The Co-Directors

Building on their success of Sanguine Estate Music Festival, Howard Penny and Chris Howlett combine again to share their passion of world class chamber music with audiences.

Howard Penny was born in Canberra and after studies with Nelson Cooke moved to Vienna studying with Tobias Kühne, Andre Navarra, Boris Pergamenshikov and William Pleeth.

He won the ABC Young Performers Awards, and his concerto performances have included concerts at the Sydney Opera House, Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Berlin Schauspielhaus, Suntory Hall Tokyo and Casals Festival Prades.

A regular Principal Cello with Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Vienna Radio Orchestra and Australian World Orchestra, he is a long-standing member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, working with the world’s leading conductors and soloists, participating in over 100 CD and DVD recordings. As a chamber musician he has appeared in Wigmore Hall, Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Beethoven Festival Bonn and KREMERata Lockenhaus.

Howard frequently directs from the cello – a Haydn opera at ANAM with tenor Steve Davislim and soprano Sara Macliver being a highlight – and is a regular guest at all major Australian chamber music festivals. He also works closely with AYO in various projects. Since 2007 Howard has been a member of the Resident Faculty of the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, where he is now Head of Strings.

As a cellist Chris  Howlett focuses  on chamber music performances with the trio as well as duo performances of the cello Sonata repertoire with close friends.  He performs regularly at a number of Australian festivals and has performed concertos around the world.  Chris has also performed concerti with both symphonic and chamber orchestras in Milan, Rome, Paris, Estonia and Melbourne and has been a finalist and prize winner at a number of chamber music competitions including the prestigious Trio di Trieste International Competition, the Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition and The Hamburg International Chamber Music Competition.

As well as being an active cellist and running Sanguine Estate Music Festival, Chris launched with Co-Director Adele Schonhardt, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall in March 2020 as a response to support Australian artists during COVID-19.   To date MDCH has presented over 400 recitals and raised $1.7 million for 1000s of Australian artists who have performed in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Singapore, London and Berlin.   Chris is also the Artistic Curator of the 3MBS Fine Music’s yearly Marathon bringing together over 80 musicians and 200 volunteers to raise money for 3MBS and present 14 hours of concerts in one single day.

He is founder and Executive Producer of Australian International Productions and Australian International Opera Company which presents over 150 concerts in China per year including Opera, Orchestral, Drama, Recital and Music Theatre. It is now Australia’s largest exporter of classical music to China.   He has also served as Chairman of 3MBS Radio Station and Chairman of PATMA Educational Concerts.