Linda Dessau AC
Patron in Chief
Former judge and patron for the arts and sport, Linda Dessau AC, is the 29th Governor of Victoria; the first woman to hold the post.
The Governor has led a distinguished career in the law and in a variety of community roles championing the arts, welfare and sports. Ms Dessau served as a judge of the Family Court of Australia for 18 years, previously serving as a magistrate in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, the Children’s Court and the Coroners Court. Throughout her career, Ms Dessau has participated in many projects to address the judicial system’s responses to child abuse and family violence. In 2010, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to family law and the community.
Merlyn Quaife AM
A performer of great versatility, the distinguished soprano Merlyn Quaife has performed opera, oratorio, Lieder, chamber music and contemporary music to great acclaim throughout Australia, Europe and the USA. She has also performed as soloist with the Singapore Symphony and the Voronesz Philharmonic (Russia). She has appeared with all the State Opera Companies in roles ranging from the bel canto Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor) to the minimalist Chiang Ch’ing (Nixon in China). She has performed with all the Symphony Australia orchestras, featured in repertoire of every conceivable style from Handel to Ligeti. She has recorded a number of CDs including ‘Aria for John Edward Eyre’ by David Lumsdaine which won her a Sounds Australia Award, she also appears on Naxos, Move, Tall Poppies and ABC Classics.
Merlyn is a regular soloist at St. Francis, a role she has enjoyed for many years. She has had the privilege of performing twice under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy and the SSO. In 2004 she combined her two loves, horses and singing, performing the fiendishly difficult Queen of the Night on horseback.
In 2013 Merlyn sang Ortlinde in ‘Die Walküre’ in Opera Australia’s acclaimed RING CYCLE. In the same year she was awarded an AM for ‘services to music’.
From 1995-2007 she headed the Vocal Department at the Faculty of Music, the University of Melbourne. In 2014, Merlyn has been appointed Associate Professor at Monash University, in charge of the classical voice program. She is currently introducing an innovative program unique to Monash but inspired by programs in Europe and the USA linked with her considerable experience as an educator.
Since 2009, with her associate artist, Andrea Katz, Merlyn has been doing recitals to raise funds and awareness for ACRATH (www.acrath.org.au).
For more information on Merlyn Quaife see www.merlynquaife.com