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2018 recital series

concerts that excite & inspire



Phoenix Collective showcases classical music with a uniquely Australian edge. Bringing together some of Australia’s most accomplished and high-profile musicians in a riveting recital series, the Phoenix Collective concerts offer a range of exciting ensembles and genres set in intimate & iconic venues.

An initiative of well-known Sydney violinist, Dan Elliott Russell, performances have included the virtuosic flair of Italian Baroque, the charm of Mozart’s genius through to late romantic, contemporary and world music fusions; the meditative calm of minimalism; and passionate Argentine Tango.

In 2019 we are excited to announce the inclusion of two new venues, the Larry Sitsky Room (ANU School of Music, Canberra) and the stunning Christ Church of Lavender Bay. While still performing concerts in the majestic Hunter Baillie Presbyterian Church, Annandale and the beautiful surrounding gardens of Greenway Chapel in Green Point, Central Coast.

Concerts that will excite & inspire


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recital series


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Book tickets:

2-9 december 2018

concert #4 - Tango Origins & Passion

'Tango Origins & Passion' features Maggie Ferguson, A legend in her own right, on bandoneon, Katie Robinson on piano and PC director & violinist Dan Russell. The ensemble will explore early and traditional works from the birthplace of Tango, Buenos Aires and works by the father of Nuevo Tango, Astor Piazzolla.


2019 concerts

Book tickets:


The Phoenix Quartet is Central Coast NSW’s premier string quartet, launched by Charmain Gadd at Crossroads Festival where they performed Schubert’s masterpiece ‘Death & The Maiden’. Its members come from the ranks of national and international orchestras such as Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, Canberra Symphony, Sydney Symphony, BBC Philharmonic,  Kammer Philharmonie Köln, Boston Symphony, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, naming a few.

Quartets by Glass, Mozart & Beethoven reflecting different stages in life.

Phoenix Collective’s Baroque Trio concert Excitement & Flair received audience accolades praising its diverse program and uniqueness of sound colour. The Baroque Bizarre will include quintessential works by master composers such as J.S Bach and Vivaldi as well as works from lesser known composers Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti and Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (including Biber’s use of scordatura, the technique of altering the normal tuning of a stringed instrument to produce unusual effects and colours).

The Phoenix Quartet is Central Coast NSW’s premier string quartet, launched by Charmain Gadd at Crossroads Festival where they performed Schubert’s masterpiece ‘Death & The Maiden’. Its members come from the ranks of national and international orchestras such as Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, Canberra Symphony, Sydney Symphony, BBC Philharmonic,  Kammer Philharmonie Köln, Boston Symphony, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, naming a few.

Quartets by Shostakovich, Haydn & Tchaikovsky.

Royal College of Music (London) graduate, Christian Lillicrap teams up again with Violinist, Dan Russell for a recital from Ye Olde England. Calm, restful works evoking scenes of lush green pastures and mother England. Violin and piano sonatas by Delius and Elgar pave the way for one of the most exquisite works in the violin repertoire, The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams. A work based on English poet, George Meredith’s poem:


...For singing till his heaven fills,

'Tis love of earth that he instils,

And ever winging up and up,

Our valley is his golden cup

And he the wine which overflows

to lift us with him as he goes

Past concerts


24-25 MARCH 2018

concert #1 - Charm & Tradition

'Charm & Tradition' features Carl Schmidt on piano and Dan Russell
on violin. Audiences can expect to enjoy the sublime serenity of Arvo Pärt's Fratres, Mozart's not-so-common sorrowful side in his E minor sonata, Brahms' passionate Scherzo and to finish with, the crowning jewel of the violin and piano repertoire, Cesar Franck' sonata in A, a work
full of beauty, passion and love. Written as a wedding present and first performed in 1886 by the famous concert violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe.


17-24 june 2018

concert #2 - Excitement & Flair

‘Excitement & Flair’ features music from the Baroque period brought to life on a magnificent French double-manual harpsichord built by Australian instrument maker Carey Beebe. Accomplished national and international performers Dan Russell (violin); Christian Lillicrap (harpsichord); and Andrew Wilson (cello) come together to perform masterworks from the Italian and German Baroque period by Tartini, Corelli, Biber, Vivialdi and J.S. Bach. The audience will be thrilled by both fast, virtuosic playing, and rich, sublime melodies by timeless composers.


22-23 september 2018

concert #3 - Heart & Soul

‘Heart & Soul’ music for guitar and violin. Accomplished national and international performers, Dan Russell (violin) and Anthony Garcia (guitar) come together to perform rearranged and semi-improvised works, especially for this event. Dr Anthony Garcia (PhD in improvisation, UTas) brings understanding of music as a universal language and works as Artistic Director of Sounds Across Oceans. The audience will be mesmerized by virtuosic hybrids and tonal colour that combine to produce dreamy soundscapes; and rhythmically driven, dance-like passages. Also featuring works by BACH, PIAZZOLLA, BERGMÜLLER and PAGANINI.

2018 programs


Charm & Tradition

Concert #1



Fratres - Arvo Pärt

Sonata in E min K304 - W.A Mozart

Scherzo - J. Brahams


Sonata in A Maj - Cesar Franck


Excitement & Flair

Concert #2



Sonata No.3 in F - H.F Biber

Sonata No.1, Op.2 - A. Vivaldi

Sonata Op.5 no.12 (La Folia) - A. Corelli

- Interval-

 Sonata for Violin & Harpsichord No.3 in E BWV 1015 - J.S Bach

Sonata in G minor (Devil's Trill) - G. Tartini/F. Kreisler




Heart & Soul


Concert #3



Songs from the Devine Wilderness - Garcia

Nocturnes 1&2 for violin & guitar - Burgmüller

Five Improvs for the Lives & Loves of Newstead House - A. Garcia/ D.Russell

History of Tango (Bordel, Cafe & Nightclub) - A. Piazzolla


Ciaccona from Partita No.2 - J.S Bach

Loop Station for Electric Guitar - A. Garcia

Chant - Gurdjieff

Centone Di Sonate #4 for violin & guitar - Paganini

Tango Origins & passion

Concert #4



La Llamo Silbando - Salgán

El Choclo - Villoldo

Melancolico - Linetzky

- Interval-





- Astor Piazzolla



 *artistic director

*artistic director



“...and here Russell achieved an exquisite translucence in his violin’s upper register...”

- John Shand, Limelight Magazine


Dan is a well-known, professional Sydney-based musician who has played the violin since the age of 5. He undertook formal education at UWA and WAAPA winning multiple scholarships and prizes. Dan has studied under the direction of respected violin teachers Paul Wright and Alan Bonds, and has taken masterclasses and lessons with prominent violinists including Mincho Minchev, David Takeno and Prof. Sylvio Krause in Essen, Rostock and London.


Holding positions such as first violinist (Australian Art Quartet, Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Philharmonia); and Concert Master (Metropolitan Orchestra 2011-12, and more recently Coast Opera Australia 2018). Dan has also performed in many chamber ensembles. He has worked in the great concert halls and venues of Australia, like the Sydney Opera House, Harmer Hall in Melbourne, Perth Concert Hall, City Recital Hall and Adelaide Festival Centre, just to name a few.


Dan has performed in Europe, U.K and China, and regularly toured with the Kammer Philharmonie Köln (Chamber Philharmonia Cologne) for 7 years, having toured with them across England, Ireland, Germany, Spain, New Zealand and Australia, performing more than 200 concerts. Now his attention is focused back home, teaching at the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music, his Concert Master position with COA and the artistic direction of Phoenix Collective, ensembles that perform concerts in Sydney, Central Coast and regional NSW.


Carl Schmidt


Carl Schmidt is Head of the Piano Program and Course Coordinator for Accredited Courses at Central Coast Conservatorium. He holds a 1st Class Bachelor of Music from Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2005 Carl was awarded a Masters Degree in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of The Netherlands. Whilst living in Europe, he gave regular performances and was invited to appear in the 2004 International Chopin Festival held in The Hague and with Steve Reich during the 2003 Steve Reich Festival. He has recorded the complete Chopin Preludes and the Brahms Fantasien Opus 116 and has been soloist with Symphony Central Coast, Balmain Sinfonia and Sydney Youth Orchestra. He was a recitalist for the Sydney Conservatorium's Virtuoso Piano Series and was a lecturer and performer at the 2008 Summer Piano Teachers' Festival. He has given numerous Workshops, Recitals and Master Classes for the NSW Music Teachers' Association and for other musical organisations state-wide. Carl is also an examiner for the Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB).

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Christian Lillicrap was born in England and studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Colin Horsley and Ruth Gerald. Whilst still a student he specialized in chamber music and accompaniment and performed amongst others, with Paul Cassidy (Brodsky Quartet), Rachel Isserlis, Michael Evans (Dartington String Quartet) and in piano trios and chamber groups. He also worked as musical director for the Barbican Theatre Company and London Extemporary Dance.

Christian’s teaching career, brought him to Sydney in 2000 to work at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School. He worked there for 12 years until 2012 and recently completed writing the Music Curriculum for Steiner Education Australia. He has worked extensively for the Sydney Eurthymy Company as their pianist.

In 2002 he formed the Aeon Chamber Ensemble with members of the SSO and AOBO and they have performed regularly since then.

Christian also has a regular partnership with Roger Benedict, principal viola player with the SSO and recently collaborated with Andrew Hines in a performance for the Australian Ballet’s Body Torque. Christian is accompanist and performance coach at Knox Grammar School.

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Andrew Wilson began his cello studies with Denise Lawrence before studying at the Sydney Conservatorium with Susan Blake. After playing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for a couple of years he travelled to the USA as a Tanglewood Fellow, then to the UK to undertake postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with Eduardo Vassallo. Andrew has also performed in Masterclasses with such cellists as Ralph Kirschbaum, Joel Krosnick, Alexander Baillie and Michael Goldschlager. He has performed with orchestras in Australia, the UK and the USA including the Tasmanian Symphony, Hallé, BBC Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestras. Andrew currently freelances and teaches in Sydney, performing primarily with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, where he has been a Guest Principal. He has taught at several highly respected Sydney schools as well as his own private studio, and is the founder and Artistic Director of Ensemble Vinifera.

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"Anthony’s performance was full of surprises! Innovative patterns constantly challenge the listener, and the audience loved the dreaming nature of his music. Anthony’s presence on stage oozes confidence"

-Zoli Mauritz, AD, Music By The Sea Festival


Whether he’s performing experimental music in New York, collaborating with his students at the Mayan Pyramids in Mexico or jamming under the stars in Outback Australia acclaimed guitarist/composer Anthony Garcia’s artistic practice reflects a musical freedom that defies simple categorization.  His exploratory approach has generated a highly personal musical style that fuses the ancient with the contemporary, ethnic musics with exploratory improvisations, pulsating world rhythms and Asiatic soundscapes.  Performing throughout Australia, China, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Europe and the United States and Europe, as a solo artist and in collaboration with creatives from a range of fields Garcia has nurtured a deep appreciation for diverse musical cultures, genres and creative philosophies.   


A large body of compositions for guitar, chamber music, contemporary popular music, ethnic music as well as music for film and documentaries accompany solo recordings, Skyflyer (2004) and Malili Dreaming (2007), and award winning collaborations with Sandra Real (Zarabanda, 2008) and didgeridoo master William Barton (Desert Stars Dancing, 2010).  His creative output, supported by a passion for research and education, culminated in a doctorate in music, awarded by the University of Tasmania in 2015.  This research, centered in the art of improvisational practice, has been followed by research into cross-cultural practice, teaching artistry, music/health and wellbeing and music and mindfulness.


Garcia’s passion for unifying the interlocking fields of musical performance, composition and education has informed ongoing pedagogical experimentation in schools, universities and the broader community and led to the recent establishment of Sounds Across Oceans, a new music organisation dedicated to exploring ‘the multidimensional capacity of music to create and share new ideas, uplift, heal, shift energies and ignite new perspectives.'



After two decades as a classical violinist and chamber musician, Maggie Ferguson went to Buenos Aires to study orchestral tango at the Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce. With the support of The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, she returned each year to play with the Orquesta Escuela de Tango Emilio Balcarce under the direction of Maestros Emilio Balcarce, Carlos Pazo, Walter Rios, Jose “Pepe” Libertella, Nestor Marconi, Victor Llavallen, Leopoldo Ferderico, Ariel Espandrio and Ramiro Gallo.

She has performed at the Biblioteca Nacional, La Casa del Tango, Clasico y Moderna, La Viruta and on LA2x4 FM live tango radio. In 2007, Maggie began bandoneon studies with professors Santiago Polimeni, Camilo Ferrero and Ramiro Boero. Each year she visits Argentina to work with colleagues and collect priceless repertoire.

In Australia she performs with her quintet MFT tango & Friends on violin and bandoneon. The concerts are specially crafted to present a musical tango journey throughout the 20th century, incorporating tango history, styles, composer anecdotes, the dance and some joyous audience participation.

Maggie recorded Tango Project Loca Bohemia in Buenos Aires on violin and bandoneon with a quartet of Argentine tango virtuosi. Produced by Ignacio Varchausky (2009 Latin Grammy Award), the tangos are arranged by Andres Linetzky, German Martinez and Maggie Ferguson.

In 2014 Maggie was invited to film 'Quejas De Bandoneon' (Bandoneon solo) as Australia #39 representative for 100 Bandoneons 100 Cities.

Maggie Ferguson plays an Alfred Arnold (AA) Premier bandoneon made in 1936.

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Katie Robinson

 Having graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Music Performance, Katie is in high demand as a freelance pianist and music director. She began performing tango music in Maggie Ferguson’s TangoOz and in 2016 toured with the group to Argentina and Uruguay.

In 2017, Katie performed as a deputy keyboard player in Beautiful: The Carol King Musical (Michael Cassel), and is currently playing on The Book Of Mormon (Gordon Frost Organisation) and Jersey Boys (Newtheatricals). Earlier this year, she assisted Music Director Vanessa Scammell as rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl (Sydney Symphony Presents). Her Music Directing credits include City of Angels (MUSE) and Chicago (BMSI). Katie regularly takes the stage with a variety of artists including The Australian Tenors and Mark Vincent, and has also performed with a number of cabaret acts and triple J artist Asta (TedX series at the Sydney Opera House). Katie is in demand as an audition accompanist and rehearsal pianist.


The 4th concert in their 2018 series. Feat. Maggie Ferguson (Bandoneon), Dan Russell (Violin & PC Director) & Katie Robinson (Piano). 2nd Dec in Sydney & 9th Dec Central Coast.

Video Credit: Jason Julien

Heart & Soul - Concert #3

A concert of improvisation, arrangement, extended techniques, and virtuosity. Garcia | Piazzolla | Burgmüller | Paganini 22/23 September 2018 - Sydney & Central Coast Violin - Dan Russell *PC director Guitar - Dr Anthony Garcia recorded live - Newstead House - Cellar Series - Brisbane

Excitement & Flair - Concert #2

Violinist Dan Russell travels 9000+ kms with his family across Australia. See image blog on Facebook: @phoenixcollectivemusic

This is it - Four concert programs across the year. Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary, Free Improv and Tango - something for everyone. Violin, Piano, Harpsichord, Guitar and Bandoneon.Heritage listed venues in Sydney & Central Coast - Australia. Artistic Director & violinist Dan Russell

 Sydney Arts Guide - Charm & Tradition

Sydney Arts Guide - Charm & Tradition



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Larry Sizsky room

Building 100, Australian National University, William Herbert Pl, Canberra ACT 2601


Christ church, lavender bay

10 Walker St, Lavender Bay NSW 2060

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Greenway chapel

460 Avoca Drive, Green Point. NSW 2251

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Hunter Baillie 

Corner of Johnston & Collins Street, Annandale. NSW 2040

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Robert Knox Hall

Central Coast Conservatorium

45 Mann Street, Gosford. NSW 2250



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