About CSM

Andrew Wailes  (Artistic Director and Conductor)

The Chamber Strings of Melbourne has for over thirty five years provided a select group of Melbourne’s finest young string players with an opportunity to study and perform inspiring music to an advanced level, and has provided Melbourne audiences with high quality performances in intimate venues. The orchestra has also toured extensively, having behind it a proud tradition of international performance which has seen the ensemble appear in many of the great cities of Europe; from Germany, France and the UK, to Italy, Spain and Portugal and further afield in countries such as Russia, Denmark, Estonia and Finland as well as throughout Asia and the United States. Most recently the orchestra returned from a successful tour of Europe in January / February 2014 which saw it visit  Germany, France, Austria, Slovenia and Italy giving concerts in prestigious venues including L’eglise de La Madeleine and L’eglise Saint Augustin in Paris, the Music Academy in Innsbruck and Church of the Precious Blood in Salzburg  (Austria), Cathedral of Maria Assunta in Chioggia/ Venice, the Church of Maria Pellegrina in Padua (Italy) and various other churches and concert halls.

The Chamber Strings of Melbourne was founded in 1980 by Dr Alexandra Cameron MBE, with Mr Harry Hutchins as its original director. The aims of the orchestra back then were to provide opportunities for gifted young string players to study the string orchestra repertoire at an advanced level, to aim for excellence in performance, to widen their music horizons and further their international understanding by regularly performing on overseas tours. Since that time The Chamber Strings of Melbourne has created unique performance opportunities for hundreds of gifted young musicians, many of whom have gone on to pursue full time professional careers in many of the leading orchestras in this country. Overseas tours have seen the orchestra perform in every major European capital and throughout the UK, Russia, China, Japan and the USA.

CSM performing with MUCS at All Saints Anglican Church, East St Kilda


The orchestra has consistently achieved excellence in performance. In 1998 the orchestra performed at the 27th International Youth and Music Festival held in Vienna, Austria. It was awarded first prize for the “Best String Orchestra” and equal first prize for the “Best Performance” in the overall competition for all sections. It was also presented with the prestigious 1998 City of Vienna Cutural Prize, competing against 24 other ensembles – string orchestras, symphony orchestras, bands and choirs from around the world.


Such is the orchestra’s success that it has been regularly invited by Foreign Embassies to perform at major diplomatic events, both in Australia and overseas. As representatives of Melbourne (and Australia), the orchestra has performed in sister cities Tianjin (China), St Petersburg (Russia), and Milan (Italy), taking Australian culture to the world.

The orchestra has been fortunate to attract prominent and fine musicians as past conductors, including Harry Hutchins, Christopher Martin, Spiros Rantos, and Stefan Cassomenos. Most recently the ensemble was under the direction of respected violinist and string specialist James deRozario who directed the orchestra in 2012 and 2013.

Over the years, the orchestra has served as an important training ground for many young musicians who are now today playing in great orchestras all around the world. Locally there are former CSM members who now perform with ensembles such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, the Orchestra of the Australian National Academy of Music, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic and interstate ensembles such as the Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. Further afield CSM alumni perform in cities as far away as London, Manchester, Berlin, Boston and New York and many CSM alumni have had significant successes in international competitions.

Rehearsals are held on Sundays, 10 am – 1pm at the Drill Hall, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne CBD 3000

Highlights for 2013 included: Concerts in May, August and December at BMW Edge (Federation Square) and Christ Church South Yarra. Guest appearances in June, and August. A major European Tour  in conjunction with the Melbourne University Choral Society (Germany, France, Austria, Slovenia and Italy) successfully took place 14 January – 5 February 2014.


Please refer to the Join CSM link on this website. There are currently several vacancies in the orchestra, and in particular there are several vacancies for violins and violas.

Advanced string players interested in joining the CSM are invited to contact the Artistic Director on 0433 661 971, or by emailing info@chamberstringsofmelbourne.com