Chair sponsored by Margaret Gibbs & Rodney Cameron
Helena has been a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra since 1994.
Helena Rathbone grew up in North London in a family of musicians. She started playing the violin at the age of five with the London Suzuki group, and from the age of nine attended the ‘Pro Corda’ music camps on the Suffolk coast during the holiday season each year.
It was here that Helena developed her lifelong love of chamber music and performing in chamber orchestras. Helena went on to study at the Royal College of Music Junior department with Dona Lee Croft, and subsequently at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with David Takeno. While in London she performed regularly with ensembles including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields before moving to Australia in 1994 to begin her first and only full-time job to date, as Principal Violin with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Helena regularly performs as soloist and guest leader with the ACO. She is also actively involved in the Orchestra’s Learning & Engagement program, as an Orchestra Representative and Mentor with the ACO Emerging Artist program as well as being Director and Leader of ACO Collective, the ACO’s regional touring and education ensemble.
In addition to performing with the ACO, Helena has been a tutor and chamber orchestra director for the Australian Youth Orchestra at National Music Camps.
She has also appeared at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Four Winds Bermagui, Christchurch Arts Festival, Sangat Chamber Music Festival (Mumbai) at the Peasmarsh Festival (Sussex), and International Musicians Seminar (IMS) Prussia Cove.
As a member of the IMS, Helena played in the IMS tour of the UK (led by Pekka Kuusisto) which was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music in 2008.
Helena has been Guest Concertmaster of many orchestras, most recently on a European tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The recordings of Beethoven’s 2nd and 4th piano concertos that the MCO made with Leif Ove Andsnes during this tour won the Concerto award and Recording of the Year award with BBC Music Magazine in 2015.
When she isn’t onstage with the ACO, Helena adores her very busy family life with her husband and two young sons, Jack and Sam. Helena plays the 1732 ‘ex-Dollfus’ Stradivarius violin, kindly on loan from anonymous private benefactors.