Julian Thompson began his music studies with Lois Simpson. He continued his studies at the Australian National University under David Pereira where he was awarded the ANU National Undergraduate Scholarship for Music. In 1997 Julian completed a Bachelor of Music Degree (Hons), topping his year and winning the university’s concerto competition. Julian went on to study at the Australian Institute of Music and then spent a year on scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music.

In 1999 Julian was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and completed a Master of Music Degree in 2002, studying under Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi at Indiana University. During his time in America Julian was asked to be Mr. Tsutsumi’s Teaching Assistant, a position that he held for two years. Julian has also studied in London with Raphael Wallfisch on a Big Brother Award, been a Resident Artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and in 2006 received the prestigious Arts ACT Creative Arts Fellowship.

In 1997 Julian won the Principal Cello position with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, a position that he held until 2006, and also played Principal Cello with the Australian Youth Orchestra. He has performed as Principal Cello with the Haydn Bande Chamber Orchestra and Associate Principal Cello with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Julian has appeared as soloist with the Haydn Bande Chamber Orchestra (2006) and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra (1999 and 2005), winning the ‘Critics Circle Award’ for the most outstanding performance of 2005 for his performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with the CSO.


Chamber music is a passion of Julian’s and he has performed at numerous festivals around Australia and internationally including the Melbourne International Chamber Music Festival and the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival, where he also has the role of Artistic Adviser. A versatile musician, Julian maintains a strong interest in many non-classical forms of music making. He has performed at all of Australia’s major folk festivals in a wide variety of different musical styles and contexts both as a solo artist and in concert with performers such as Chris Duncan (Scottish fiddle), Joaquin Amenabar (Bandoneon) and with Klezmer bands such as Closet Klezmer and Trio Triplika. Julian’s work with Chris Duncan has been particularly rewarding and in 2000, along with Catherine Strutt (piano), they recorded and released the album ‘Fyvie’s Embrace’ which went on to win the ARIA for world music that year.

Julian plays a cello made by Gustav Methfessel in Bern in 1898.

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