We have some great stories
One of the great things about music at St James' are some of the great people we have helped develop their talent and who have achieved here are St James' and beyond.
David Blunden received his first piano and organ lessons in Sydney. A fellowship enabled him organ studies with David Rumsey at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a Diploma in 1997 and later as organ scholar at St James’ Church, King Street. His interest lead him to Switzerland to study at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, organ with Jean-Claude Zehnder, and harpsichord with Andrea Marcon and improvisation with Rudolf Lutz. In 2001 he was awarded first prize at the International Organ Competition in Innsbruck. As a continuo player David works with various baroque orchestras and ensembles throughout Europe and Australia. His special interest in opera led him to be musical assistant at the Basel Theatre. He continues work with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and as organist at the Holy Spirit Church in Basel.
Sarah Kim is a musical world citizen, born in Cologne and grew up in Australia, she now resides in France. She completed studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and was organ scholar at St James’ Church, King Street. She relocated to Paris in 2006 to study for the Cycle de Perfectionnement at the Paris Conservatoire, being the first Australian to be accepted. There she studied under Oliver Latrey and Michel Bovard and graduated with high distinction and later completed a specialised Masters degree at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Apart from her role as organist at Paris churches Notre-Dame-des-Vertus and Saint George’s Anglican Church, she appears as an international recitalist in North America, Europe and Australia. Performing with the Berlin Philharmonie in 2016 in works by the legendary organist and composer Jean Gillou.
Andrej studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and won first place in the open organ section of the Sydney Organ Competition. During this time he was organ scholar at St James’ Church, King Street, where he was subsequently appointed Organist. Relocating to the United Kingdom in 2010, Andrej spent a year as organ scholar at both Salisbury Cathedral and later Westminister Abbey. Whilst at the Abbey, Andrej became an Associate of the Royal College of Organists. On return to Australia, he was appointed Organist at St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane in 2013. In early 2016, he was appointed Organist at St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.
Marko gained his AMusA diploma in 2008 and was awarded the coveted LMusA diploma (with Distinction) in 2010. He later completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, studying under Philip Swanton. Between 2013 and 2016 he was Organ Scholar at St James’, King Street. Marko has given solo recitals around Australia, performing for the Conservatorium's Centenary Concert at Sydney Opera House featuring Leonard Bernstein’s monumental Mass. In 2016 he accompanied St James’ Choir on their European Tour, performing at various cathedrals in the UK and France. Marko won a scholarship to study organ at the Royal Academy of Music in London, which he takes up in September 2016. He will also take an appointment as Organ Scholar at the London Oratory for 2016 - 2017.
Titus Grenyer is the Organ Scholar at St James. His musical education began with the violin at age three, and soon expanded to studying piano, music composition and theory. In 2013, he was awarded the inaugural IMB Roger Soden Organ Scholarship at Wollongong Conservatorium, which began his career in organ with a recital at the end of the year. He was awarded an AMusA with distinction in 2015, as well as being selected for the young organists’ concert at St Mary’s Cathedral. Having completed the HSC, he began tertiary education at Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Organ Studies in 2016, and in the same year was appointed Organ Scholar at St Andrew’s College.
Titus has performed for multiple concerts on violin, piano and organ, including a tour to Europe with the Bluescope Youth Orchestra in 2013. He has placed many times in the Sydney Eisteddfod for composition, and the Wollongong Eisteddfod for violin and piano. He hopes to continue studying the organ for the remainder of his undergraduate studies, and then complete a masters degree.
The Margaret Norman Choir Scholarships
In 2015 The St James Foundation Ltd founded the Margaret Norman Choir Scholarships, named after a benefactor of the Foundation. Three scholarships were awarded that year; to Josi Ann Ellem, Ria Andriani and Patrick Baker.
2016 saw two scholarships given; to Lauren White and Elise Morton.
Lauren White continued her scholarship in 2017, with Conan Yu receiving the second scholarship, following Elise Morton’s departure to France.
Josi Ann Ellem
Josi is a young upcoming soprano from Sydney, Australia studying a Masters of Opera at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Maree Ryan (AM). She graduated a Bachelor of Music Performance in voice from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2017. Her final recital mark was the highest recorded by the vocal department, equal to only one other student before her. The institution awarded her both the Geoffrey William Rothwell scholarship and Demant Dreikurs scholarship for excellence in Lieder. During her undergraduate studies Josi had the opportunity to perform as a featured soloist with the Conservatorium Early Music Ensemble and Choir in Handel’s “Israel In Egypt” (2016), as a featured soloist with the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and Choir in Mozart’s “Grosse Messe” (2017) and with the postgraduate Opera School as Papagena in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” (2017). Josi was also selected to study at the Conservatorium’s summer school program “Estivo” in Verona under scholarship in June 2017. As a choral scholar of St James King Street Josi developed a love for the church and sacred music. Highlights include singing as a chorister with Yvonne Kenny in 2015, singing as soloist with Teddy Tahu Rhodes in 2016 and touring to England, France and Turkey. During these tours she performed at venues such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Atheneum Club in a concert recorded by Abbey Road Studios. In Turkey she had the honour of singing with the choir for the Gallipoli Dawn Service 2017. In the future Josi hopes to continue her studies in Europe so that she may further explore opera, lieder and sacred music.
Ria Andriani discovered St James' Church during one bright Sunday morning. Being a keen chorister, she stayed. A few years later, she found herself one of the inaugural recipients of the Margaret Norman Scholarship in 2015. During her scholarship, Ria took part in the St James' Choir European tour, which remains one of the highlights of her musical career.
Ria holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts from UNSW. She has studied singing with Kathleen Connell, Nancy Long (former member of St James' Choir) and Koen Van Stade. She has also learned from Dame Emma Kirkby, Carolyn Sampson and Jessie Cash during her various journeys to Dartington International Summer School.
Ria is a former member of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and the Burgundian Consort. She currently sings with Sydney Chamber Choir under Richard Gill. In collaboration with other musicians, Ria also presents lunchtime solo recitals. She takes an active part in the St James' music ministry.
Ria is a fluent Braille music reader and transcriber. In her spare time, she enjoys having adventures with her guide dog Max.
Patrick Baker graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Classical Voice) from the ANU School of Music in 2012, where he studied under Christina Wilson and Alan Hicks. During the course of his studies he performed in a number of operas and participated in master classes and performances with guest artists such as the Tallis Scholars and the Song Company.
Patrick has sung in a number of choirs including Cantillation, Coro, and the Sydney Conservatorium Chamber Choir, and in 2018 he was a participant in SongCo Lab with the Song Company. He has been a member of Luminescence Chamber Singers since their inception, and has sung and toured with Gondwana Chorale. In 2015 he was awarded a choral scholarship with the Choir of St James’ in Sydney, becoming a full member in 2016 and joining them on their successful European tour of that year.
2017 saw Patrick complete his Master of Music Studies (Composition) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music studying under Carl Vine. As a composer, Patrick has had works performed and workshopped both nationally and internationally, including radio broadcasts.
Elise is a third-year student at the University of Sydney pursuing a degree in International and Global Studies and as part of this, she is currently undertaking a year of study in Lyon, France. Elise’s musical background stems from learning to play the harp at a young age which led her to become the youngest person to have received the highest mark in an AMEB exam at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. Despite her love of harp, Elise soon realised that her primary interest was in composing music and she pursued this throughout high school, graduating with full marks in extension music composition and a nomination for the prestigious ‘Encore’ showcase. Elise continues compose and to occasionally work with her harp; often accompanying herself while singing at various corporate, personal, and charitable events. A realisation towards the end of her secondary studies that she could sing brought Elise to eventually audition for the Choir of St James, and she became Choral Scholar in November 2016. In the future, Elise hopes to continue making music alongside her main pursuits in government and humanitarian work.
Lauren started her musical training at age 8 with the piano followed by the flute. As a high school student she switched to double bass and began classical voice training. She was also involved in choirs and instrumental ensembles at Fort Street High School and the NSW Arts Unit, which lead to performances in Europe and the United States. Lauren discovered jazz and improvised music in high school and is now studying jazz bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She completed her AMusA in classical voice with the Australian Music Examinations Board in 2016 and is currently a choral scholar with the Choir of St James’, allowing her to pursue both her passions of classical music and jazz. Lauren is an experienced performer as both a singer and a bassist. She performed for the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival in 2017 and has performed in prestigious venues such as the Sydney Opera House and the Iridium Jazz Club (NYC), as well as at the Merimbula and Manly Jazz Festivals, and Sydney’s most prominent jazz venues. In 2015 Lauren was awarded the Jann Rutherford Mentorship Award, which allowed her to study with Zoe Hauptmann.
I am currently a fourth-year Bachelor of Laws/Arts student at the University of Notre Dame, Australia. Aside from my studies, I am a freelance sports journalist based in Sydney where I have worked as an editor and writer for some of the biggest sports publications in the world. In addition, I have qualifications from the Australian Music Examinations Board in piano performance and currently hold the position of choral scholar with the acclaimed Choir of St James, King Street, Sydney.