AUSTA String Teacher Personal Details
Studio Phone: 0439763810
Mobile Phone: 0439763810
Instrument: Viola, Violin, Cello
Qualifications: Bachelor of Music (Honors) Performance Indiana University 1982
Levels: Intermediate to Advanced and Diploma
International Concert Violinist Kirtley Leigh is Director and Violinist of the Australian Strings Academy, based in Cairns Queensland. Now taking bookings and enrollments for this prestigious Academy for 2021 following re-openings post-Coronavirus.
Director of the Australian Strings Academy, violinist Kirtley has over 40 years’ International experience as both a performer and educator, gained from her roles as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, Orchestral Leader (Concertmaster) , Tutor, Masterclass presenter, Clinician, Lecturer and Adjudicator in appointments worldwide throughout her distinguished career.
I have recently returned from a new position as Tutor at the prestigious King’s School here in Sydney, where I was Tutor in violin and viola, Chamber Music and Orchestral Director.
I am Kirtley Leigh (Walker-Halstead), a solo violinist, chamber music artist, recitalist, teacher and adjudicator. I have an international career spanning over 40 years. I am American born, dual National of Australia, and graduated BMus (Hons) from Indiana University Bloomington in 1983 as a student of the legendary violinist Josef Gingold. My past teachers have included pedagogues Dorothy DeLay and Josef Silverstein. I have had extensive coaching in Chamber Music with the iconic Beaux Arts Trio as well as violinist James Buswell, cello maestro Janos Starker, and jazz legend Stephane Grappelli, amongst many others.
I left my nearly-completed Master’s Degree in 1983 at 22 to accept the Associate Concertmaster position in the Hong Kong Philharmonic. I have lived and performed in over 23 countries since, including throughout Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. I immigrated to Australia in 2003 after a long career based in London UK. In 2004, I established my highly respected Chamber Music Series in Cairns, Paradise Concerts International Chamber Music Series. I have been Artistic Director since its inception, and performed for 17 years as solo/chamber music violinist in the series with wonderful music colleagues and friends whom I invite to Australia from my international associations.
I have performed onstage with, or for luminaries of all musical worlds, from Pavarotti and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to John Travolta, to Streisand, John Denver, Tony Bennett, Lynda Ronstadt, David Bowie, Prince, Diane Cilento, William Barton, and more recently, on stage in improv with Cieran Gribbon, lead guitar and vocalist of INEX. I have performed Command Performances for Heads of State, PMs and Royalty, including Tony Blair, Princess Diana, Queen Sophia of Spain, King Olav of Norway, Mahatmir Mohamed, PM of Malaysia, Sir Michael Somare, PM of Papua New Guinea, Quentin Bryce, and Anna Bligh.
In addition to my Chamber Music Series, I also tour as soloist, and have maintained thriving Private Teaching Studios in all the countries I have lived in in USA, HK, Europe, London and Australia. Many of my students have gone on to major Conservatories and Orchestral positions in Australia and abroad, and one, Khalida de Ridder, is now a soloist based in Europe. I was Head of Strings at Jubilee Christian College, Atherton, Queensland. I also teach and perform on viola. I coach cello, theory and music history when required.I have enjoyed a bountiful career as a soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, teacher, orchestral leader, adjudicator and mentor. I specialize in teaching intermediate to advanced students, through to highly advanced and Diploma level, with particular emphasis placed on the higher technical and musical levels, preparation for Conservatory entrance, orchestral auditions, and recital coaching. You are invited to meet me, hear my performances and watch my videos on my website-
please visit me at
Please feel free to message me here to inquire about joining the prestigious Australian Strings Academy.