About Us & Our Sponsors

DSC_5168Steel City Strings is a vibrant local string orchestra from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Region. The orchestra consists of professional musicians and talented amateur players from the area’s local music community.

We provide an important platform

  • for local musicians to come together to play exciting music
  • to inspire young local string players
  • to feature local soloists
  • to support and showcase talented Australian composers

Concerts have featured compositions by Australian composers Sculthorpe, Grainger and Carr-Boyd , as well as local composers Michael Barkl and John Spence.

We also feature the talents of local artists and professional performers – including folk-singer Rebecca Moore,  violinist Anna Da Silva Chen, and soprano Louise Lavilles.

Mentoring and developing young local players through coaching and providing opportunities to play and perform with the orchestra is an integral part of our strategy for developing the orchestra and its members.  See under  Student Participation.

We are proud to show a marvellous video of our Autumn 2016 performances.


courtesy Tony Williams, Director. Four donkey Films

with Audio post production by James Hewgill Music


Artistic Director & Principal Musicians

Artistic Director/Concert Master – Kyle Little

Kyle Little


Kyle Little completed his Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the University of Dalhousie in 2006. He graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2010 with a Graduate Diploma in Education and in 2013 with a Masters in Education – Research.

Prior to moving to Australia, Kyle was music director at the British Academy of International Arts in Kuwait and music teacher and jazz band director at the American International School in Kuwait. He has received a number of awards for academic and musical achievement, including the Canadian Millennium Scholarship (2006), Kiwanis Canadian National Grand
Prize (2002), the Royal St. George’s Society Prize (2004) and the Bornoff/Garamie String Scholarship (2005).

Kyle is currently on the violin teaching staff at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music  and is instrumental ensemble director, vocal ensemble director and teacher of the mandatory music program years 7-10 at Campbelltown High School of Performing Arts. He has taught at  Woonona High School, Wollongong High School of Performing Arts, and  St Mary Star of the Sea College.

Kyle has been highly involved in music across New South Wales. He was the head string tutor for the Southern Stars 2011 – 2013 season, member of the Vatiliotis String Quartet, former concert master of the Wollongong Community Orchestra, and member of the former Wollongong Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he has performed with the Sydney Lyric Orchestra and the Sydney Concert Orchestra.

Kyle re-formed Steel City Strings, engaging local professional and talented string players, in late 2014, and the orchestra gave its first performance at the Wollongong Art Gallery on 25 October 2014.

Principal Violin – Jacob Antonio

Jacob Antonio

Jacob Antonio, Principal Violin

Jacob first began to play music when he was 4 years old, learning to play the piano from a lady who lived down the street.  Once he started learning to play the violin at age 9 however, he realised that the violin was his preferred instrument.  From then on he pursued this passion, playing in community youth orchestras and major music camps before leaving school and moving on to study a Bachelor of Music (Music Education) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.  Since completing this degree in 2011, Jacob has been teaching strings and running string programs and ensembles at several different primary and high schools in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands.  Now, in addition to performing with the Steel City Strings, he is the Musical Director of the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra and the Shoalhaven Junior Strings.  Music is not Jacob’s only passion however.  He has also been a pilot since 2012 and is a member of the Australian Aerobatic Club and regularly competes in nation wide aerobatic competitions.

Principal Viola – Joanna Landstra

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 6.23.07 pm (1)Joanna completed her A Mus A in violin and went on to study viola with Alex Todicescu and violin with Scott Taggart. She has performed as a soloist with the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic and South Coast Orchestras as well as playing in numerous chamber groups and orchestras, namely the Sydney Lyric Orchestra, Shoalhaven String Trio, Vatiliolis  Quartet and Wollongong Symphony Orchestra.

Joanna was selected for the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO) and Camerata Australia, a small chamber group made up of AYO players, as principal viola and soloist in a concert broadcast by ABC Classic FM from the Eugene Goosens Hall, Ultimo.  She shares her love of music with the younger generation through violin teaching in Nowra schools and conducting the Junior Strings of the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra.

In 2013 Joanna received a nomination for an Australia Day Citizen  award for her work with youth organisations in Nowra.

Principal Cello – Karella Mitchell

Karella and Ilir

Karella Mitchell is an experienced solo cellist, ensemble member and teacher located in the Shoalhaven region of the NSW South Coast. With over fifteen years of professional experience, Karella teaches all ages and levels.

Completing a Bachelor of Music at the Conservatorium of Sydney studying with George Pedersen, she went on to graduate with Honours from the Conservatorium of Newcastle where she was the cellist for the Conservatorium String quartet. Karella also holds a post-graduate Diploma in Music Performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Karella studied with esteemed teachers including George Pedersen, Anthea Scott-Mitchell, Dorothy Sumner and Tim Bloomfield and performed in orchestras conducted by Richard Gill, John Harding, Steven Hillinger, Professor Wolfram Christ, Simon Kenway, Denis de Coteau and Larry Rachliff.

Karella is currently performing with Wollongong’s Steel City Strings and teaches in both Nowra and Wollongong.

Principal Double Bass – Michael Barkl

Michael Barkl is the principal bass player in our orchestra and has been a featured composer in our repertoire. Michael studied composition and double bass at the Sydney Conservatorium. He
subsequently studied at New England, Sydney, Deakin and Wollongong universities, graduating with doctorates in both musicology and composition.  

After ten years as a freelance bass player across classical and contemporary genres, Michael joined TAFE NSW, where he is currently a Head Teacher of Digital Media and Music.


New Steel City Strings Inc. is a not-for-profit incorporated association governed by a volunteer management committee of local community and orchestra members, and dedicated to creating and performing fine music for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven communities.

Management Committee members:

President – Kyle Little
Secretary/Orchestra Manager – Yve Repin
Treasurer – Dr Judith  Mitchell
Assoc-Prof Georgine Clarsen
Lyndall Fowler

The orchestra is further supported by community volunteers who offer their time to help with box office, stage and venue management, and audience comfort and safety. We do rely heavily on this volunteer support, and welcome new volunteers. If you would like to register as a volunteer with Steel City Strings, please contact us by phone (0467 869 478) or email steelcitystrings@gmail.com.

Major Sponsor

Screenshot 2015-11-06 17.16.45



 Technical Supporters

Photography and DVD production                                             Audio post-production

Screenshot 2016-06-22 14.09.25 pastedGraphic

Financial Supporters


Community Building Banner art_outline

We are most grateful to the following companies


Krop logo jpeg 3Krop logo jpeg 1

 Product Supporters



Fund Raising


Venue Assistance


DARKER WAG logo JPEGKIAMA COUNCIL logo with correction jpeg jpeg 1



Screenshot 2015-11-05 16.18.27SEC logo