In his student years, Ashley won the Young Musicians Competition, National Concerto Competition and Young Achievers Award plus prizes at the Adam International Cello Competition, Gisborne International Music Competition and the ROSL Music Competition in London. His academic history includes the Master of Music (Canterbury), Artist Diploma (Yale) and Doctor of Musical Arts (Auckland), plus cello lecturer positions at the universities of Waikato, Canterbury and Auckland. He was a member of the Turnovsky Trio and Principal Cellist of the Auckland Philharmonia. These days, Ashley keeps a busy schedule of solo and ensemble recitals, concertos and recording and enjoys close collaborative relationships with musicians across the spectrum of genres. He plays the 1762 William Forster “Liberte” cello.
Sarah Watkins has enjoyed an impressive career as chamber musician, collaborative partner and recording artist, performing throughout Japan, England and the United States with some of America’s leading instrumentalists. She holds both a Doctor of Musical Arts and Masters in collaborative piano from the Juilliard School in New York City, and a Bachelors from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Academic highlights include coordinating the collaborative piano programme at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and working for several years on the music faculty of Purchase College, New York. As a United States resident for fourteen years, Sarah was a staff pianist at Juilliard, Yale University and the Aspen Music Festival.