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N O M A D S  L I K E  U s


Melbourne Recital Centre   Primrose Potter Salon

 25 November 2023

7 PM

Supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants, Nomads Like Us deliver a genre defying performance in the Primrose Potter Salon. 


BABY UNIVERSE features original compositions of Victoria Cotta and Christina Higham, on two grand pianos, brought to life with cellists Anita Quayle and Ffion Stoakes; culminating in a symphony of sight and sound.

Their music draws inspiration from classical influences such as Debussy and Ravel, underpinned with jazz harmonies and rhythms, textural sounds of nature and nods to film music through the ages; acoustically presented on four instruments and conducted by an original film - the fifth member of this ensemble.


Rich in imagery and history, the footage spans a century of film footage and explores synesthetic storytelling where the narration is melodic, driven by ear rather than eye.


The texture and depth is reflected in the visuals, inviting an exploration of collective consciousness and allowing room for individual significance to be drawn. The ensemble inject dynamic and playful interaction to a heartfelt and poignant journey, challenging stasis and a welcome departure from the expected. Each of the four unique voices are lifted and entwine, resonating a combined sound that has a life and story of it's own. 


A re-imagining and expansion of their musical world ‘The Unravelling’, Nomads bring an openness and freedom of creative expression to classical music that emulates their self defined genre in the welcoming space they have created for audience and ensemble alike.



Anita Quayle is a contemporary cellist and composer with a flair for the unconventional. She began her training at the Victorian College of the Arts and graduated with a BA in Contemporary Music. During her 25 + years in the industry, Anita has collaborated with a vast array of artists and icons, including singers/songwriters: Eddie Perfect, Shauntai Batzke, Russell Morris, Ainslie Wills, Nat Bartsch and RnB songstress Thando; dancer Alya Manzart from Chunky Move and play write Adam Cass, to name a few. 

Anita is co director of the contemporary string ensemble Melbourne Amplified Strings. Alongside violinist Xani Kolac, they curate four concerts every year, each featuring a distinguished guest artist. Past guests have included Andrea Keller, Mindy Meng Wang, Shauntai Batzke, Richard Vaudrey, and Nat Bartsch. These events to date, have been held in various vibrant and versatile venues across Victoria.


In 2019 Monash University commissioned Anita to compose and record music for their MLIVE season. Directed by Paul Grabowsky OA, the music academy's diverse events program challenges, inspires and connects audiences through unique, live experiences.

Anita is a musical collaborator with The Knowing Project, directed by Grammy Award winner Lamine Sonko. Drawing on ancient wisdom to create curated experiences that are innovative, engaging and thought provoking, their current body of work titled '13:12' is a cross art-form project exploring the intersection of music, science and culture. Musically the project pushes boundaries to fuse the styles of West African, contemporary classical and jazz.


During the global pandemic lockdowns of 2020/21, Anita along with partner and bassist/guitarist Nick Delaney, created the Neo-classical ambient project ‘Beyond the Lake’. What initially began as a weekly series of live stream improvisation events/offerings (specifically for those who were navigating feelings of anxiety and unrest) quickly turned into the release of 2 live albums ‘Music for Sleep - Volumes 1 and 2’, closely followed by their first studio produced album, ’Coming Home’. In July 2023, they released ‘Transience’, a collaboration album featuring 9 of Australia’s most creatively diverse improvisers, funded by Creative Victoria.


In April of 2022, Anita was crowned ‘Musician of the Month’ by Australian Musician’s Magazine, highlighting her career and contributions as a creative in Australia’s music industry.

Anita Quayle


Anita portrait w cello b&w.jpg

Ffion Stoakes


photo by Kevin Peterson Photography 2021

Ffion Stoakes is an Australian improvising cellist currently studying a Bachelor of Jazz and Improvisation at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He contributes to the Melbourne (Naarm) music scene through composition and performance. Ffion takes the cello to a unique level through his exploration of the vast range of timbral capabilities that the cello has. He uses the diverse sounds of the cello within his compositions, which draw inspiration from Australian landscapes and soundscapes.

Ffion especially focuses on the scenery and atmospheres in Castlemaine, Victoria (Dja Dja Wurrung country) where he grew up. Whilst growing up, Ffion played the piano from the age of 6, and eventually picked up the cello at age 9 and also the trumpet in his early teenage years. Each of these instruments were very pivotal in developing the musician Ffion is today. Ffion's position as an improvising cellist is distinctive, and he is constantly challenging the preconceived role that is given to the cello. Ffion uses his compositions and musicianship to showcase just how diverse and versatile the cello is as an instrument; and this is shown in a range of genres, styles, and compositions.


Along with his own projects, Ffion is also a member of Katarzyna Wiktorski’s ensemble. He is featured on Wiktorski’s EP ‘From a Distance’ (2020), which was included in the Guardian Weekly’s top 10 contemporary albums of 2020. He also features on Wiktorski’s single ‘Search for Stillness’ (2020). Additionally, Ffion appears on Icecream Hands’ newest album ‘No Weapon But Love’ released in 2020. Ffion is currently writing his debut album, which is inspired by the sounds and landscapes of Melbourne (Naarm) and surrounding regions.


P A S T  E V E N T S

Nomads Like Us present
The Unravelling

Live at Cross St Music Hall

Saturday 12 August 7 PM

A wistfully woven masterpiece brimming with wonder. An original soundtrack crafted live to a synchronised film delving into the past and present, bringing together worlds of whimsy, beauty and the absurd. Talents of Nomads Like Us pianists Victoria Cotta and Christina Higham combine together live in an explosive combination of sight and sound.

The Unravelling



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