Who We Are
Evan Lawson - Artistic Director
Evan J Lawson (b.1989) is one of Australia’s leading emerging queer artists, working at the forefront of contemporary culture as composer, curator, and conductor, chiefly as artistic director of Forest Collective.
Hailed by Alexandra Mathew in Limelight Magazine that "his conducting was superb, rhythmic, precise, and expressive...his whole stance was like that of a dancer," Evan graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Hons. composition) under the tutelage of Johanna Selleck. In 2015, he completed a Masters of Music Research (conducting) at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music under Benjamin Northey with the assistance of an Australian Postgraduate Award. He has studied internationally with David Aronson (Wiener Staatsoper), Alim Shakh (Moravska Filharmonie) and Matthias Pintscher (Grafenegg Festival).
Alexander O’Sullivan of Partial Durations has said "Lawson's music is, bar to bar beautiful." Performances and commissions of his music have included Ensemble Lux (Cite Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France), Tonkünstler Orchestra (Grafenegg Festival, Austria), Cochlea Duo (SoundSCAPE New Music Festival, Italy), Edges Duo (University of Oregon, USA), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Metropolitan Sinfonietta, Forest Collective (Melbourne Recital Centre, Metropolis New Music Festival), Victorian Youth Symphony Orchestra (highlighted in two seasons), Hopkins Sinfonia, Australian Children's Choir, Creative Victoria for Allotropy String Quartet, Syzygy Ensemble, VCA Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Strings of Melbourne.
Evan made his European conducting debut in 2015 with the Tonkünstler Orchestra, as a part of Grafenegg Festival. As guest conductor Evan has worked with the Moravska Filharmonie, Australian National Academy of Music Orchestra, Hopkins Sinfonia, Melbourne University Symphony Orchestra and at the New Music Studio Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Evan was the inaugural musical director for the RMIT Symphony Orchestra, musical director for the Australian premiere of Holcombe Waller's Requiem Mass: LGBTI Working Title (for Day4Night Performance Space and Carriageworks), Come Away with Me to the End of the World (by Adriano and Raymondo Cortese for Ranters Theatre, Malthouse Theatre and Dublin Theatre Festival), and for various opera productions, including Benjamin Britten's Curlew River (Gertrude Opera), the world premiere of his opera Calypso (Forest Collective), Carmen (In Good Company), Die Zauberflöte (Gertrude Opera in two seasons) and the world premiere production of Nina Sofo's Laugh Out Loud (VCA). Evan has worked with some of the world's finest musicians, including Brett Dean, Fabian Russell, Marshall Maguire, Tony Arnold and Warwick Stengards.
Jasmin Bardel - Executive Admin
Jasmin’s interest in the creative arts began as a child, playing music, tap dancing, and enjoying painting and pottery. Jasmin has a Masters of Art Curatorship from University of Melbourne, with a thesis on Curating Contemporary Melbourne Street Art, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from Monash University. During her Bachelor degree, Jasmin was selected to complete a semester of her degree in Prato, Italy.
Jasmin enjoys sharing art and encouraging understanding about art through conversation and observation, volunteering in the past with Melbourne Art Fair, Screen Space, and writes for Australian Arts Review (artsreview.com.au). In addition to her administration role at Forest Collective, Jasmin has co-curated Shared Experiences for the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival and curated visual art in the successful multi arts performance installation Shared Lines, also 2013.
Jasmin was Office Manager at multicultural music organisation The Boite, and is currently a freelance arts and cultural manager, with an interest in diasporic cultures in the age of technology and global communicative ease, and hopes to keep supporting emerging and early career artists.
Megan Steller - Marketing Executive
As a writer and creative leader, Megan Steller is changing the conversation around career development for young musicians and artists. Her online magazine Rehearsal is rapidly becoming a leading platform for music students: providing mentoring opportunities and promoting honest discussion around mental health and success in the classical music sector. Following studies in piano and musicology at the University of Melbourne, Megan is now passionate about assisting students in finding their place in the industry by developing their skill set beyond the stage. She currently serves on the board of the International Alliance for Women in Music.
Meghan Scerri - Communications Executive
Meghan Scerri comes from a mix of creative and business backgrounds, having worked in corporate marketing for five years before starting her own marketing company for creatives called Silk and Sandpaper, which she ran successfully for two years.
Recently, Meg has taken a break from the marketing world to pursue her own creative interests in photography, modelling, poetry and visual art and hopes to hold two exhibitions in 2018 and compile a book of poetry.
Meg is back on board the Forest Collective team for 2018 and is excited to see what this year holds for the company and herself!
Alexander Clayton - Associate Producer
Alexander Clayton is a Melbourne-based percussionist, pianist & composer. He completed a Bachelor of Music (Composition) in 2017 at the University of Melbourne with Elliot Gyger, Katy Abbott and Elizabeth Mitchell and is currently pursuing a Honours degree in percussion with Peter Neville and Robert Cossom. His musical interests span a multitude of genres with a specific passion for performing new music in an ensemble setting.
His versatility as a multi-instrumentalist has lead to projects with the University of Melbourne's New Music Studio in performances of Stuart Greenbaum's Chamber Concerto and Steve Reich's Double Sextet. As an orchestral percussionist Alex has performed with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Fabian Russell's Orchestra Project, Melbourne Youth Orchestras and Symphony In A Day. In 2017 Alex was engaged with the Australian National Academy of Music as part of the American Triptych program, working with Steve Schick, William Winant and Jan Williams in performing works by Varese, Cage and Harrison. Alex is also the founder of six-four, a chamber ensemble who have focus in Australian new music.
Alex has a particular interest in the music of Rihm, Varese, Boulez, Grisey and Knussen. Outside of music he enjoys reading books and riding his bike.