Phoenix Choir often performs with small string groups, chamber orchestras and instrumental ensembles. Most of these musicians live in the Blue Mountains, where we are privileged to have many talented and experienced professionals
We have often performed with Orpheus Strings a classical chamber orchestra based in the Blue Mountains or with their members. In 2017 the Kedumba quartet, of Rebecca Daniel, Elizabeth Cooney, Sam Harding and Trish McMeekin formed the core of our chamber orchestra for Handel’s Messiah. In 2014 we performed with Three Piece Suite a string trio based in Sydney.
On other occasions we bring together a small group of professional musicians under the banner of Phoenix Strings, to add professional vibrancy to our performance.
Here are some of the musicians we have worked with recently:
Rebecca Daniel attended the Royal Academy of Music in London to study violin with Emanuel Hurwitz and the Amadeus String Quartet, she also performed chamber music throughout the UK.
After being invited to join the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Rebecca discovered the joys of Musical Theatre and was the orchestra leader for Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Beauty & the Beast and The Sound of Music; she also played for West Side Story, A Little Night Music and The Hunting of the Snark.
She has performed, toured and recorded with some extraordinary musicians including John Denver, Bread, Will Ackerman, John Farnham, INXS, James Gallway and the Chieftains, Anthony Warlow, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Kate Ceberano, Tommy Emmanuel, Olivia Newton-John, Men at Work, Fiona Joy, Glenn Close and many more; and has also recorded many movie soundtracks including Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge and Black Robe.
Rebecca is very fortunate to have had the opportunity to expand her experiences recently, and has written arrangements and performed on many recordings, as well as Producing the 2011 album “Live at the Q” for Fiona Joy.
Patricia McMeekin studied cello at the Sydney Conservatorium and at the Adelaide Conservatorium. She then spent 7 years as co-principal ‘cello with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and ‘cellist with the Brisbane String Quartet. In 1982 she returned to Sydney, where she played with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Patricia subsequently spent 15 years in England, playing in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras and performing as a freelance player with numerous regional orchestras including the English National Ballet and the Sinfonia of London. As a teacher Patricia headed the String Department at Bryanston School in Dorset until returning to Australia in 1998. She continued to teach at Sydney Grammar School, Blue Mountains Grammar and the Central Coast Conservatorium, and performed with the Omni String Quartet, Concertante Ensemble and regular session work. Recently Patricia retired from Sydney Grammar School, and continues to teach privately, and perform with the Kedumba Quartet.
Rachel Valentine commenced her cello studies at the age of 8 with Dorothy Sumner. During this time she won the Ku-ring-gai Schools Concerto Competition in 1986, winning the Senior Section, Double Concerto section and Overall Winner. She gained her A.Mus.A on Cello in 1986 and on Piano in 1988 and a Bachelor of Music Degree graduating with High Disctinction from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1991, where she studied under Georg Pederson and Susan Blake. Rachel has attended Festivals and Summer Schools in Europe and received lessons from distinguished cellists such as Raphael Wallfisch, Christopher Bunting and Hans Eric Deckert.
Rachel has performed in “Into the Woods” for the Sydney Theatre Company and various musical productions such as “West Side Story” and “A Little Night Music. She has also worked on contract with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, travelling on their International Tours to America and Malaysia. She now performs regularly with the Australian Opera participating in major Opera and Ballet productions.
Jacqui Carias began her violin studies at the age of 5 and later studied at the Adelaide Elder Conservatorium and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Jacqui has worked as a casual operations associate with the Sydney Youth Orchestra. Based in both Sydney and Adelaide, she is currently a freelance musician, teacher, session recording violinist with independent artists, and is the principal violin tutor with the newly formed Mid North Coast Strings Alliance in Port Macquarie NSW. In 2016 she embarks on a 2-week mentorship with the Vienna Philharmonic.and Ballet Orchestra.
Sam Harding was the youngest of four musical siblings growing up in the Blue Mountains. Sam began the violin at the age of 3, and at 13 he won the Elizabethan Scholarship to the Sydney Conservatorium Access Program.
Sam has played with Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and as Principal Second Violin with the Sydney Metropolitan Orchestra. He played violin and viola with the German Kammerphilharmonie Köln, touring Australia and internationally for two years.
Sam is passionate about classical music in the Blue Mountains, and plays with the upper mountains community group Orpheus Strings and Quartet.
Therese Underwood studied cello during her high school years with John Painter and piano with Nancy Salas. She comes from a musical family, and music and medicine have sustained her. Shortly after moving to the mountains Therese became the first repetiteur for the newly formed Mountain Opera. Therese has been an active player in the cello sections of both the Penrith Symphony Orchestra and Orpheus Strings since 2006.
A member of the World Doctors Orchestra, Therese played in their inaugural concert in Berlin in 2008, and subsequently China in 2011 and Vienna in 2013, playing Schubert’s Mass in Eb Major with the Vienna Boys’ Choir in the Stephansdom. She is a member of ASCM and enjoys chamber music and accompanying.