Australian concerts & recordings

Ambassadors write reviews on classical music concerts, books, releases, films and experiences.

Acacia Quartet’s ‘Harbour Light’ program was thoroughly fascinating and engaging

Acacia Quartet approach music with humility and an invitation to the listener to engage. This is a great quality in a quartet. Long may it reign and have more of this brave programming and wonderful performance.

Omega Ensemble finished the year with an evening of superb music brilliantly played

A balmy evening at Angel Place was a great setting for an appealing programme given by the well-credentialled Omega ensemble and titled “Three Parts Mozart”.

Con Opera’s Cosi Fan Tutte: A fly in and fly out experience

The production and the talents of the singers and the instrumentalists, all in all a well calculated and performed ‘hoot’!

AHE’s Beethoven Symphony No 2 was convincing, dedicated and enthusiastic

The performance of the Second Symphony the ensemble produced a big sound for the space and is better suited to chamber music arrangement.

Sydney Mozart Society: Australian String Quartet performed a memorable recital with a fully appreciative audience

The Sydney Mozart Society has transformed smoothly to its new Chatswood venue and continues to present enticing programmes which include music by Amadeus himself.

Marais Project are performers at the top of their art form

What’s not to love about an hour of delightful C18th French music on a Sunday afternoon, followed by a glass of complimentary wine and the chance to schmooze with the musicians and fellow concert goers?

Rowden & Raspopova performed with agility a lovely balance of well and lesser known works

Sparkling Sydney Harbour on a beautiful Spring afternoon was a most appropriate backdrop. My first Omega Ensemble concert, made a most favourable impression.

In Callan Park, Song Company & Leichhardt Espresso Chorus explore the history of the iconic Inner West space

In Callan Park, Song Company and Leichhardt Espresso Chorus explore the history of the iconic Inner West green space. A remarkable experience of musical storytelling.

Hamish Gould performed exquisitely with Melbourne Musicians

Dramatic light with the orchestral unison passages supporting the drama. Showed the potential power in his voice, but this was never overdone.

Halcyon premiere Gordon Kerry’s delightful instrumental colours and sensitive vocals

Gordon Kerry’s Three Malouf Songs is a substantial new addition to the repertoire; draws the listener into a world where painterly text stirs Kerry to make music of equal imagination

A Prelude in Tea and Seraphim Trio provided baked and musical delights

An enjoyable and satisfying afternoon – the music and baking delights, and the drinks generously available to all post-concert while mingling with the musicians themselves.

Shunske Sato and the Sen-Sato-tional Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

After a long tiring week, it was a great pleasure to saunter down to the City Recital Hall with a friend and settle in a for a night of romantic music on period instruments. I had been warned to ‘not…

Omega Ensemble interplay was superb in a varied and engaging program

From the first chord Teije Hylkema held the audience’s attention with his commanding stage presence and sonorous and expressive performing.

Margaret Brandman: music that is uplifting, positive or meditative for peace and harmony on the planet

An informal family-and-friends affair with the choreographer Ross Hutchison as the exuberant master of ceremonies. Brandman’s songs are characterised by sonorous tonal piano writing, lyric melodies and even phrasing.

Josie & The Emeralds deliver a first class performance celebrating Shakespeare

Always deliver works I’m unlikely to have heard before (and probably never knew about). Thoughtful programming with a novel twist. Sunday was no exception.

Sydney Mozart Society presents Verbrugghen Ensemble, a distinguished group performing at a high standard with focus and intensity

The performance was of a consistently high standard and musicians maintained their focus and intensity throughout this diverse work

Australia Ensemble concert was a joy of birdsong

Australia Ensemble always fills me with high expectations of consummate musical performances and I was not disappointed. The concert was a joy.

Emilie Lemasson beautifully sang masterpieces of opera and song

Lemasson showed a good strong dark chest register in the opening recitative. The aria ranged across gentle ecstasy, again well controlled pianissimi, difficult roulades and a grand finish.

AYO performance is spirited, secure and professional

There were so many good points about this concert that it is hard to know what to point out over and above anything else.

Artsong International: An Afternoon of Schubert, Schumann & Strauss

What a fabulous program this concert was. Add wonderful performers and I could have died and gone to heaven.

Acacia Quartet were riveting at this engaging concert

Shines in this contemporary Australian music. Never a dull moment, my attention was riveted at all times. To be congratulated on a most engaging concert.

Omega Ensemble’s Beethoven Seventh Symphony

Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is immensely enduring and, as such, very popular. This was my first encounter with the group. It won’t be my last!

Melbourne Musicians: Beethoven and Mozart

A pleasant relaxing afternoon of music and the audience were treated to expert soloists complementing the fine orchestral playing.

Australian Haydn Ensemble at City Recital Hall was a treat

The highly-anticipated night of firsts for AHE and they did not disappoint. First performance at the City Recital Hall and launch of their first CD.

Orchestra Seventeen88 delight the senses with exquisite playing

Unity between the two treble instruments with many unison passages displaying a fusion of sound that I would not have believed possible between violin and clarinet.

Australian Haydn Ensemble’s ‘The Haydn Album’ is full of musical interest

Haydn Ensemble stands proudly shoulder to shoulder with the many period instrument ensembles found in Europe. We are lucky to have such a professional and vibrant ensemble in our midst.

Mythra Ensemble brought driving rhythms which saw many a head bob along in the audience

The Mythra Ensemble takes it name from Mitra the god of friendship, and focuses on creating cultural unity through music, blending Turkish, Armenian, Iranian and Kurdish musics with a both traditional instruments

The Schubert Society wowed the audience and superbly performed a brilliantly conceived program

An excellent concert brilliantly conceived by the Schubert Society which really wowed the audience and was superbly performed by all concerned.

Resonance series first Melbourne performance, the ideal setup for an intimate aural experience

The first appearance in Melbourne of the ‘Resonance’ series of affordable and approachable intimate classical music performances

Consort 8: Daphne’s Grand Tour was a class act, unearthing rarely presented music

Chung’s voice is perfect for this music, with recorders again mimicking the organ and the lute quietly strummed. The balance of sound between instruments and voice gave this slow lamentation its emotional intensity.

Ironwood celebrate their 10th birthday with Schubertiade

Historical performance practice is to be encouraged and HIP concerts provided by Ironwood can be a revelation for those seeking a more authentic sound.

Strelitzia Ensemble were superb in their programming and delivery

Strelitzia have taken great pains to tread unbeaten paths, exposing us to less well-known works and we are much the richer for it. The playing was faultless and I can’t recall having a warmer feel

Vine Music Australia hosts talented early music performers in an intimate concert with local wines and cheese

There truly is nothing like listening to some of the best players in town performing chamber music in an intimate setting, while enjoying a glass of red!

Australian Haydn Ensemble brought Vienna Salon to life in Utzon Room

Melissa Farrow was superb in her quasi-solo role while I felt that the cellist, Anton Baba, stood out in cementing the intricacy of the string playing.

Chris Cartner was in great form for Beethoven and Brahms

Chris had no difficulty with the long arpeggio passages and showed a great degree of feeling particularly in slower passages.

Omega Ensemble shined to a packed Utzon Room with a wonderful backdrop

Ben Hoadley’s “Four Preludes” based restful sojourns in New Zealand and Sydney’s North shore were satisfying, tranquil and well received.

Sydney Mozart Society offers another enticing program with Streeton Trio

Each work had points of interest and provided easy listening, a tribute to the Sydney Mozart Society and to the Streeton Trio which melded superbly in its altered format.

Melbourne Musicians’ high quality performance of a balanced and varied program

High quality performances without government or other official financial support. is a huge achievement and they deserve our patronage. I look forward to hearing them again!

Con Opera’s The Fairy Queen showcased a wide range of skills and an enjoyable production

A wide range of performance skills needed by opera singers demonstrated. The production ensured that the greatness of Purcell’s music was realised in full measure.

A great variety of wind quintets and community feel from Sirius Ensemble

Elena Kats-Chernin captivated the audience, Christine Draeger showcased their rich sound, Andrew Schultz was intriguing, Julio Medaglia was fun, Nielsen a great way to finish

Bel a cappella’s Beatus was richly rewarding

A concert of composers who were recognised with a selection of works sung that were new and what a joy it was to expand one’s experience of these composers.

Boy did the Brandenburgs sing Mozart’s Requiem!

All praise to the choral machine that is the Brandenburg Voices – precision, powerful and polished.

Selby & Friends combines three brilliant soloists and an innovative program for Sydney Mozart Society

Hugely enjoyable with its varied innovative programme in an intimate atmosphere, an enthusiastic audience, and above all, the brilliance of its three soloists.

The pre-concert buzz for Verbrugghen Ensemble’s performance was rewarded with an excellent concert

With thanks to the intensity, focus and commitment of the musicians, it was a most rewarding debut concert.

Melodic and tonal Australian songs by living composers

Filled with highly melodic and tonal music, even phrases and simple rhythms in the voice part and high demands placed on the performers. It was enjoyable.

Lee Abrahmsen shines with Omega Ensemble

Andrew Ford’s Contradance was composed for Omega – It was a lot of fun; congratulations to Ford and the ensemble. It deserves to be part of the repertoire,

From the first intake of breath the exquisite vocal machine of Song Company overawed

The intimate and crisp acoustics of the Independent Theatre were perfect for a concert of such beauty and spirituality.

Greenway Series: The Annual Chancellor’s Concert was immensely enjoyable

I enjoyed this concert immensely, well programmed and well-performed by the ever reliable SCM Symphony Orchestra under its enthusiastic regular conductor.

Australia Ensemble has variety in every program

It’s not very often you get to hear a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s amazing sextet Transfigured Night and played so beautifully by the Australia Ensemble.

David Saffir and Chris Cartner took listeners into Debussy’s sound world

There is something quite delightful going to a one hour concert in a beautiful venue listening to fine Sydney performers in a most intelligently designed program.

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