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2018 recital series

concerts that excite & inspire



An initiative of well-known Sydney violinist, Dan Elliott Russell, the Phoenix Collective showcases classical music with a uniquely Australian edge. An accomplished performer here and abroad, Dan collaborates with some of Australia’s most unique, talented and high profiled musicians in a captivating recital series.

The Phoenix Collective Recital Series offers a feast of different genres. The virtuosic flair of Italian Baroque, the charm behind Mozart’s genius, passionate Argentinean Tango and the father of Nuevo Tango , Astor Piazzolla, the intense emotions of the late romantic and the meditative calm of minimalism, all set in intimate, iconic heritage listed venues across Sydney and the Central Coast.

Concerts that will excite & inspire


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recital series



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.  

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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.


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



Improvisations - Garcia/Russell

Offering - A. Garcia

History of Tango - A. Piazzolla


2 part invention arrangements - J.S Bach

Nocturnes for violin & guitar - Burgmüller

Centone Di Sonate (Sonatas 1 - 4) for violin & guitar - Paganini

Tango Origins & passion

Concert #4



La Llamo Silbando - Salgán

El Choclo - Villoldo

Melancolico - Linetzky

- Interval-





- Astor Piazzolla


2019 Season release

Dates & Venues coming soon

In the recital series’ Inaugural year, following rave reviews, feedback and ‘SOLD-OUT’ performances, Phoenix Collective is set to launch its 2019 season.


Phoenix Quartet

Launched by Charmain Gadd at her Crossroads Festival performing Schubert’s masterpiece ‘Death & The Maiden’ The Phoenix Quartet is Central Coast NSW’s premier string quartet. It’s members come from the ranks of national and international orchestras such as Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic,  Kammer Philharmonie Köln and Boston Symphony Orchestra, just to name a few.

Guitar & Violin

“One of the most recorded jazz guitarist in Australia between 1992-2008 with albums on labels such as ABC jazz, Tall Poppies, Underscore and Rufus. Guy has performed with an impressive list of Australian luminaries in jazz and World music fusion”

Dr Guy Strazz and PC Director & Violinist Dan Russell team up to bring you colours and expressions like no other. From Hungarian nationalist composer Bela Bartok to Jazz fusion impov. Arrangements of master works by J.S Bach and Paganini to the dream-like minimalism of Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel Im Spiegel, seductive Argentinean Tango and Strazz’s own compositions.



Baroque Trio

Phoenix Collective’s last Baroque Trio concert ‘Excitement & Flair’ received rave reviews from it’s audience. Loving the diverse programming and uniqueness of sound colours. Works by master composers such as J.S Bach and Vivaldi but also featuring fascinatingly ‘out-there’ composers like Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber and Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti. Experience Biber’s use of scordatura, the technique of altering the normal tuning of a stringed instrument to produce unusual effects and colours.


Piano & Violin

A Graduate from the Royal College of Music in London, Christian Lillicrap teams up again with PC director & violinist Dan Russell for a recital from ‘Ye Olde England’. Works set to put your heart at ease, dream of luscious green pastures and mother England. Violin and piano sonatas by Delius and Elgar topped off with one of the most exquisite works in the violin repertoire, ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams. A work based on a poem by English poet George Meredith:

“...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…”



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).


christian lillicrap

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.


Andrew Wilson

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 garcia

"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.'


maggie ferguson

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.




Dan russell


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

- John Shand, Limelight Magazine


Dan has played the violin since the age of 5. He holds a Bachelor of Music from UWA, and an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Music) from WAAPA, winning multiple scholarships, awards and prizes. Dan studied under the direction of respected violin teachers Paul Wright and Alan Bonds and has had lessons and master classes with prominent violinists and teachers such as Mincho Minchev, David Takeno and Prof. Sylvio Krause in Essen, Rostock and London.

Dan is a well known violinist in Sydney, having worked as first violinist of the Australian Art Quartet, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia, concert master of The Metropolitan Orchestra (2011-2012) and other chamber ensembles. He has also performed in Europe and China and travels abroad with the Kammer Philharmonie Köln (Chamber Philharmonia Cologne) having performed with them in Germany, Spain, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, New Zealand and Australia. 

Dan recently has been appointed concert master of the newly formed Coast Opera Australia.



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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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