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Serenades and Dances 2018 Program

The Serenades and Dances program was the first time Steel City Strings played with guitar.

Conducted by Shilong Ye, the program featured guest soloist, classical guitar virtuoso Aleksandr Tsiboulski. And we were honoured to have the renowned Australian composer Ross Edwards introduce his piece to the Mittagong audience.


Steel City Strings perform Serenades and Dances

Steel City Strings perform Serenades and Dances


Serenade for Strings in E Minor, Op 20......Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Allegro piacevole

...my light...   ......David Haladjian (b 1962)

Arafura Dances Concerto for Guitar and Strings......Ross Edwards(b 1943)
First Maninya
Arafura Arioso
Second Maninya

Adagio for Strings, Op. 11......Samuel Barber (1910-1981)

Serenade for String Orchestra, Op. 12......Victor Herbert (1859-1924)

Introduction and Fandango from Guitar Quintet No 4 in D major G.448......Luigi Boccherini

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CONDUCTOR - Shilong Ye

Born in Shenzhen, China, Shilong Ye started piano at the age of 4 and made his conducting debut in public at the age of 12. He began playing oboe and viola towards the end of his primary school years and joined a concert band and two orchestras during his high school years. His love for music was particularly apparent when choral conducting during his time at high school in China.

Shilong moved to Australia in 2004 and was a top student in Music upon finishing Year 12 at Narrabundah College. In 2006 he began studying violin and viola with Tor Fromyhr at ANU School of Music and studied conducting with Max McBride and Dominic Harvey between 2007 – 2009.


He made his conducting debut in Canberra with the ANU School of Music Orchestra in September 2009. Shilong received his Master of Music Studies in Conducting at Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2016. He received the Alan Bellhouse Award for a Young Conductor in 2015 and in 2016 was selected to attend the International Conducting Masterclass in the Czech Republic where he conducted the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. He also conducted in a sold-out concert at the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre in April that year.

​Shilong conducted Steel City Strings in its very successful Christmas Concert in 2015 with international Violinist Janusz Wawrowski. As a performer, Shilong is a founding member and current manager of the Grevillea Quartet. He is currently the Chief Conductor of James McCusker Orchestra, Conductor of Australian Chinese Musicians Association, and Assistant Conductor of Forrest National Chamber Orchestra.

Shilong Ye conducts Steel City Strings performance of Serenades and Dances

Shilong Ye conducts Steel City Strings performance of Serenades and Dances

Steel City Strings Cellos

Steel City Strings Cellos

The energy in Steel City Strings rehearsals is as powerful as the final performance

The energy in Steel City Strings rehearsals is as powerful as the final performance

Aleksandr Tsiboulski performing with Steel City Strings

Aleksandr Tsiboulski image by Tony Lewis

Serenades and Dances conductor, Shilong Ye

Conductor, Shilong Ye

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Strings with Voices

Steel City Strings collaborating with the con voci chamber choir in the Strings with Voices 2018 program

Steel City Strings collaborate with the con voci chamber choir

Susie Bishop, Strings with Voices soloist with Steel City Strings

Susie Bishop, Soprano

Daniel Tambasco, Strings with Voices soloist with Steel City Strings

Daniel Tambasco, Tenor

Jared Lillehagen, Strings with Voices soloist with Steel City Strings

Jared Lillehagen, Bass

June and July 2018 saw Steel City Strings present a spectrum of vocal music in the program Strings with Voices.

The program featured human voice, for the most part, married with a string accompaniment.  It also featured vocal music, both solo and choral, drawn from opera, the church as well as from the cabaret and cinema.

Four a cappella (unaccompanied) songs provide a taste of pure vocal harmony whilst the glories of string sonorities appear in one of the mainstays of the chamber orchestra repertoire, Grieg’s Holberg Suite.

con voci performing with Steel City Strings for Strings with Voices 2018 program

con voci performing with Steel City Strings

Strings with Voices soprano soloist, Susie Bishop, with Steel City Strings

Strings with Voices soprano soloist, Susie Bishop, with Steel City Strings

a capella in Strings with Voices 2018 program

a capella in Strings with Voices 2018 program

2018 Strings with Voices soloists

2018 Strings with Voices soloists

Steel City Strings first and second violins perform Strings with Voices 2018 program

Steel City Strings first and second violins

Steel City String's Strings with Voices soloistsr

Green room

Music Through the Ages in October 2017

SUNDAY 22nd October at 2 pm                               

The Pavilion, Kiama

Booking link: https://www.trybooking.com/NSDX


SATURDAY 28th October at 7.30 pm

Wollongong Art Gallery

Booking link: https://www.trybooking.com/NSEA



Concerto Grosso in F Minor Op 1     Pietro Antonio Locatelli
I.  Largo                             IV. Grave
II. Andante                           V.  Largo Andante
III.Pastoral                          VI. Andante-Adagio
                                      VII.Pastorale ad libitum
Divertimento in F KV 138            Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I. Allegro                                                                                                            II. Andante
III. Presto

Sacred and Profane Dances                    Claude Debussy
I. Danse sacrée
II. Danse profane
                         soloist, Paulina Smirnov, Harp

Little Suite for Strings Op 1                   Carl Nielsen 
I. Präludium
II. Intermezzo
III. Finale
Sleep                  World Premier             Andrew Ford   
for String Orchestra

Documentary “Steel City Strings -The Passion of Music”

We are really excited about the 76 min Documentary movie  Tony Williams has made about Steel City Strings.  It has been accepted by Documentary Australia Foundation (DAF) as a film worthy of fundraising promotion. Please click the link and ENJOY!

What Tony needs now is some financial support to launch the film with all expenses paid – musical copyright fees, post-production audio etc.



Venue Details for concerts in October 2017

Kiama Pavilion

2 Bong Bong St Kiama NSW 2533

Sunday October 22nd  2017 at  2 pm

Good access and facilities http://thepavilionkiama.com.au/conference-venue-kiama/conference-facilities/

Afternoon tea provided

Concert Booking Link :https://www.trybooking.com/NSDX











Wollongong Art Gallery

46 Burelli St Wollongong NSW 2500

access details at  http://wollongongartgallery.com

Saturday 28th October 2017 at 7.30 pm

Request easy access at reception

Drinks provided at interval

Concert Booking Link   https://www.trybooking.com/NSEA

Audience Feedback from April/May SCS Concerts

JUNE 2017

The survey was completed by 36 people; 24 had attended at Wollongong Art Gallery, 7 at Berry School of Arts, and 2 attended both concerts. Five respondents did not attend this concert because they were away or had other commitments.

The majority of respondents (73%) had attended two or more previous concerts; five had been to one previous, and for four it was their first time.

How would you rate your overall enjoyment of the music played by Steel City Strings?
All respondents found the music either highly enjoyable (82%) or enjoyable (18%). Comments:
•  The orchestra sounded the best I’ve ever heard them play.
•  Brilliant performance. I am always impressed by the skill and passion of the performers and the conductor when I see Steel City Strings.
•  You are doing well just carry on
•  Marvellous to appreciate the cultural diversity of the pieces
•  Great programming and well played

How would you rate your enjoyment of each piece? (some respondents only partially answered this question; responses are whole numbers only)

•  This was the best program ever! The quality of the playing is exceptional, the orchestra leaders, the strength of the ensemble as a whole and the work of the conductor made this concert very memorable. The Shostacovich was very moving.
•  An ambitious programme which turned out to be excellent, especially the Shostakovich!
•  No complaints. Very moving. Fascinating learning experience because I was not familiar with the historical background to some of the music, which was explained extremely well in the programme.
•  It was wonderful to have Judy Stubbs’s composition performed. She is amazing. The whole story of how the piece was developed with the community, the collaboration and sensitivity needed, and the music and orchestral interpretation all contributed to my enjoyment of the suite and the whole evening.                                                                                •  Good variety of styles/ compositions – kept the players (and audience) on their toes.
•  Enjoyed the solos by Kyle and Rita

How would you rate the standard of playing by Steel City Strings?
Respondents rated the standard of playing excellent (56%), high standard (38%) or good (6%).

How would you rate the leadership of the orchestra by resident conductor Luke Spicer?
All respondents rated Luke highly effective (80%) or effective (20%).
•  Love Luke Spicer. Energy & ability.
•  I love his passion! Such dedication and such talent.
•  Particularly good in the Romero
•  Seemed to have good control/ good rapport with players

Please comment on the venue for the concert you attended.
Berry School of Arts:
Most respondents simply said “good”; others noted
•  Perhaps not ideal, but it is perfect for the local residents
•  Traditional and enjoyable
•  Not the most comfortable of venues, and often poor visibility – but hey, I expect that in such an old country hall.
Wollongong Art Gallery:
•  Excellent. Chairs are ergonomically shocking. Always get a sore back & neck. But the sound is good there & it’s a convenient & nice spot in the Gong.
•  I like it – but the chairs don’t like me!

•  Need good chairs – but I realise that’s Council’s responsibility. I’ll give them some feedback. I doubt they’ll pay for new chairs (lol)
•  More comfy chairs
•  Great venue. Attractive room. It is nice to be able to see some of whichever exhibition is on at the Art Gallery.
•  Combination of exhibitions & music is good.
•  Welcoming environment, intimate concert hall
•  Pleasant rooms with good acoustics
•  Good sound. I like the intimate space
•  Ideal venue – an aura of exclusive audience
•  Beautiful.. suitable for an orchestra of this type because it gives a very intimate feel to the evening

Do you have any suggestions for music you would like the orchestra to perform in future concerts?
Most respondents said no, or “I’m enjoying the surprises … leave it to the experts … I’m never disappointed … keep up the variety …”
•  The occasional Vivaldi or Bach
•  Prokofiev, Debussy, Ravel, Satie
•  Just try to ensure that some of the programme is accessible for younger people…..this last concert was fantastic but very intense, and a little more difficult for my children to engage with.
•  More vocal things please
•  I’d like to listen to a joint performance steel city strings with a Choir some times
•  Faure, Requiem
•  Something modern – perhaps a collaboration with a local singer?
•  Occasionally collaborate with others, eg pianists, guitarists, wind players
•  Some different solo instruments. Oboe would be nice
•  More Australian composers, please – especially if there is a local connection. Having the Stubbs was wonderful

concert venue details

 Two venues for our


 Kiama Pavilion

Sunday 22nd October, 2017, 2 pm

Kiama Pavilion

Kiama Pavilion

2 Bong Bong Street
Kiama  NSW 2533
(02) 4232 1419

The Kiama Pavilion is a superior venue for orchestral music with high ceilings and timber floor and walls adding a beautiful acoustic ambience.

Seating approximately 200 guests and an orchestra of 30 on the ideally positioned stage for maximum audience enjoyment.

Easy disabled access

  • drive up ramp for same level access
  • disabled toilets on two levels
  • lift between floors





2.Wollongong Art Gallery

 Saturday 28th October, 2017, 7.30pm


Burelli St,  Wollongong NSW 2500  

(02) 4227 8500

for details and directions:

DARKER WAG logo JPEGhttps://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1fWsQCGG67mobpoGB-QlaRoPNidI&hl=en&usp=sharing



 Additional venues used by Steel City Strings are on the following page

guest artists

Winter 2017 Concerts

Music from Around the World

Berry School of Arts, Sunday 28th May

Wollongong Art Gallery, Saturday 3rd June

Dr Judith Stubbs

Judith Stubbs began writing incidental for theatre whilst studying opera at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and composition at the University of Sydney. Her music was featured in diverse productions including at the (then) Nimrod Theatre, Seymour Centre, New Theatre, La Mama and the Ensemble Theatre. More recently, she has written and performed on the soundtracks for Australian film projects, including for Why Documentaries’ The Dalfram Dispute: Pig Iron Bob, and has completed commissioned orchestral works including for the National Traditional Chinese Orchestra in Nanjing. As a singer, Judith has performed as a soloist with orchestras and chamber ensembles in Australia and Europe, and is musical director with Eklektika and Funkier Than Alice, with whom she regularly tours, nationally and overseas.

Judith Stubbs and Rita Woolhouse (cello) after performance for 3000 people


EKLEKTIKA Vocal Ensemble members  in rehearsal with Steel City Strings

Tim Allen
Jonathon Christley
Andrew Clarke
Kate Clarkson
Anthea Gostt
Jane Lewis
Linda Meynes
Nicole Murphy
Andreja Nolan
Sally Peloquin
Natasha Russo
Tim Storer
Judy Stubbs
Eddy Weich
David Vance





Autumn 2017 Concerts

Celebration of Youth

1. at Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre Nowra

Sunday 12th March 2017, 2 pm

Violin Soloist

violin, Olivia Kowalik winner, Wollongong Eisteddfod SCS Concerto competition

violin, Olivia Kowalik
winner, Wollongong Eisteddfod SCS Concerto competition

15 year old Olivia Kowalik started the violin at the age of 5 with her father George Kowalik. She is one of the youngest members of the Kowalik family and follows the footsteps of her 3 elder siblings and father. She has studied the violin with Professor Zhang for the past 6 years, and for 2 years she attended the Rising Stars program in Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In previous years, Olivia has taken part and won prizes in multiple competitions such as Ryde Eisteddfod, Peter Zhang Violin Competition, Wollongong Eisteddfod, Ewa Malewicz Competition, and in March this year she will be competing in the Ku-ring-gai Concerto Competition. She is also a soloist and member of “L’estro armonico” Orchestra, and her future plan is to become a professional musician.


Violin Soloist

violin soloist Joy Liu

Joy Liu is a Wollongong-born violinist and is 18 years old. She began piano lessons with Ms Diane Waples at the age of 6, and violin lessons with Ms Sarah Hindson at 7. Thanks to the guidance of her two teachers, and the support of her parents, Joy attained her AMusA in violin in 2013, and AMusA with distinction in piano in 2014. She was also nominated twice for ENCORE for her HSC Music and Music Extension performances. Joy most loves playing in ensembles and orchestras, using her music to help fundraise for different charity organisations, and performing for the enjoyment of people in the community


Double Bass Soloist


soloist Ethan Ireland


Ethan Ireland began playing Double Bass at the age of 12. He studied music at university and graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Performance) in 2016. He has been a part of the Sydney Youth Orchestra, and attended the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp. Ethan is a current member of Steel City Strings, and the Willoughby Symphony.


Guest Composer


Wollongong composer, Adrian WhitehallAdrian Whitehall is a promising young student of musical composition who lives in Wollongong and played Double Bass with Steel City Strings. The work performed today is the world premier of a  work newly commissioned by Steel City Strings.

Adrian  was born in 1997 and from a very young age had a passion for all things music. He played double bass at age of 11 as well as learning classical guitar, drums and composing tunes as a hobby. He commenced jazz studies under Eric Dunan after being encouraged to from within The St Michaels’ Thirroul School band. Music theory with John Spence was later commenced and he played in the Junior String Orchestra under Carlos Alvarado, all disciplines within The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. Adrian later continued his classical education with The Sydney Youth Orchestra studying classical double bass under David Potts and later Kees Boersma.  Adrian will continue his Double Bass Classical Performance Studies at the University Of Sydney / Conservatorium of Music commencing second year in March 2017 and his composition projects will no doubt be on going. He is supported by a scholarship with St Andrews College in Sydney which enables him to focus on his practice and studies during the week whilst participating in various talented College ensemble groups.




Guest Youth Orchestra –

L’Estro Armonico String Orchestra


conductor: George KowalikL'Estro Armonico, a Youth Orchestra based in Campbelltown will join with Steel city Strings in this special Youth Concert

L’Estro Armonico, a Youth Orchestra based in Campbelltown, will join with Steel City Strings in this special Celebration of Youth concert

In April 2012, a new Orchestra “L’Estro Armonico String Orchestra” was launched under the artistic leadership of Music Director Mr George Kowalik. Mr Kowalik’s aim and mission is to encourage artistic excellence by providing a high quality in string training and performance opportunities. The name of the new orchestra – derived from Vivaldi’s 12 violin concertos, is a mission statement of itself. Through the properly selected string repertoire, L’Estro Armonico will serve to develop excellence in string playing in the Macarthur area. The orchestra’s repertoire consists of Classical music with a great emphasis on Baroque Music. The founder of the orchestra, Mr. Kowalik – graduated in Warsaw from the Chopin Music Academy. L’Estro Armonico String Orchestra




  1891144_10152223003026970_1731393272_nGuest Youth Orchestra – Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra

conductor: Jacob Antonio

Screenshot 2017-02-10 12.18.08

The Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra will join with Steel City Strings in this special Celebration  of Youth Concert

The SYO began in 2000 as a youth orchestra of string and woodwind players from the Shoalhaven, on the South Coast of NSW, Australia. It was made possible by a generous grant from the Shoalhaven Arts Board. In 2001 the SYO expanded to include The Shoalhaven Junior Strings (SJS). No audition is necessary for this group, which comprises young string players (6-12 yrs of age approximately), who have only been playing a short time. The orchestra also hosts music classes for young children. SYO and SJS are currently directed by Jacob Antonio and Jo Landstra Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra

 Guest artists for the Celebration of Youth  concert  in Wollongong  are on the following page







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