S T E E L   C I T Y    S T R I N G S

Elena Kats-chernin, Australia’s most popular composer was commissioned to write a piece of music for Steel City Strings. She wrote Cinque Forme d’Amore in five movements.

Steel City Strings players recorded this piece during Coronavirus lockdown on their individual phones and Ipads. I had the job of editing them all together. Not an easy task…

(Click on photo to enlarge)


Steel City Strings is a very fine chamber orchestra based in Wollongong NSW.

A feature documentary by Tony Williams
76 minutes

Buy a DVD of the feature documentary here.

Over two years, Tony Williams directed, photographed, and editing a 76 minute feature documentary that takes us inside a community chamber orchestra.

The film is now completed including a 5.1 surround sound mix by Mad Max academy award winning sound man, Nigel Christensen.

Richard Gill AO (conductor and Australia’s greatest music educator)
‘The Passion of Music is 76 wonderful minutes. People are in for a huge treat.  This is an extraordinary film, and the members of the Steel City Strings are outstanding examples of hard work, enterprise, enthusiasm and dedication. They reach for the stars and beyond. More power to these wonderful people’. 

Catherine Hewgill (principal cellist Sydney Symphony Orchestra)
‘This exceptional film demonstrates the extraordinary way that a community can be brought together by the power of music. It reminds me of why I made music my career.’

Andrew Ford OAM (composer and host of ABC Radio National’s ‘The Music Show’)
‘In showing the people behind the music and telling their stories, Tony Williams’ film demonstrates that music is not some optional extra, it is our greatest form of expression and our lifeblood. It’s a wonderful film’.

Philip Bailey, (Personal assistant to Yehudi Menuhin for 20 years)
In this unsettled world we need assurances that the human spirit can rise.
Watch this magical film by Tony Williams and be inspired.

Gordon Bradbery Mayor of Wollongong
‘A very inspiring experience visually and emotionally. Tony Williams has put together a wonderful wonderful movie. It’s a marvellous achievement.’

Acclaimed filmmaker Tony Williams draws us into the heart of an exceptionally talented not for profit community chamber orchestra, and reveals the stories of the people behind the music. Williams captures the interaction between the players and explores the structure of the orchestra.

The film examines the important role of the orchestra in the rural community, providing music to an audience that has less access to orchestras than city people. Steel City Strings also provides opportunities for up and coming young soloists to perform with an orchestra. Many members of the orchestra are music teachers, and the film reveals the value of music in education, particularly for young children. We learn that primary school children who play an instrument will have neurological benefits which will help them in all aspects of education. Parts of the brain are accessed by music, that are not affected by other forms of learning. By being part of an orchestra, we see children also learn discipline and social interaction.

The players in Steel City Strings are united by their passion for music, their dedication and their energy. Their music resonates throughout the community. This film is an uplifting experience celebrating the joy of music.


Greater Union Cinema Wollongong 11th February 2018
The cinema was full to bursting with 440 people attending. Richard Gill, conductor and Australia’s greatest music educator was the guest speaker. The Mayor of Wollongong also spoke and Director Tony Williams talked about the making of the film.



The film was also screened at The Empire Cinema in Bowral on 23rd May at 6pm and was introduced by composer and the host of ABC Radio National’s ‘The Music Show’ Andrew Ford. All proceeds went to Rare Cancers based in Bowral.

Michael Heath, (music critic and film writer)
A beautiful film…some gorgeous moments,  the Shostakovich, and the use of the Mozart slow movement over the children at the end and personalities of the players….how inspirational it all is….  wonderful!

Jo Landstra (Principal Viola Steel – City Strings).
Amazing. It follows seven members of the orchestra, looking into their lives and thoughts about music. It goes into all the community threads which make the orchestra so enjoyable and grounded. Also a big section on education and lots of footage of concerts, rehearsals, backstage, youth orchestras and aerial and outdoors of the regions. It really brings such validation and dignity to our orchestra and the work everyone does. It was very emotional and brought me to the edge of my seat!

 Roger Oakley – (Actor/producer)
Loved it! what a great bunch.
Enjoyable for the personal local and educational content but especially for the enthusiasm and commitment of those people. Love the way they talk about what music is for them. The Passion of Music seems a very good title.

Bevan Wilson (Actor)
Loved the film. A loving portrait of an orchestra and members. I really felt I had got to know these lovely people and their journeys.  I teared up  at the slow movement of the Sinfonia Concertante when it finally got performed at the library. And again when the tiny kids were silently bowing with the “grown-up’s” Mozart sound over. 

 Denise Troke (Singer)
This film is brilliant!! Loved the whole film. Loved the section Celebration of Youth.  Young people – amazing!  Really caught up with this section.  Congratulations –  its a winner.!!!


The film helps to raise awareness of the value of music in education, particularly for young children. We see how primary school children who play an instrument can benefit both neurologically and socially. We also learn that playing music has a healing power in adults, including helping fight depression and staving off dementia.

Bringing fine music to rural areas:
The film will assist in raising public support for an orchestra that brings fine music to a rural area and to people who don’t have the same access to music that city people have.

Supporting youth:
The orchestra gives local young talented musicians opportunities to play for their community, have experience of being a soloist with an orchestra, and playing alongside the members of Steel City Strings.

To hold a number of local cinema screenings and invite council members, members of parliament, and influential people who will have the opportunity to help fund and support the orchestra and the work they do for the community.
To distribute the film to schools and other educational/music institutions throughout Australia, to distribute DVDs to music societies and people who love fine music throughout Australia.

About the filmmaker:
Tony Williams has been making this unpaid film on his own, donating his time and equipment for the past two years as a contribution to Steel City Strings, young musicians and youth orchestras in the Illawarra area. Williams has been in the film industry for over 50 years and has made award winning feature films, commercials and documentaries. His feature film Next of Kin, highly praised by Quentin Tarantino, is about to be re-released by Umbrella Films in Melbourne. His last film The King Sun – John Olsen a Portrait at 85 has been seen throughout Australia, by DVD distribution, Art Gallery screenings, and ABC TV screenings.

Here are some of the highly talented performers Steel City Strings have supported and given the opportunity to perform. Aged 12 – 15.


Excerpts from the concert at Wollongong Art Gallery June 2016…

Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola – W A Mozart,  featuring Kyle Little Violin and Joanna Landstra Viola. Conductor Louis Sharpe

Sinfonia in G Major by Johann Friedrich Fasch. Concert Master Shaun Warden

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 8.51.09 am

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 8.54.15 am

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 5.52.57 pm

The final concert filmed for the documentary was a Celebration of Youth. Involving talented young players from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Here are some excerpts from the Celebration of Youth.

Stephanie Tam 16 (Cello) plays Elgar

Olivia Kowalik 15 (Violin) plays Haydn

Cedar Newman and Lina Lee  (violins) perform Ann Carr-Boyd:  

1 thought on “STEEL CITY STRINGS

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