballet Orchestra. In Australia Chris regularly plays with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Opera Orchestra and Art of Sound Orchestra. She teaches double bass in schools and privately, and regularly performs in the Melbourne Tango Orchestra and in the early music scene, following historically informed performance conventions.