If you love the gift of music, consider supporting MitCon.

As a not-for-profit incorporated association, the Mitchell Conservatorium relies on support from community members, be they individuals or businesses. As members of the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums and the NSW Government Regional Conservatorium Grants Program, we receive government operational funding support, but this amounts to less than 25% of our outgoings, and to maintain our level of service and commitment to the community, we do need your help.

All donations to the Mitchell Conservatorium are tax deductible, and gifts are recognised by a range of gestures and reciprocal features. See our Sponsorship Information for support options. 


The Gelin Reid Quartet 

Peter Reid and Sophia’s Strings

Peter Reid is a luthier, a maker of string instruments, now based in Orange, NSW. Peter was introduced to instrument making/repair in 1988 by Czech Maker Denny Kutzena. With years of study and experience repairing instruments, Peter began making his own in 2007. In 2011, he and his wife, Francine, formed the company Sophia’s Strings, named after their first granddaughter. Peter has developed a fine reputation for the quality of his instruments. 

 This Unique Australian Quartet

In December 2012, while visiting a Tasmanian supplier of fine woods, Peter was shown a 1000 year old quarter sawn slab of King William Pine. He realised he could make the belly plates for a quartet (cello, viola and two violins) from this single irreplaceable piece of wood, and then found slabs from two 500 year old Tasmanian Blackwood trees which would make the backs, sides and necks. Jarrah fingerboards and Rosewood fittings complete this unique set of instruments, which together project a large, dynamic and special quality of sound. There is no other known modern quartet of instruments to compare – hand made by traditional methods, by one skillful local man, from extremely rare Australian native timbers. 

The Partnership

Peter Reid of Sophia’s Strings and Graham Sattler, Executive Director of Mitchell Conservatorium, commenced discussions in September 2014 about the possibility of the Conservatorium taking ownership of this set, and making it the focal point of the planned MitCon Chamber Music Academy. It was hoped that the set could stay together (almost unheard of for a set of matched instruments) in the Central West, and be played and developed together by Central Western students, talented local amateurs, and professionals.

The Gelin Reid Quartet

Discussions and plans eventuated in a generous gift from Bathurst music enthusiasts – Drs Ben Ami and Martha Morrison Gelin.

On 7 December 2015, the set became the property of Mitchell Conservatorium. The instruments will be played and will develop:

  • as a set
  • by MitCon students, local ensemble members, and professionals
  • mentored and guided by the best teachers available
  • as the focal point of the Mitchell Conservatorium Gelin Chamber Music Academy.

In Mitchell Conservatorium and Sophia’s Strings circles, the set has become known as “The Family.”

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