MSE Alumni

The MSE is proud to celebrate the achievements of past members and gratefully acknowledges their contribution.

Our annual Benchmark Concert has enjoyed performances from star soloists such as Sally Cooper, Leila Kellerher, Jennen Ngiau-Keng, Steve Newton, Dominique Gallerie, Marlena Ito and Minah Cho.

Notable guest conductors include Alexander Adiarte, Stuttgart Musikschule;

Toivo Paeske, Specialist Music School Tallinn; Stanley Dodds, Berlin Philharmonic.


MSE past members that hold prominent music positions include:

Melinda Crean-Watzel – Violin, Australian World Orchestra, Komische Oper Berlin

Lucas Barr – Violin, Australian World Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne

William Grigg – Violin, Gürzenich orchestra cologne

Rohan De Korte – Cello, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Graeme Norris – Violin, Associate Concert Master, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and past Principal 2nd violin, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

Eve Silver – Cello, West Australian Symphony Orchestra

Josephine Vains – Cello, Firebird Trio, Australia Octet, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra

Eleanor Cameron – The Pentalpha Ensemble

Christa Jardine – Viola, Aroma String quartet, Bavarian State Opera Orchestra

Chris Howlett – Cello, Melbourne Piano Trio, Australian International Opera Company

Stefanie Farrands – Violin, Tasmanian Symphony orchestra

Rochelle Ughetti – Violin, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra

Michael Ryan – Cello, Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Louisa Breen – Piano & Violin, Accompanist, ANAM, Brown and Breen

Rebecca Chan – Violin, Philharmonia Orchestra UK, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra


Josephine Vains- Firebird Trio

 “I was a member of the Junior Strings of Melbourne, the founding ensemble of Brian Finlayson way back in 1985 – and it was where the seeds of my love of ensemble playing began, and brought about many fun years with tours to Europe, Japan and around Australia.This ensemble was unusual in its day and I believe helped foster the early careers of some impressive Australian musicians (many of the original members can be found in top local and international ensembles), and more importantly a genuine passion for music making and concertising. 

 Josephine VainsThe impact of these times on my musical career was invaluable, and has led to me following a career heavily centred around chamber music (as a member of Trio 303 and Freshwater Trio to name two). I can still remember by heart a lot of the music we used to play – we rehearsed a lot! Many of the original group keep in contact, attend each others weddings/concerts/parties even now, 25 years later.

Thanks MSE/JSM for all the GREAT music and good times.”                            

Josephine Vains

Jennen Ngiau Keng – Australian Chamber Orchestra (violinist)

A former pupil of John Harding and Alice Waten, Jennen Ngiau-Keng is a graduate from the Australian National Academy of Music. He performs on a Graham Caldersmith violin & Matthew Coltman bow, both of which were awarded to him. He has performed over fifty concertos as soloist with orchestras in Australia and abroad.

Since leading the Australian Youth Orchestra in 2007, Jennen has led the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Vic Opera Orchestra. He has toured with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and lectured at The University of Melbourne and Monash University.

Throughout 2015, Jennen is performing with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Seventeen88.