Evergreen Ensemble bridges the gap between folk music and baroque music. Known for their virtuosic programs bringing together the best of Australia's early music talent and folk icons, they weave stories back through time, rediscovering the sounds of folk melodies performed on period instruments.
"All musicians displayed themselves beautifully on at least two instruments throughout the concert, which enabled their small quartet ensemble to feel like a much larger group...Unique and full of life. The players blend their styles and instruments beautifully." (Nightwrites, 2018)
"A most enchanting concert, strikingly combining Baroque and contemporary musical styles." (Sydney Arts Review, 2018)
"The violins capture the rhythm of a cantering horse in The Horseman’s Port, and the fingerboard work of Lestideau, Dollman and Nagaraja in The Follies Set is exciting with its pace and accuracy"...(Barefoot review, 2019)
"With a passion for early and modern repertoire and an ability to seamlessly cross the genres and performance styles of folk and art-music, Evergreen Ensemble is an up-and-coming ensemble with a unique musical language". (MRC)
"Artistic director Shane Lestideau provided a thoughtful narration throughout the concert, explaining the origin and connection within the program of many of the pieces. Her violin playing was exquisite. The gut strings provided an earthy tone and her skills as an improvisor shone when in dialogue with the angelic voice of Claire Patti." (ClassikON 2018)
..."the experience of such energy and many unfamiliar tunes was entirely memorable"...(Broadway World, 2019)
Evergreen Ensemble Players
Shane Lestideau - Artistic Direction & Violin
Shane Lestideau is a musician with a variety of experiences gathered over nearly every continent of the globe. Fortunate enough to have aquired a parallel education in both Classical and Traditional Irish and Scottish music in Australia, she has gone on to work with baroque ensembles on some of the most prestigious stages in France, fiddled her way around Ireland and Scotland, and performed and recorded with dozens of top musicians all over Europe.
Her specialisation on the baroque violin lead her to become a member of the Collegium Orpheus Ensemble in France during a 10 yr period, the Sarabande Ensemble and Viva Voce, as well as performing with the Brest Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble and the Sligo Baroque Ensemble in Ireland. Recent performances in Australia include concerts with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Melbourne Baroque Orchestra, Ludovico's Band, La Compania, Accademia Arcadia, Australian Baroque Brass and St John's Bach Orchestra.
Ben Dollman - Violin
Ben Dollman is one of Australia’s leading performers on baroque violin, having held the position of Principal 2nd violin in the ABO for over ten years.
Studies in early violin began at Indiana University with the Australian baroque violinist Stanley Ritchie. Upon returning to Australia, Ben was mentored by Lucinda Moon and invited to become a regular member of the ABO in 1999. He has since also performed as soloist and concertmaster on a number of occasions.
Based in Adelaide, he is active in a diverse range of musical styles: leading the early music group Ensemble Galante, previously as a core member of contemporary group Zephyr Quartet and over many years as a regular guest with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Anna Webb - Viola & Violin
Anna Webb is an honours graduate from the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide, where she studied with Keith Crellin and William Hennessy. She performs extensively with as a chamber musician in Melbourne and Adelaide, and was a founding member of Zephyr Quartet and Kegelstatt Ensemble (Adelaide) and Quartz (Melbourne). Anna also has a keen interest in historical performance practise. She plays baroque viola and baroque violin, and has been involved in projects with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Ironwood Chamber Ensemble, Ludovico's Band, Ensemble Galante, Adelaide Baroque, and at the Dartington International Summer School in England. Anna also has a background in languages and linguistics, and qualifications in Arts and Education. She is a highly regarded teacher and ensemble director.
Rosanne Hunt - Cello
Rosanne Hunt began her cello studies with her mother, Marian Hunt, and continued with Christian Wojtowicz (Hobart), Anner Bijlsma ( The Hague) and, helped by the Ian Potter Foundation, with Irene Sharp ( San Francisco).
She has played with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (of which she was principal cello for some years), the Melbourne Symphony and Orchestra Victoria.
She was the founding cellist of the Elision contemporary music ensemble, touring and recording extensively for more than a decade, and has played in many new music projects for Chamber Made Opera and the Libra ensemble. Recent highlights include being part of the Melbourne Ring Orchestra; performing Beethoven on period instruments with Julie Haskell (fortepiano) and Elizabeth Wallfisch (classical violin); premiering "Out of the Depths" for cello and piano by Adam Yee ( with Eidit Golder, piano), and working with Orchestra 1788.
Natasha Kraemer - Cello
Natasha Kraemer: Natasha Kraemer, on baroque cello, has recently moved to Australia from the UK. She has performed with many celebrated orchestras and chamber groups including The Gabrieli Players, English Concert, The Sixteen, Hanover Band, English Baroque Soloists and Classical Opera Company. She currently performs regularly with the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra, and Genesis Baroque.
Rachel Johnston - Cello
Originally from New Zealand, Rachel Johnston has become one of Australia's best known cellists after playing for 7 years with the Australian String Quartet. During this time she performed for audiences across the country from the Sydney Opera House to Far North Queensland and the Pilbara as well as regularly in the UK and Europe.
Miranda Hill - Double Bass
Miranda is a double bassist, performer, producer, musician and educator based in Melbourne. She has a busy performing career with the Symphony and Opera Ballet Orchestras of Australia, and collaborates with many chamber music ensembles, including JOLT, 6 Degrees Ensemble, Arcko and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Miranda is the founding director of 3 Shades Black, an experimental music ensemble. She studied at the VCA, University of Michigan, and the Hartt school, Connecticut.
Nick Pollock - Theorbo/ Baroque Guitar
Nicholas Pollock is a young Australian multi-instrumentalist specialising in early plucked strings. Starting out on electric guitar, he then progressed to the renaissance lute, theorbo, baroque guitar, baroque lute, archlute, and most recently, the cittern. Nicholas commenced his early instrument studies with Andrew Byrne (Sydney) and has performed in masterclasses with leading international plucked-string specialists such as Hopkinson Smith, Nigel North, Eduardo Egüez and Xavier Diaz-Lattore. A dynamic and versatile performer, Nicholas is equally at home playing guitar in a punk band as performing the intimate lute works of John Dowland on the concert stage. He has a particular interest in the lute and theorbo music of seventeenth-century France.
Samantha Cohen - Theorbo/ Baroque Guitar
Samantha Cohen studied Classical guitar at the Victorian College of the Arts, where she eventually decided to abandon the guitar in favour of the lute. After undertaking studies in lute at the University of Melbourne, she won numerous awards and scholarships, including Australia Council grants and a Churchill Fellowship, which enabled her to further her studies with Jakob Lindberg in the UK. A scholarship from the Fondazione Marco Fodella sent her to Italy for a year’s study with American lutenist, Paul Beier.
Samantha works as a freelance continuo player and lutenist. She has performed with Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, Ludovico’s Band, The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Ensemble, and Pinchgut Opera as well as the Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmanian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
She has appeared in the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Festivals, and has been recorded for radio and CD by the ABC.
Claire Patti - Celtic Harp/ Voice
With her hauntingly beautiful voice and elegant harp accompaniment, Claire Patti draws on classical, jazz, folk and contemporary popular influences in her performances of original songs and pieces, traditional Irish and Scottish songs, jazz favourites and classical repertoire.
Claire sings and plays the harp and horn with various ensembles including rising stars Co-cheòl, who were crowned State Champion at the 2014 A Cappella Victorian State Champions. They placed 1st runner up at the 2014 National A Cappella Championships, winning additional awards for “Best Band” and “Best Comedy Song.”
She has featured as a solo performer and with Scottish band Taliska at folk festivals throughout Australia, and was awarded the “Female Vocalist of the Year” at the 2014 Australian Celtic Music Awards.
As a passionate conductor and choral singer, Claire performs with The Consort of Melbourne and was a long time member of internationally acclaimed ensemble The Australian Voices. She has worked with conductors of international acclaim, and her choirs are regular award-winners in competitions.
Jess Foot - Oboe/ Violin
A native of Melbourne, Jessica Foot began her oboe studies with Sue Taylor at the age of ten, and later attended Blackburn High School, where she studied with Anne Gilby. She completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts with Eve Newsome in 2004, and continued her studies at the Australian National Academy of Music with Jeffrey Crellin in 2006.
A keen chamber and orchestral performer, she is a casual player with Orchestra Victoria, the Sydney Symphony, and the Adelaide, Queensland and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. She has also appeared as a soloist with the QSO. As a member of the wind quintet Ensemble Bain Nu, she performed as an ANAM Chamber Music Fellow in 2011. She has also performed concertos with the ANAM Chamber Orchestra, Heidelberg Choral Society and the Melbourne Youth Orchestra.
In 2008 Jessica reached the Grand Final of the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.
Simon Rickard - Bassoon
Simon has performed, toured and recorded with international period instrument ensembles including the Gabrieli Consort and Players, Les Arts Florissants and Florilegium. In Australia he played principal bassoon with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for 11 years (1992-2003). He has appeared as guest principal bassoon with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (Mozart’s Mitridate, 2001), Opera Australia and Victorian Opera for their forays into period instruments.
More recently Simon has enjoyed playing with many of the newer ensembles in Australia’s burgeoning early music scene. He plays and records with the Orchestra of the Antipodes, Melbourne-based renaissance groups Consort Eclectus and La Compañia, the Ironwood Ensemble, Latitude 37, Camerata Antica, the Australian Haydn Ensemble, and the Peninsula Summer Music Festival. Simon is very proud to have played principal bassoon for Pinchgut Opera since its inception.
Matthew Horsley - Uillean Pipes/ Percussion
Matthew Horsley is a Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist and composer. Hailing from Brisbane, he received a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with Dr Vanessa Tomlinson. In 2009 he relocated to Melbourne and has completed a Master of Music Performance (by Research) at the Victorian College of the Arts as the recipient of a Melbourne Research Scholarship. His teachers have included Vanessa Tomlinson, Peter Neville, Alex Pertout, Kevin March and Graeme Leak.
Matthew has an avid interest in Irish traditional music, specialising in the uilleann piping. His first uilleann piping album, Australian Waters, was released in 2015. As the recipient of a JUMP Mentoring grant, he traveled to Ireland in 2014 where he studied with renowned pipers Mikie Smyth, Brian McNamara, Mick O’Brien and Peter Browne and performed a solo recital for Irish National Heritage Week. He is regular performer on the Australian festival circuit and participant in the Melbourne session scene.
Matthew has performed extensively across classical, experimental, popular, jazz and folk genres, both solo and with artists such as Steve Reich (USA), the Australian Art Orchestra, Speak Percussion, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Topology and Clocked Out. Matthew was an invited speaker at the Australian Percussion Gathering in 2010 and winner of the multiple percussion category in the associated competition. He participated in the 2012 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival in Massachusetts, working and performing with Steve Reich and members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars.