JEREMY TOTTENHAM BIOGRAPHY
As a founding member of, and prolific arranger of repertoire for the award-winning Melbourne Guitar Quartet (MGQ), Jeremy has been a regular on the classical guitar scene in Australia for over a decade.
Born in Kyabram in regional Victoria, Jeremy first fell in love with grunge music, later progressing to heavy metal and classical styles.
Jeremy studied music performance at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), graduating with first class honours under the tutelage of Tonie Field. Whilst at the VCA, Jeremy was a prize-winner in numerous guitar competitions and was awarded the John Vickory scholarship.
Many of Jeremy’s arrangements have been recorded with the Melbourne Guitar Quartet are regularly featured on national and international radio. His arrangements include works by Debussy, Mozart, Albeniz, Whelan, Walton and more.
After years of teaching guitar at various institutions, Jeremy’s passion for education led to a Master of Teaching degree at Deakin University. He currently juggles his MGQ duties with that of a full-time classroom teacher at a primary school in Templestowe, Victoria.
Jeremy’s interests aside form MGQ include distance running, the Spanish language, and looking after one very spoiled lop-eared rabbit!
Jeremy currently plays a 1992 guitar made by the late Eugene Philp, and treble and bass guitars made by Graham Caldersmith.
BENJAMIN DIX BIOGRAPHY
An honours graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Benjamin Dix is an accomplished musician in both classical and improvisational streams, having performed numerously in studio, concert, and in live broadcasts with ABC and 3MBS radio. Benjamin has been fortunate to have worked with some of Melbourne and Australia’s leading artists, as well as having taken classes with highly acclaimed guitarists Pavel Steidl, David Leisner, Alex Tsiboulski and David Malone.
Receiving substantial praise through his performances in competition, Benjamin was nominated for the Margaret Sutherland Bursary Award in 2003 and later received the Kingston Arts Fellowship Grant in 2004. This award initiated his focus and direction to collaborate with many Melbourne based composers in performing and recording new solo and chamber compositions.
After completing the first year of a Masters of Music Performance Degree at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) Benjamin obtained leave from the course in 2009 to join the Melbourne Guitar Quartet (MGQ). Since then, Benjamin has worked primarily with MGQ, recording two albums with the quartet and contributing significantly to the award winning group with his unique and innovative arrangements of established ‘classics’ and other selected works, in turn enhancing a new guitar quartet repertoire.
A highly sought after and well-respected teacher, Benjamin currently tutors privately as well as conducts ensembles at various schools across Melbourne including the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. He also divides his time with arranging, co-authoring syllabi, conducting workshops, master-classes and sitting on examination panels. Over recent years, Benjamin has also made connections with Guitar ensembles and community based music groups in Germany, conducting rehearsals and arranging new works for ensembles. Benjamin is also a patron of the Classical Guitar Society of Victoria as well as the chief arranger, director and conductor of the CGSV Guitar Orchestra.
DANIEL MCKAY BIOGRAPHY
Daniel McKay has studied extensively with Australia’s most highly respected guitar teachers, Timothy Kain and Gregory Pikler, in addition to master classes with John Williams, Remi Boucher, Maximo Diego-Pujol and Pavel Steidl. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Music (1st Class Honours) and Master of Music (Hons) from the Australian National University.
Daniel has given numerous solo, concerto and chamber music recitals in most capital cities and regional centres of Australia. As a soloist Daniel has undertaken solo tours of New Zealand and Europe – the latter made possible through funding from the Australia Council – and since relocating to Melbourne has enjoyed varied and exciting collaborations with some of Melbourne’s leading musicians and ensembles, including the Melbourne Guitar Quartet and cellist Josephine Vains, and has recorded CDs for Move Records with Toniē Field in Duo 19 [‘Fluid Lines‘] and violinist Zoë Black [‘d’aujourd’hui ‘].
Daniel’s debut solo CD featuring works of Dusan Bogdanovic, Leo Brouwer, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Alexandre Tansman and Astor Piazzolla has been warmly received by music lovers and critics alike; UK publication ‘Classical Guitar’ wrote ‘Daniel McKay here performs an invigorating and very listenable program of 20th century music, which, of all the “private release” CDs I have reviewed is one of the best, if not the best: McKay is certainly a most technically-capable guitarist, and not only that, he is musical with it. His playing has a beautiful clarity and crispness and he has a superb innate sense of phrasing allowing him to get to the heart and soul of everything he performs’.
Considered one of Australia’s finest guitarists of his generation, Daniel enjoyed a decade touring and recording with Guitar Trek, widely recognised as among the very best of Australia’s chamber ensembles. Engagements included several recitals for Musica Viva, the Sydney Festival, Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, Darwin International Guitar and New Zealand International Guitar Festivals, several highly successful tours of Europe and Vietnam. Daniel’s playing is featured on Guitar Trek’s CD’s ‘Asturias: The Spirit of Spain‘ [ABC Classics] and ‘Six Fish‘ [Tall Poppies]. The latter features premiere recordings of works by some of Australia’s leading composers, and coincides with the quartet’s 25th anniversary celebrations.
In demand as a teacher, Daniel has been a guest tutor for many of Australia’s leading music institutions, guitar societies and summer schools. Daniel taught for many years in the pre-tertiary area of Australia’s leading guitar department at the Australian National University, School of Music.
Daniel and his wife Louise now reside in Melbourne with their children Reggie and Hilary. Daniel is on staff at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.
MICHAEL MACMANUS BIOGRAPHY
Artist, teacher and entrepreneur, Michael has established himself as an internationally recognised guitarist and a comfortable B&B host for visiting world renowned guitarists!
As a performer, Michael has been invited to give solo recitals at the 2014 Mount Beauty International Music Festival and appeared as a guest performer during the “John Williams on Toast” event at the 2014 Adelaide International Guitar Festival. Throughout April and May 2016, Michael undertook a 13 concert regional Victorian tour with generous support from Creative Victoria as part of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Guitar Quartet. In May 2016, Michael was invited to become a permanent member of one of Australia’s leading ensembles, the Melbourne Guitar Quartet (MGQ). This new appointment led to Michael’s debut at the Melbourne Recital Centre in July, performing with MGQ to a full house.
After completing a bachelor of Music with first class honours, Michael was awarded a very highly competitive Australian Post-Graduate Award Scholarship to undertake his Master degree in 2015, majoring in classical guitar performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.
Michael’s students are part of an elite group of Australia’s next generation of classical guitar performers. Many have received prizes in local and national eisteddfods and are regularly given the opportunity to partake in unique performance opportunities and master classes with many of the world’s best guitarists.
A passion to reinvigorate the Melbourne guitar scene and present educational and career opportunities for Australian guitarists prompted Michael to create and co-found the Melbourne Guitar Foundation (MGF). Part of Michael’s work with the MGF involves organising an international concert series and Australia’s largest annual classical guitar festival and competition.
Michael currently plays a 2012 Greg Smallman and Sons guitar.
MGQ GROUP BIO
Formed in 2005, the Melbourne Guitar Quartet (MGQ) is a vibrant guitar based ensemble dedicated to the development of chamber music repertoire for the instrument. Utilising the unique concept of the Guitar Family of instruments (classical bass guitar, baritone guitar, standard guitar, treble guitar and octave guitar), the award-winning MGQ are continuously cultivating groundbreaking arrangements of major works for this idiom. MGQ exhibit the broader timbral spectrum of the instruments through use of the Guitar Family, while at times incorporating percussion instruments into their arrangements. Embodying a dynamic and theatrical on-stage musical persona, MGQ is one of only two quartets in Australia pursuing the genre seriously, aiming to welcome audiences who are curious about hearing new music and established favourites through the rich and beautiful sound of the guitar quartet.
In 2008 MGQ released their debut CD Four Elements to critical acclaim.
“…one of the best recordings of my music.” - Robert Davidson (Leading Australian Composer)
“ I rediscovered my music…under your fingers ” - Francis Kleynjans (World-Renowned Guitar Figure/Composer)
In 2010 MGQ released their second studio album, Toccata, launched at the 2010 Adelaide International Guitar Festival to a sold out audience, the quartet’s dynamic and trailblazing arrangements were received to high acclaim once again.
“ Melbourne Guitar Quartet gives a fresh interpretation (of Omphalo Centric Lecture), rhythmic vitality and a groove that would put many percussion ensembles to shame.” – Nigel Westlake (Preeminent Australian Composer)
“ The Melbourne Guitar Quartet are a brilliant addition to Australia’s musical landscape. Their combination of innovative arrangements and superb ensemble playing is a joy to listen to. This is exactly what the classical guitar world needs.” – Slava Grigoryan (Famed Classical Guitar Virtuoso and Director of the Adelaide International Guitar Festival)
After the success of their album Toccata in 2010, MGQ spent several years rehearsing and developing new arrangements before recording their 2014 CD, In Colour. The group’s most thematic album to date, MGQ’s new look at Spanish and Impressionistic repertoire was once again greeted with high praise. As part of the Local Heroes concert series, the quartet launched their album at the Melbourne Recital Centre in March 2014, since then MGQ performed to a sold out audience at the Melbourne Recital Centre in their ‘Baroque Re-Worked’ concert, featuring collaboration with piano and didgeridoo in J.S Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052.
MGQ’s 2015 concert series at the Melbourne Recital Centre was also met with high praise, once again collaborating to premiere an arrangement of Mozart’s Quintet for Piano & Winds in E flat K. 452 and later to be awarded the Contemporary Masters Award for the performance of News from Nowhere by Australian guitarist/composer, Phillip Houghton.
Guitar performance is set to transform once again in 2016 with MGQ at the helm as they embark upon cultivating new works and arrangements for their unique idiom, the Guitar Family.
The Melbourne Guitar Quartet are endorsed by Hannabach strings, we wish to acknowledge the support of Hannabach Gmbh and Payton’s Music.