The Ormond String Quartet is currently quartet in residence at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Named after Francis Ormond, one of the great benefactors of the MCM, the group is made up of internationally acclaimed artists who bring performing experience from all over the world, including the greatest halls of Europe, Asia, America and Australia. In addition to concert engagements, the Ormonds serve as members of faculty at the Conservatorium. They bring a wealth of experience in teaching and performance, delivering a passionate vision for the highest development of string playing in Australia.
Violinist Curt Thompson was appointed in 2012 as Associate Professor and Head of Strings at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He is Founder and Executive Director of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Mimir Chamber Music Festival, which will present its third season in Melbourne in September 2015. Prior teaching appointments include the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the TCU School of Music.
Thompson performs throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia as concerto soloist, recitalist, concertmaster, and chamber musician in such prestigious venues as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Salle Gaveau (Paris), Teatro Naçional de Costa Rica (San José) and the Shanghai Concert Hall. His debut recording of the violin sonatas by Charles Ives (Naxos) has received outstanding reviews worldwide, including Gramophone, The Strad, The Wire, and The New York Times, where it was included in a listing of “Critics’ Favorites” and was called “…a hole in one…perfectly demonstrating Ives’ spicy, earthy rawness and appeal….” It has been aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio’s Performance Today, WGBH 89.7 (Boston) and many others. Concerto appearances include the Qingdao Symphony (China), Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra (Colombia), the symphonies of Corpus Christi, San Angelo, Las Colinas, Irving, Arlington, Garland, and the Texas Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Thompson has been a featured artist in the Copland/Shostakovich Festival (Rio de Janeiro), the Festival de Primavera (Oaxaca, Mexico), the Seventh Centennial Festival of Villarobledo (Spain), and Inter-Harmony International Music Festival (Hinterzarten, Germany). As Concertmaster, Curt has performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra (Italy), and the Corpus Christi, Las Colinas, and San Angelo symphonies. He has given master classes at the Royal Academy of Music (London), The Juilliard School, Beijing Central Conservatory, El Escorial Conservatory (Spain), and the Bulgarian State Academy of Music. Curt has served as juror in the National Concerto Competition of New Zealand, the Pancho Vladigerov International Violin Competition (Bulgaria) and the Dorcas Mclean competition (Australia), and on the Artistic Committee of the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. He holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and the prestigious Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University. His principal teachers included Nelli Shkolnikova, Sergiu Luca and Rostislav Dubinsky.
Currently Lecturer of Violin at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Ukrainian-Australian violinist Markiyan Melnychenko studied at the Eastman School of Music with Professor of Violin – Oleh Krysa. In 2012 he received a Bachelor of Music, granted with Distinction, and Eastman's Performer's certificate. In 2014 he obtained a Master of Music and Eastman's highly prestigious Artist Certificate, being the first violinist to receive this award in over 50 years. Further studies include Pierre Amoyal, Cyrus Forough, and also Alice Waten and William Hennessy at the Australian National Academy of Music
In 2014 he won 1st prize in the Melbourne Recital Centre's National “Great Romantics” competition. In the same year he was also awarded the 'Australian Development Prize' from the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. In 2013 he was shared 1st prize winner of the Oleh Krysa International Violin Competition in Ukraine. He has participated in the Queen Elizabeth (Belgium), Pablo de Sarasate (Spain), Lysenko (Ukraine), Leopold Mozart (Germany), Seoul (Korea) and Sendai (Japan) International Violin Competitions. In 2013 he was selected to perform in a quartet at the US Capitol for the Inaugural Luncheon at Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration.
He has had solo performances in New York (Alice Tully Hall), Washington DC (Kennedy Centre), Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. He has made a number of solo appearances with orchestras including performances with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, Kobe City Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria.
Markiyan has served as a concertmaster of the Huntingtower String Orchestra in tours to New Zealand, Tasmania, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. In 2014 he led the orchestra in their equal 1st prize award at the International Summa Cum Laude Youth Festival competition in Vienna. He has been a casual member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria.
Simon Oswell’s training began in Brisbane with John Curro, Jan Sedivka in Hobart, and
subsequently Janos Negyesy and Donald McInnes in the United States. Early successes included awards in the ABC National Concerto Competition playing the Walton and Hindemith concertos. During this period Simon co-founded the Petra String Quartet, actively commissioning and performing Australian works including the world premiere of the late Richard Meale’s 2nd String Quartet at the Adelaide Festival in 1980. Other notable performances include the Australian premiere of Boulez’s ‘Le Marteau sans Maitre’ and performances of Berio’s ‘Sequenza’ for solo viola. During this period, Simon was the Lecturer of Viola and Chamber Music at the University of Tasmania.
Living in the United States for over 20 years, Simon was actively involved in the Hollywood recording scene and recorded the soundtracks to over 800 films including Titanic, Schindler’s List and the Lion King, as well as working with Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, and the Eagles on ‘Hell Freezes Over’. He also continued his interest in solo and chamber music, joining Los Angeles based groups, the Capitol Ensemble and Pacific Serenades.
Simon has held numerous Principal Viola positions including the Carmel Bach Festival (California), the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (California), the Mozart Classical Orchestra (California) and has appeared as Guest Principal Viola with the Queensland, Tasmanian, Adelaide and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, a
participant in the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and in 2012-15, appearances at the Oxford May Music and North York Moors Chamber Music Festivals in the United Kingdom. 2015 was a particularly busy year with appearances with the Australian World Orchestra in Sydney/Melbourne (Sir Simon Rattle), and India (Zubin Mehta) and teaching at the Melbourne Conservatorium where he is Faculty member.