Ironwood is Australia's renowned historically informed performance group crossing the boundaries of old and new. Ironwood is a flexible ensemble of world class musicians who are based in Australia and perform at an elite level, exploring the sound of chamber music on gut strings.
Ironwood comprises some of Australia’s foremost chamber musicians, who perform on both period and modern string instruments. The musicians have performed with Les Arts Florissants, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Pinchgut Opera, Florilegium, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Flametree Festival Orchestra, Sydney, Melbourne & Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Alpha Centauri, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, La Petite Bande and Ludovico’s Band.
The ensemble came together in late 2006, presenting a festival of Mozart’s chamber works for strings and piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and since then has presented concerts in conjunction with Historic Houses Trust, NSW at Vaucluse and Elizabeth Bay Houses, exploring the music of mid-19th century Sydney and Europe as well as performances at Sydney's Sydney Harbour Trust historic North Head Artillery School Ballroom and St.John's in Sorrento, Victoria.
Ironwood have an active commissioning program for music on early instruments, including commissioning new works for gut strings by Australian composers including Rosalind Page, Kevin March and Paul Stanhope. The group has performed widely, including a national tour for Musica Viva Australia, performances for the Peninsula Music Festival and the Sydney Biennale.
Ironwood runs a successful early music educational program with workshops in Victoria and NSW, and for various organisations including MLC School, Sydney, Adelaide Chamber Players, and Wollongong Conservatorium. In October 2007 Ironwood were one of the first music ensembles as Artist-In-Residence at the Arthur Boyd property, Bundanon, on NSW’s south coast and in 2009 and 2010 they have continued this honour.
Members of Ironwood also record and broadcast for many organizations including the ABC, Sony, Channel Classics, Tall Poppies, and radio networks across Europe, including WDR radio (Germany), Naxos and Teldac. Recently Ironwood has been involved in several recordings for ABC Classics as well as broadcasts for ABC Classic FM.
Anna has performed at many European music festivals with a number of Dutch chamber ensembles and toured extensively with groups such as the London Sinfonietta, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Chamber Orchestra, Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, as guest assistant concert master and principle second of the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra (Holland Symfonia) and recorded for a number of European labels.
In Australia, Anna has performed at 4 Canberra International Music Festivals as guest artist, been a soloist and member of Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, guest Associate Concertmaster of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Concertmaster of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Concertmaster of both Orchestra Victoria and Auckland Philharmonia.
Anna has performed with Ensemble Offspring, Pinchgut Opera, Omega Ensemble and is a member of Ironwood. She has been invited to perform concerts with the pianist, Daniel de Borah, for Recitals Australia in Melba Hall lunch concerts, Recitals Australia and for Sunday Live ABCfm. Anna has tutored at ANAM, the Canberra School of Music and appeared with the Australian World Orchestra since 2011. She has recorded old and newly written Lullabies for the Tall Poppies label together with pianist Tamara Anna Cislowska which have been performed at the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Mona Foma Festival and was Cd of the week on ABC Classic FM. Anna is Co-Director of the Tyalgum Music Festival.
Holding a PhD from the University of Sydney on the historically informed performance of Brahms's music, Robin’s research was awarded the prestigious international 2014 Karl Geiringer Prize from the American Brahms Society. He has lectured and performed at numerous major international conferences and universities such as Yale University, Stanford University, City University of New York, Eastman School of Music, Leeds University, Royal College of Music London, and the Royal Northern College of Music Manchester, as well as being selected to represent the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the DDCA Australasian Symposium ‘The Outstanding Field”. As a pedagogue, he has given masterclasses throughout Australasia, USA, UK and Singapore and his students are regular prizewinners of many major national and international competitions, and hold professional positions and regularly perform as soloists with the major Australian Orchestras.
Robin holds Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Performance and Pedagogy studying with Alice Waten, and worked with Janet Davies in Sydney. Robin also studied with James Buswell at The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Beryl Kimber at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide, Pamela Dowsett and Jan Tawroszewicz in New Zealand and Felix Andrievsky and David Takeno in London. He plays a Gagliano workshop violin, Naples, 1784.
Neal regularly performs with Australia’s leading ensembles including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, the Song Company, the Australian Haydn Ensemble and Ironwood. He has performed at the Festival Baroque, the Peninsula Summer Festival, the Music Viva Festival, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the York Early Music Festival (UK) and Pegasus Music (US). He is involved in on-going projects with the Australia Haydn Ensemble including, in 2016, performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4, and a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos nos. 1 and 2 to be released in 2017. With Ironwood, Neal undertakes cutting-edge research that has led to performances and recordings of late-Romantic chamber repertoire in period style. Neal has an extensive collection of historical pianos including grand pianos by Collard and Collard (English c.1840), Erard (French c.1869), and Streicher (Viennese replica c.1868).
Winner of the 2008 Fine Arts ARIA for Best Classical Recording for Bach’s Sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord (ABC Classics, 2007) with Richard Tognetti and Daniel Yeadon, Neal’s discography includes: Bach’s Complete Sonatas for Viola Da Gamba and Harpsichord with Daniel Yeadon (ABC Classics, 2009), The Baroque Trombone with Christian Lindberg and the ACO (BIS, 2009); The Galant Bassoon with Matthew Wilke and Kees Boersma (Melba, 2009); Baroque Duets (Vexations 840, 2011) which he directed with Fiona Campbell, David Walker and Ironwood; Music for a While with Ironwood and Miriam Allan (2012); 3 with Genevieve Lacey and Daniel Yeadon (ABC Classics, 2012); and most recently Mozart: Stolen Beauties with Anneke Scott and Ironwood (ABC Classics, 2015). He has also recorded extensively on the Channel Classics label with Florilegium, the British ensemble which he co-founded in 1991 and of which he was a member for 10 years.