2023 Gala Dinner Musicians
Armed with formidable talent, passion, and conviction, guitarist Andrew Blanch has carved out his own path with a musical vision that values both the tradition and the inherent potential of this continuingly evolving artform.
Andrew’s debut album Spanish Guitar Music was described by Jim McCutcheon for Soundboard Magazine (USA) as “one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard.” He has claimed more than ten prizes in international music competitions including first place at the Adelaide International Guitar Competition in 2019, and was featured on the cover of Limelight Magazine that same year, as one of the rising stars of Australian classical music.
In 2020, Andrew released his debut album on the ABC Classic label with long-time collaborator, guitarist Ariel Nurhadi. The album was selected as Limelight Recording of the Month, Featured Album on ABC Classic, and was one of just a handful of albums nominated for the AIR Best Classical Album Award that year.
Recent performance highlights include solo performances and collaborations with leading new music group Ensemble Offspring, harpist Emily Granger, guitarist Vladimir Gorbach and pianist Daniel Rojas, in performances for Sydney Festival, Musica Viva Australia, Phoenix Central Park and Adelaide Guitar Festival and more, as well as multiple performances as orchestral soloist performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. Andrew has also been busy in the studio recording with New Zealand Guitar Quartet, Emily Granger and a new guitar concerto by Daniel Rojas in Brazil.
Andrew is President of the Classical Guitar Society Sydney, is managed by Tier 1 Arts and plays a 2014 Greg Smallman and Sons guitar.
US-born harpist Emily Granger has firmly established herself in the Australian concert scene, with a busy schedule as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. Emily has performed around the world as Guest Principal Harp with the Chicago, Sydney, Tasmanian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Orchestra Victoria, and Opera Australia Orchestra and given chamber recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.
Emily released her debut solo album, In Transit, in March 2022 on UK-based AVIE Records. Selected as Featured Album on ABC Classic and 2MBS Fine Music Sydney, the album also featured on prominent editorial playlists on Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify, and was enthusiastically received by reviewers.
Recent performance highlights include solo, chamber and featured appearances with Ensemble Offspring, guitarist Andrew Blanch, flutist Jonathan Henderson, violist James Wannan, percussionist Claire Edwardes, Sydney Dance Company, Nexas Quartet, Sydney Art Quartet, Beecroft Orchestra, Orange Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra and many more, in performances for Melbourne Recital Centre, Musica Viva Australia, Orange Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Regions, Newcastle Music Festival, Bellingen Muse, and many more. Recent appearances as Guest Principal Harpist include Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia Orchestra, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Emily is a founding member of the Chicago Harp Quartet, is represented by Tier 1 Arts, and plays a Lyon & Healy Style 23 harp.
Andrew Smith is a Sydney-based saxophonist who is at the forefront of classical saxophone in Australia. A highly active performer, Andrew can be frequently seen performing in chamber (Nexas Quartet), orchestral (Sydney Symphony) and solo settings.
Notable festival performances include the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Adelaide Cabaret, Sydney Festival, Aurora Festival, International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM), and World Saxophone Congress. International performances have seen travels to Scotland, France, Hong Kong and China.
Album releases include: “Tango de Saxos” Nexas Quartet (Da Vinci Classics), “Ballads of a Pleasant Life” Nexas Quartet / Peter Coleman-Wright (ABC Classics), “Current” (Nexas Quartet) and Cyrus Meurant’s “4 Pieces” for Soprano Saxophone and Electric Organ. Andrew has also been involved in a number of live-to-air radio broadcasts for ABC Classic and 2MBS Fine Music Sydney.
Through performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Andrew has also had the pleasure to perform solos with pop artists including Natalie Cole, Ben Folds and Conchita Wurst. Andrew has also recorded for a number of soundtracks including the HBO/BBC production “Top of the Lake: China Girl” with music by Mark Bradshaw.
Andrew lectures in saxophone at the Australian Institute of Music.