Dr Carlos Alvarado

Carlos AlvaradoColombian born Carlos was appointed Musical Director of the Manly-Warringah Choir in April 2003.

Carlos started his musical career as a pianist under Maestro Jorge Zorro, one of the leading personalities in the Colombian Music Education System.

Having won a full scholarship from the Colombian Institute of Credit to study in Russia , Carlos obtained his Doctorate of Opera and Symphonic Conducting at the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium of Music of Moscow where he studied under Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who commended both his musicianship and his commitment to high-quality performance. He also undertook higher studies in choral conducting , piano theory and voice technique, and was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in choir conducting from the same Conservatorium.

In 1990-92, he was invited by Professor Hellmuth Rilling and the International Bach Academy of Stuttgart to take part as an Active Conductor in various courses and festivals with the Bach Collegium Orchestra and the Gachinnger Kantoire Choir in Stuttgart (Germany), Moscow and Santiago de Compostela (Spain).

Carlos returned to Colombia after finishing his academic studies. During this time he was guest conductor of the main Colombian orchestras, conducted several groups, choirs and ensembles and taught conducting in most of the important universities in Bogota, Colombia. At that time he took part in various international competitions in Brazil, Russia, Spain and Italy.

Since his arrival to Australia in 2002, Carlos has been actively developing his musical career. In 2004 Carlos was Co-founder of the Wollongong Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra that became a symbol of the cultural development in Wollongong and the Illawarra region (NSW) Australia.

Many Important Australian and International figures as James Morrison, Timothy Kain, Konstantin Shamray, John Chen, Tatiana Kolosova, Alexandra Loukianova, Deborah De Graaff, Emma Moore and many other soloists have been part of the programs conducted under Carlos Alvarado’s baton.

Carlos has founded a variety of choirs and music ensembles. The most recent being “Cantares”, a new choral ensemble with members from the Shoalhaven, Illawarra and Wollongong areas.

Catrina Hughes

Catrina is a Graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a Diploma in Musical Performance, having studied under Harry Curb and Perry Hart.  She has extensive national and international experience as a soloist, orchestral musician and chamber musician.

Amongst the many prestigious groups for whom Catrina plays are the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Australian Violin Ensemble, the Lurline Chamber Orchestra, the Concertante Ensemble, the Australian Global Entertainment Proms Orchestra (lead violin) and the Metropolitan Orchestra (associate principal second violin).  She also plays for musical theatre productions and other ventures locally and further afield.

Catrina teaches violin and tutors the senior strings at Shire Christian School where her teaching and performance career spans 26 years.

Alexandra Loukianova
Concertmaster from 2003 to 2016.


Sadly, Alexandra passed away in December 2016, but her spirit lives on in the Choir.  It is appropriate for her biography to remain here as a testament to her huge contribution to our music making over 13 years.


Alexandra LoukianovaAlexandra, renowned Russian violinist, has a Master of Fine Arts from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatorium where she studied under Professor Galina Barinova.

Alexandra enjoyed international success as a solo violinist, interpreter of chamber and orchestral music. She was the Concertmaster of the Russian Ministry of Education Orchestra, first violin of the XXI Century Chamber Orchestra, and with this group she toured throughout Ireland. She was also soloist of the Ensemble of Soloists of Tula (Russia), with whom she performed throughout Russia and the Ukraine.

From 1994 to 2002 she was Associate Concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogota (Colombia). At that time she was also Associate Professor of the National University Conservatorium of Colombia.

As soloist, Alexandra recorded many recitals and concerts with orchestra for the Colombian National Radio and Television. She also performed in the most prestigious concert halls and auditoriums in Colombia. Latterly she performed in various venues in Wollongong and Sydney, including a recital at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and performed regularly with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

Alexandra was Concertmaster for Manly Warringah Choir concerts from 2003 to 2016, additionally acting as soloist in many works.  She will be remembered particularly for stunning performances of Prokoviev’s Violin Concerto No 1 and Ralph Vaughan Williams’  The Lark Ascending.

Valerie Forbes-Mavridis

Valerie studied at both UNSW and Sydney University, and has recently gained her FTCL. She has won a number of prestigious prizes, and has played with many local orchestras, including concerts with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra featuring works by Rachmaninov, Copland, Stravinsky and Saint-Saens.

Valerie has made several recordings for ABC Classic FM and for Fine Music 102.5.  She also plays in and has made recordings with the globally acclaimed cabaret group Black Tie.

Valerie teaches privately, also at the German International School, and at St Andrews Cathedral School.  She is an accompanist at the Northern Beaches Eisteddfod and an adjudicator at the Inner West Eisteddfod.

Valerie appears regularly in Eight Grands, a concert involving eight noted Australian pianists, including Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Michael Kieran-Harvey and Ian Munro.

Angela Ferguson
Accompanist to 2016

Angela FergusonA very talented rehearsal pianist and accompanist, Angela Ferguson was with the choir for over 25 years . She obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from the NSW Conservatorium of Music and then freelanced as a bassoon player for many professional and amateur orchestras in the Sydney, Newcastle & Wollongong regions, including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Opera House Orchestra & the Hunter orchestra. She has also accompanied many soloists on the piano for recitals and examinations.

Angela played piano accompaniment for a number of Manly-Warringah Choir’s concerts, and often joined the orchestra as a bassoonist.  She is currently taking extended leave of absence.