Kathryn Selby, AM
Hailed by the Australian press as a ‘formidable talent’ and ‘Australia’s pre-eminent chamber music pianist’, Miss Selby is the Artistic Director and founder of both the popular nationally touring Selby & Friends concert series and A Little Lunch Music at Sydney’s City Recital Hall. She was honoured with being appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia, receiving the ‘AM’ on Australia Day 2013. She is the recipient of both the prestigious Churchill and Australia Council Fellowships. She began her piano studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and then attended the famed Curtis Institute of Music and Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, and earned her Master’s degree from New York’s Juilliard School.
Miss Selby has won prizes at the Van Cliburn Competitions, the William Kapell Competition, the Bruce Hungerford Memorial award in New York, the Young Concert Artists Competition in New York, as well as the Ferruccio Busoni Competition giving her a debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall. She spent the summer of 1982 at the Marlboro Music Festival, participating at the special invitation of Rudolf Serkin. During the same year she won the Astral Foundation of New York career development grant. In 1987 she was appointed by Affiliate Artists as Xerox Artist for the 1988-89 season.
Miss Selby has performed with the American Chamber Orchestra and was a founding member of the Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Group. Those she has been guest artist with include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, San Francisco Philharmonic, Hartford Chamber Orchestra, the ACO, and the Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. She has performed at the Athens, Spoleto, Caramoor, Aspen, Marlboro, Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, ASQ Festival in Victoria, Sydney Mozart and Sydney Festivals.
Miss Selby created the successful four-year series "Selby & Friends" when she returned to Australia in 1988 with the sponsorship of IBM Australia. The aim of the series was to both introduce school children to classical music in a relaxed atmosphere and then repeat those concerts for the general public. This series was recreated in 2006 and now tours nationally presenting an annual 5-series subscription season.
Also in 1988 Ms Selby was officially appointed the first Musician-in-Residence at Macquarie University, Sydney. She held this position until 1992 at which time she merged her Residency into the creation of an ensemble in residence at Macquarie University - the popular Macquarie Trio which toured and recorded from 1992 - 2006.
Miss Selby has been a presenter of her own program on 2MBS-FM in Sydney and a presenter for ABC Classic FM. Her former piano trio, TRIOZ, was the first ensemble-in-residence at the prestigious City Recital Hall, Sydney from 2008-2011. She teaches privately both advanced piano students and chamber music ensembles and is the co-founder of the Sydney Academy of Chamber Music.
Miss Selby has recorded extensively including an all-Gershwin disc for the NAXOS label, a solo piano recital disc for ABC Classics label, a chamber CD with Canberra Wind Soloists and another with artists from the Australian Festival of Music, and with Macquarie Trio Australia, discs of Beethoven and Piazzolla piano trios and the complete piano trios of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Dvorak.
- “Kathryn Selby’s formidable contribution at the keyboard during this concert was particularly fine in this Mendelssohn performance [Piano Trio No 2 in C minor Op 66] with a superb delivery of filigree around the other instrumental parts. The poignant slow movement was clearly led by her and was a gorgeous moment.” – Paul Nolan, Arts Hub, April 2016
- “Selby remained shrewdly perceptive to the acoustics of the hall, offering superb control of pianissimos and rippling arpeggios that sparkled with clarity and grace.” – Dylan Henderson, Limelight, June 2016
- “But, in spite of the sinuous, suggestive violin part in the spectral Largo [of Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio], these pages are a pianist’s delight, even with all those tremolo passages, and Selby did them excellent service, her final brace of hemidemisemiquaver-packed bars a splendid example of swiftly-accomplished diminuendo into silence.” – Clive O’Connell, September 2016
- “From its opening flourish Mozart's Piano Trio No 1 Divertimento in B flat K 254 showed the clarity of Selby's fleet finger work, her marvellous articulation and feel for classical phrasing.” – Martin Duffy, The Age, November 2014
- “The theme and variations [of the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor], meanwhile, cast the piano as concertante soloist. The third variation was a breathtaking demonstration of Selby’s virtuosity, an effervescent cascade of notes while, in the ghostly ninth variation, the impressionistic piano figures in the background were no less exacting.” – Harriet Cunningham, SMH, July 2014
- “In a final movement fugue [of the Beethoven D major Cello Sonata], Selby’s clarity of touch and terrifically spare pedalling produced impressively clear individual lines…Selby’s dynamic pianism and consistent approach to articulation also set the tone for the Piano Trio in E Flat Op 70, No 2. Balance and ensemble were excellent in a reading brimming with joyful energy.” – Martin Duffy, The Age, May 2014
- “After the dreamy opening [of the Beethoven ‘Ghost’ Trio] Selby’s love of Beethoven showed in every note. Her control of shifting dynamic, and her clear and precise articulation, were spot-on in the dazzling first and last movements.” – Steve Moffatt, The Manly Daily, May 2014
- “The torrents of notes and chunky chord-progressions [in the Tchaikovsky Trio in A minor] – were handled with enormous power and élan by Selby while Smiles and Dodds provided equally symphonic and often lyrical intensity in a most empathetic manner.” - Martin Duffy, The Age, November 2014
- “Selby is very much the musical compass of the ensemble, clearly outlining from the outset her approach to Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E flat major. Happily it was a course that found marvellous sympathy amongst her fellow performers in emulating her clear bravura passagework, the beautiful unfolding of the slow movement and their shared efforts in establishing the character of the final Presto.” – Martin Duffy, The Age, November 2013
- “There was scope in this work [Brahms Horn Trio] to notice the prowess of Kathryn Selby. The pianist not only anchored the work but made it unmistakably Brahms, flowing, strong and sweet but certainly not without technical challenges!” – Classic Melbourne, February 2015
- "Pianist Kathryn Selby outlined the spare, wandering melody (Ravel’s Piano Trio) with a wonderfully glassy touch." SMH, April 2013
- "Kathryn Selby was a gracious... soloist in this introspective work, playing with technical mastery and the collegiate manner of an experienced chamber musician." SMH, April 2013
- "Ranging with exquisite malleability from subdued lyricism to flamboyant virtuosity, Kathryn Selby's account of the solo part in Mozart's Piano Concerto No 27 was the most memorable ingredient of the concert at Angel Place on March 28. Her partnership with The Sydney Symphony, under Roger Benedict, was impeccable." North Shore Times, March 2013
- "Blossom and Grow was a thrilling concert to open the 2013 season for Selby & Friends. The atmosphere Kathryn Selby creates is a privileged space for listeners. In the packed theatre the Canberra chamber music family once again united to welcome in another year of intimate harmonies." Canberra Times, Feb. 2013
- “As governments and institutions around the world gouge away funding for musical performance and musical education, Kathryn Selby nurtures the flame of vital Australian music making.” Canberra Times, February 2013
- "After deftly illustrating passages while Gill examined the interstices, pianist Kathryn Selby played the complete piece (Mozart K.382) with colour, variety of sound and brilliance, shading the expressive switches to minor-key sonorities in the adagio section and cutting back to hushed music-box delicacy against plucked strings after the cadenza." SMH November '12
- “The atmosphere at Selby and Friends Concerts in Canberra is unique. Intimate and warm in her approach to performance, Kathryn Selby has attracted an audience who behave like a large and respectful family, who thrill with a frisson of excitement at the prospect of each new program and each different ensemble of performers and who participate in active listening. These concerts are indeed a taste of chamber music at its best.” Canberra Times, September ‘12
- “KATHRYN SELBY'S concert series has always been a treasure trove of interesting repertoire and artists.” SMH March ‘12
- “Selby led the way, with an easy mastery…” SMH March ‘12
- “It was, however, Selby's solo at the opening of the third movement which made the biggest impression: simple chords, ringing out without commentary, becoming a gaunt underlay for the heart-wrenching melody above. Sometimes, understatement is the most powerful tool of all.” SMH March ‘12
- “Selby, as always, led with style and bravura in the impassioned and rhythmic Dvorak, and with bright and finely articulated flourishes in Mozart's E flat work.” Cumberland Press September ‘12
- “Selby was dazzling and commanding in the three works she led from the piano…” Cumberland Press October ‘12
- “Selby, of course, was wonderful. Her hands were mesmerising, gliding effortlessly over the keys to give the foundation that can only be produced by the kind of empathy she has for the music.” City News Canberra, May ‘12
- “Kathryn Selby’s exquisite touch heralded the opening phrases of Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E flat, K493.” Canberra Times, September ‘12
- “Selby starred with her sense of pace...” SMH, July ‘12
- “Selby's piano still a resonant presence...” The Age, July ‘12
- Within the quartet, Selby demonstrated her ability to produce a diverse range of piano sound colours. Mozart's Piano Quartet in E flat, 493 was characterised by Selby's sparkling articulation, sensitive pedalling and instinctive phrasing…” The Age, September ‘12
- “Selby’s playing was the main attraction, full of space and sparkle…” SMH, October ‘12
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