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Liam O'Malley

Sharn McIver

Francesco Lo Surdo

Mary-Anne Blades



Giovanni Pasini



Joshua Davis



Louise Sandercock

Friends of WASO Scholarship

In 2010, the Friends of WASO Scholarship was created to enable full time members of the Orchestra to take up opportunities for professional development, both in Australia and overseas. The funds can be used to assist with travel, tuition, attendance at conferences, masterclasses and other learning activities.

Funds for the Scholarship are generated through Patrons & Friends events held throughout the year. In supporting these scholarships, the importance of providing development opportunities for individuals within the Orchestra has been highlighted. Regardless of their experience or career stage, all musicians can benefit from opportunities for development, such as the experience of learning from great master performers.

'The importance of providing ongoing training cannot be underestimated and these scholarships provide a way for supporters to contribute to this important endeavour,' said former Patrons & Friends Committee President Fred Affleck. 'We hope we can help to keep our talented musicians here in Perth by providing opportunities for them to travel, network and connect to the international community of musicians.'

2015 Winners

WASO and the Patrons & Friends Committee are delighted to announce the winners of the 2015 Friends of WASO Scholarship as Associate Principal Trombone Liam O’Malley and Associate Principal Horn Sharn McIver.

Liam O’Malley utilised the scholarship for a study tour to the United States where he undertook lessons with players from the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as attending symphony concerts and rehearsals. The lessons were with several different players including Toby Oft, Principal Trombone of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Joseph Alessi, the Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic, who is widely renowned as one of the finest brass teachers in America. While in the US, Liam attended the Winter Trombone Workshop in Ithaca, New York. This was a 5-day intensive trombone workshop consisting of lessons, masterclasses, ensembles and lectures in all facets of brass playing and teaching. Run by Haim Avitsur, a freelance player in New York City, it featured Nitzan Haroz, David Taylor and Hal Reynolds as guest artists.

Sharn McIver utilised the scholarship funds to attend the International Horn Symposium. The Symposium, an annual week-long event hosted in a different capital city each year, brings together hundreds of horn players of all different nationalities and standards. The 2015 47th International Horn Symposium was held in downtown Los Angeles at the Colburn School of Music, with a theme of ‘Then and Now’ – a celebration and reflection of the horn’s role through time. Some of the most outstanding and prolific horn players in the world were at the LA IHS, including the Principal players of the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Congratulations to both Liam and Sharn.

2014 Winners

We are delighted that the winners of the 2014 Friends of WASO Scholarship are Associate Principal Flute Mary-Anne Blades and Tutti Horn Francesco Lo Surdo.

Mary-Anne has been accepted as a performer at the William Bennett International Flute Summer School in Marasino, Italy in July 2014. William Bennett is an internationally renowned flute player and teacher who Mary-Anne had the privilege of studying with at the Royal Academy of Music in London for two years (1990-1992). Mary-Anne says she is excited to be able to attend this course as an ‘experienced professional and mix with high calibre players from all over the world.’

Francesco undertook private lessons throughout 2014 with Rachel Silver, who many of you will recall as a former horn player with WASO.  Rachel is now utility horn player with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and widely regarded as the most outstanding low-horn specific player in the country.  Frankie says the purpose of the lessons was ‘to both refine my technique, to set a long-term vision for my playing career and to hone my orchestral playing style to best fit with the WASO horn section.’  Rachel is a wonderful mentor for all these goals.

Both Mary-Anne and Frankie ask we pass on their warmest thank you to all our Patrons & Friends who attend events throughout the year that support this scholarship.

We warmly congratulate both Mary-Anne and Francesco on their successful applications, wish them well and look forward to hearing their stories of what they have learned. 

2013 Winners

The winners of the 2013 Friends of WASO Scholarship are Principal Viola, Giovanni Pasini and Principal Trombone, Joshua Davis.

Giovanni used the scholarship funds to further his conducting study through a program offered by Symphony Services representing. Giovanni says, 'I am extremely happy and honoured to accept this Scholarship. Studying conducting gives me a privileged point of view over a score, stimulates my curiosity and gives me a new perspective of my own job in the Orchestra as a musician. It also helps me understand conductors better when they work with me and my colleagues.'

In addition to his role as Principal Trombone, Josh has arranged music for WASO, both for full Orchestra and for the education chamber group EChO and he has used the Scholarship to further his skills in this area. Josh says, 'To be given the opportunity to continue my study of orchestration gives me confidence in the product that I give to both WASO and the wider musical world.' He has had some orchestration lessons with Jessica Wells, a wonderful teacher in Sydney, and has also been researching libraries of recorded orchestral instruments to aid his studies as an arranger. Josh says, 'Now I can compose with the sound of a real orchestra in front of me!'

President of the Patrons and Friends Committee, Robyn Glindemann, said it was an easy decision to support Giovanni and Josh’s applications. 'The benefits that these two fine musicians will bring to the Orchestra as a result of their studies vividly demonstrate why the Scholarship is so important,' explains Robyn. 'It’s so exciting for Patrons and Friends to be able to contribute in this way.'

The WASO Patrons & Friends Committee warmly congratulate Giovanni and Josh on their success.

2012 Winner

Congratulations to Louise Sandercock, 2012's recipient of the Friends of WASO Scholarship. Louise is a bit of a WASO veteran having played with Orchestra since 1988. Louise is also a prolific teacher and a state committee member of the Australian String Teachers Association. She has recently gained a Fellowship of Music, the highest degree of examination under the auspices of the Australian Music Examinations Board.

As part of her scholarship trip, Louise participated in two summer school courses, in Trieste, Italy and St Paul, Austria during July 2012. Both courses included significant opportunity for lessons, as well as observing the teaching practice of other participants. Louise undertook tuition from Professor Helfried Fister, Director of Strings at the Klagenfurt Conservatorium, Austria. Professor Fister is a particularly well-regarded teacher and long-time jury member of the European Brahms competition. 

2011 Winners

Our warmest congratulations go to our 2011 Friends of WASO Scholarship recipients, former Associate Concertmaster Margaret Blades and Double Bass Mark Tooby. Each musician received $5,000 contributing to their professional development program. 

Margaret undertook a three to four week tour across Europe and the United Kingdom working with different teachers, attending classes and observing their methods of teaching. She was “excited about the opportunity of visiting distinguished pedagogues and institutions to have some lessons, attend master classes, and refine new techniques in the art of violin teaching and playing.”

Mark used his funds to organise a job exchange with a bass player from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for a four month period in 2012. This provided Mark with the opportunity to enhance and develop his technique, as well as being exposed to fresh ideas and different schools of playing – both as a musician and as part of an orchestra.

Mark had private tuition with some of the leading international musicians, attended masterclasses and watched as many orchestral concerts as he could fit in! Mark, like Margaret, is passionate about teaching and transferring his knowledge to the next generation of bass players. 

We wish both Margie and Mark well with their future plans and look forward to hearing more about their adventures.

2010 Winners

In 2010 Principal Percussion Tim White, former Principal Oboe Joel Marangella and Tutti Viola Kierstan Arkleysmith each received a share of the $10,000 of funding provided by the scholarship which enabled them to pursue a range of professional development opportunities.

Kierstan Arkleysmith used the funds to attend the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands for fitting and trial of a chin and shoulder rest setup. Kierstan also took lessons in the Alexander Technique which addresses bad habits of posture and movement and helps to develop even distribution of muscle tone. It is a technique that has proved to be extremely helpful for many musicians.

Joel Marangella attended a ProGouge Seminar at the Michigan State University in the United States where he will learn reed making skills not currently available to him in Australia. Tim White travel to the US for the 2010 International Convention of Percussive Arts in Indianapolis after heading to Queensland in August for the Percussion Gathering at the Queensland Conservatorium.