All about Quercus
Quercus Trio is a Melbourne-based horn trio dedicated to performing the finest chamber music. The unique combination of violin, horn and piano provides an extensive palette of colours and musical possibilities which the trio delights in exploiting. Quercus are particularly interested in championing new and Australian works that feature this combination of instruments. The three members have all developed international reputations performing in many of the world’s premiere ensembles and concert halls, and each brings a unique musical flavour to the group. They aim to expand the horn-trio repertoire through new commissions and by drawing attention to underperformed repertoire. Quercus trio is a joyful group; Rhodri, Liz and Carla are united by a deep affection for each other and for creating music together.
The group's name derives from the latin word for oak, a genus of around 600 species belonging to the beech family. The group were drawn to this name after Carla’s sound was described by a composer as “like an oak tree,” and were inspired by this connection between the horn’s sound and the physicality of the wood in the violin and piano. Added to this is the symbolism of large and timeless oak trees, connecting through earth and rooted in place, and yet reaching through time and space. An acorn grows its roots deep into Australian soil and becomes an oak tree, wholly itself and of the place where it stands, whilst still being connected to its European origins and genus. Just as western classical music flourishing in Australia is rooted in its European origins, connected to its idiom around the world, and yet uniquely of the place where it is performed and conceived.
Carla Blackwood enjoys a diverse career performing as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. On historical natural horns Carla is principal horn of the Orchestra of the Antipodes (Pinchgut Opera) and the Australian Haydn Ensemble. On modern horn Carla performs regularly with the Australia Ensemble, renowned contemporary music ensemble ELISION, Quercus Trio, Lyrebird Brass, and is a regular guest principal horn with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of Victoria, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Since 2018 Carla has been French Horn Lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne. Prior to taking up her current position in Melbourne Carla was Principal Horn of the Tiroler Symphonie Orchester Innsbruck and Professor for Horn at the Tiroler Landeskonservatorium in Austria. During her 13 years living in Europe, Carla performed as guest principal horn with orchestras including the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the SWR Sinfonie Orchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Camerata Salzburg, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Swedish Philharmonic Orchestra. Carla has held contracts in a number of orchestras across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Originally from Bathurst, NSW, Carla has a Masters of Soloist Performance from the Zürich Hochschule der Künste and a Masters in Performance from the Musikakademie der Stadt Basel, as well as a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her teachers have included Christian Lampert, Horst Ziegler, Hector McDonald and Radovan Vlatkovic on modern horn, and Thomas Mueller and Glen Borling on the natural horn.
Pianist Rhodri Clarke graduated with first class honours from the Royal College Of Music, London in 2004.
He has lived in the Netherlands where he performed with members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and has toured extensively with tenor, Rolando Villazon’s Bolivar Soloists appearing with the group at the Berlin Philharmonie, London’s Royal Festival Hall and the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris and also in Mexico, programs recorded for the Deutsche Grammaphon label.
He has also toured to Venezuela, with double bass player, Edicson Ruiz of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and accompanied Bryn Terfel at Carnegie Hall in New York. Other engagements as an accompanist have seen him perform at many prestigious European concert venues including London’s Wigmore Hall and also at the Lucerne International Music Festival.
As duo-pianist, with internationally renowned, David Helfgott, Rhodri has given performances of the two-piano version of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3 at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Recital Centre and, during 2017, at the Musikverein, Vienna at the KKL Hall in Lucerne, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and The Barbican Hall, London. Rhodri was invited back in October 2018 to the Musikverein to reprise the previous year’s performance, completing the tour with further duo performances at Paris’ La Seine Musicale and the Tonhalle Maag Concert Hall in Zurich.
Now based in Melbourne, as a piano teacher and chamber music coach, Rhodri has worked at Scotch College and Methodist Ladies College and was an Associate Artist at the Australian National Academy of Music for five years. Rhodri is Head of Music at Opera Scholars Australia and is a regular collaborative pianist at Melbourne University as well as maintaining a busy private teaching and accompaniment studio. As a chamber musician Rhodri is a member of newly formed horn trio Quercus, and previous collaborations include Melbourne Piano Trio and Firebird Trio.
Australian-born violinist Dr Elizabeth Sellars has enjoyed a distinguished career as both performer and teacher in Australia and abroad. Elizabeth is a prize-winning graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where she studied with David Takeno (violin) and the Takacs String Quartets (chamber music). Further significant influences included Sandor Vegh and Yehudi Menuhin with whom Elizabeth worked at Prussia Cove in Cornwall and at the International Menuhin Music Academy in Gstaad. During her time in London, Elizabeth was a winner of the inaugural John Tunnell Trust and the Royal Overseas League Ensemble Prize and Miller Trophy. As soloist and chamber musician, she toured extensively in the UK, broadcast for the BBC, and performed throughout Europe and Asia with the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Now resident in Australia, Elizabeth has appeared as guest Concertmaster and Principal Violin with the Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, and Australian Chamber Orchestra. As a sought-after chamber musician, she has appeared for Musica Viva and has collaborated with Ensemble Liaison, Wilma and Friends, Flinders Quartet and Elision Ensembles. Her performances have been published by Move, Naxos, ABC Classics, Toccata Classics and Tzadik and her CD The Messiaen Nexus (with Kenji Fujimura) won the 2014 Limelight Chamber Music Recording of the Year. Her most recent CD contributes the first complete recording of Pinto’s sonatas. Elizabeth continues to perform on radio and in festivals worldwide and is a founding member of Sutherland Trio with cellist Molly Kadarauch and pianist Caroline Almonte.
After sixteen years as Lecturer in Violin at Monash University, Elizabeth now teaches privately and at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. She is currently recording Australian horn trios with Quercus and plays on a Eugenio Degani violin made in Veneto in 1876.
Behind the Music
A Lifetime of Music
Music has the power to transport us to another time and place. Quercus
harnesses that power by performing
inspired music by brilliant composers from all corners of the globe.