About the Performers
Soirées Musicales Quintette is an ensemble of classical singers who have known each other and worked together for many years in concerts, theatrical work and opera. With a core vocal quartet supported by piano, the ensemble aims to present a wide range of repertoire, mainly from the 19th century, which deserves to be better known. As distinct from choral and operatic genres, the quartet medium brings together key aspects of the romantic period – soloistic individuality, chamber music collaboration, a blending of musical and textual subtleties, and the intimacy of elegant venues and performance settings. Wherever possible, Soirées Musicales Quintette aims to provide audiences with a distinctive experience by performing in heritage venues and with historic pianos. While the ensemble’s name suggests ‘something French’, the term was also used by German and Italian musicians.
Annie Lower - Soprano
A graduate of Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University with a Bachelor of Music (First Class Honours) and Master of Music Studies, Annie studied singing with renowned soprano Margaret Schindler, and drama at Queensland University of Technology, before moving to London to undertake further training. Annie was a recipient of the Griffith Award for Excellence and a finalist in the Dame Joan Sutherland competition.
Overseas, Annie appeared regularly on the concert platform, performing in such prestigious venues as St John’s Smith Square, London. Concert appearances include Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with English Concert Singers, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, and Messiah with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
In Australia, Annie has performed as soloist with Opera Queensland, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Army Band, Underground Opera and The Seven Sopranos. She has toured with Opera Queensland’s education program and recently featured in two seasons of Abandon, Opera Queensland’s collaboration with Dancenorth. Most recently, Annie performed the role of Musetta in La Bohème (Opera Queensland).
Mattias Lower - Tenor
Mattias holds a Graduate Diploma in Voice from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and an Honours Degree in music from Elder Conservatorium Adelaide. He has performed as soloist and chorus member with Opera Queensland, State Opera of South Australia, Opera Australia, West London Opera, Guildford Opera, Underground Opera and with the touring companies Co-Opera and Oz Opera.
Operatic roles include Aeneas/The Sailor (Dido and Aeneas), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Le Mari (Les Mamelles de Tirésias), Beppe (I Pagliacci), Don Jose/Remendado (Carmen), Camille (The Merry Widow), Cassio (Otello) and Chuck/Doctor in the Australian premiere of The Perfect American.
Mattias has also performed Tom/The Son in Ross Edwards' Christina's World, which was broadcast on ABC Classic FM. Mattias has appeared as tenor soloist in performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Lobgesang, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Berlioz’ The Childhood of Christ, Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah (Queensland Orchestra and Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra) and Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle in St John's Smith Square, London.
Rachael Griffin - Soprano
Rachael was born in California, and being awarded various scholarships for advanced musical training she won several competitions and awards during university studies in New York. She was a regular performer with choral and operatic groups in New York, and continued her vocal studies both there and in London.
Highlights included appearing with New York Grand Opera at Carnegie Hall, performing the role of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with New York Opera Forum, singing in Peter Sellars’ Così fan tutte at Pepsico’s Summerfare, and working under the baton of Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta and Leonard Slatkin.
Since becoming an Australian, Rachael has sung with Opera Queensland as chorus member and cover for the past two decades. She has been a soloist with Oriana Choir, the Bach Society of Queensland, the Sunshine Coast Choral Society, St Peters Chorale, Cantilena Singers and other chamber ensembles. Rachael has performed musical theatre roles, sung in the trio The Swoon Sisters, and with a cappella vocal sextet Sixophony.
Leon Warnock - Baritone
Leon graduated from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University with a Bachelor of Music and a Postgraduate Diploma in Opera Performance, and also holds a Bachelor of Education from Griffith University. He has sung chorus and solo roles with Opera Australia, Victorian Opera and Opera Queensland, and toured NSW schools with Oz Opera.
Leon’s concert performances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ German Requiem and Australian premieres of Hultgren’s Bright Sunlit Morning and Rautavaara’s Vigilia (Brisbane Festival). He has also won prizes in the Herald Sun Aria and the National Eisteddfod Canberra.
While based in Germany, Leon was a chorus member of the Freiburg Theatre Germany, also performing many solo roles including Kilian (Der Freischütz) and Paolo (Simon Boccanegra). Since returning to Australia, he has sung the role of Peter for Opera Queensland’s St Matthew Passion and covered Alidoro in Rossini’s Cinderella. He has also performed as soloist with The Queensland Choir and the Brisbane Chorale.
Peter Roennfeldt - Piano
Peter is a regular chamber ensemble performer, particularly in earlier repertoire with period instruments. His long association with choral music includes direction of the Brisbane Chorale, the baroque ensemble Cantilena Singers, and student choirs at Queensland Conservatorium. He has conducted numerous works by Bach, Handel, Charpentier, Monteverdi, Purcell, Buxtehude and Schütz.
As chorusmaster Peter has prepared much symphonic repertoire for leading conductors, and operas including Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. A graduate of Queensland and Adelaide universities, Peter studied in Boston and Cincinnati USA, gaining a Doctor of Musical Arts.
Since returning to Australia Peter has taught at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, including a term as Director. His research specialty is Queensland’s musical heritage, with numerous articles and books published recently, particularly the history of Queensland Conservatorium Northern Lyrebird, and a biography of the colony’s premier female musician, Madame Mallalieu.