Past Conductors

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Thomas Tsai

Thomas Tsai is a very active and highly regarded music educator, teaching cello at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at both tertiary and secondary levels. He also coordinates the Conservatorium High School Chamber Music with his wife Felicity Tsai, in addition to tutoring the elite ensembles. Thomas has taught cello and chamber music at the Newcastle Conservatorium, The Australian Institute of Music, Conservatorium Foundation Department (University of Sydney) and Conservatorium Access Centre, and in 2013 was named Chief Conductor of the SBS Radio and Television Youth Orchestra as well as guest conductor of the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, he became the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the North Sydney Youth Symphony, and was the first conductor of the NSWYO.

Thomas’ students have been prizewinners of numerous awards such as the Ku-ring-gai Concerto Competition and Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, before continuing their post-graduate studies internationally. His students also excel at secondary level, having won scholarships to all the prestigious Sydney private schools: PLC Pymble, PLC Croydon, St Andrew’s Cathedral School, MLC Burwood, Newington College, Sydney Grammar School, Shore Grammar, Trinity College, Barker College, Meriden, Tara, Ravenswood and Roseville College.

Thomas graduated at the University of Southern California, where he was selected for the internationally acclaimed Gregor Piatigorsky Cello Class upon invitation by American cellist Lynn Harrell. He has performed in masterclasses with André Navarra, Raphael Wallfisch, Eleonore Schoenfeld, Siegfried Palm and Lynn Harrell. He was the first recipient of the American Symphony Scholarship for outstanding musical performance, performing solo recitals and as soloist with the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra.

He has recorded for the ABC Classic FM and Fine Music FM, as soloist and in chamber ensembles for broadcasts and recordings. He is held in high regard both as a soloist and chamber music performer, performing regular recitals, and was a co-founder of the Apollo Piano Trio with Daniel Herscovitch and Maria Lindsay, touring from 2005 to 2009 with chamber music recitals and solo appearances with orchestras performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto. A CD recording of Australian Piano Trios was released in 2013 on the Wirripang label.

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