Australian concerts & recordings

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

Australian Haydn Ensemble’s Beautiful Boccherini at Cell Block Theatre

The “Beautiful Boccherini” concert was in an interesting venue, the Cell Block Theatre in the National Arts School complex in Darlinghurst, part of the old 19th century prison. The concert hall, which was a 3 floor high women’s prison first…

Opera Bites ushered the audience into grand Victorian splendour for an intimate performance of La Traviata

A delightful evening with wonderful music, fine wine, mouth watering food (beef Wellington or grilled salmon and panna cotta or chocolate mousse) and good company.

Omega Ensemble gets Psycho!

The concert, which came about originally from Rowden’s desire to perform Herrmann’s Clarinet Quintet was highly varied and enjoyed by all

Voyage to the Moon was a spectacularly entertaining experience

Drawing together talent from all over the country to create an original gem which was so much more than the sum of its parts.

Songs of love from soprano Anita Kyle for an enthralled audience

Chris Cartner’s mission to bring chamber music to different parts of Sydney is a most worthwhile endeavour. He showcases top Sydney talent in intimate surroundings. The concerts are pleasantly a little informal and the big audience at the Lavender Bay performance were enthralled.

Peninsula Summer Music Festival’s Suite Française full of refined and sensitive playing

Georgia Browne has a gift not only as a performer, but as a compere whose knowledge and passion for this music shines through in her informative and entertaining spoken program notes.

Peninsula Summer Music Festival: Concerti Grossi was a Sunday afternoon outdoor baroque treat

Careful programming ensured that there was variety in a program of baroque instrumental works. No better way to spend a sunny afternoon than on the Flinders lawn.

Peninsula Summer Music Festival Napoleon’s Guitar

The background research into this concert was evident with the effortless patter that Tyrone Landau supplied between brackets. Songs were convincingly performed and with great authority.

Continually delighted during Peninsula Summer Music Festival’s Airs De Coeur

All the songs were performed beautifully, so much so that it is difficult to say what stood out for one was continually delighted.

Australian Haydn Ensemble explore of Haydn’s Esterházy orchestra

Throughout the performance the musicians displayed a level of interaction that was only outshone by their obvious love and enjoyment of the Haydn’s music.

Sydney Baroque Music Festival featured outstanding young talent

The orchestra received an enthusiastic and well-deserved applause from the audience. It is encouraging to know that we have the next generation of baroque specialists in the making.

Sally Whitwell on the beach with Cog in the Machine

This freshly commissioned work for the VOX Christmas show produced a fast and fantastical musical journey by an award-winning composer.

Lachner and Beethoven out of the box with seventeen88

A historically-informed performance of two Septets pitted Lachner against Beethoven in a sumptuous performance by Orchestra seventeen88 and the incredible Jakob Lehmann.

Consort 8 brings Advent alive with recorders, theorbo & viols

A varied and demanding program of 22 Christmas and Advent pieces, much of the music little known and performed in a polished and professional manner.

Omega Ensemble serenades the Sugar Plum Fairy

In a concert of serenades and seranatas, Omega Ensemble performs Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece superbly with Tarkmann’s intimate setting.

Vast range of tone colours in Sideband’s first CD

Featuring core players and guests, the CD draws on an array of inspiration sources, from Japanese Haiku poetry to dust storms and electronic music.

Streeton Trio celebrates first flush of genius

The Streeton Trio can certainly be congratulated for a superb performance that introduced us to early and unfamiliar works by well-loved composers.

Brahms 1 brings edge-of-the-seat intensity to The Musician Project

Under Max McBride’s expert leadership and the orchestra’s clear articulation, I discovered things in this Brahms symphony I have never heard before.

Latin heart beats strong with Grigoryan brothers and José Carbó

The famous classical guitar duo, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan, join tenor José Carbó in a concert of Latin classics handed down from their grandfather.

Surprises under The Birch Tree as Thoroughbass is inspired by folk songs

I am always impressed by their interesting and innovative programming. There are always surprises and challenges for the listener.

Poetry in motion as the city comes alive with Duo Deconet

Miguel del Aquila’s Silence finished the concert on a calm note with images of huge oceanic surging and crashing waves projected in slow motion.

Funk Engine mixing funk with all sorts of other styles

A great time, good humour and skilled young players who improvised amazingly elaborate solos over the stupendously bare materials of funk

Christine Draeger Trio performed Beautiful Summery Music Sydney on a glorious day

A first class performance by three Sydney musicians with distinguished careers. Beautiful summery music is the order of the day!

Riccardo Minasi and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and their parlour of Neapolitan delights

Riccardo Minasi, Italian Baroque violinist extraordinaire, returned to our shores after a four-year gap to play with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and promised a scrumptious evening of unknown Neapolitan Baroque treats. Were we rewarded? Mostly. As a fan of all…

Ironwood performs composers whose styles were informed by Haydn with great sensitivity

A well-focused musical snapshot into this time in history and the intimate setting allowed the audience to really be a part of that experience.

SCM Early Music Ensemble celebrates the Sydney Conservatorium’s Centenary with a splendid program

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) Early Music Ensemble played a splendid program of Baroque music.

La Clarinette Française was lovely Spring evening about mood, colour and bags of atmosphere

The Sonata was superbly played by Ian Sykes with just the right amount of shading as well as expertly delivered helter-skelter ‘runs’ for which the clarinet is famous.

Review | Sydney Conservatorium of Music Centenary Festival Gala | Orfeo ed Euridice by Joseph Haydn

Saturday night was the gala event, with Maestro Richard Bonynge (1950 graduate) conducting the SCM Symphony Orchestra, Choir, and Chamber Choir, in presenting a little known opera by Joseph Haydn.

Ensemble Offspring’s Light is calling

One of Australia’s finest contemporary-music outfits wisely programmed concert finished with Damien Ricketson’s Fractured Again, a ‘suite version’ of a longer work all about glass

Review | Oppenheimer Noh

Blowing all prejudices to pieces and demonstrating that there is nothing to be afraid of. The end product was easy to follow and moving.

Review | Australian Haydn Ensemble with Celeste Lazarenko

I had often heard and read about AHE’s expertise in historically-informed performance since its formation in 2011. Well, they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Streeton Trio played as one in a rewarding and enjoyable concert

A young piano trio who have been working in Europe for a number of years and are now resident in Sydney. A very rewarding and enjoyable concert. How lucky we are to have musicians like this in our own city.

Omega Ensemble were completely in synch with precision and discipline

Polished and professional musicians playing an interesting combination of instruments, treating the audience to a master-class in effortless playing.

Review: Alicia Crossley’s CD Alchemy

I would recommend this CD for somebody with an eclectic musical taste looking for variety and something different.

Melbourne Sinfonia: Dedicated musicians supporting the local community

An enjoyable, well-chosen programme and performed in a pleasant venue with a wonderful family atmosphere and child friendly.

You could hear a pin drop during Brandenburg’s Mozart’s Fortepiano

Fortepiano really started to play under Bezuidenhout’s superb fingers in the Mozart concerto. You could hear a pin drop.

Review | The Marais Project: Marais and the operatic muse

Alexander Knight ranging from a rich dark chocolate lower register to an affecting upper range. He doesn’t just sing the notes, he performs the work.

Halcyon transported listeners to a beautiful world of autumn winds, icy hills and footsteps in the snow

Page, Sitsky and Schultz were all able to take well-deserved bows and join the other listeners in congratulating Halcyon on crafting yet another unforgettable concert of contemporary treasures.

Bel a cappella filled the Mosman Art Gallery for A German Requiem

A capacity audience filled the Mosman Art Gallery. Bel a cappella has been around since 1995 and as the name implies they specialise in unaccompanied repertoire.

Review | Sounds Baroque at Macquarie University Art Gallery

To anyone venturing into the weird but enjoyable world of opera, this was a splendid introduction. But it was enjoyable for anyone, young or old.

Review | Omega Ensemble: Beethoven’s Genius

Omega’s Artistic Director David Rowden created an afternoon of wonder and intensity in the selection of this program of two early 19th century works

Review | Australia Ensemble’s Bohemian Dreams

Hornist Rob Johnson and pianist Ian Munro entranced the audience with music that was simple and yet strangely mysterious.

Beauteous. Bubbly. Baroque. Anna Sandström has a perfect voice for early music

A quiet confidence and approached the music with a freshness and humility. And what a voice it is; she sang throughout with a clear well centred voice with minimal vibrato.

Elysium Ensemble: Mozart Flute Quartets

It’s often said that music has the power to soothe the savage beast. Listening to the beautiful music of Mozart played exquisitely by one of Melbourne’s premier ensembles is certainly a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Thoroughbass’ The Viole Divine

Focused on the viola da gamba, with works by Rameau, Bach and Marais. Three instruments were featured, gamba (Shuang Ng), violin (Tara Hashanbuoy) and harpsichord (Diana Weston).

The Choir of St James and Australian Haydn Ensemble with Songs of Rest to a capacity audience

Their intonation excellent and every line clear; phrases rose and subsided from the texture with balance and grace. At the finish of this profound and sincere performance, I longed for more.

Under the expert baton of conductor Sir Mark Elder, AYO is one of the most exciting groups you can see

If the AYO are performing in your area, I would heartily recommend that you go along and hear them, even if you are not a regular orchestral music listener.

Review | Alan Holley Hammerings CD

Take my advice – buy Hammerings, take it home and grab a good set of headphones. This is truly music to lose yourself in. Close your eyes and you can almost see the musicians playing their hearts out.

Australian Youth Orchestra with Sir Mark Elder

An enjoyable evening particularly for music lovers enjoying the bigger more challenging classical works and it was performed with precision, authority, delicacy and nuance.

Resonance provides a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with an enormous voice

Chris Cartner’s Resonance series gives the floor to dramatic soprano Mylinda Joyce, a golden-piped singer with a proclivity for German and Italian opera.