John Ma

Corelli’s Magic, Salut! Baroque

Salut! Baroque: Corelli's Magic

"The sparseness of the opening Adagio gave the principal violin the chance to breathe and for John Ma to do what he does best – subtle, almost vocal, flourishes that make the violin sing.."

"Ma’s playing was characteristically lively."

"John Ma and Ella Bennetts on violins stood out with their use of the entire expressive range of their instruments"

Writer: Aryan Mohseni; Photo: Salut! Baroque 

State of the Art (SOTA) (28th August 2023)


Salut! Baroque: Corelli's Magic

"Violinists John Ma and Ella Bennetts demonstrated the successful expressive resourcefulness of Salut! Baroque as they delivered the drama and some well-sculptured voice leading"

Writer: Paul Nolan; Photo: Salut! Baroque 

Sydney Arts Guide (22nd August 2023)

A Universe Of One: The Solo Sonatas And Partitas

Bach Akademie Australia: A Universe of One

"John Ma’s expressive abilities on the violin are matchless, and he interspersed his playing with gushing but selective hints of vibrato."

"...a lively discourse between Ma and Easton at her best."

Writer: Aryan Mohseni; Photo: Bach Akademie Australia 

State of the Art (SOTA) (3rd July 2023)

Meet the Orchestra: John Ma

Canberra Symphony Orchestra "Rest" Magazine


As well as the Canberra Symphony, John has performed with leading Australian and international ensembles, including Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Bach Akademie, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Ageof Enlightenment and AcademiaMontis Regalis.

Together with his wife, pianist Marie Searles, John recently launched Canberra-based Early Music ensemble Apeiron Baroque. Outsideof music, John is an avid gamer, amateur horticulturalist, comic book enthusiast and self-identified tech-nerd.... 

Writer:; Photo: Martin Ollman 

CSO Rest Magazine (21st June 2023)

Bach Akademie’s passionate exploration of Bach’s solo partitas

Bach Akademie Australia: Universe of One

"...showcased a group of exceptionally skilled baroque musicians.... John Ma’s precise and expressive violin... joyful tempo and playful melodies, it was a jubilant finale which the quartet obviously enjoyed playing"

Writer: Pepe Newton; Photo: Australian Digital Concert Hall 

classikON (17th June 2023)

Sweet Melodies and Angry Tempests, Salut! Baroque

Salut! Baroque: Sweet Melodies and Angry Tempests

"The fast violin solos were played like a shimmering flash of light by John Ma."

"John Ma seemed to revel in leading the fiery instrumental introduction.."

Writer: Aryan Mohseni; Photo: Salut! Baroque 

State of the Art (SOTA) (28th April 2023)

A moving interpretation of a timeless masterpiece.

Muffat Collective: St. John's Passion

"Equally masterful were Tim Willis and John Ma on violas d’amore, which set the scene for the Erwage."

Writer: Aryan Mohseni; Photo: Muffat Collective 

State of the Art (SOTA) (24th March 2023)

Cultural Journeys, Salut! Baroque

Salut! Baroque: Cultural Journeys

"John Ma was spectacular on the viola d’amore... featured a delightful dialogue between John Ma and Ella Bennetts on baroque violin and Heather Lloydon viola."

"The gradual crescendos in this piece were thrilling, as was John Ma’s performance on Baroque violin, which had vibrato interspersed tastefully to give a shining song-like effect."

Writer: Aryan Mohseni; Photo: Salut! Baroque 

State of the Art (SOTA) (25th February 2023)

Musica da Camera

Musica da Camera: All Baroque!

"John Ma exudes infectious enthusiasm and joy for what he does. His introductory talks were both informative and entertaining. His explaination of the viola d'amore... was fascinating"

"The audience was enthralled"

Writer: ; Photo:  

Upper Lachlan Gazette #66 (23rd November 2022)

Ma leads a concert of well-chosen music

Musica da Camera: All Baroque!

"When you get a musical director and violinist as much fun as John Ma, a concert can’t fail to be enjoyable."

"He has his own refreshing take on the music to be played and describes it in amusing and accessible terms. Watching him playing his instrument and leading the orchestra is to see a man who obviously loves what he does and wants to communicate that to his audience."

"The busy first and third movements of the concerto were played with gusto and the second largo movement was most memorable with the viola d’amore’s haunting sound rising so appealingly above the orchestra."

Writer: Len Power; Photo: Peter Hislop  

CBR CityNews (13th November 2022)

The New World

Salut! Baroque: The New World

"...featured a delightfully virtuosic cadenza by John Ma on baroque viola with an infectious energy."

Writer: Aryan Mohseni; Photo: Salut! Baroque 

State of the Art (SOTA) (17th August 2022)

Bach Akademie Weapons of Rhetoric

Bach Akademie Australia: The Weapons of Rhetoric

"The Alle Breve was vibrant and explosive, throbbingly vibrant in its circular repetitive structure, while the Adagio ma non tanto was pensive, slower and profound. The Allegro was bright and snappy with an emphatic repeated beat and melody.."


Writer: Lynne Lancaster; Photo: Australian Digital Concert Hall 

Sydney Arts Guide (15th June 2022)

The Weapons of Rhetoric | Bach Akademie Australia

Bach Akademie Australia: The Weapons of Rhetoric

"“Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 BWV 1051” opened with a lively and bright first movement before moving into a slower second and finishing on a bouncing, joyous third movement dominated by the pairings of the harpsichord and Anthea Cottee’s cello and the playful violas played by Karina Schmitz and John Ma. The energy of this performance was high and it was wonderful to see the rhythm so infect the players as to bring smiles to their playing faces."


Writer: ; Photo: Australian Digital Concert Hall 

NightWrites (14th June 2022)

The Art of Good Conversation

Bach Akademie Australia: The Weapons of Rhetoric

"A joy to hear Karina Schmitz and John Ma on violas and to enjoy their excellent rhetoric and sparring against each other and then against the ensemble."

"...a rollicking finish to the first half of the concert."


Writer: Jacqui Smith; Photo: Australian Digital Concert Hall 

classikON (13th June 2022)

Weapons of Rhetoric (Bach Akademie Australia)

Bach Akademie Australia: The Weapons of Rhetoric

"...the two viole da braccio get a play date, with string ripieno joining in their games. The slow movement, played by the two violas alone with continuo, was beautifully realised by Schmitz, leading the ensemble, and Ma. They gave free reign to the unbridled joy of this music, eminently palpable in the thrumming third movement Allegro"


Writer: Shamistha de Soysa; Photo: Australian Digital Concert Hall 

Limelight (11th June 2022)

Niet helemaal in de geest van Bach

Musica Poetica: Markus Passie

"Van de instrumentalisten speelt de eerste violist de sterren van de hemel..."

"Of the instrumentalists, the first violinist plays like the stars of heaven... "

Writer: Lidy van der Spek

Leidsch Dagblad (22nd April 2011)

Lebensfrohe Tänze aus dem Norden

Musica Poetica: Musicalische Frühlings-Früchte

"John Ma und Prisca Stalmarski lassen mit leuchtend klarem Ton ihre Violinen funkeln..."

"John Ma and Prisca Stalmarski let their violins sparkle with a bright, clear tone..."

Writer: Dr. Christiane Bayer (6th November 2009)