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.
Violinist, Rachael Beesley is one of Australia’s most versatile and dynamic performers. Based in The Netherlands over the last 14 years, she has established an exciting career as concertmaster and soloist with the finest European orchestras specialising in Early Music. Now based in Australia, Rachael has made a resounding impact on the music scene in Australia, performing, educating and directing programs around the country. A Graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor and Graduate Diploma of Arts in Music and a Master of Music from The Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, The Netherlands, Rachael is much in demand as a chamber musician and soloist, performing with Ironwood, Salut! Baroque and La Compañia. Rachael appears as guest concertmaster with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, director and soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony and Melbourne Chamber Orchestras as well as concertmaster with Opera Australia, Victorian and Pinchgut Opera and has recorded over 50 CD recordings for Harmonia Mundi, BIS, Sony and ABC Classics. As a professor at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, The Netherlands, Rachael has developed unique courses on Historical Performance Practice and Practising In Flow. A devoted educator Rachael teaches and guest lectures at the Conservatoriums of Music in Melbourne and Sydney and the Australian National Academy of Music.
Melbourne born violinist, Julia Fredersdorff, studied baroque violin with Lucinda Moon at the Victorian College of the Arts, before travelling to the Netherlands to study with Enrico Gatti at The Royal Conservatorium, in The Hague. Recently repatriated having been based in Paris for almost 10 years, Julia has freelanced with some of the finest European ensembles, such as Les Talens Lyriques, Les Folies Françoises, Le Concert d’Astrée, Le Parlement de Musique, Ensemble Matheus, Les Paladins, Il Complesso Barocco, New Dutch Academy and Bach Concentus. In Australia, Julia is a regular member of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, La Compañia and Ludovico’s Band as well as the Orchestra of the Antipodes. Julia has participated in over 20 CD recordings for Virgin Classics, Deutsche Grammaphon, Accent, Accord, Naïve, Erato, Passacaille, Ambronay, ABC Classics and Tall Poppies. Passionate about chamber music, she is a founding member of Ironwood, with whom she toured Australia for Musica Viva last year, as well as the new trio, Latitude 37, which recently completed a highly succesful tour of New Zealand for CMNZ. Julia is founder and Artistic Director of the annual Peninsula Summer Music Festival on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, and teaches baroque violin at the conservatoriums of Sydney and Melbourne.
Anna McMichael is an Australian born violinist who returned to live in Australia in 2010 after 17 years in Europe performing in many of the major ensembles and orchestras.
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.
Regarded as one of Australia’s leading pedagogues, Dr Robin Wilson is Head of Violin at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne and continues to teach at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Previously he held appointments at the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland and the Australian Institute of Music. As a member of Ironwood, he regularly tours nationally and internationally, performing at major venues and festivals throughout Australia, USA and the UK and has recorded for ABC Classics, Vexations840 and VDE-Gallo. He performs nationally as a member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra’s flagship ensemble, the Australian Octet and has appeared as a recitalist in concert and broadcast throughout Australasia. His solo discography includes two discs of violin encores and the complete Schubert Sonatas for violin and piano (DECCA and Ode Records) with pianist Kemp English. Robin is the former Leader of the ARCO Chamber Orchestra, has appeared as guest violinist with leading Australian ensembles such as the Sydney Omega Ensemble, Ensemble Liaison, Australia Quartet and Nexus 2MBSFM Virtuosi, and has played with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Orchestra of the Antipodes.
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.
Daniel Yeadon has a worldwide career as a cellist and viola da gamba player; his repertoire ranges from Renaissance to contemporary. His regular chamber music collaborators in Australia include Neal Peres Da Costa, Genevieve Lacey, Ironwood, Romanza, Kammer, Elision and The Collective. He is a part-time member of the ACO, he has appeared as soloist with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, plays every year with Pinchgut Opera and records regularly for ABC Classics. He is in much demand as a teacher. Originally from the UK, Daniel read physics at Oxford University and then completed a postgraduate diploma in performance at the Royal College of Music in London. For many years Daniel was a member of the renowned period instrument ensemble Florilegium and later joined the Fitzwilliam String Quartet, performing in major venues throughout the world and recording many award-winning CDs. Daniel continues to be guest principal cellist with many of the period instrument ensembles based in London, including the English Baroque Soloists and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
A graduate of the University of Sydney, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), the City University (London) and the University of Leeds (UK), Neal Peres Da Costa is a world-renowned performing scholar and educator. He is an Associate Professor in the Historical Performance Unit (which he founded and of which he was Chair from 2006-2016) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. His monograph Off the Record: Performing Practices in Romantic Piano Playing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) is hailed as a book that ‘no serious pianist should be without’ (Limelight, 2012) and honoured as ‘a notable book’ on Alex Ross’s 2012 Apex List. In 2012, it was the subject of a five-part series broadcast by ABC Classic FM during the Sydney International Piano Competition and an interview with Christopher Lawrence for the ABC Classic FM Music Makers programme. During 2015-16 Neal was a chief editor (with Clive Brown and Kate Bennett Wadsworth for the new Bärenreiter Urtext performing edition of the complete Brahms chamber works for one solo instrument and piano) which has received critical acclaim. Neal has received prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) funding for a three-year Discovery Project (2017-19) for performance research in 19th-century piano playing.
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.