PATRON AND AMBASSADORS

Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO
Professor Marie Bashir was born in Narrandera, New South Wales and is a medical graduate of the University of Sydney, a former medical resident officer of St Vincent’s Hospital and of The Children’s Hospital.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. After completion of her post graduate studies in psychiatry, she was appointed to establish the Rivendell Child, Adolescent and Family Service to provide comprehensive specialist consultative services for young people with emotional and psychiatric problems.  Her key interests have included child and adolescent depression, mental health issues affecting refugee and immigrant children, juvenile justice and Aboriginal health.
Professor Marie Bashir was born in Narrandera, New South Wales and is a medical graduate of the University of Sydney, a former medical resident officer of St Vincent’s Hospital and of The Children’s Hospital.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. After completion of her post graduate studies in psychiatry, she was appointed to establish the Rivendell Child, Adolescent and Family Service to provide comprehensive specialist consultative services for young people with emotional and psychiatric problems.  Her key interests have included child and adolescent depression, mental health issues affecting refugee and immigrant children, juvenile justice and Aboriginal health. In 1987, she was appointed Director of the Community Health Services in the Central Sydney Area which enabled closer access to primary health care links with an emphasis on early childhood services, migrant and indigenous health, the health needs of elderly people, and communicable illness.  Health promotion and health education strategies through a population health model were also key responsibilities. In 1993, she was appointed Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Sydney, and in 1994 the Clinical Director of Mental Health Services for the Central Sydney Area. This was a time of major reform in mental health service delivery, which contributed to substantial change in the provision of public sector mental health services.  Professor Bashir served on the Examinations Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and also on the Regional Issues Committee.  She has established professional links with psychiatry departments in South East Asia, enabling educational exchange and placement of Asian colleagues for postgraduate experience in University of Sydney teaching hospital facilities.  She has developed collaborative teaching programs between colleagues in Vietnam and Australian psychiatrists, and also with medical and nursing colleagues in Thailand. Having had a special interest over many years in indigenous health, Professor Bashir has travelled extensively to visit remote communities in Central Australia, the Kimberley and Arnhem Land to gain a closer understanding of issues of culture and history which impact significantly on health.  In 1995, in a partnership with the Aboriginal Medical Service, Redfern, she established the Aboriginal Mental Health Unit, which provides regular clinics and counselling at both the Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney and mainstream centres.  Links to some indigenous rural communities have also been developed through the availability of Telemedicine technology.  She was appointed by the Hon Craig Knowles MP, Minister for Health, to chair the Implementation Group on Mental Health to oversee the development of further mental health services in New South Wales as part of the overall health reform process. In March 2001, Professor Bashir was appointed Governor of New South Wales. Her awards include Mother of the Year in 1971, and in 1988 she was appointed an Officer, and in 2001 a Companion in the Order of Australia.  She was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. In 2003 Professor Bashir received the Mental Health Princess Award, awarded by HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana of Thailand, for contribution to collaborative Mental Health programs between Australia and Thailand. In 2004 she was made an Honorary Member of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and also elected as one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.  In addition, in March she received The Writers’ Council Award in Beirut, Lebanon, and was invested as a Grand Officer in the National Order of the Cedar by His Excellency General Emile Lahoud, President of the Republic of Lebanon. In 2006 she was invested by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).  Her Excellency also received the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club of Sydney, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). In 2007 Her Excellency was elected an Honorary Member of the New South Wales Masonic Club, and of The Australian Medical Association.  She was also inducted as an Honorary Life Member of the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Contractors’ Association of New South Wales, and presented with an Honorary Contractor Licence for Plumbing, Draining and Gasfitting, issued by the New South Wales Office of Fair Trading.  In 2007 Her Excellency also was the recipient of an Award for Notable Vocational Service from the Rotary Club of Sydney, and The Women’s College Alumnae Award from The University of Sydney.  She also was awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Sydney University Graduate Choir.  On 1st June 2007 she was elected the 17th Chancellor of The University of Sydney. In 2008 Her Excellency was appointed Honorary Commodore, Navy Warfare Training, Royal Australian Navy.  She was also invested as an Honorary Fellow of the College of Nursing Australia. In 2009 Her Excellency was invested as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur by His Excellency M. Michel Filhol, Ambassador, on behalf of His Excellency M. Sarkozy, President of the French Republic. In 2012 Her Excellency was invested with the Lebanese National Order of the Cedar, Grand Cordon Grade, by the President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency General Michel Sleiman. Professor Bashir is married to Sir Nicholas Shehadie AC OBE.  They have two daughters and a son, and six grandchildren.
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Rachael Beck
Rachael Beck is one of Australia's most in demand performers. Widely known for her performance as "Belle" opposite Hugh Jackman in Beauty and the Beast, Rachael has also appeared in numerous television productions and concerts. Television credits include "Sam " in Hey Dad for 4 years and most recently City Homicide. Other theatre credits include "Sally Bowles" in Sam Mendes Cabaret, Fantine in Cameron Macintosh's Les Misérables, Maria in "The Sound Of Music", Peg Hartigan in "Summer Rain (directed by Robin Nevin) and Kathy Seldon in David Atkins' "Singin' In The Rain".
Rachael Beck is one of Australia's most in demand performers. Widely known for her performance as "Belle" opposite Hugh Jackman in Beauty and the Beast, Rachael has also appeared in numerous television productions and concerts. Television credits include "Sam " in Hey Dad for 4 years and most recently City Homicide. Other theatre credits include "Sally Bowles" in Sam Mendes Cabaret, Fantine in Cameron Macintosh's Les Misérables, Maria in "The Sound Of Music", Peg Hartigan in "Summer Rain (directed by Robin Nevin) and Kathy Seldon in David Atkins' "Singin' In The Rain". Rachael also appears extensively in the concert and corporate arena, performing with Jeff Wayne on the Australian tour of "War Of The Worlds" and most recently with Jason Robert Brown on his Australian tour . Rachael appears with "Girls On film" in the corporate world: clients include the Commonweath Bank, Netball Australia and Westpac. Rachael Beck finished her leading role in the hugely successful Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and has just two albums, 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' and 'This Girl'.
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Tony Briggs
Tony Briggs works as an actor in theatre, film and television. He has starred in the acclaimed series The Slap, playing the role of Bilal. His other film and television credits include "Howzat: Kerry Packer's war", where he played the role of cricket legend ‘Clive Lloyd'. He has also appeared in The Circuit, Bran Nue Day, Australian Rules, On the Nose, Joey and The Life of Harry Dare. Other credits include The Djarn Djarns, Stingers, Wicked Science, Blue Heelers, Ocean Girl and The Man from Snowy River.
Tony Briggs works as an actor in theatre, film and television. He has starred in the acclaimed series The Slap, playing the role of Bilal. His other film and television credits include "Howzat: Kerry Packer's war", where he played the role of cricket legend ‘Clive Lloyd'. He has also appeared in The Circuit, Bran Nue Day, Australian Rules, On the Nose, Joey and The Life of Harry Dare. Other credits include The Djarn Djarns, Stingers, Wicked Science, Blue Heelers, Ocean Girl and The Man from Snowy River.

His theatre credits include The Memory of Water, and The Female of the Species for the State Theatre Company of South Australia; for Black Swan theatre: Jandamarra, and The Female of the Species; for Melbourne Workers Theatre: Yanagai Yanagai, Fever, Who’s Afraid of the Working Class and Up the Ladder. The Melbourne Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night; for the Sydney Dreaming Festival: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Stolen for Playbox , and Coranderrk: "We will Show the Country" for Ilbijerri. His music Theatre credits include Nathaniel Storm for the NIDA Company; Walkabout for Chamber Made and Corrugation Road for Black Swan. Tony has also been a member of the NYID Physical theatre company of actors for which he has performed in various national and international productions. Tony's writing credits include the feature film The Sapphires. Set for release in August 2012, the film was received with a standing ovation at its world premier during the 65th Cannes international film festival. The Sapphires theatre show enjoyed triumphant seasons at the Melbourne Theatre Company and Company B, winning two Helpmann Awards for Best New Australian Work & Best Play (2005). Tony is currently developing a new eight part television series for the ABC, with acclaimed director/ producer Robert Connelly of ArenaMedia, called The Athletes. Tony was also part of a team of writers on the Logie award winning children's series My Place 2, for Matchbox Pictures.
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Liam Burrows

At just 20 years of age, the sensational Liam Burrows is a truly prodigious and gifted performer.

Over the past two years Liam has performed nearly 200 corporate and private shows (including many for some of the largest corporations and charities in Australia) and headlined at some of Australia’s most popular venues including Crown Casino, Jupiters Casino, Twin Towns Services Club and at events including the Broadbeach Jazz Festival, Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, Adelaide Hill’s Jazz Festival, Noosa Jazz Festival and the Manly Jazz Festival.

 
At just 20 years of age, the sensational Liam Burrows is a truly prodigious and gifted performer. Over the past two years Liam has performed nearly 200 corporate and private shows (including many for some of the largest corporations and charities in Australia) and headlined at some of Australia’s most popular venues including Crown Casino, Jupiters Casino, Twin Towns Services Club and at events including the Broadbeach Jazz Festival, Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, Adelaide Hill’s Jazz Festival, Noosa Jazz Festival and the Manly Jazz Festival. Since being a Grand Finalist on Australia’s Got Talent, Liam has appeared on Channel 7 Melbourne’s Good Friday Telethon, Channel 10’s The Circle and Channel 7’s The Morning Show and Channel 7 Perth’s telethon. He has continued to develop as an exceptional and unique entertainer, performing all over Australia as well as overseas, earning the respect of fellow professionals whilst stunning the public with a mature vocal style and stage presence that is way beyond his years. Receiving accolades is not new to Liam. In 2009, when just 14, he captivated audiences at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and received a standing ovation. In 2012 Liam was thrilled to be named “BEST JAZZ ARTIST” at the Australian Music Industry’s MusicOz Awards. He also won Second Place in the Vocal Performance category of the International Unsigned-Only Music Competition. With almost 7,500 entries from over 80 countries, this was a remarkable achievement. In 2013 he won a MO Awards for live performance. As a Finalist in the 2013 Unsigned Only Music Competition, Liam won an “Honourable Mention”. There were over 9,000 entries from over 100 countries worldwide. Only 1% of all entries made to the finalist status and even fewer received awards. He was also a Finalist in the 2013 MusicOz Awards. Liam independently released his own album “All Of Me” in 2011 and this has achieved critical acclaim and airplay around the world. Recently he has been in the studio writing and recording new material. Liam wowed the audience on stage of ACMF DUETS at the State Theatre in 2011 along side Tom Burlinson, raising funds and awareness for the ACMF.
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Justine Clarke
Justine Clarke wasn’t quite born on stage, but over three extraordinary decades in song and screen, she’s easily made up for the few years she missed before she landed that first Humphrey Bear biscuits commercial at the age of seven.
Today she’s one of the most recognised and trusted faces on the Australian entertainment landscape: best-selling children’s singer, accomplished jazz chanteuse, internationally acclaimed film star, seasoned stage actor, and constant, reassuring presence on daytime TV institution, “Play School”.
Justine Clarke wasn’t quite born on stage, but over three extraordinary decades in song and screen, she’s easily made up for the few years she missed before she landed that first Humphrey Bear biscuits commercial at the age of seven.
Today she’s one of the most recognised and trusted faces on the Australian entertainment landscape: best-selling children’s singer, accomplished jazz chanteuse, internationally acclaimed film star, seasoned stage actor, and constant, reassuring presence on daytime TV institution, “Play School”.
Music and acting were facts of life for Justine long before she sang her first stage role, as an 11-year-old Brigitta in “The Sound of Music”. Her mother had been a teenaged Shakespearian actress turned Tivoli song-and-dance star; her father a booking agent at a Sydney variety venue.
At 12, Justine made her worldwide movie debut as Anna Goanna, riding shotgun with Mel Gibson in the blockbuster action feature “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. She honed her craft as a teenage actor in a string of TV serials that helped define Australia in the 1980s, including “GP”, “A Country Practice”, “Come In Spinner” and a one-and-a-half-year stint as Roo Stewart in “Home and Away”.
As early as 1989 she received her first Best Actress nomination from the Penguin Awards judges, for her performance in the title role of David Williamson’s TV drama, “Princess Kate”.
And always, she sang. As a child, Justine had performed in the choir at Woollahra Public School, and danced across countless shopping mall stages. It was a chance encounter with Australian jazz icon Vince Jones in 1991 that made her focus her natural gifts as a singer.
“I was working in my boyfriend’s restaurant in Melbourne when I was 18,” she recalls. “Vince Jones was my idol. He came in for dinner one night and we ended up round the piano singing. He was very complimentary, very encouraging. I bought myself a microphone and amp and started practising every day in the back room.”
Over the next decade she wrote and sang in a range of musical guises, from 12-piece country and western band Honky Tonk Angels to ’50s rock’n‘rollers, the Comets. But she realised her true calling as a jazz vocalist at the Starfish Club, the Wine Banc and other distinguished Sydney venues. She sang with Tom Burlinson in a Frank Sinatra big band tribute, and in 2001 wrote and performed a heartfelt tribute of her own, “Justine Clarke in a Doris Daze”.
Somehow, by day, she managed to take escalating acting demands in her stride. On TV there was “Wildside” and “All Saints”, “Love My Way” and the critically acclaimed “The Surgeon”. On the big screen, “Blackrock” (with Heath Ledger) and “Japanese Story” (with Toni Collette) led to a clutch of awards and nominations for her role as Meryl in “Look Both Ways” in 2004.
A long association with the Sydney Theatre Company began in 1996, and would reach a critical peak with her Helpmann-nominated performance in “Hedda Gabler” opposite Cate Blanchett. Justine met her husband, actor Jack Finsterer, while performing in “Cyrano de Bergerac” for the STC in 1999.
But it isn’t only their three children — Josef, Nina and baby Max — who feel a profound bond with Justine Clarke today.
“‘Playschool’ is a great way of connecting,” she says. “If you imagine there’s one child sitting on the floor watching, and you might actually get that child up on her feet, spark her imagination, that’s really everything you want to do as an actor. You want to tell a story and for that to ignite something.”
In her 11 years with Big Ted, Jemima and the rest of the iconic Playschool cast, Justine has released three extremely successful CD/ DVDs of childrens’ songs, with original compositions by pianist Peter Dasent and backed by some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians.
“I Like To Sing” (2005) is a certified gold album, a rarity in the world of kids’ music. Its irrepressible tunes about watermelons, birthdays and libraries instantly entered the everyday family songbook and seem set for a long stay.
“Songs to Make You Smile” (2008) continued to broaden the horizons of the singalong children’s song, from exhilarating car-radio pop to country, swing, rock and other deceptively sophisticated musical settings for a warm and impeccably pitched voice that sounds, to adults and children alike, like that of an old friend.
“Great Big World” (2010) is the latest in a childrens’ music catalogue which is now among ABC Records’ most successful ever, with accompanying DVDs for each title continuing to find new homes with successive waves of preschoolers every year.
Justine’s recording career has barely begun. A second series of adult TV drama “Tangle” is in the can. A new big screen thriller, “In Her Skin”, will shortly see her performing alongside Guy Pearce, Sam Neill and Miranda Otto. And having averaged a major stage role every year since 1996, you can keep your eye on theatre listings too. “Whether it’s singing or acting on stage,” Justine says, “performing live is where I get my kicks.”
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Toni Collette
Toni Collette grew up in Blacktown, an hour away from Sydney. Her father, Bob, was a truck driver while her mother, Judy, worked for a courier company. The family would be completed by two younger brothers. When Toni was 6, the Collettes moved out to the suburbs, where she found herself mercilessly teased for being a "westie". But she fell quickly into suburban life. The family kept cats, dogs, birds and rabbits and Toni, hanging with her brothers and very much a tom-boy, would climb trees, ride her bike, play basketball, basically lived an energetic Australian life. At 14, she was cast in a school performance of Godspell, and that was pretty much that, Toni being one of those lucky few who find their vocation early. At 16, with the support of her parents, Toni decided to leave school and enrol at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts on a three-year course.
Toni Collette grew up in Blacktown, an hour away from Sydney. Her father, Bob, was a truck driver while her mother, Judy, worked for a courier company. The family would be completed by two younger brothers. When Toni was 6, the Collettes moved out to the suburbs, where she found herself mercilessly teased for being a "westie". But she fell quickly into suburban life. The family kept cats, dogs, birds and rabbits and Toni, hanging with her brothers and very much a tom-boy, would climb trees, ride her bike, play basketball, basically lived an energetic Australian life. At 14, she was cast in a school performance of Godspell, and that was pretty much that, Toni being one of those lucky few who find their vocation early. At 16, with the support of her parents, Toni decided to leave school and enrol at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts on a three-year course. Ever headstrong and keen to follow her instincts, she left after a mere 18 months to act for real in her feature film debut, "Spotswood", starring Anthony Hopkins as an efficiency expert brought into a moccasin factory to cut costs. Focusing on everyone else's business, he neglects his own home life and must change his attitudes sharpish. Toni played the sweet but plain Wendy, who loves the straight-up Ben Mendelsohn, who in turn has a crush on the boss's daughter. Toni had a great time filming, particularly when hanging out with co-star Russell Crowe. "Russell took me out, got me drunk, gave me pot and wiped up the vomit when I couldn't handle it," she told Time Out New York. It's unsurprising, because Spotswood was a great experience for a young actress who was barely 18. Better still, she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress by the Australian Film Institute. YOU'RE TERRIBLE, MURIEL Now, Toni concentrated on theatre. With the Sydney Theatre Company, she played Petra in "A Little Night Music" and Meg in "Away". In 1992, she won a Critics' Circle Award as Best Newcomer for her performance as Sonya in Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya". There would also be Aristophane's "Frogs" at the famous Belvoir Street Theatre (directed by Geoffrey Rush), "Summer Of The Aliens ", and she'd play Cordelia in "King Lear". Toni supported herself by delivering pizzas. She did not have to wait long for this to change. In 1992, she went up for the role of Muriel Heslop in PJ Hogan's unruly comedy "Muriel's Wedding". Enduring life with a cruel and dominating local politician father in Porpoise Spit, Muriel finds herself cast aside by her friends, so she steals some money and takes off on a exotic holiday, looking for love and marriage. A very special actress was needed, someone who could reveal the terrible torment and turmoil inside the outwardly cheery Muriel, someone who could really enjoy the extravagant highs of Muriel's holiday - including a storming rendition of Abba's Waterloo with Rachel Griffiths. Toni won the part, working with a dietician and putting on 40 pounds for the role, in just seven weeks. And she was wonderful, winning Best Actress from the Australian Film Institute and, as the film slowly grew into a worldwide success, also picking up a Golden Globe nomination for Toni. International success was beginning to beckon, but Toni remained in Australia for her next two projects, both challenging enough to interest this artistically ambitious young tyro. First came "Lilian's Story", about a woman who leaves a mental institution after 40 years, with Toni playing the young Lilian, when she's first beaten down by her controlling and unspeakably un-encouraging father. Once more she was honoured by the AFI, this time as Best Supporting Actress. After this came more nuttiness with "Cosi", where a young theatre director tries to put on a performance of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte in a home for the rehabilitation of mental patients - a problem as none of the inmates speak Italian. Toni was here re-acquainted with director Mark Joffe, who'd helmed "Spotswood," and Rachel Griffiths, who played the young director's girlfriend. Toni herself played an enthusiastic recovering drug addict. Again, she was tremendous, and also sang once more - performing Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" over the credits. Now came the Hollywood debut proper, with a minor role in "The Pallbearer", reasonably amusing with Friends star David Schwimmer and Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead. Toni's next movie, though, was far classier. Teaming up with Paltrow again in Jane Austen's "Emma", she played the plain and unsophisticated Harriet Smith who's taken on as a project by Paltrow's compulsively matchmaking Emma Woodhouse. 1997 saw no fewer than four Collette appearances. In "Clockwatchers", she played a wallflower of a temp at a credit agency who falls in with bored workers as they try anything to relieve the tedium. Then she departed the US for the UK and home. In "The James Gang", she played obsessive cop Julia Armstrong, who's chasing down a family who've come to London looking for their father, then robbed a jewellery store and taken off for Edinburgh. With "Diana and Me", one of Collette's most controversial films also released in 1997. Toni played a woman who shares the name and birthday of Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. Winning a competition, she travels to London with her dullard fiance, but ends up with the paparazzi as they chase Diana around the city. Unfortunately, what might have been a cheerful look at the media, delusional behaviour and the price of fame became an entirely different kettle when the real-life Spencer died, while engaging in a high-speed chase with photographers. Toni moved on to "The Boys", a really gritty drama where a psycho is released from jail into Sydney's western suburbs, meets up with his equally rough brothers, the three having no real power but rocketing levels of testosterone. Toni played Michelle, the main man's brassy blonde girlfriend who argues with him furiously, raising passions as, drinking and drugging himself, he gets more and more crazy, till there can only be a brutal outcome. Achieving an intensity she had not before reached onscreen, Toni became the AFI's Best Supporting Actress yet again. CLAIMING TO INTERNATIONAL FAME Now came intensity of a different kind. In Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine", Toni was required to play Mandy Slade, ex-wife of a glam rock star who went missing in the Seventies and is now being tracked by journalist and former fan. Toni began 1999 in the art-house with Peter Greenaway's " 8½ Women". Here, after the death of his wife, a middle-aged fellow, along with his son, organises a harem of thoroughly varied women. Toni stood out as Griselda, a wannabe nun they save from prison but, despite the presence of Toni, the film was little more than a cold erotic fantasy. Toni appeared with her head shaved - a repeat performance for her. Toni's next movie was the surprise mega-hit of 1999. In M. Night Shyamalan's " The Sixth Sense" Toni played Lynn Sear, the desperate mother of Haley Joel Osment's Cole, working several jobs to keep him and worried sick by his belief that he can see dead people. As Osment works out a relationship with Bruce Willis's therapist, Toni provides the movie with an all-important mother's heart. Toni Collette's performance was praised by the critics and won her an Oscar nomination in 2000. On the heels of "The Sixth Sense", Toni was seen opposite Samuel L. Jackson in a remake of "Shaft" and making her broadway debut opposite Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt. In " The Wild Party", she played the platinum-haired vaudeville dancer and raunchy hostess Queenie. Toni, who'd of course been a singer and dancer right from her earliest days in theatre, was superb, picking up both a Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination. Recognized on the international screen and stage, Collette traveled to Ireland to shoot the offbeat " Hotel Splendide", in which she played a hotel cook. In late 2000, she was seen on American television in HBO's "Dinner with Friends". While performing a wild variety of women in smaller films, Hollywood offered her a thankless supporting role in Roger Michell's thriller "Changing Lanes", playing Ben Affleck's colleague. Toni jumped between three continents in 2002: She performed Sharon in David Caesar's Australian comedy " Dirty Deeds", and played a suicidal hippie mom in the acclaimed "About a Boy". The critics applauded Hugh Grant's performance as best in years, but he was certainly helped by Toni who, as ever, brought serious emotional depth to proceedings, preventing him from simply sounding flip. In late 2002, Toni was part of Stephen Daldry's all-star cast in his adaptation of Michael Cunningham's novel " The Hours", opposite Julianne Moore and co-starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman With "Japanese Story", Toni Collette again won praises for her "career-best performance" as geologist Sandy Edwards, who's out in the Australian wilderness with a Japanese businessman in a tale of "human inconsequence in the face of the blistering universe". Since then, Collette has been cast in a variety of American comedies: She played a fucked-up actress in the largely panned " The Last Shot", opposite Alec Baldwin and Matthew Broderick. In the ever larger panned " Connie and Carla", Toni was seen with Nia Vardalos as an unsuccessful singing duo who, after witnessing a mafia hit, skip town for L.A., where they go way undercover as singers working the city's dinner theater circuit - as drag queens. In late 2005, Toni Collette played Cameron Diaz' sister in the adaptation of Jennifer Weiner's novel " In Her Shoes", also starring Shirley MacLaine. Her next big hit was in the making already. Although starting a a sleeping hit at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2006, "Little Miss Sunshine" became a crowd pleaser and eventually the highest sold independent feature by a film studio. "Sunshine" released cinemas half a year later and became a box office hit, earning rave reviews for its story and the fantastic ensemble, featuring Toni, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano and Abigail Breslin. Toni, after having finished the Australian thriller "Like Minds", kept busy and traveled to Tailand shooting a mini-series for HBO about the Tsunami disaster that hit Thailand in 2005. And back in Australia again, she and her band "The Finish" would finally go on tour to perform one of Toni's dreams since her childhood - her own record. "Beautiful Awkward Pictures", a collection of spiritual and inspirational songs sung and written by Toni herself was well received by the Australian critics and gave her the chance to tour through Australia. By the end of 2006, Toni would fully benefit from her hectic schedule - she received two Golden Globe nominations as Best Supporting Actress and for "Tsunami: The Aftermath" and as Best Actress for "Little Miss Sunshine", the latter would later win two Academy Awards for its screenplay and Alan Arkin. In July 2007, she also received an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in "Tsunami". After finishing the touring for “Beautiful Awkward Pictures”, joining an array of world stars at the 2007 Live Earth concerts to issue the cause of global warmings, and the Summer release of “Evening”, a high profile ensemble drama co-starring Vanessa Redgrave and Meryl Streep, Toni Collette erased from the spotlight for two years after announcing her pregnancy. The already finished "The Black Balloon" released Australian theaters in 2008. Toni was awarded with her fifth AFI Award in the category of best supporting actress for her performance as a pregnant mom of two boys, one of which is autistic, under which his older brother suffers. For 2009, Toni had a post-pregnancy project under a belt - the television drama series “United States of Tara”, written by Diablo Cody and presented by no one else than Steven Spielberg. In it, Collette plays the lead role of Tara, a suburban housewife with dissociative identity disorder. Her condition results in taking over a variety of different personalities - a wild teenage girl, a perfect housewife and a rowdy truck driver, among many others who were developed through the series' three seasons. Toni won yet another AFI Award for this role. In September 2009, Toni won the Emmy Award as Best Actress in a Comedy Series and the following January she received her first Golden Globe Award in the same category. The show’s second season premiered in March 2010, for which Toni again received an Emmy nomination. "United States of Tara" was not renewed after its third season, so Toni was able to concentrate on her film career again, playing opposite Colin Farrell in the remake of the 1980's classic "Fright Night" and reuniting with her Muriel's Wedding director P.J. Hogan for the Australian comedy "Mental." Toni Collette is married to musician Dave Galafassi since 2003. They have two children, a daughter, Sage Florence (born 2008), and a son, Arlo Robert (born 2011).
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Russell Crowe
Born in New Zealand, Russell has made his home in Australia since he was a small child. The son of movie set caterers, Russell got the acting bug early in life. Beginning as a child star on a local Australian TV show, Russell's first big break came with two films ... the first, Romper Stomper (1992), gained him a name throughout the film community in Australia and the neighboring countries. The second, The Sum of Us (1994), helped put him on the American map, so to speak. Sharon Stoneheard of him from Romper Stomper (1992) and wanted him for her film, The Quick and the Dead (1995). But filming on The Sum of Us (1994) had already begun.
Born in New Zealand, Russell has made his home in Australia since he was a small child. The son of movie set caterers, Russell got the acting bug early in life. Beginning as a child star on a local Australian TV show, Russell's first big break came with two films ... the first, Romper Stomper (1992), gained him a name throughout the film community in Australia and the neighboring countries. The second, The Sum of Us (1994), helped put him on the American map, so to speak. Sharon Stone heard of him from Romper Stomper (1992) and wanted him for her film, The Quick and the Dead (1995). But filming on The Sum of Us (1994) had already begun. Sharon is reported to have held up shooting until she had her gunslinger-Crowe, for her film. With The Quick and the Dead(1995) under his belt as his first American film, the second was offered to him soon after. Virtuosity (1995), starring Denzel Washington, put Russell in the body of a Virtual Serial Killer, Sid6.7 ... a role unlike any he had played so far. Virtuosity (1995), a Sci-Fi extravaganza, was a fun film and, again, opened the door to even more American offers. L.A. Confidential (1997), Russell's third American film, brought him the US fame and attention that his fans have felt he deserved all along. Missing the Oscar nod this time around, he didn't seem deterred and signed to do his first film with The Walt Disney Company, Mystery, Alaska (1999). He has recently achieved even more success and awards for his performances in Gladiator (2000) and A Beautiful Mind (2001). After a singing role in Les Misérables, he’s played Superman sire Jor-El in The Man of Steel.      
 
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Latifa
Latifa has been performing regularly since she was 4 years old.  A decade of studying dance, from classical ballet to hip hop culminated in Latifa winning competitions including Looze Control, Groove and Sydney Eisteddfod.  Latifa performed the lead role for Tropfest film 'The Karma Flower', and after taking up singing at twelve, appeared on Channel 7's X Factor in the Top 24 as the only female singer in the group 'Straight Up'.
Latifa has been performing regularly since she was 4 years old.  A decade of studying dance, from classical ballet to hip hop culminated in Latifa winning competitions including Looze Control, Groove and Sydney Eisteddfod.  Latifa performed the lead role for Tropfest film 'The Karma Flower', and after taking up singing at twelve, appeared on Channel 7's X Factor in the Top 24 as the only female singer in the group 'Straight Up'.
Recently, Latifa has been working with Grammy winning music producers and has recorded her first album and looks forward to releasing her music globally in the near future.
Latifa is proud to be an ACMF Youth Ambassador and is excited to reach out and support fellow students through the magic of music.
Instagram: Latifatee
Facebook: Latifa Tee
Twitter: @latifatee
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Luke Darcy
Few players have shown themselves to be as ready for a career in the media while still playing as Luke Darcy. Today, Darcy is a well-respected commentator across TV, joining the Seven Network in 2012 and on radio with Triple M. His versatility has been a hallmark to date. Darcy has provided special comments on Ten’s AFL coverage since his retirement from AFL at the end of 2007. In that time he has co-hosted football programs One Week At A Time and The Fifth Quarter, the network’s coverage of the ANZ Netball Championships, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Few players have shown themselves to be as ready for a career in the media while still playing as Luke Darcy. Today, Darcy is a well-respected commentator across TV, joining the Seven Network in 2012 and on radio with Triple M. His versatility has been a hallmark to date. Darcy has provided special comments on Ten’s AFL coverage since his retirement from AFL at the end of 2007. In that time he has co-hosted football programs One Week At A Time and The Fifth Quarter, the network’s coverage of the ANZ Netball Championships, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Currently, Darcy is now an employee of Channel 7 and commentates alongside Brian Taylor for blockbuster matches, often on Saturday nights. His confidence elicited through wonderful voice projection and intricate knowledge of the game make him one of the bigger media personalities in the AFL. Darcy was hand picked to be a part of Triple M’s program Hot Breakfast, working alongside industry icon Eddie McGuire. Prior to the move, Darcy was a regular voice on SEN1116 and 3AW either side of his AFL career. Darcy is also part of Triple M’s AFL coverage, calling the action of Friday nights. On-field, Darcy played over 200 games for the Western Bulldogs, following in the footsteps of his father David. He made his debut in 1994 and emerged as one of the AFL’s leading ruckman, winning the Bulldogs’ best and fairest award in 2001 before gaining All-Australian selection and winning the AFLPA MVP award in 2002. Darcy endured two knee reconstructions in 2005-6 after assuming the captaincy of the club. Alongside his rehabilitation, Darcy honed his media skills with stints as part of Ten’s AFL coverage and on radio with 3AW. His understanding of the modern game, presentation skills and ability to interact with those on-air alongside has made Darcy a favourite among audiences. Owner of The Precinct Hotel, just a few minutes from the MCG, Darcy lives in Melbourne with wife Rebecca and children Sam, Sienna, Wilson and Max.
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Amy Dickson (International Ambassador)
Saxophonist Amy Dickson performs with the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She is deeply committed to the development of new repertoire for the saxophone, and has made a substantial contribution to the orchestral, chamber and solo repertoire. Whilst proving to be a brilliant interpreter of contemporary music, she is equally devoted as a champion of established saxophone repertoire, regularly performing the concerti of Glazunov, Debussy, Villa Lobos, Ibert, Larsson and Milhaud.
Saxophonist Amy Dickson performs with the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She is deeply committed to the development of new repertoire for the saxophone, and has made a substantial contribution to the orchestral, chamber and solo repertoire. Whilst proving to be a brilliant interpreter of contemporary music, she is equally devoted as a champion of established saxophone repertoire, regularly performing the concerti of Glazunov, Debussy, Villa Lobos, Ibert, Larsson and Milhaud.

In recital and chamber music Dickson has appeared at venues including the Wigmore Hall, Bridgewater Hall, and the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the UK; in cities including Prague, Amsterdam, Harare, Beirut, Hong Kong and throughout Australia and New Zealand. As a chamber musician she has appeared at festivals including the George Enescu, Cheltenham, Al Bustan, and Harare festivals, and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.

She regularly commissions new works, and makes arrangements of existing works from other instrumental repertoire. Most notably, she has performed her arrangement of Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto with a number of orchestras around the world.

Dickson’s impressive discography includes recordings of a large variety of repertoire. A recording artist for Sony Music, Dickson has now released two critically acclaimed albums on the RCA Red Seal label. Her first, Smile, was released in 2008. Her second album, Glass, Tavener, Nyman,comprises the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass and The Protecting Veil by John Tavener (both arranged by Dickson), and Where the Bee Dances by Michael Nyman. The album was featured as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone magazine, March 2010. She has also made recordings of McDowall’s concerto Dancing Fish, Larsson’s Konzert and Dubois’ Divertissment, and has appeared on Bollywood composer Mithoon Sharma’s album Tu Hi Mere Rab Ki Tarah Hai. In 2010, with Carl Davis, Melvyn Tan and the Philharmonia Orchestra, Dickson recorded Davis’ suite from the film score for Hotel du Lac, which he had especially arranged for saxophone, piano and orchestra. In 2011 she joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and George Vass to make world premiere recordings of Holbrooke’s saxophone concerto, and Seven Country Dances by Richard Rodney Bennett.

Born in Sydney, Dickson made her concerto debut aged 16, playing the Dubois Concerto with Henryk Pisarek and the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra, and subsequently became a recipient of the James Fairfax Australian Young Artist of the Year award. On her 18th birthday she recorded the Dubois Divertissementwith John Harding and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The following year she moved to London where she took the Jane Melber Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music with Kyle Horch, and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Arno Bornkamp. During this time she became the first saxophonist to be awarded the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Competition (2004), the Prince’s Prize (2005), and to become the winner of the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Competition (2004).
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Ian 'Dicko' Dickson
Ian Dickson (everybody calls him "Dicko") worked in the record industry for 20 years. He was born in Birmingham, the UK's second city in 1963, the son of two factory workers from the motor industry. (“Imagine Detroit with heavy metal instead of Motown and you've got Birmingham' explains Dicko”).
Ian Dickson (everybody calls him "Dicko") worked in the record industry for 20 years. He was born in Birmingham, the UK's second city in 1963, the son of two factory workers from the motor industry. (“Imagine Detroit with heavy metal instead of Motown and you've got Birmingham' explains Dicko”). In 1985 Dicko graduated from Nottingham University with a degree in Politics and heads to London to set up home with his new girlfriend Mel. He immediately lands a job as press and promotions manager for seminal independent label Creation Records, the brainchild of legendary A&R impresario Alan Magee. Creation bands include Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Felt, Weather Prophets, My Bloody Valentine, and eventually and most famously Oasis. Not long after joining Creation, Dicko starts writing freelance reviews and features for UK music weeklies publications, Melody Maker and Record Mirror. In 1989 Dicko joins Sony Music UK (or CBS Records as it was then) as a press officer with a roster of artists that included Public Enemy, LL Cool J as well as Midnight Oil, LA hair band Warrant and Michael Bolton. In 1990 Dicko moves to the Epic Label as a marketing executive looking after Pearl Jam, Ozzy Osbourne, Living Colour, Screaming Trees and Celine Dion. 1993 sees Dicko promoted to Director of International for Sony UK overseeing global strategies for all Epic and S2 label artists including Jamiroquai, Des'ree, Reef, Manic Street Preachers and Basia. In 1994 he moves to A&M Records UK as Director of International, looking after acts such as Chris De Burgh, Therapy, Del Amitri, The Bluetones and the Mowax label including DJ Shadow, Money Mark and U.N.C.L.E. 1998 sees Dicko move to BMG UK Group as their Vice President of International. Here he enjoys much international success with the likes of Natalie Imbruglia, Five, Westlife, The Eurythmics and M People. It is here that he also enjoys a close working relationship with a suave straight talking posh English bloke that Dicko nicknames 'The Dark Lord'...you might know him as Simon Cowell! 2001: Dicko has the opportunity to move his family (Oh, didn't we mention that by now he has a wife and two daughters?) to Sydney, Australia to take up a position of General Manager of Marketing for BMG Australia. Dicko says "I took a 40% pay cut and a drop of two rungs down the corporate ladder, but the opportunity to bring up my kids in such an amazing country was too good to pass up... and it actually proved to be the most lucrative pay cut imaginable!". In 2003 Dicko's already colourful career gets even more psychedelic as he is cast as the 'bastard judge' on Australian Idol on Network TEN. The show is an immediate hit breaking Australian broadcast records and winning many awards. Australians can't get enough of the straight talking British bastard! And he gets inundated with offers from management companies, Radio Stations and rival TV Networks. It was at this time that Dicko decided to leave the recording industry after 20 years and set up a talent management firm with his manager/now business partner David Wilson. The Melbourne based company is called Watercooler Talent, which represents some of Australia’s most popular personalities from TV, radio and stage. Following two record ratings series of Australian Idol, Dicko shocks the Australian Entertainment Industry by defecting to Australian Idol's rival TV Network - Channel 7. In his two years with Network Seven, Dicko hosts Celebrity Survivor Vanuatu, and foody reality show My Restaurant Rules. He had the most fun however, and wowed audiences with his antics as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. "I came third" enthuses Dicko "But I was the last man standing in the competition and they let me keep all my skin tight Lycra outfits which I now use to embarrass my daughters when they bring their boyfriends around". In 2007 Dicko accepts the inevitable and returns to Australian Idol as a judge for series 5. "I've enjoyed my time away from Idol but I love music and there is no better opportunity for young undiscovered Australian talent to present themselves than on our show". His love of music and discovering new talent took Dicko to the US during 2007, where he wore his judging hat once again on America’s Idol format ‘The Next Great American Band’, produced by Fremantle Media and 19 Entertainment for the US Fox Network. Reprising his role as the “straight talking honest judge”, Dicko commuted to the US on a weekly basis around his Australian Idol commitments. In 2008 Dicko signed a deal with DMG Vega 91.5 alongside Chrissie Swan & Dave O’Neill as part of the breakfast line up, the “Dicko, Dave & Chrissie” show. He fell so in love with Melbourne that he bought a house in Melbourne and splits his time between Melbourne and his family in Sydney. He also returned to Australian Idol series 6 and 7 on Network Ten alongside Marcia Hines and Jay Dee Springbet. 2010 Dicko returns to breakfast radio on Classic Rock 91.5, with Dave O’Neil on the ‘Dicko & Dave’ show. In 2014 it's the 'Dicko & Sarah' show, afternoons on 2UE with Sarah Morice.
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Natasha Duarté
Natasha Duarté is an exciting young pop artist who at 17 is starting to become a major sensation on the Australian music scene and beyond. She is a prolific songwriter, guitarist and powerhouse vocalist. Natasha has been gigging with various bands and acoustically in pubs, clubs, festivals and cafes since she was 13 years old. Her songs are incredibly catchy, well crafted pop that speak directly to her young audience in a way that they can instantly relate to. Signed to Empire Records and Managed by Glenn Wheatley and Paul Higgins, Natasha is currently putting the finishing touches on her stunning debut album First Time. Today, she releases her first album based single named, Punch Me In the Heart.
Natasha Duarté is an exciting young pop artist who at 17 is starting to become a major sensation on the Australian music scene and beyond. She is a prolific songwriter, guitarist and powerhouse vocalist. Natasha has been gigging with various bands and acoustically in pubs, clubs, festivals and cafes since she was 13 years old. Her songs are incredibly catchy, well crafted pop that speak directly to her young audience in a way that they can instantly relate to. Signed to Empire Records and Managed by Glenn Wheatley and Paul Higgins, Natasha is currently putting the finishing touches on her stunning debut album First Time. Today, she releases her first album based single named, Punch Me In the Heart. It all started in 2007 when Natasha won the coveted Kick start Career prize, receiving $10,000 and performing live at the Acer Arena. In 2008 Natasha entered a song she wrote, performed and recorded, in the Nationwide Kool Skools JB-HI-FI Competition gaining 1st place and winning a full album recording package through the Kool Skools Project. She also won Best Female Vocalist and received The ‘Ralph Carr’ Award for Best New Talent at the Kool Skools Awards. In 2009, Natasha entered her song TAKEN in the worldwide UK Song writing Competition gaining Semi-Finalist status. Natasha won a scholarship through ARS Musica Australis – Rev. Dr Arthur E Bridge AM– Acclaimed AMA Arts Fellowship Recipient for Development and Support of her talent. In 2010 Natasha won a scholarship to attend the Australian International Performing Arts High School. In 2010 she entered her song TAKE IT AWAY in the nationwide ACMF (Don Spencer’s Australian Children’s Music Foundation) songwriting competition gaining 2nd place. She was then chosen to be a part of the Alpine “Uncovered” DVD and filmed her first music video. The video is currently on rotation in many Westpac Bank branches throughout Australia along with other videos from “Uncovered”. In the same year Natasha was given a feature Live showcase at the APRA Song Summit – held at the Home Night Club in Darling Harbour in front of a room of industry heavyweights and professional songwriters. Natasha, has also performed for national events such as Youth Week, Teens Against Whaling and organised a concert with Camden City Church raising $5,000 for the victims of the Black Saturday Bushfires. She was still only 15 years old! In 2011 Natasha entered her song “YOU DON’T KNOW ME in the worldwide UK Song writing Competition gaining Finalist status. She then she entered her song WANTED TO FEEL in the nationwide ACMF Songwriting Competition winning first place. In late 2011 Natasha entered songs in the (ISC) International Song Competition based in the US. Her song THE WORSE PART (LEAVE YOU AGAIN) won First Place in the Teen category. With over 16,000 entries from 112 countries, this is a remarkable achievement. Natasha shared the spotlight with other Australian/NZ winners including Missy Higgins for Best Folk Song and the overall winner Kimbra. 2012 sees Natasha sitting for her HSC by correspondence so she could spend time in Melbourne completing her album and touring with her new professional band. Her first tour ‘Loud at Lunchtime’ is a full production school tour aimed at reaching 100 schools in 2012. Already this has caused ‘Natashamania’ with young audiences. By the end of every show she is literally mobbed by up to 1000 kids for Cds, autographs, hugs and photos. This has seen her Facebook status rise from 2000 to almost 20,000 in a matter of months. Her debut EP released through Empire/MGM debuted at #14 on the ARIA Australian Singles Chart and went to #2 on the Indy Chart. In May this year Natasha and her band performed live at the Music Matters Live in Singapore winning more fans! She continues to perform Loud At Lunchtime in schools in Melbourne and regional Victoria with a Sydney tour being planned for later this year. Punch Me in the Heart is the first of potentially 6 singles from First Time due for release later this year.
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Lucy Durack
Lucy has fast become one of Australia’s rising young leading ladies of screen and stage with a list of major roles to her credit, most recently including Glinda the Good Witch in the original Australian cast of Wicked and Cherry in the highly anticipated feature film Goddess (due for release 2012). Originally hailing from Perth, Lucy graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) with a Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) and prior to graduating was cast in the Brisbane and Sydney seasons of Mamma Mia! in which she understudied and performed the role of Sophie.
Lucy has fast become one of Australia’s rising young leading ladies of screen and stage with a list of major roles to her credit, most recently including Glinda the Good Witch in the original Australian cast of Wicked and Cherry in the highly anticipated feature film Goddess (due for release 2012). Originally hailing from Perth, Lucy graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) with a Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) and prior to graduating was cast in the Brisbane and Sydney seasons of Mamma Mia! in which she understudied and performed the role of Sophie. Lucy’s stage credits comprise of Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, Miss Dorothy in the Australian Premiere of Thoroughly Modern Millie, Lois Lane/Bianca in Kiss Me Kate, Cinderella in Into The Woods, Rikki Rose in Respect and Laurey in Oklahoma!. Her screen credits include playing Bunny in the upcoming Southern Star telemovie Dripping In Chocolate, the lead role of Cassie Bennett on Channel 7’s Headland, All Saints, Rush II, the Commbank webisode series The Harringtons and the films Parlami D’Amore and Elissa Down’s The Dripping Tap as well as the worldwide broadcast of the BBC2 Voice of Musical Theatre Competition in Cardiff in which she was a finalist. Lucy is a frequent guest presenter on Channel 7’s Absolutely Melbourne. Lucy also works as a voice over artist and has voiced a number of audiobooks, most proudly an introduction to her family story, Dame Mary Durack’s Kings In Grass Castles and most amusingly the children’s book titled Lucy The Good. While regularly performing in concert with various orchestras throughout Australia, recent highlights have been singing the Royal and Australian National anthems for Her Majesty the Queen at the state reception at Perth’s Governor’s Gardens, singing with the Perth Symphony Orchestra at the Worlds Festival , in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Healing Harmonies Concert, singing the Australian National Anthem at the AFL Grand Final and at Oaks Day as part of Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival as well as performing on Channel 9’s Carols By Candlelight and Channel 7’s Carols in The Domain. Lucy’s cabaret appearances include Immaculate Confection which toured to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Tasmania and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, All Star Cabaret for the Sydney Theatre Company, Cavalcade for His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, and the 2003 Sydney Cabaret Convention for which she received the Judges’ Award. Lucy has a firm commitment to workshopping and performing new Australian work, having created roles for Mel Morrow and David Mitchell’s The Palace Whore, Nick Enright and David King’s The Good Fight, John Shand’s Rainbow’s End (including the subsequent SBSrecording), Guy Noble’s Karaoke The Musical and both Matthew Robinson’s Happy People and his Pratt Prize-winning musical Metro Street. Lucy will star as "Elle Woods" in the smash hit Broadway Musical "Legally Blonde The Musical" which opens at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney in October.
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George Ellis
George Ellis’ illustrious career includes conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games for an international television audience of 3.8 billion people, conducting for Queen Elizabeth II on live national television and performing with artists including Lou Reed for international arts festivals. He has been Musical Director for special events around Australia and internationally for many years. Highlights include the Athens Olympics, the Jakarta Arts Festival, Music by Moonlight concert series in Brisbane and Sydney Olympic Park, and the Sydney Festival including many concerts at the Famous Spiegeltent.
George Ellis’ illustrious career includes conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games for an international television audience of 3.8 billion people, conducting for Queen Elizabeth II on live national television and performing with artists including Lou Reed for international arts festivals. He has been Musical Director for special events around Australia and internationally for many years. Highlights include the Athens Olympics, the Jakarta Arts Festival, Music by Moonlight concert series in Brisbane and Sydney Olympic Park, and the Sydney Festival including many concerts at the Famous Spiegeltent. In concert, he has conducted many orchestras including the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Tasmanian Symphony and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra - the latter in conjunction with popular band Augie March. He has conducted popular music and symphony orchestras in combination with artists including Human Nature, David Campbell, Caroline O’Connor, Marcia Hines, Simon Burke, Guy Sebastian and Anthony Callea. Soloists for his classical music performances include Diana Doherty, Simon Tedeschi, David Hobson, Kathryn Selby, Jane Rutter, Joan Carden and Deborah Riedel. His stage and screen work includes conducting for the Bruce Beresford film Mao’s Last Dancer, the soundtrack to the Japanese movie The Tower of Druaga and as Musical Director for musical theatre production Snugglepot and Cuddlepie for Belvoir Street Theatre, Associate Musical Director for Man of La Mancha starring Anthony Warlow and Assistant Conductor to Simone Young for Opera Australia’s production of La Traviata. His concerts have also been broadcast on national radio including the world premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Violin Concerto. George Ellis received first prize in orchestral composition at the Sydney Eisteddfod. His piece Celebration Overture received its world premiere by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur. He has also been orchestrator and musical arranger for artists such as Alex Lloyd and for the Copenhagen National Radio Orchestra. He has been Musical Director and Composer for the Babies Proms orchestral series at the Sydney Opera House for many years and has presented concerts for children around Australia with orchestras including the Queensland Symphony, Orchestra Victoria, Sydney Sinfonia and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. He has lectured at prestigious music institutions including the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Canberra School of Music and has presented workshops in Music Theatre and Conducting for NIDA and the Australian Society for Music Education. He is the Musical Director of the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra. His portrait was hung at the NSW Art Gallery as finalist in the 2007 Archibald Prize and won the People’s Choice award in Sydney and Melbourne for that year. In 2010, he conducted for the Sydney Festival and went on concert tour to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam an London. He presented concerts featuring renowned pianists Kathryn Selby and Gerard Willems and conducted education concerts around Australia including at the Sydney Opera House. He was also Musical Director for the Australian premier for the Production Company’s stage production of Sugar, Some Like it Hot in Melbourne. So far in 2011, he has been on concert tour to New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. He conducted the symphony orchestra for the 30th Anniversary concert for legendary band The Church at the Sydney Opera House and conducted the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in concert with Australian icon, John Williamson.
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Tim Freedman
In the two decades of Tim Freedman's distinguished musical career, two naming concepts have arrived in his brain, fully formed and ready to fire. They were names which will not be extinguished, no matter how savage the passage of time. The first was back in 1991, when he was lying awake in the middle of the night; "'The Whitlams' just lobbed into my head and I knew I had the band name that would work for us." The other time more recently was walking down the street to get a newspaper, smelling the roses, so to speak; "The name 'Australian Idle' just came to me. It was the perfect description of what I'd been doing.
In the two decades of Tim Freedman's distinguished musical career, two naming concepts have arrived in his brain, fully formed and ready to fire. They were names which will not be extinguished, no matter how savage the passage of time. The first was back in 1991, when he was lying awake in the middle of the night; "'The Whitlams' just lobbed into my head and I knew I had the band name that would work for us." The other time more recently was walking down the street to get a newspaper, smelling the roses, so to speak; "The name 'Australian Idle' just came to me. It was the perfect description of what I'd been doing. "And with making the record for Sony Music, the label which works with the TV series, it kept getting better every second. The joke is of course that I thought they only did 'Idle', and I'm a real company boy". Tim is moving on from a productive ten year stretch with Warner Music in which he made four of the seven Whitlams albums ('Love This City', 'Torch the Moon', 'Little Cloud' and the obligatory anthology, 'Truth, Beauty and a Picture of You') to a new relationship with Sony Music. The first effort is his debut solo album, which is underpinned with playful and loving nods to the pop framework of the '70s. "Aside from some orchestral gigs performing the 'Eternal Nightcap' album (voted No 17 all-time Australian album on JJJ recently), Tim Freedman has been maintaining what some might call a low profile, standing back from the front line, for reasons which will be outlined within. "The 'Best of' felt like the end of an era, so I was looking around for a new move. Sony Chairman Denis Handlin had expressed an appreciation of my work, so I thought to myself that I wouldn't mind putting out a record with Sony to see how it went'' Tim freely admits. "So I sat eyeball-to-eyeball across from Denis at his long boardroom table and I explained that I wanted to make this fun '70s thing. I said that if Wolfmother could do Zeppelin then I could do Gilbert O'Sullivan! Whereupon Denis and I burst into a spontaneous version of 'Clair'. Daggy is the new cool, right? "Then I reminded Denis of that fabulous Billy Fields hit, 'You Weren't in Love With Me', and we attempted a duet of that together too. I told him no-one had covered it and that I couldn't even get it on iTunes. 'Aw mate,' he said, 'if you could do that one, it would be great'. "Obviously we went down byways and highways from then, but that's where it started." There is no denying that Tim Freedman had been off the recording wagon for a season or two. In addition to the birth of his daughter Alice (in 2005) and his devotion to hands-on parenthood, there were other obstacles to creativity. "When people ask what I have been up to for the past six years, I can truthfully say that for three years, I didn't even think about writing. I was idle. I'd done enough emoting about myself. With social media we are bombarded by private admissions in real time now and I didn't feel like adding to the tsunami." There were the drugs too. "This is obviously a drug album. I'm on 15mg of Mobic a day for my bad knee, a small dose of statins for the cheese, and a bit of Valium some nights". But creating the new material proved to be a bit of a challenge. Tim wanted to write about other characters. Writer's block is not a term one would toss around loosely, but for a time, Tim was on the search for an appropriate source of inspiration. There was a trip to Paris which promised much but delivered little. "I went to Paris for four weeks with the intention of writing some new songs,'' Tim admits, "but I ended up sitting in the bath reading about Sartre and eating cheese. I'd have my three courses at night, and walk back to my apartment. It was so cold that I'd run the bath to heat up. What else to do but reach for a book? "Anyway, I came back to Sydney with one chorus, which I forgot. "So I headed up to the North Coast for a two-week period to try again. I wrote one bad verse and read half of 'War and Peace'. It was all getting a bit ridiculous really! "The trouble is when you take a three year break, you know when you come back you're going to have to write the bad songs before you can get to any good ones, and that's a real turn off when the piano is admonishing you from the corner. For a year my daughter played the piano more than me. "I had to go through the unpleasant process of battling with the songs - and the bits just not fitting together. That went on for six months. Then it finally clicked. "As you get back into the process, you learn how to live with new songs again... not just add a few brushstrokes every few weeks when the piano yells at you. You spend every single spare minute of the day thinking about where the song is at, where the chorus can go, and sorting through the five different versions of the song that you're working on by then. You've got all these little jigsaw puzzles flipping around in your head. And suddenly you're a writer again'' Tim approached the creation of this album differently than he had undertaken past long players. "I wrote the last one (Little Cloud) in New York. 'Australian Idle' was mainly written near a surfing break called Broken Head in northern NSW. I bought a house up there a few years back and I spend quite a bit of time there. "Broken Head is known for its beautiful right hand wave. It's the sort of place that slows you down - in a good way!'' All the better preparation for a long touring season which is high on Freedman's priorities for the new project. "Another reason I like the 'Australian Idle' title was that around 1998-2002, we (the Whitlams) were known as the hardest working band in the country. I was quite proud of that. But then I needed to be the lazy guy, who listens instead of plays, who reads instead of writes. It had to be done." Tim put the new touring outfit together - his first to include two females - through a recruiting method, tried and true (at least so far). "Basically I ask around among friends 'who is good, who wants a gig?' Then I ask them out for a cup of coffee and a chat. "As long as there are no obvious signs of psychosis I generally hire them. Occasionally I've had to change course midstream, but my friends (usually my producers) have been right 90-per cent of the time. "When I put the third version of The Whitlams together in 1999 - none of them had even met each other. And that line-up stayed together for 11 years. It's good luck. We'll play again one day. "So it's been exciting to be putting the new Idle band together over recent months. Heath and Amy both lead their own bands (Heath Cullen & the 45, Amy Vee & the Virtues). Dave Hibbard has played drums with me on and off for years, and Zoe Hauptmann is a brilliant and very busy bass player around Sydney. Everyone sings so the harmonies are going to be a blast." Choosing the right producer was likely even more crucial than selecting the band members for this new Tim Freedman project, with Matt Fell the chosen collaborator. "He's a very, very inventive producer,'' glows Freedman, evidently pleased with the collaboration. "My producers over each album have played more and more of the music. I've learnt to trust who I've hired and let them run towards the light." 'Little Cloud' (2006) was produced by J. Walker who created the top layers with his psychedelic folk. This time Freedman relaxed even more and Matt Fell played the bass, most of the guitars and the top layers as well. Matt had the distinct advantage of running a recording facility, Love Hz Studios in Leichhardt, just 12 minutes from Tim's Newtown home base. "I could do some pianos and vocals and nip off for the school pick up. It wasn't right to work on the oil rig this time." Matt won a Golden Guitar in Tamworth last year for producing the country album of the year, 'Still Walking' by Graeme Connors. "But that country albatross apart, I could tell from his sampler that we had some of the same vinyl in our childhood collections, and that his instrumentation was seriously ingenious. "He usually did full albums in ten days. I went in there and made him work slower than he was used to, and he made me work quicker than I was used to. We met in the middle and enjoyed the difference. Around 40 days and 40 nights it took. "We'd worked hard on one of the first songs we recorded, and it was sounding like Snow Patrol. On the last day of recording I ventured that it was from the wrong decade for this album and he admitted that deep down he thought the same, so he put the ego outside the door and wiped all the hard work he'd done. I suggested the drums should be more like John Lennon's 'Mother'. "I had that album (John Lennon 'Plastic Ono Band') on vinyl at a very influential age, 14 or 15. I loved it so much that I got the sheet music and I performed it at a local pub, the Newport Arms Hotel, when I was 15. So when those drums kick in on 'Are You a Dreamer?' I get a buzz. A buzz that goes all the way back to 1978."
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Ellis Hall
Ellis was “discovered” by a music teacher at 10 years old.  Ellis who had struggled with academic studies was encouraged to perform and grew in confidence.  At the age of 14 he co-wrote his first song which he was encouraged to record, this song was also made into a music video “Butterflies”.  In 2013 Ellis won the Ultimate Musician A&R Music Award for being one of the most outstanding musicians on the BEAT 100.  This is the highest and rarest award given by BEAT 100.
Ellis was “discovered” by a music teacher at 10 years old.  Ellis who had struggled with academic studies was encouraged to perform and grew in confidence.  At the age of 14 he co-wrote his first song which he was encouraged to record, this song was also made into a music video “Butterflies”.  In 2013 Ellis won the Ultimate Musician A&R Music Award for being one of the most outstanding musicians on the BEAT 100.  This is the highest and rarest award given by BEAT 100. Ellis was invited to join the group 'Straight Up' and appeared on Channel 7's X Factor in the Top 24 as the group’s lead male singer.  Now 16 Ellis is currently working on his first album and was offered a place to study vocal performance at the Australian Institute of Music.   Ellis is excited to be an ACMF Youth Ambassador and is really looking forward to reach out to encourage and support fellow students through the magic of music. Facebook: www.facebook.com/elliswilliamhall  
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Rob Mills
Rob Mills is a born entertainer... Whilst studying music and drama at Box Hill Senior Secondary, Rob developed his love of the stage. Rob first came to the nation’s attention in 2003 as a finalist on the first series of the phenomenon Australian Idol. Following this success and national Idol Tour he was signed to BMG, and his first single Ms.Vanity debuted at #6 on the Australian charts, reaching Gold status. His debut album Up All Night was released in June 2004, featuring seven co-written tracks.
Rob Mills is a born entertainer... Whilst studying music and drama at Box Hill Senior Secondary, Rob developed his love of the stage. Rob first came to the nation’s attention in 2003 as a finalist on the first series of the phenomenon Australian Idol. Following this success and national Idol Tour he was signed to BMG, and his first single Ms.Vanity debuted at #6 on the Australian charts, reaching Gold status. His debut album Up All Night was released in June 2004, featuring seven co-written tracks. Rob follows his passion, and when he first heard the music from Wicked he vowed to be a part of the show when it came to Australia. He was thrilled to be cast in the role of Fiyero in this highly successful Broadway Musical and played over 500 shows in Melbourne and Sydney earning rave reviews and establishing himself as one of Australia’s favourite leading men. Other Musical Theatre and acting credits include Winners & Losers; Underbelly; and principal roles in Grease, The Arena Spectacular (2005) as Johnny Casino; Hair (2006) as Claude; and Into The Woods as Cinderella’s Prince (Wicked cast production for Rob Guest Endowment Fund). He also played Jamie in The Last Five Years, which was nominated as Best Musical Production in the 2012 Sydney Theatre Awards. Rob has performed on many National TV shows including Carols By Candlelight, Carols In The Domain, The Panel, The Circle, The Morning Show and Spicks & Specks. Another passion is mentoring young talent; Rob is lucky enough to be doing this as part of his role of Host of the new Young Talent Time. (Network Ten) Rob and the YTT team also took the show to the kids with a very successful live on stage tour. Rob is currently starring as “Warner” in the smash hit, all-time good fun, and very pink musical, Legally Blonde at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. The impact of music on children and adults alike is both immensely positive and hugely beneficial. I’m thrilled to be an Ambassador for ACMF (Australian Children’s Music Foundation), their work is instrumental in the well being of all the children they work with thru the gift of music.
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Mirusia
She has been described as having the voice of an angel and with 7.5 million hits for her rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria on youtube, it is no surprise that the world is calling her the ‘Angel of Australia’.

Mirusia says she is living the life she has always dreamed of. She sings in cities all over the world, has toured with Andre Rieu for five years, has two #1 albums in Australia and a #1 Platinum DVD and is always surrounded by talented musicians. Mirusia is enjoying every moment.
She has been described as having the voice of an angel and with 7.5 million hits for her rendition of Schubert’s Ave Maria on youtube, it is no surprise that the world is calling her the ‘Angel of Australia’.

Mirusia says she is living the life she has always dreamed of. She sings in cities all over the world, has toured with Andre Rieu for five years, has two #1 albums in Australia and a #1 Platinum DVD and is always surrounded by talented musicians. Mirusia is enjoying every moment.

It comes as no surprise that Mirusia enjoyed her time working with Andre Rieu, in May 2008 they released the CD 'Waltzing Matilda' in Australia which went platinum within 10 days and stayed at the number one position on the Australian Pop Charts for three consecutive weeks. This CD was the first time Rieu had ever collaborated with another artist and was released as a tribute to the many dedicated fans in Australia.

In 2010 Andre Rieu presented Mirusia in her first International Solo release 'Always & Forever', a CD and DVD which went platinum and stayed at the #1 position in Australia for 4 weeks. A DVD quickly followed and it went straight to the #1 position on the ARIA charts earning Mirusia a #1 Aria Chart Award in 2012.

Mirusia is a Brisbane born Soprano and has already enjoyed many successes so far in her young career.

Some highlights in her career include: 'Redlands Young Citizen of the Year 2004', the first winner ever of the ‘Redlands Eisteddfods Aria Competition‘, ‘Redlands Eisteddfod Aggregate Award’ and the winner of the 2005 ‘Spring Festival Talent Quest’. She was also chosen as the ‘Young Talent’ on the 2005 ‘Golden Casket Lord Mayors Christmas Carols’, which was televised on QLD’s Channel 7.

But the biggest prize in her career so far came in June, 2006, when Mirusia was announced as the youngest ever winner of the prestigious "Dame Joan Sutherland Opera Award". That year she also received numerous scholarships and bursaries for her outstanding recitals at the QLD Conservatorium of Music including the ‘Elizabeth Muir Memorial Prize’, ‘Brisbane Womens Club’ and ‘Margaret Haysom Bursaries’, and the ‘Linda Edith Allen Scholarship’ two times over.

In 2008, Mirusia played a major role in Andre Rieu's ‘World Stadium Tour’, which even took her back to her home country Australia. ‘The World Stadium Tour’ broke all the records as the largest set, cast and crew to ever tour in the history of the music industry.

She has performed in many countries all over the world including The Netherlands, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, The United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Japan, France and Belgium.
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Peter Northcote
"I started playing at age 9. I took lessons for 6mths at the same time as taking tennis lessons. I was eventually told by my parents to choose one or the other. I took guitar, my brother (Tony) took tennis. I kept playing and eventually went to Bradmans Music Studios in Rockdale where I began lessons with Vince Lombardo, who was ultimately the most important influence in my career. He introduced me to many styles of music and ever got me as a Junior Teacher. I used to win "Best Guitar Student" there every year. (It must have been the cakes my mum made for them)!
"I started playing at age 9. I took lessons for 6mths at the same time as taking tennis lessons. I was eventually told by my parents to choose one or the other. I took guitar, my brother (Tony) took tennis. I kept playing and eventually went to Bradmans Music Studios in Rockdale where I began lessons with Vince Lombardo, who was ultimately the most important influence in my career. He introduced me to many styles of music and ever got me as a Junior Teacher. I used to win "Best Guitar Student" there every year. (It must have been the cakes my mum made for them)! Throughout high school, I started playing in bands and then wedding receptions, (mostly as a bass player). After leaving school I worked in many music shops as a teacher, while constantly playing in cover bands and reception bands. It snowballed from there. One thing led to another and I started working in touring bands like Richard Clapton, Dragon, Darryl Braithwaite, Rick Price, Margaret Urlich, The Monkeys. etc etc. In '86, I started doing sessions. I continue to do them today simply because I love that kind of work. It's a total focus and it allows me to be creative every day. I love playing live and I know I'll never stop doing gigs. I so enjoy the small pub gigs I do. I get to play my butt off. And thats what its all about! My influences are as diverse as my styles. From Hendrix to all the "Steves" (Via, Luke, Morse, Hackett, Howe, etc) Zappa, Landau, Nuno." You can browse Peter's musical 'conquests' at the Portfolio page. You can also browse his discography here, or go to the mp3s/vids page to listen to the fella himself.
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Leo Sayer
Leo Sayer almost needs no introduction. He is held in great esteem as a live performer and recording artist by all age groups - from 6 to 60. This is as much due to his appearing famously with the Muppets, the Wiggles and on the Charlie’s Angels Soundtrack, as the countless hit songs he has written and recorded throughout his 40 plus years career. From the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, through New York’s Central Park, the Greek Theatre and Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles, the Las Vegas Hilton, Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall in London, to the State Theatre in Sydney and the Hamer Hall in Melbourne; in concert Leo has played the lot!
Leo Sayer almost needs no introduction. He is held in great esteem as a live performer and recording artist by all age groups - from 6 to 60. This is as much due to his appearing famously with the Muppets, the Wiggles and on the Charlie’s Angels Soundtrack, as the countless hit songs he has written and recorded throughout his 40 plus years career. From the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, through New York’s Central Park, the Greek Theatre and Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles, the Las Vegas Hilton, Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall in London, to the State Theatre in Sydney and the Hamer Hall in Melbourne; in concert Leo has played the lot! Add to this the fact that he writes almost all of his own material and you can see why Leo is the consummate musical act on record as well as onstage. Gerard Hugh Sayer (to give him his original name) was born in 1948 at Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England. After studying graphic design at Art College, he worked in his late teens and 20’s as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator in London, playing blues harmonica by night in folk clubs. He met co-writer David Courtney in 1971 and shortly afterwards, with a name change from Gerard to Leo, signed a management contract with British 60’s pop icon Adam Faith. The trio’s first success came in 1973 when The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey based a debut solo album around Leo and David’s songs. 1972’s “Daltrey” led to Adam and David producing “Silverbird”, Leo’s first album release in 1973, which had the breakout hit: “The Show Must Go On” featuring Leo dressed in the costume and white make up of Pierrot. The album and single both hit the UK # 2 slot. Leo’s star continued to rise in 1974 with a second album, “Just A Boy”, the Pierrot image now discarded. From this the singles “One Man Band” and “Long Tall Glasses” (a US # 7), and “Train” became international chart hits. He toured the States and Australia for the first time that year, and the impact of that first tour of Australia has endured to the present day. Further success ensued with 1975’s “Another Year”, which spawned the classic hit single “Moonlighting”. A major turning point in Leo’s career came in 1976 with his premiere American album, “Endless Flight”. This gave him his first US # 1 with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”, a crossover R&B dance hit which also won him a Grammy Award. Then Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager’s “When I Need You” went on to do the same. The album was a worldwide success, with “How Much Love” also hitting the top of the charts. In 1977 Leo followed this up with “Thunder In My Heart” - and a later remix of the title track became “Thunder In My Heart Again” went to UK No.1 as recently as 2006. Then, in 1978, Leo released “Leo Sayer”, which included further hits like “Dancing The Night Away”, “Raining In My Heart”, and “I Can’t Stop Loving You”. Leo by now was living in the USA, where two more hit albums were created: “Here” in 1979, and “World Radio” in 1983. He was not only on the road in the USA, but jetted all over the world from his L.A. base to play concerts in the UK, Australia and Europe, especially in the UK where he starred in his own TV series for the BBC. While visiting England, Leo had recorded “Living In A Fantasy” in 1980, and a single from this album: “More Than I Can Say”, put him back on the top of the worldwide charts. Working with producer Alan Tarney at the time, he even found time to pen a top ten hit for Cliff Richard, with “Dreamin’” in 1981. More hits followed: “Orchard Road” in 1983, along with “Have You Ever Been In Love”, featured as the title track of another hit album released that same year. In the international music charts there have been more than twenty top ten singles and five top ten albums in Leo Sayer’s illustrious recording career. Add to this the hits written for Roger Daltrey, Cliff, Three Dog Night, Tina Turner, Gene Pitney, Jennifer Warnes, and both Stella and Dolly Parton. It proves his prowess as an internationally acclaimed and talented songwriter. Now Leo is based in Australia, where he is busier and in more demand than ever. Last year was his 40th anniversary and to celebrate this he completed a tour of 58 venues. There’s no sign of him slowing down either. At 63, his energy is as strong as ever. He is planning new records and concert tours this year of Korea, the UK and New Zealand. Leo is a busy guy who loves his life and work, and lives for entertaining audiences and music fans around the globe, totally determined that whatever happens - “The Show Must Go On”.
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Danielle Spencer
Danielle Spencer is the daughter of Australian songwriter, singer and television entertainer Don Spencer and his wife Julie (née Horsfall), an English caterer from Yorkshire. She has an older brother, Dean. At the age of four she started to take piano lessons. During her teens she began acting and composing her first self invented tunes. Until the age of twelve she spent her childhood and youth alternately in Australia and in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, England, as her father worked in both countries for the BBC Play School. Since 7 April 2003 Danielle Spencer is married to New Zealand (Wellington) born Australian actor Russell Crowe. The couple met for the first time in 1989 during the filming of the movie The Crossing. The film appeared in Australian cinemas in 1990. The couple Spencer and Crowe have two sons, Charles Spencer Crowe, born 21 December 2003 and Tennyson Spencer Crowe (named after the famous English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson), born 7 July 2006.
Danielle Spencer is the daughter of Australian songwriter, singer and television entertainer Don Spencer and his wife Julie (née Horsfall), an English caterer from Yorkshire. She has an older brother, Dean. At the age of four she started to take piano lessons. During her teens she began acting and composing her first self invented tunes. Until the age of twelve she spent her childhood and youth alternately in Australia and in Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire, England, as her father worked in both countries for the BBC Play School. Since 7 April 2003 Danielle Spencer is married to New Zealand (Wellington) born Australian actor Russell Crowe. The couple met for the first time in 1989 during the filming of the movie The Crossing. The film appeared in Australian cinemas in 1990. The couple Spencer and Crowe have two sons, Charles Spencer Crowe, born 21 December 2003 and Tennyson Spencer Crowe (named after the famous English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson), born 7 July 2006. Spencer grew up in close contact with the world of show business. Occasionally she accompanied her father on his performances on stage. She took singing and acting lessons and dance classes in classical ballet and modern dance and jazz. From 1989 to 2000 she worked as an actress, especially for Australian television, primarily as an actress in TV series. Subsequently, the focus of her artistic activity shifted to the area singer / songwriter. In 2001 she released her debut musical album White Monkey and, after a family break, in February 2010 she released her second album Calling All Magicians. Under the direction of her husband, the music videos were made to the title songs and 'Tickle Me' and 'Wish I'd Been Here'. In August 2011 Spencer for the first time gave two live concerts alongside her husband. The pair joined with the musicians and actors Alan Doyle, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes and the group Size2Shoes to present the Crowe / Doyle Songbook Vol III at St. John´s, Newfoundland, Canada. Songs from this album relate are among others to the novel Dirt Music by the Australian novelist Tim Winton. Danielle Spencer gives live concerts on a regular basis. For her live concert tour in October 2011, titled 'Alone and Together', she joined with Australian bass player Steve Balbi. In March 2012, Spencer was announced as a contestant for Dancing with the Stars on Seven Network. Her professional partner is Damian Whitewood.
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Richard Tognetti
Richard Tognetti was born in Canberra, Australia and raised in Wollongong. He studied briefly with the violist William Primrose in Wollongong,[1] and then at the Sydney Conservatorium High School with Alice Waten. He undertook post-graduate study with Igor Ozim at the Bern Conservatory, where he was awarded the Tschumi prize in 1989. On his return to Australia in 1989 the Board of the Australian Chamber Orchestra made him Artistic Director and lead violinist – at only 25 years of age. Under Tognetti's 20 years of leadership, the orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the leading chamber orchestras in the world. The Times has gone so far as to say "This group must be the best chamber orchestra on earth."
Richard Tognetti was born in Canberra, Australia and raised in Wollongong. He studied briefly with the violist William Primrose in Wollongong,[1] and then at the Sydney Conservatorium High School with Alice Waten. He undertook post-graduate study with Igor Ozim at the Bern Conservatory, where he was awarded the Tschumi prize in 1989. On his return to Australia in 1989 the Board of the Australian Chamber Orchestra made him Artistic Director and lead violinist – at only 25 years of age. Under Tognetti's 20 years of leadership, the orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the leading chamber orchestras in the world. The Times has gone so far as to say "This group must be the best chamber orchestra on earth." Tognetti is an extremely versatile violinist, performing on period, modern and electric instruments. For example, with Australian rock musician Iva Davies, he co-wrote and performed on 31 December 1999 for an international millennium broadcast The Ghost of Time on electric violin, with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with a number of different musicians from different genres. His musical abilities extend to his abilities to arrange music for different ensemble types. He has arranged the music of composers like Janáček, Szymanowski, Paganini, Beethoven, Ravel and Satie, greatly expanding the chamber orchestra repertoire. In 2008, he wrote The Red Tree for children's choir, chamber orchestra and projected images with Michael Yezerski, inspired by the illustrated book by Shaun Tan. Tognetti maintains a busy schedule in Australia and globally with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, as well as with other groups. He has played at events like the Salzburg Festival and made appearances with the Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Hong Kong Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Nordic Chamber Orchestra. He also conducts opera, making his debut in the 2001 Sydney Festival, conducting Mozart's Mitridate, re di Ponto. Among his ever more varied activities have been an appearance at the Opening Ceremony of the 2003 Rugby World Cup with James Crabb and work on Peter Weir’s 2003 film Master and Commander – as composer, soundtrack soloist and violin tutor to Russell Crowe. His film about music and surfing, Musica Surfica, won Best Feature at the 2008 New York Surf Film Festival. In 2009, Tognetti celebrated 20 years as Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He is heavily involved in the making of recordings, performing as soloist in the concerti of Beethoven, Mozart, Dvořák and the Australian premiere of the Ligeti concerto. He has also led the Australian Chamber Orchestra in critically acclaimed recordings of works such as the Beethoven piano concertos with Stephen Kovacevich, the Bach keyboard concertos with Angela Hewitt, Vivaldi flute concertos with Emmanuel Pahud and the ground-breaking 2000 collaboration with rock singer Peter Garrett and cartoonist/philosopher Michael Leunig resulting in the release of a recording of Camille Saint-Saëns' The Carnival of the Animals accompanying a book of Leunig’s text and illustrations. He has also strongly supported Australian composers such as Peter Sculthorpe. His recordings of all of Bach's works for violin, including the concerti with the ACO, the accompanied sonatas and the solo sonatas and partitas, won the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Fine Arts ARIA Award for Best Classical Album. Future recordings include a set of Mozart concertante violin works and the Dvořák Violin Concerto for the BIS label.
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John Waters
John Waters is one of Australia’s most recognised and respected television, film and theatrical actors. He was born in London, England on December 8 1948, to Scottish actor Russell Waters and wife Barbara. The family, including siblings Philip, Angela, Stephen and Fiona, lived in a rented top floor 2 bedroom flat in 56c Anlaby Road, Teddington, Middlesex close to the Thames TV studios. Growing up around his fathers film studio’s found him catching the acting bug early. His youngest appearance was at age ten in the original Titanic movie A Night To Remember, followed by a Disney classic Dr Syn and a bit part in Z Cars. John attended Hampton Grammar School from approx 1960 to 1967, appearing as Macbeth in the school play in about 1966 complete with the normally banned long hair!
John Waters is one of Australia’s most recognised and respected television, film and theatrical actors. He was born in London, England on December 8 1948, to Scottish actor Russell Waters and wife Barbara. The family, including siblings Philip, Angela, Stephen and Fiona, lived in a rented top floor 2 bedroom flat in 56c Anlaby Road, Teddington, Middlesex close to the Thames TV studios. Growing up around his fathers film studio’s found him catching the acting bug early. His youngest appearance was at age ten in the original Titanic movie A Night To Remember, followed by a Disney classic Dr Syn and a bit part in Z Cars. John attended Hampton Grammar School from approx 1960 to 1967, appearing as Macbeth in the school play in about 1966 complete with the normally banned long hair! As a teen he lived every boyhood dream, singing and playing bass in a rock and roll band called The Riots. In 1968 he took the “ten pound” opportunity offered by the Australian government and sailed to Australia with his guitar and a few pounds in his pocket. He worked on a sheep station before moving to Sydney, where he was working as a storeman by day and frontman of a cover band at night. He soon heard a US film called Adam’s Woman, starring Beau Bridges, was being filmed in NSW and got a job as a grip on set. Cast members, including Helen Morse, recommended he try auditioning for an up and coming new musical. He did, and landed the lead role of Claude in Sydney’s 1969 production of the landmark rock musical, Hair. This was followed by the role of Judas in Godspell. This led to an acting career on stage, film and television that elevated him to his current status as Australia’s most versatile leading man. In order to appear a more mature actor, John added 5 years to his age in the early 70s. This, along with exciting stories of how he came to acquire the famous scar beneath his left eye (anything from sword fight in Algiers to bar brawls in Paris), enabled John to get many of the most sought after roles in Australia at the time. Articles in womens magazines had John celebrating his 40th birthday several years too early. Around the late 80s – early 90s John gradually let the extra years slip until he was back to his real age – where he has remained ever since. And as for that scar, barely visible thru the rugged character lines etched upon his face these days, but so darned appealing ‘back then’, an interview with his sister Fizz in 2002 revealed it to be no more than a childhood mishap with some traffic that was never treated properly by the doctor. John wasnt the first actor in the world to embelish his age or past, and he certainly wont be the last. Thats showbiz folks. After all, a 29 year old with a scar from a brawl in Paris certainly sounds more exciting than a 24 year old who came off a footpath as a kid !! Funnily – while John was able to revert back to his correct age eventually, one wonders what the results would be if every ’40 year old’ actress suddenly reverted to her true age ! While he played hard nosed criminals, policemen, soldiers and murderers on television through the 70s, the other side of John was enthralling an audience of 5 year olds (and thier mums) as he had tea and played dress ups with Jemima and Big Ted as a regular host of Play School for 10 years. As a television actor John was the brooding Sgt. McKellar of ABC TV’s Rush which earned him a Logie Award for Best New Talent, and the sexy paddlesteamer captain Brenton Edwards in All The Rivers Run. He guest starred in everything from Homicide to The Box, Good Guys Bad Guys, The Man From Snowy River, All Together Now and Young Lions. Not forgeting the memorable mini series and telemovies of the 80s Nancy Wake, Alice To Nowhere and Singapore Sling. He also starred in the ABC series Fireflies and Channel 7′s hospital drama All Saints (for which he recieved a 2006 AFI Award nomination for “Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a TV Drama”). In 2010 he guest starred in Channel 9′s Underbelly – The Golden Mile and Sea Patrol , channel 7′s City Homicide and has a lead role in the Ch10 series Offspring. As a presenter/narrator/spokesman he has been seen and heard on ad campaigns for The Bankers Trust, MBF Health Fund, Birdseye, Sudafed, Uncle Toby’s Porridge, Qantas , Telstra, Mao’s Last Dancer, MLC, Arnotts, Sydney Wildlife World, Toyota Hybrid Camry. He has narrated programs such as Mind Games: Real Life Adventures, Nostradamus and Triple Zero Heroes. On film John has appeared in many Australian productions, from End Play, Summerfield, Breaker Morant, Eliza Frazer, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, The Getting Of Wisdom, Bushfire Moon, Heaven Tonight, The Real McCaw and The Bouncer As a theatrical performer John has starred in all the classics from Hair to Godspell, Dracula, Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady, The Sound Of Music, They’re Playing Our Song, The Hunting of the Snark, A Little Night Music, Love Letters, Children of a Lesser God, Oliver, The Graduate, An Ideal Husband , Influence, The Rocky Horror Show and The Swimming Club. He wrote, financed and composed the rock musical ReUnion with friend Stewart D’Arrietta. He and Stewart also wrote the one man show Looking Through a Glass Onion, based on the life of John Lennon and toured nationally regularly since 1992 and also played six months in London’s West End in 1995. Glass Onion returns in an all new season for 2010-2011. He performed a one-man Cabaret season as Jacques Brel in Cafe Brel in the 70′s and brought the show back to life as BREL in 2010 followed by the release of a cd of the same name. He has performed the songs of Lennon & McCartney with Christine Anu, Leo Sayer & Rick Price in Let It Be in 2006, and with Jon Stevens, Jack Jones and Doug Parkinson in 2010. John’s solo album Cloudland was released in 2010 and features his own work as well as a couple of special covers. He has also released a new CD version of Pilliga Pete and Clarrie the Cocky, a childrens story & songs first released in the 80s On the family side, John’s first marriage was to actress Jenny Cullen – a union that produced children Ivan and Rebecca. His second marriage was to actress Sally Conabere. His third marriage, to Zoe Burton, was in January 2002 and they became parents to son Archie in January 2003 and twins Gloria & Rusty in September 2006. John continues to be one of the hardest working and most employable actors in Australia. Happily married for the third time, he is a father of 5 and grandfather of 2.
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