Musical Whispers – July 2017
Xenia Puskarz Thomas
Brisbane born Xenia Puskarz Thomas showed a talent for singing at a young age and gave her first performance in prep school. She commenced her formal vocal studies under her mentor, the internationally renowned soprano, Margaret Baker Genovesi, at the age of 16.
Today Xenia is a pupil of Margaret Schindler at Griffith Conservatorium of Music studying for a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice. In 2014, Xenia was awarded a High Distinction in her Grade 8 AMEB Singing Exam and won first prizes in the Music Teachers Association Queensland Vocal Competition, winning first prizes in the Redlands Eisteddfod and also received the Redlands 2014 Open Scholarship.
Xenia has been a featured soloist with several orchestras; since 2013, she has been a soloist in regional and interstate tours and recordings with the Queensland Youth Orchestras. In 2016, Xenia appeared as the “Wild Card Mystery Guest” with The Camerata of St John’s Home Concert. Following her achievements and recitals for the Queensland Youth Orchestras Morning Music Recital series, the Courier Mail named Xenia as one of Queensland’s 50 Best and Brightest.
In the Val Machin Opera Scenes 2017, Xenia performed the role of Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo. She is now working towards the Brisbane Conservatorium’s production of L’enfant et les sortilèges in which she will play the title role.
Pianist Elli Welsh completed a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in 2016 and is currently studying a Master of Music Studies under the guidance of internationally renowned teacher and performer, Natasha Vlassenko. As a soloist, Elli performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto in E flat for two pianos with orchestra in 2011 with her current piano duo partner, Rachael Shipard, under the direction of John Curro. Her ten-year partnership with Rachael has resulted in many performances at the Conservatorium, including the 4MBS Chamber Music Prize, the Australian Piano Duo Festival and the 2016 Conservatorium Gala. In 2015, she was selected to play at the Gallery of Modern Art as part of Michael Parekowhai’s ‘The Story of a New Zealand River’ exhibition. Miss Welsh has played with the Queensland Youth Symphony, the Queensland Conservatorium Wind Orchestra and a number of smaller string ensembles. A member of the Accompanists Guild of Queensland, Elli has performed in master classes with soloists, and in 2015 she received a scholarship to take part in the 6thPiano Accompanist Summer School in Melbourne, which focused on vocal accompaniment. Elli continues to work extensively with vocalists as a member of the Brisbane City Opera.
Eugenie Puskarz Thomas
Eugenie Puskarz Thomas is a Brisbane based cellist. She commenced her studies under the guidance of Shannon Tobin and later with Kejia Wang. Eugenie is currently studying a Bachelor of Music at the Brisbane Conservatorium under the tutelage of Dr. Meta Weiss. Eugenie has been member of the Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYO) for many years. In 2013, she was selected to perform the first movement of the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto in A Minor with QYO2 and in the same year she was also principle cellist in the QYO2 tour to Canberra performing at Parliament House and Llewellyn Hall. She was also selected to participate in the QYS chamber ensemble for the Winter Northern tours in 2016, 2014 and 2013. Eugenie has also played with the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra and performed in several chamber ensembles. Most notably in 2014 she premiered Tristan Mellor’s graphically notated String Quartet no 1 and in 2015 for the premiere of Connor D’Netto’s String Quartet no 2. Eugenie is a current member of the Conservatorium Symphonic Orchestra. In addition to her music, Eugenie is an avid reader and has an interest in radio and music journalism. In January 2015, Eugenie participated in the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Words About Music course where she worked with ABC Classic FM Radio presenter Julian Day and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Librarian Alastair McKean. She has contributed to QYO and the UQSO programs.