Festival Directors

Howard Penny was born in Canberra and after studies with Nelson Cooke moved to Vienna, studying with Tobias Kühne, Andre Navarra, Boris Pergamenshikov and William Pleeth.

He won the ABC Young Performers Awards, and his concerto performances have included concerts at the Sydney Opera House, Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Berlin Schauspielhaus, Suntory Hall Tokyo and Casals Festival Prades.

A regular Principal Cello with Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Vienna Radio Orchestra and Australian World Orchestra, he is a long-standing member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, working with the world’s leading conductors and soloists, participating in over 100 CD and DVD recordings. As a chamber musician he has appeared in Wigmore Hall, Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Beethoven Festival Bonn and KREMERata Lockenhaus.

A regular guest with Concentus Musicus (Harnoncourt) and Lecturer in Performance Practice at the University Mozarteum Salzburg for ten years, he was musical co-director of two Mozart operas for the extraordinary 2006 Salzburg Festival complete cycle. His numerous CD recordings include works for solo cello, a live recording of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto from the Vienna Konzerthaus, major works for piano trio with the Beethoven Trio Vienna, first recordings of Boccherini quintets and sextets, and many other chamber works. Howard frequently directs from the cello – a Haydn opera at ANAM with tenor Steve Davislim and soprano Sara Macliver being a highlight – and is a regular guest at all major Australian chamber music festivals. He also works closely with AYO in various projects.

Since 2007 Howard has been a member of the Resident Faculty of the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, where he is now Head of Strings.

Chris Howlett is a cellist, festival director and producer.  He is a graduate of the Australian National Academy of Music where he completed his studies.  Chris also spent extended periods of study in both Vienna with Howard Penny, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and in London with Richard Lester, Florestan Trio.

Chris has been described as “…one of Australia’s finest emerging talents” and has been a finalist and prize winner at a number of chamber music competitions including the prestigious Trio di Trieste International Competition.   As a chamber musician he holds one of the busiest schedules in Melbourne performing regularly over 40 recitals a year around Australia and Asia.

Chris is Festival Director of the Sanguine Estate Music Festival, Artistic Director of the 3MBS Marathon and Abbotsford Convent’s Music in The Round Festival, Vice Chairman of 3MBS and CEO of an international touring company that tours produces over 120 concerts per year in China.

“dangerously exposed but met every challenge thrillingly…” The Age, 2013.  4 out of 5 Star Review

Chris performs on a Thomas Kennedy English Cello made in 1820 and would like to thank those who have so generously supported him in its purchase.