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SHSO Strings

Eight leading string players from our wonderful local Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra join Bamf's Ensemble in Residence, Acacia Quartet, for an exciting festival finale! 



Jillian Bridge, Emily Sinden,

Kate Malone and Lisa Gemell



Xanthe Herps and Tim Senior



Catherine Barnett


Double Bassist

Ethan  Ireland



For further information on the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra visit:

When BAMF's Artist Director Myee Clohessy was invited by Dr Allan Stiles, Chief Conductor of SHSO to join them as guest concertmaster, she was astounded by the remarkable standard of this newly formed community orchestra.  In just four years, the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra has blossomed into a major musical force in the region, attracting a high standard and strong commitment.  This gave Myee a strong desire to join forces with the SHSO principal strings players and her Acacia Quartet to combine and form a chamber orchestra especially for Bamf 2019.  
The following eight passionate string players are highly regarded as local music teachers and professional musicians with various chamber music groups. Collectively they meet weekly to rehearse with the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra which presents four different concert programs each year.
This will be the first time they perform together as a string ensemble and they are looking forward to it immensely!
Jillian Bridge - Violinist

Jillian is a violin teacher, conductor and freelance violinist. She has been the conductor of Fisher’s Ghost Youth Orchestra in Campbelltown for 15 years and Musical Director of the Macarthur Singers since 2007. She was a member of the baroque group 'Les Amis' for many years and is a founding and ongoing member of the Macarthur Strings Quartet.


Jillian has taught chamber music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and been a string tutor at many music camps for the State Education Department and several School Spectaculars. Maintaining a large number of private violin students from beginner to Associate Diploma level, Jillian also coordinates the string program at Wollondilly Anglican College and conducts their string ensembles. She is a member of “The Occasional Performing Sinfonia” (TOPS) and plays for various musical societies in Sydney. For fun, she sings with the a capella choir ‘Southland’ and has performed in overseas choral festivals.


Jillian has led the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra since its inauguration in 2014.

Emily Sinden - Violinist 
Emily Sinden grew up in the Southern Highlands and started learning the violin at the age of 7. When Emily was in Year 10, she attended the annual AYO National Music Camp which inspired her to pursue a career in music. She then went on to study Music Education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for 4 years where she studied violin under Prof. Ole Bohn and Marina Marsden. In 2011 she travelled to the US with the Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra and a highlight of the tour was performing with the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
Emily started her teaching career in rural NSW and has since taught music in the UK, Oxley College, and is currently a member of the music department at Frensham. She regularly performs with Macarthur Strings Quartet, Clear Strings Quartet and the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra.
Kate Malone - Violinist 

Kate Malone studied violin at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Benedict Holland and Dennis Simons and obtained her Bachelor of Music at the University of New England. Since relocating to Australia some thirty years ago, Kate has worked as a freelance musician and as a classroom teacher at several high schools in the Sydney and Southern Highland areas.


She has been a member of the Macarthur String Quartet for over 20 years so regularly enjoys playing together with Catherine Barnett, Jillian Bridge and Emily Sinden, who will also perform with the SHSO Strings and Acacia Quartet at Bamf 2019.


Kate is currently a peripatetic violin and viola teacher at several local schools and plays regularly with the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra.

Lisa Gemell

Lisa grew up in the Southern Highlands and began playing the violin at the age of 5. She has played in many orchestras over the years including the Berrima District Orchestra, Orange Symphony Orchestra, Parkes Community Orchestra, Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra (Perth) as well as by invitation with the Western Australian Doctors’ Orchestra.

Lisa has taught violin to many students over the past 15 years and is currently teaching her own daughter. Lisa has been a member of the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra since 2017.  When Lisa is not playing the violin she is a primary school Japanese teacher, as well as a keen fencer!

Xanthe Herps - Violist 

Xanthe Herps plays the viola with a wide variety of orchestras, ensembles and chamber groups performing classical, modern, jazz, Arabic, Latin American and popular music. She has also tutored young students as part of a school strings program.


Xanthe now plays with the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra and a range of chamber groups. Before moving to the Southern Highlands in 2015, she lived in Dubai, UAE where she was principal viola of the Dubai Chamber Orchestra and the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra. She also played Arabic music with the Sharq orchestra, latino music with Ovideo Ferrari’s Ensemble, and the Caprice trio, which performed around the Middle East.


Xanthe studied music from a young age and loves the experiences and opportunities to meet a wide range of people and communities that music playing provides. She also works in communications and marketing.

Tim Senior - Violist

Tim Senior is a keen amateur viola player, having played in orchestras since he was a teenager, learning violin and viola entirely through the UK school system.


He now plays in the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra, and the NSW Doctors' Orchestra. In the past, he has played in the Penrith Symphony Orchestra, the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bolton Symphony Orchestra. He has also tried his hand at conducting while studying medicine in the UK.


His real job is as a doctor working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, as well as teaching, advising and writing about health care and health policy. 


Catherine Barnett - Cellist

Catherine Barnett studied Violoncello externally at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne with Miriam Morris while obtaining a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) at La Trobe University.  Catherine gained the Associate Diploma in Violoncello performance from Trinity College, London in 2000 and the Licentiate Diploma in Violoncello Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London in 2001.


In the past, she was a member of the Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Chamber Strings of Melbourne and SBS Radio and Television Youth Orchestra in Sydney. Catherine has been a freelance performer with Steel City Strings and WIN Wollongong Symphony Orchestra and has been performing with the Macarthur String Quartet since 2002.


Currently, she plays with the Southern Highlands Symphony Orchestra and in 2017 she was fortunate to perform the Saint-Saens ‘Cello Concerto in A minor and the Haydn ‘Cello Concerto in C in 2018. Catherine teaches cello privately in Bowral as well as at Bowral Public School, Oxley College and Frensham School.


Ethan Ireland - Double Bassist
Ethan Ireland began playing the Double Bass at the age of 12. He went on to study at the Conservatorium of  Music in Sydney and graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Performance) in 2016.
He has been a member of the Sydney Youth Orchestra, has attended the Australian Youth Orchestra’s National Music Camp, and took part in the 2016 Hennessy Concert Series with Stars of Opera Australia at the Hanoi Opera House in Vietnam. 
Ethan has performed as a soloist with Steel City Strings and is a regular member of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, Steel City Strings, and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performing with many other groups and ensembles around NSW, Ethan also teaches some of the next generations of young Double Bass players in the Sydney, Wollongong, and Southern Highlands areas.

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