The Choir

The Melbourne Bach Choir (MBC) was formed in 2005 to perform an Easter 2006 concert of JS Bach’s magnificent St Matthew Passion.

The choir has continued to present regular performances of the JS Bach Passions since then, as well as performing a wide variety of other choral music, both large and small scale. The choir presented an Australian premiere performance of CPE Bach’s 1777 St Matthew Passion H790 at the 3MBS Bach Marathon in 2018.

The MBC draws on singers from Melbourne’s extensive choral community. The choir is committed to the pursuit of excellence in choral performance, to supporting music education and to donating to community aid and charity organizations.

The MBC marked its tenth anniversary in year 2016 with the formation of a chamber choir and a new scholarship programme for young choristers, both of which continue to flourish in conjunction with the larger choir. A Henkell conducting scholarship has now been added to the programme.

Rick Prakhoff

Artistic Director and Principal Conductor


Conducting was the obvious choice for Rick to allow him to perform the music which first engaged him as a child. It was during his second extended stay in London, seeking a career as a classical guitarist, that he realised he had heard far more orchestral, choral and operatic performances than guitar concerts. Conducting was the only career path which would allow him to finally perform the repertoire he truly loved.

Rick returned to his home town of Perth to study as a conducting major for his BMus at the WA Conservatorium of Music (WAAPA) before moving to Melbourne to seek out performance opportunities.

His training continued through the Symphony Australia Young Conductor programme where for five years he studied intensively with renowned conducting teachers Gustav Meier (Switzerland/USA), Noam Sherif (Israel), Vernon Handley (UK) and Johannes Fritsch (Germany/Australia) with the WA Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Queensland SO, Adelaide SO and the Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra. Rick has conducted extensively in Australia with ensembles including Melbourne Opera, The Sydney Youth Orchestra, Zelman Symphony, Melbourne Sinfonia, Stonnington Symphony amongst others.

Since 2009, Rick has been a sessional lecturer in conducting and conductor of the now 300 plus choir for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, where he continues his advocacy of thorough training of young conductors in orchestral, choral and operatic repertoire and techniques. In 2014, following the passing of revered conductor and conducting teacher John Hopkins the previous year, Rick was honoured to be invited to continue the very successful and popular Honours conducting course previously run by Hopkins.

Rick has an extensive orchestral, operatic and choral repertoire ranging from baroque through to contemporary works and he has a particular interest in adapting historical techniques and performance practice to the contemporary orchestra.

Rick formed the highly successful 150 voice Melbourne Bach Choir in 2006 and was appointed as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Zelman Symphony Orchestra at the start of 2018. He is delighted to be able to combine the MBC and Zelman Symphony for an exciting performance of the Verdi Requiem in September this year.

Kathryn Pisani

Rehearsal Pianist


After studies with Robert Chamberlain, Mack Jost and Roger Heagney, Kathryn graduated from the Australian Catholic University with a Bachelor of Music with Honours, majoring in piano performance and specializing in accompaniment and ensemble playing.

Since that time, Kathryn has had considerable experience accompanying singers and instrumentalists in a repertoire ranging from medieval to contemporary, has performed for the University of Melbourne, the V.C.A. and A.C.U., worked as a repetiteur in opera and musical theatre productions and taught at a number of leading Melbourne schools.

Kathryn has a long history of working with choirs, most notably with the Australian Youth Choir, with whom she toured overseas three times, including performances at Carnegie Hall and for HRH Prince Edward. Kathyrn is repetiteur for the Heidelberg Choral Society with whom she toured China earlier in 2017. As well as accompanying choirs, Kathryn works at Shelford Girls Grammar as an accompanist and a teach of piano and theory.