Ambassador thoughts

Ambassadors share their thoughts on classical music concerts, books, releases, films and experiences.

Review: Elysian Fields | FIKA

Elysian Fields’ latest offering Fika — The Scandinavian Project, is a celebration of culture, personal history and sharing together during times of isolation.  Formed in 2015, Elysian Fields are Jenny Eriksson (electric viola da gamba), Matt McMahon (piano), Matt Keegan…

 
Review: Sideband – From the Depths

…an engaging and interesting showcase of a selection of Australia’s emerging composers Sideband are a contemporary collective of composers, founded by Tristan Coelho, Brad Gill and Peter McNamara in 2011. Their aim is to develop and support the music of…

 
Funk Engine’s 3rd album Jazz-Funk is a whole lot of fun

On a windy evening in Brisbane, I watch the last of the leaves fall off my pecan tree, when in a previous life I would have been at orchestra rehearsal. I put on a CD to wash away the COVID…

 
What we’ve been up to … Alan and Amelia

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO | This series, introduced in our classikON What’s ON (subscribe here), shares our Ambassadors thoughts at this time. They are voices of the audience, with a range of knowledge and history with music, for some…

 
What we’ve been up to … Jeremy

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO | This series, introduced in our classikON What’s ON (subscribe here), shares our Ambassadors thoughts at this time. They are voices of the audience, with a range of knowledge and history with music, for some…

 
What we’ve been up to … Heidi

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO | This series, introduced in our classikON What’s ON (subscribe here), shares our Ambassadors thoughts at this time. They are voices of the audience, with a range of knowledge and history with music, for some…

 
What we’ve been up to … Kate

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO | This series, introduced in our classikON What’s ON (subscribe here), shares our Ambassadors thoughts at this time. They are voices of the audience, with a range of knowledge and history with music, for some…

 
Virtual Verdi – A chorus to get us through

To musicians and music-lovers alike, the longing for live music to return is becoming overwhelming. Week after week I receive notifications from my Google Calendar of a concert I was to attend, a performance engagement I was supposed to have,…

 
Taking Australian music overseas again with Bel a cappella’s inaugural composition prize

Let’s just start with the depressing bit and get it over with. This pandemic has hit the Arts sector hard. Actors, musicians, singers and the people that support them behind the scenes are really doing it tough. They were the…

 
From the very first down beat I was in raptures at Sydney Chamber Choir’s Messiah

I wasn’t planning on writing about Sydney Chamber Choir’s Messiah last Saturday night, but now, almost a week later, a week after the government announced their advice that all events of more than 500 people were to be banned, a…

 
The Independent Theatre’s Café Culture Series is a wonderful way to cheer a Sunday afternoon

The Café Culture Series is a new concept from the Independent Theatre, with the performance taking place amongst the arches and mirrors in their beautiful foyers, rather than inside the auditorium. We relaxed with delicious coffee (included in the ticket…

 
Australia Ensemble set the bar high with opening concert

While the Australia Ensemble are by no means unknown, their concert on the 14th of March at UNSW’s Sir John Clancy Auditorium was a brilliant showcase of works not often heard at today’s chamber concerts. Centered around Beethoven’s ‘Storm’ String…

 
Selby & Friends telling tales

On first hearing Mozart’s Piano Trio No.5 in C major, K.548 one would be surprised at its date of composition -1788- the same year as his majestic final three symphonies. He would play the late trio at the homes of…

 
Ensemble Offspring’s Epic Fragments had virtuosic energy and exquisite ‘very very soft’

In a small and quaintly repurposed venue in Newtown, Ensemble Offspring presented a one hour concert of miniatures written over the last hundred or so years from an exquisite performance of Alban Berg’s Vier Stucke Op.5 (1913) to local composer…

 
Lorelei Dowling’s “I Was Like Wow” champions the music of recent times

Lorelei Dowling is one of many Australian musicians who have created seriously impressive careers outside of her native land and one that proves that to have a major solo career, and one where you specialize in a branch of music…

 
Ensemble Trivium’s Purely Mozart shared the man behind the music

Ensemble Trivium’s Purely Mozart concert was a journey into Mozart’s life and lasting influence. Held in heritage-listed Old Government House, with its oak-panelled doors, high ceilings and chandeliers, this intimate chamber concert was fit to welcome in the weekend. Ensemble…

 
Australian Haydn Ensemble’s Emperors & Armies was a musically interesting and thought-provoking way to spend a stormy Sunday afternoon

When visiting art galleries across Europe one frequently comes across rooms full of commissioned military paintings: pompous men on horses or battle scenes on sea and land. While the painters may have significant technical skill, the subject matter often does…

 
The Art of Disappearing composed by Cameron Lam has great variety of emotional and musical attitudes

A recent recording release devoted to music of young Sydney composer Cameron Lam (b.1989) shows that the art of vocal writing is safe in the hands of the younger generation of Australian composers. At around 65 minutes The Art of…

 
Sydney’s classical music community bands together for bushfire relief

It is truly extraordinary what happens when Sydney’s classical music community bands together. Within just a few weeks a committee of dedicated musicians and organisations created and presented a heartfelt and uplifting bushfire fundraiser concert, including a live broadcast by…

 
Hallelujah indeed! A sterling first season for River City Voices.

On a pleasant Tuesday evening just over a week before Christmas, River City Voices, a choral group from western Sydney in its inaugural year, joined forces with members of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and an orchestra comprised of many current…

 
Bel a cappella raised a toast to 2020 and its 25th birthday with a ‘Bel’issimo programme of music in store

December 1, 2019, “A Boy Was Born”.  What better way to ring in the festive season than with a bit of Britten? Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to sing in the final concert of Bel a cappella’s 2019 program,…

 
Farewell Huntington Estate Music Festival

November marked the 30th and final Huntington Estate Music Festival. It had become interwoven with so many parts of my life. My first festival was in 2007, when I was 33. I was terrified before that festival. The main theme…

 
Zelman Symphony Orchestra with guest “BaRock” star Alexandre Da Costa, presented two sessions’ worth of Stradivarius Magic

First Session, Beethoven Violin Concerto, Op. 61 in 3 movements Alexandre Da Costa strode on stage and took up his position, with an understated Rockstar vibe, standing before the audience resplendent in a subtly sparkling black coat and tie. He…

 
Bach Akademie Australia celebrated Christmas-time with Bach works of “Comfort & Joy”

Going to concerts usually involve some meticulous planning on my part. But this time, I was familiar with the venue of the Bach Akademie Concert: Christ Church St Laurence. I also know how much work had been done during its…

 
Consort 8’s sweetly jubilant program brought centuries-old music to life in the modern-day

As a sizeable audience took their places in the pews of Edmund Blackett’s Gothic Revival church of St. Paul’s Anglican in Burwood, a sole rousing drum marked the opening of this final concert for Consort 8 in 2019. Appropriately, the…

 
Willoughby Symphony Choir and friends’ massive undertaking of “Ode to Joy” was an impressive success!

It is really refreshing to attend an event featuring an amateur orchestra and choir performing with proceeds going to Indigenous education, and doubly so when the work chosen is none less than Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, a massive undertaking even for full…

 
The Seraphim Trio, joined by guest violist Martin Alexander, presented a high calibre performance of a most appealing program

There is always an air of anticipation when the Seraphim Trio visits North Sydney’s charming Independent Theatre, but this concert came with added expectations, as they were to be joined by guest violist, Martin Alexander. Over the pre-concert refreshments provided…

 
Led by guest violinist Midori Seiler, the Australian Haydn Ensemble dazzled with a season finale of Mozart & Haydn

On a cool overcast Sunday afternoon in Sydney, the Australian Haydn Ensemble, a leading period instrument group established in 2012, gave its final concert for 2019 under the guest directorship of well-known Baroque violinist, Midori Seiler, one of four sisters…

 
Australian Chamber Choir’s “Keys to Heaven” showcased their sumptuous sound

In the recently restored and now even more exquisite Christ Church St Laurence, the Australian Chamber Choir presented Keys to Heaven, a concert of music dating from the late 1400’s through to about 1640. The sumptuous sound of one of…

 
With their Classical Masters program, the Melbourne Musicians proved themselves to be masters of Classical

The Melbourne Musicians concert at MLC’s James Tatoulis Auditorium showcased an outstanding line up of local talents in a unique concerto extravaganza. Led by Artistic Director, Frank U. Pam, the chamber orchestra is laudable in its focus on providing a…

 
The Idea of North thoroughly entertained with their Prelude in Tea performance

The full house at the Independent Theatre indicated that an enthusiastic crowd knew it would be a great idea to see The Idea of North in North Sydney this sunny Sunday afternoon. After coffee and cake in the foyer, we…

 
Sydney Chamber Choir took audiences on an emotive journey through Time and Place

Warning: This report contains unashamedly gushing commentary.  If you like your reviews critical and scathing I would advise you to read no further. Sydney Chamber Choir is a truly excellent vocal ensemble. In a recent interview with Limelight magazine, Artistic…

 
Ensemble Trivium showcased chamber music with a French twist

Ensemble Trivium’s French Revelations concert was the perfect way to unwind on a Friday evening. Heritage-listed Old Government House, Brisbane, with its oak-panelled doors, high ceilings and chandeliers, was an intimate setting for chamber music. Ensemble Trivium is a collective…

 
Selby & Friends’ all-Beethoven performance was superb and essentially flawless

This is an interesting report for me to write because I suspect many of you have heard some Beethoven before now, and probably also heard Kathryn Selby and her Selby & Friends tours. Furthermore if you’re reading this on classikON,…

 
Soirées Musicales Quintette: Endings and Beginnings was a thoroughly enjoyable concert to end their season, and to look forward to beginning the new year

Perched on the Kangaroo Point cliffs, and overlooking the glinting sailboats on the Brisbane River, St Mary’s Anglican Church was a delightful setting for an afternoon soirée. Soirées Musicales Quintette: Endings and Beginnings was held on Sunday, with the setting…

 
The Willoughby Symphony and guest soloist Alexandre Da Costa ended their 2019 season with a bang

As a celebratory segue to the 250th Anniversary of Beethoven‘s birth in 2020, the final Willoughby Symphony Orchestra concert for 2019 began with the instantly recognisable Egmont Overture, Op. 84. Beethoven was commissioned to compose incidental music to Goethe’s heroic play,…

 
Sarah Grunstein’s programme was a fitting way to spend a Sunday twilight on Sydney Harbour

The Australian pianist Dr Sarah Grunstein has had an illustrious international career both as a performer and educator. She has two degrees from the Juilliard School in New York and held a teaching fellowship there for four years. We arrived…

 
Sydney Mozart Society presented an uplifting recital by the Enigma Quartet

We were privileged to be guests of the Enigma Quartet at Chatswood on a balmy Spring evening. The Quartet took shape under the Musica Viva “Rising Stars” program in 2012 and has gone ahead in leaps and bounds since. First…

 
Elysium Ensemble delivered a fresh take on JS Bach & sons

The afternoon of Sunday the 20th October saw the Bachian triumvirate – if I may so call them – of Johann Sebastian and his sons Carl Philipp Emanuel and Wilhelm Friedemann honoured through a performance of six pieces for harpsichord and…

 
The excitement for Jandamarra: Sing for the Country was rewarded, and it wasn’t the only captivating work on the night

Sydney Town Hall was absolutely packed to the rafters on Friday night and the excitement was palpable, as the crowd eventually found their seats and settled in for what promised to be a terrific night of music presented by The…

 
A Menagerie of Musical Delights: Evergreen Ensemble’s Baroque Birds and Beasts

Evergreen Ensemble’s evening performance in the beautiful, intimate setting of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Primrose Potter Salon was both an aural and visual treat. In a program of early music and Scottish tunes which rarely surface in the modern music…

 
“Daughters” gives a hauntingly powerful voice to the victims of gender violence

The song cycle “Daughters” (composer: David Chisholm, librettist and narrator: Tammy Brennan) is an Australian/ Indian opera project and will premiere in New Delhi in January. The basis of the text is the violence in its multitudinous forms that has…

 
Susannah Lawergren’s SongCo farewell performance of Winterreise was exquisite

It was with a mixture of joy and sadness that I entered the Independent Theatre in North Sydney on Saturday afternoon to hear Susannah Lawergren and Bradley Gilchrist perform the latest SongCo SOLO, Schubert’s Winterreise. Joy because Winterreise is a masterful work…

 
Strelitzia Ensemble’s First Impressions impressed with its innovative & intriguing program of women composers

The concert in the visually delightful Melbourne Recital Centre Primrose Potter Salon by the piano trio Strelitzia showcased music by four women composers. This venue tends to emphasise bass sonorities but with violinist Lucy Warren leading there was never a…

 
Sarah Grunstein’s intimate recital showcased her passionate playing

The Utzon Room was filled to capacity when Sarah Grunstein introduced the sonatas she would perform in her recital this warm Thursday evening. She explained how Beethoven’s Sonata No.15 in D Major, Op.28 was the last piano sonata he wrote using…

 
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