This group is extremely talented and gifted, Brilliant!
– Simon Kenway, Artistic Director, Pacific Opera
The standard this ensemble sets is exceptional. They are fine ambassadors for the Australian choral scene.
– Margaret Tesch-Muller, Composer, Musical Director,
Coro Innominata; Vivace
It is a pleasure and privilege to have
worked with this group.
– Luke Spicer, Artistic Director,
Sydney University Symphony Orchestra
Aurora Choralis is a Sydney-based chamber choir. It is comprised of members from diverse backgrounds and professions, all with with a shared passion for musical excellence.
Aurora Choralis is a newly formed chamber choir in Sydney, Australia. The group’s sound is rich and crystalline. The tonal identity offers something substantive and beautiful, inspired by the great choral traditions of North America and Northern Europe. Modern choral art song has been the driving force in the group’s founding year, 2017. This, along with a delicious combination of early music and vocal jazz establishes the ensemble’s signature sound.
Aurora Choralis celebrated winning its first competition in the Sydney Eisteddfod 2018! This was followed in August by a critically acclaimed performance at the Blackheath Choral Festival. Having performed in the Chinese New Year celebrations on the Harbour for the City of Sydney, Aurora Choralis was invited to feature in the city’s Christmas events at Pitt Street and Martin Place.
A collaboration with the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra saw Aurora Choralis perform Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, with conductor Luke Spicer. The concert, held at The Great Hall, commemorated the centenary of the WWI armistice.
Director: Robb Dennis
Associate Director: Jacqueline Ward
Pianist: Mark Quarmby
Promotions Manager: Elliott Walker
Bryan Carlo Tebada
Dr Robb Dennis - Artistic Director
Dr Robb Dennis is a voice professional and the Artistic Director of Aurora Choralis. He has a Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance (Claremont Graduate University, California) and Robb has shared music in various ways. As an educator, he has taught on all education levels. A Senior Lecturer in voice and musicology, he relocated to Australia, joining the university sector in NSW.
As a performer, Robb found his voice on the operatic stage. Following award-winning performances in the New York Metropolitan Opera auditions, he appeared as principal tenor with the Repertory Opera of Los Angeles, West Coast Opera Theatre, and more recently Australia's Opera Hunter. He has performed with the Oratorio Society of Utah in the Mormon Tabernacle, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and Riverside Master Chorale.
Using his voice expertise in a collective setting, Robb found his affinity for choral conducting. Following on from conducting coaching with Helmut Rilling and Dale Warland, Robb developed his conducting style with critically acclaimed choirs. He has led ensembles, including high school, tertiary, and semi-professional groups, to win choral festivals, feature on televised programs, and tour internationally. He has conducted guest orchestras and choirs in the Sydney Opera House, and has prepared choirs for Maestro Carlo Ponti Jr and Maestro Jon Robertson. Robb's focus now is to create new opportunities for vocalists, musicians, and Australian composers.
Jacqueline Ward - Associate Director/Soprano
Jacqueline Ward is a soprano soloist, masters student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and winner of the Australian Songwriting Contest. She is also the ensemble's co-founder and Associate Director. Jacqueline has been a festival and competition soloist for international award-winning choirs. She also toured as first soprano in semi-professional octet The Promise, founded by Robb Dennis. Jacqueline's repertoire includes roles in St. Matthaus Passion (JS Bach), Messiah (Handel), Gloria (Vivaldi),The Creation (Haydn), and Requiem (Faure).
Jacqueline released her debut contemporary album "Jackie Ward" in 2016. Her music writing is not limited to solo songs, however. Her choral compositions range from elegant and understated harmony, to exuberant pop, and more tonally complex modern art music. She has been a section leader in both chamber choir and large chorale settings, inspired by what she says is something uniquely special in voices joining to make a "sound tapestry".
Casey Poon - Soprano
Casey Poon is a composition graduate from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and an experienced chorister. She has performed in several semi-professional choirs including the Evensong Choir at Christchurch St. Laurence Sydney, under the direction of Dr Neil McEwan, as well as the Conservatorium Chamber Choir, and was selected for a specialist choir called 'Praeclarae Cantores' at MLC School.
Casey studied under composers Paul Stanhope and Matthew Hindson and one of her interests is writing sacred choral music. She was part of the "Thank You Karen Carey" concert; a tribute to the great music educator in 2014. She was also selected for the choir of "A Night in Fantasia 2009" concert with Eminence Orchestra. She has obtained her AMusA in Piano, and studied flute and organ in the past.
Casey is currently working as a Project Consultant for an IT company AlphaSys. She has long considered it a privilege to perform in choral settings and is glad that can thrive alongside her professional life.
Mirei Ballinger - Soprano
Mirei is a Japanese Australian musician with extensive experience in the choral repertory,
piano pedagogy and education industries. Born to two ceramic artists trained in the art of
Mashiko yaki, Mirei showed very little talent for the visual arts and was instead enrolled in piano lessons from an early age
Initially, Mirei's focus in tertiary education was in Linguistics. But upon deciding that the analysis of morphemes and nanosyntax was too dry to motivate a career in this area, she transferred her studies to Music. A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Mirei completed a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with First Class Honours under Daniel Herscovitch, Natalia Sheludiakova and Phillip Shovk. Her study of musician's dietary habits to promote musician health, wellbeing and elite performance is currently in peer review.
Mirei has performed and choral scholar positions with various choirs, including the Conservatorium Chamber Choir, the Burgundian Consort, the Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers, and Choir of Christ Church Saint Laurence. She has performed both solo and in ensemble in various venues across Europe and Asia-Pacific, including Westminster Abbey, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, St-Louis-en-l’Ile, Würzberger Dom, Suenaga Fukuoka Cultural Centre, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, City Recital Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. Alongside Mirei's love of music, languages and travel is fine foods and exotic cuisines.
Priscilla Issa - Soprano
Priscilla Issa is a mezzo-soprano, pianist and teacher. Priscilla moved from an Arts/Law degree at UNSW to what she believes is her true calling – a Master of Teaching (Secondary) at UNSW – where she hopes to be able to teach music, history and legal studies. Priscilla completed her piano diploma in 2009 under the tutelage of Neta Maughan AM and Tamara Anna Cislowska.
Since then, Priscilla began dabbling in opera and has been studying voice privately. She is a regular performer with the Burgundian Consort and Collegium Musicum Choir. She also performs with the Choir of St James and Sydney Voices. Priscilla has an interest in theatre and has been asked to perform as lead for New Theatre and UNSW Theatrical Society performances My Little Doll (Doll), When the Rain Stops Falling (Elizabeth), The Chapel Perilous, A Little Night Music (Charlotte), War Crimes (Samira), and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure (Francisca/Julietta).
Ali Aitken - Alto
Ali Aitken is a Sydney-based mezzo soprano with an extensive repertoire ranging from musical theatre to opera. Ali sings regularly at corporate events and with a cappella group Sydney Vocal Project, with whom she recorded an album with Naomi Crellin from Idea of North in early 2018. Ali is originally from England, where she was awarded the Royal School of Church Music gold medal. She was a soloist at Canterbury Cathedral and has sung at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Ali was brought up on classical music and is passionate about all forms of music. She has a long history of bringing musical theatre to the young (and young at heart!), and spent a number years as a founding member of the highly successful Purple Turtle Theatre Company in Hong Kong. She studies voice and vocal technique with Victoria Watson, having previously studied with Peter Bodnar and Maureen Foster in England. Along with voice, she has also studied classical piano and cello, and sung in a couple of rock bands. An Actor by profession, Aitken also works as a Stage and Event Manager, and has mentored stage management students at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts since 2010.
Eva Turco - Alto
Eva Turco is currently completing her Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education degree. She is majoring in classical violin performance from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and is studying under Phillipa Collins and Nadia Monastrosky. In 2017, Eva was awarded the Willgoss Prize by the University for her musical contributions.
Eva's experience in choirs throughout her schooling lead her to a deep appreciation of choral harmony. Eva also enjoys being involved with other musical ensembles in various roles, including her church band. Not just a musical leader, she also leads UNSW’s Handball Society. Eva says that combining teaching and performing has allowed her to share her love of life and music with those around her.
Georgia Harrington - Alto
Georgia Harrington is currently an undergraduate, studying a combined Arts/Science degree from the University of Sydney, majoring in Music. Holding a Ten year history as a chorister, singing within various ensembles including the Central Coast Children’s’ Choir Katandra Voices, and several Gondwana Summer Choral Schools choirs. Accompanying her abiding and deep connection with music from her early years in music, inspired and fascinated by Disney Fantasia videos, at age 8 she began piano studies, and at 9 she joined the Central Coast Children’s Choir. In 2014 Georgia took up the clarinet, studying firstly with Di Gardiner, and presently with Mark Walton.
Studying classical singing with Lilija Sile at the Central Coast Conservatorium for several years, in 2015 Georgia won the Foreign Language singing prize in the Central Coast Eisteddfod.
In 2016 she won the Bouddi Society Woodwind Scholarship. For several years she was a clarinettist with the Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, and is presently one of the first clarinettists in the Sydney University Wind Orchestra, as well as being the IT officer on the orchestra managing committee. She teaches clarinet to numerous young people, alongside her university studies.
Heyland Cheung - Accompanist/Tenor
Heyland Cheung is an avid classical pianist, and works as a piano teacher and accompanist. He recently completed a Bachelor of Music Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying piano performance and accompaniment under teachers Natalia Sheludiakova, Phillip Shovk, and Dr Kirill Monorosi. His accompaniment work has taken him throughout Sydney, performing mainly classical chamber works with a wide variety of musicians, students and professionals alike.
Heyland has performed alongside members of the Sydney Philharmonic Choir for community events and has accompanied various community choirs, such as the Wesley Mission’s Senior School Choir. He has sung in the chorus of works such as Britten’s War Requiem and Mendelssohn’s Elijah in the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He is currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Not-For-Profit and Social Enterprise Management at the University of Technology and has recently accepted a position at APRA (Australian Performing Right Association).
Julian Renlong-Wong - Tenor
Julian Renlong Wong is a multi-disciplinary artist, teacher and businessman based in Sydney. He has a background in martial arts, contemporary dance, both Chinese and European music, physical theatre, circus, and Feldenkrais. He also draws upon his work in hospitality and permaculture, creating artistic works that explore somatic experience, cultural heritage and societal structures.
Australian born and raised, his family is from China's south-eastern Zhejiang Province. Growing up in a musical family, Julian played cello, piano, and sang in choirs. He later studied traditional Chinese flutes and tarhu. Recent project contributions include New Zealand Opera's "The Bone Feeder" (Chinese flutes and dance), Anna Yen's Slow Boat, Rhiannon Newton's Bodied Assemblies, and The Koski Project.
Daniel Kramer - Baritone/Bass
Daniel Kramer is a Sydney based vocalist with a love of music and performing. He has been involved in choirs and various ensembles from a young age and he studied percussion under Chris Field. At a young age, he joined the Australian Youth Choir and later went on to sing in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir. Daniel has also enjoyed being involved with various university music societies and choirs.
Daniel has a passion languages which he has explored in music, spanning the Latin, Germanic, and Russian languages, as well as Swahili and Yiddish. With involvement in acclaimed performances such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Puccini's Messa, and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky under his belt, he has also appeared in local musical theatre productions, including West Side Story, Crazy for You, Parade, and more.
Although Daniel’s tertiary education began in Molecular Biology and Genetics, he rediscovered his passion for music when he began formal training. Daniel is now studying a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science with a music major at the University of Sydney.
Callum Bowles - Baritone/Bass
Originally from the Northern Rivers, NSW, Callum is classically trained in violin and trombone. He was a founding member of the Lismore Conservatorium Youth Jazz Band, played with the Lismore Symphony Orchestra, and was concertmaster of the Northern Rivers based string orchestra, Poco Vivace. Currently working as the Operations and Communications Assistant for the Music Performance Unit at University of New South Wales (UNSW), Callum oversees the management of the UNSW Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Collegium Musicum Choir, Burgundian Consort and the Australia Ensemble. His work also includes liaising with the UNSW Art Collection, Network of Creative Student Societies, and Gondwana Choirs.
In 2016, Callum completed his Bachelor of Medical Science, receiving first class honours. Through the course of his studies he was involved with several of the University’s ensembles. He has also featured on stage and in production roles in musical theatre. Callum is an accomplished arranger and composer and is also an enthusiastic sailor, having won state and national titles.
Albert Lin - Baritone/Bass
Albert Lin is a classically trained baritone who also dabbles in jazz, rap, and beatboxing. He has performed lead roles in musicals and revues, sung with the Australian Youth Choir, and performed at the Merimbula Jazz Festival.
A budding composer, Albert has written music for a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and currently runs a jazz band and a beatboxing group at the University of New South Wales, where he studies.
Albert also enjoys instrumental music making, particularly focusing on piano and guitar. He is involved with running a regular poetry slam night in which he regularly performs and he is studying a double degree in Tax and Psychology.
Dylan Hopcroft - Baritone
Dylan is a Law and Media graduate from The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and is currently working at a firm as a paralegal. Dylan has had an array of choral experience, including being the recipient of a scholarship with Parramatta Cathedral Choir.
He was the head chorister of the Knox Grammar School Gallery Choir before becoming a member of the acapella group Men of Note. He has performed semi-professionally with jazz group Sydney Voices. Dylan was also the lead singer with the UNSW Law Society Band and was the Vocal Director for the UNSW Law Revue. Dylan also plays the piano.
Elliott is a graduate of the University of Newcastle. He studied classical singing with Dr Christopher Allan and also studied contemporary and jazz singing. During this time He was a soloist and member of the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir (Echology), touring throughout Australia, China, USA and Bermuda. In addition to his involvement with choral projects, from a young age he was also involved with The Hunter Singers, touring Europe and the UK. Elliott has enjoyed opportunities to work with international and Australian composers Paul Jarman, Gordon Hamilton, Steven Leek & Elena Kats-Chernin. He has also been a consultant on the technique of vocal harmonic overtones.
Elliott's accomplishments extend also into film and TV. He is the Founding Director of Walker Productions, a film and media production house that specialises in capturing and creating social media and online production content, and connecting it to audiences both in Australia and abroad. His clients include Channel 10, One Wave Australia, NIDA, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Studios 301, Amy Vee, Medibank Australia, Savour Patissier of the Year 2018, ABC Kids, Buff Dubs Pty Ltd (Rudimental Live at Bondi Icebergs and Though The Music Ended We Danced On Through The Night).
IN MEMORIAM - Yasmin Stelling - Alto, soprano
Yasmin Stelling recently completed her studies with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Science. She majored in classical voice and psychology at the University of New South Wales. She also sang with the Burgundian Consort at the University, and was a soloist for several of the group’s annual recitals. In 2015, she was the soprano soloist for the Collegium Musicum Choir’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Te Deum.
Yasmin had also been involved in musical theatre; her show credits including The Producers, Seussical the Musical, and Guys and Dolls. She has also featured in Into the Woods, and most recently Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In 2016, she made her conducting debut with Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, as well as music directing a revamped production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In 2019, she took on her first choral conducting post.
Yasmin was a founding member of Aurora Choralis until her passing in October 2019.