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Charmian Gadd brings fine chamber music to the Coast: Crossroads Chamber Music Festival Sept 7-8


Coast resident Charmian Gadd learned to wield an axe, hammer, hoe and rifle at the same time she was learning to write and use a violin bow.

World War II had ended and she grew up knowing every bird, tree, flower, snake and spider on the 50 acre property she grew up on in Ourimbah.

Her father felled trees in the valley and used them to create packing cases for the local citrus industry, and built their house in Brush Road, Ourimbah (which still stands) using great slabs of wood which he cut by hand with an axe and crosscut saw.

Music was a constant presence in the family home, and she would often hear string quartets rehearsing and see players disappear off into the bush to practice Bach.

At the age of 12 she was packed off to Sydney to attend the Conservatorium High School, where she excelled.

Gadd quickly went on to become an international concert violinist and returned to live on the Coast about seven years ago, after an illustrious career.

This included winning prizes in numerous international competitions, including Winning Diplomes d'honneur at the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky competitions and prizes in Vienna and Philadelphia playing under Yehudi Menuhin in the Bath Festival Orchestra and with Sir Neville Marriner in St Martins in the Field.

Charmian was strongly influenced by Richard Goldner, who was her teacher, and later husband. Richard founded Musica Viva in 1945. Charmian toured as a soloist under management throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland and Scandinavia.

With music bursting out of her in every aspect of her life – personal, social and professional – it’s not surprising that this extraordinary musician is still sharing music with the world.

As the Director of Crossroads Chamber Music Festival, an event started by Glen Donnelly some 12 years ago, Charmian is the driving force behind presenting high-quality classical music concerts on the Coast.

(She is also Patron of the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music and Symphony Central Coast).

Top-notch musicians from the Coast and also from Sydney will come to perform in some 6 concerts across two days on September 7 and 8.

These chamber music concerts are taking place right on your doorstep, meaning the days of having to travel all the way to Sydney to hear high-quality are in the past.

The festival is also about encouraging and nurturing new talent, Charmian says.

‘Last year we launched a new quartet called Phoenix Collective with violinist Dan Russell, who lives on the Coast, and it has gone on to create its own concert series with four concerts a year in Sydney, Canberra and the Coast.’

‘This year we will be launching another new quartet, so stay tuned.’

Artists who will be performing at the festival include pianist Phillip Shovk, cellist Georg Pederson, and international concert pianist Tony Lee, who won the Nancy Weir Best Australian Pianist Prize in the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition and First Prize in the 2013 Alexander Scriabin International Piano Competition in France.

Phillip Shovk will play a short recital which will include Mussorgsky’s famous work, Pictures at an Exhibition.

Although Charmian has performed in some of the world’s most illustrious concert halls and taught in some of the finest music schools in the world, including Duquesue University in Pittsburgh, Western Washington University in Bellingham, Canberra School of Music and Sydney Conservatorium of Music, she loves nothing more than performing where she grew up.

Her fond memories of seeing her first teacher, Kevin Miller, walk along Brush Rd, Ourimbah in an army uniform with a rifle slung over his shoulder while practising the violin, are as vivid as ever.

‘We were very poor after World War II had ended. We had lots of rabbits and my mother came up with endless recipes for rabbit stew…my first teacher used to walk along practising the violin with his brother-in-law, and when they saw a rabbit, one would take the rifle and shoot the rabbit while the other held their violins.’

Crossroads Chamber Music Festival is taking place at the serene and beautiful Greenway Memorial Chapel and Gardens at Green Point on September 7 and 8, 2019.

Kawai is providing a handcrafted grand piano especially for Crossroads Chamber Music Festival 2019 and as such there will be a short piano recital each day.

CROSSROADS Chamber Music Festival 2019
Sat & Sun 7 & 8 Sept
Greenway Memorial Chapel and Garden
460 Avoca Drive, Green Point, NSW Central Coast

CLICK HERE to view the full program and book your tickets online, via Try Booking.

Save up to $80 on Early-bird subscription price.
Bookings now open!

Subscription for 6 concerts is only $120. This goes up to $200 from 17 August 2019. Book early.

Single Concert Ticket:   Adult $45 (earlybird $40) | Concession $40 (earlybird $30)
Subscription 6 Concerts – 2 Day Pass:    Adult $200 (earlybird $120) | Concession $170 (earlybird $170)
Subscription 3 Concerts – 1 Day Pass :  Adult $120   |  Concession $90


Limited TICKETS for each concert will be available at the door.
E  P 02 4324 7477

central coast conservatorium Enrol Now

Term Dates

The Central Coast Conservatorium operates to NSW Department of Education School Gazetted Term dates

Term 1
1-1 Lessons Wed 27/1 to Thur 1/4
Sat Strings Ensembles Sat 6/2 - Sat 26/3
CCYO & Ext program Tue 9/2 - Tue 30/03
PWE & SWO Wed 10/2 - Wed 31/03

Term 2
Monday 19/4 to Saturday 26/06 

Term 3
Monday 12/7 to Saturday 18/09

Term 4
Monday 05/10 to Saturday 18/12

Mission Statement

We seek to inspire our Central Coast community to engage in and value music as an integral part of life through comprehensive music education and artistic endeavour.