Australian concerts & recordings

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

Andreas Ottensamer at Yellow Lounge

Yellow Lounge was created by the “Yellow Label” Deutsche Grammophon in the Berlin Club scene, as a way to hear classical music in a relaxed and cool atmosphere. It was launched in Sydney in 2012 with Noah Stewart. This time…

 
Sirius Chamber Ensemble – The Americas

Saturday’s Sirius Chamber Ensemble concert was the best I’ve heard them perform. They’re not showy, just love to perform the music.

 
The Marais Project’s Lady Sings the Viol

A triumph of arrangement and a showcase of the talents of its participants, Lady Sings the Viol demonstrates what can be achieved if musicians and performers are willing to challenge sterotypes and push the boundaries of their ‘normal’ performance envelope.

 
Sydney Chamber Opera: Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingate

For any lover of Britten (and good theatre) this production is not to be missed. It is on until 10 August. Well worth a visit or indeed a revisit!

 
Ondine Productions: Hymn to the Sun – The scent of rhythm

Philip Glass’s music is often misunderstood as repetitive. Superficially it is, but it shifts forward almost continuously. Maintaining its rhythmic progress is a challenge for instrumentalists and singers alike. Glass’ Akhenaten is of one of his three ‘portrait’ operas featuring…

 
Wagner sets sail with the Flying Dutchman

From Thursday to Saturday last week I had a broad range of musical experiences. From Don Pasquale, to Michael Kieran Harvey and the Flying Dutchman. Part 1 was Opera Australia: Don Pasquale Part 2 was Michael Kieran Harvey Here is…

 
Michael Kieran Harvey

From Thursday to Saturday last week I had a broad range of musical experiences. From Don Pasquale, to Michael Kieran Harvey and the Flying Dutchman. Part 1 was Opera Australia: Don Pasquale Here is Part 2 On Friday I went…

 
Opera Australia: Don Pasquale

From Thursday to Saturday last week I had a broad range of musical experiences. From Don Pasquale, to Michael Kieran Harvey and the Flying Dutchman. Here is Part 1 On Thursday it was OA’s new production of Don Pasquale. I…

 
Judith Durham “The Platinum Album”

The Platinum Album, the latest release from Judith Durham, most famously the former lead singer of ’60s folk-pop band, The Seekers, demonstrates that she has lost none of her vocal prowess over the years. Resembling many of her post-Seekers releases,…

 
Selby and Friends, Confessions of a Romantic

If I’d known Turramurra Uniting Church was such a popular venue I would have arrived a little earlier to see pianist Kathryn Selby play with two talented Finnish musicians: Vesa-Matti Leppänen on violin and Timo-Veikko Valve on cello. There was…

 
Pondering: What influences our enjoyment of music performed live?

I recently found myself in a concert attending frenzy. In the midst of this I heard the same piece of music performed twice and Sophr, who I’ve not heard often, in two concerts. It caused me to ponder… What factors…

 
Acacia Quartet + Jane Sheldon + Lyle Chan

Acacia Quartet performing works from their CD with Jane Sheldon ‘North+South’ were joined by two works by Lyle Chan. A perfect way to finish the week. Jane’s beautiful voice sang through a range of traditional, arranged, and new works, that…

 
The Sydney Consort: Strings – Sackbuts – Serpents

A fascinating title for a really fascinating CD. One which grows on you with repeated hearings. The music on the disc is of the Baroque period, ie sixteenth and seventeenth centuries so what might be described as ‘early music’. But…

 
Viazza is ‘life’ – polished & entertaining

A twist on the Romanian word for “life” Viazza seems a most appropriate name for this group. Violinist Katherine Lukey, cellist Paul Ghica and pianist Young Kwon Choi presented a polished and entertaining recital at the South Melbourne Town Hall.

 
Acacia Quartet with Jane Sheldon: North + South

North + South is an eclectic collection of ten folk songs covering the Northern and Southern hemispheres of the globe. So we have Australian, English and Irish folksongs and some interesting arrangements by Benjamin Britain and avant garde composer Luciano…

 
The NOISE Spontaneous Improvisation

Improvisation in music goes back centuries and is one of the great traditions in jazz, in organ music and in particular among French organists. So here we have a different disc by four classical music graduates from Sydney who started…

 
Flinders Quartet – colour & atmosphere

If there were two words that united this marvellous evening it’s the words, ‘colour’ and ‘atmosphere’. In the first half we had one of the seminal quartets of the last century by Maurice Ravel of Bolero fame. Apparently he applied…

 
Baroque Beginnings – Early French Keyboard Music

There’s something about listening to a person who has real passion. Whether it be sport, politics or music, that knowledge and enthusiasm comes through and grabs us all in some way. Peter Hagen certainly has a passion for the harpsichord.…

 
BG Sound Project was an excellent Friday night of entertainment

On Friday night I had the delight of going to BG Sound Project, a collaboration of celebrated didgeridoo performer William Barton & guitarist/composer Anthony Garcia. I took along 2 friends who knew little about classical music and asked one of…

 
Music and the City at Smart Artz Gallery, South Melbourne

Music and the City should be very proud and happy with their Australian debut event. The format of the event was carefully planned to offer something for everyone. Guests gathered at the trendy Smart Artz Gallery for drinks, and then…

 
Australia Quartet shine at The Independent Theatre, North Sydney

I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Australia Quartet concerts at UTS Bon Marche Studio, but the acoustics don’t do justice to their ability – which could be heard in this wonderful short pre-dinner Saturday concert at The Independent Theatre in…

 
Composed NOISE

Sydney based string quartet The NOISE have embarked on a Composed NOISE journey. They’ve commissioned 7 composers to write a work involving improvisation and held an event to share their journey and raise money. Watters Gallery in East Sydney is…

 
Performance

Before a concert I like to find out a bit about the music, if I can, as it is a one time only experience (you might be able to hear the music again, but not see that performance a second…

 
Orpheus in the Underworld – The right balance

Quest for popularity In 2012 Opera Australia ventured into American musicals via a vibrant production of South Pacific. The venture was artistically successful and very popular. In the quest for broadening the opera audience, I fear that opera companies may…

 
B team gives an A class ensemble performance of Falstaff

If one ever needed an argument for an ensemble opera company all the evidence is to be found in the 2013 Opera Australia production of Falstaff! This late Verdi opera resembles Wagner in musical approach more than in Verdi’s grander…

 
Oboe Origins with Jane Downer & Peter Hagen

The setting was a little different Not many classical concerts start with an outline of the bushfire evacuation plan. Oboe Origins, however, was being performed in the Broadford Salon and is nestled in thick bush land not far from the…

 
The delight of discovering Selby and Friends

My involvement in classikON over the last year has provided me more than just discovering artists and enjoying music.  For me, there is joy in taking a pause from the busy-ness of the working week to spend time with friends…

 
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Soundtrack

So I could picture the music in its appropriate setting, I watched the movie, and as I’m not a Hobbit fanatic took one with me. Not being a fanatic has advantages – you don’t walk in with expectations and you…

 
Simon Tedeschi: Gershwin & Me

Simon Tedeschi is a wonderful performer whose passion and personality comes through in the performance – live or recorded. Listening to his CD feels like you’re there live and, for me, it can’t get much better than that. The Gershwin…

 
The Idea of North at The Basement

The Idea of North are an a capella quartet who perform with a jazz style, although there are classical songs in their repertoire (and if you’ve read several of our posts you’ll know we’re fairly broad in the gray definition…

 
Sydney Philharmonia’s An English Christmas

The Sydney Philharmonia’s An English Christmas was a wonderful night out with a sense of Christmas and a festive end to 2012 having arrived. Congratulations to Sydney Philharmonia who, in the almost full Concert Hall at the Opera House, created…

 
Blue Silence – Acacia Quartet & Elena Kats-Chernin

The recently released Blue Silence with the Acacia Quartet performing the complete works for string quartet by Elena Kats-Chernin is a wonderful blend of classical and jazz sounds. The double CD of short works with great titles like: Drinking Song,…

 
ACO Underground at The Standard was like a rock gig

There was a great buzz in the audience before this show. The amazing musicians of the ACO Underground collective were going to be performing their eclectic selection of music in the comforts of a Rock music venue. An acoustically great…

 
Australia Quartet at UTS

The Australia Quartet tick many of the new audience ‘objection’ boxes and it is why you should head along in 2013: [list type=’arrow’] It is too expensive: entry free or by donation At concert halls or churches I’m not familiar/comfortable…

 
Marais Project’s Swedish Roots was a great afternoon

It was my first time hearing Marais Project. Their Swedish Roots was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and it was wonderful to meet classikON-er Mo at the concert. The Recital Hall West at The Conservatorium of Music…

 
ACO at Sydney Grammar School’s New Hall

Last night we were treated to two works from ACO’s recent Russian Visions tour. The concert was sponsored by Commonwealth Bank and at Sydney Grammar’s New Hall. They performed [list type=’arrow’] Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor, Op.35 For…

 
Behind Closed Doors: Flinders Quartet & Red Stitch

Last night there was a classikON Reserve at Behind Closed Doors at the Utzon Room in the Sydney Opera House. It was a full house. I did not know what to expect. A collaboration between a theatre company (Red Stitch)…

 
Standing room only at Australia Quartet @ UTS

The Australia Quartet are the UTS Piano Quartet in Residence and their 3rd concert was last night. Personally, I like chamber music being performed in the kind of space the name represents: The word “chamber” signifies that the music can…

 
Noah Stewart @ The Loft: a star has arrived!

Noah Stewart @ The Loft: a star has arrived!
I am excited that Yellow Lounge has launched in Australia! After 7 years in Berlin and the UK we finally get to enjoy classical music without rules. The objective of Yellow Lounge is to bringing classical music together with cutting-edge DJ’s in cool urban spaces. In a nutshell, Yellow Lounge has the same goal as classikON – demystifying classical music and binging it to a newer and younger audience.

 
Heritage in Song by the Sydney Children’s Choir – a musical masterpiece

When you’re looking through a ‘what’s on’ list you don’t immediately think ‘I really must go and see that children’s choir’. Until now, I imagined rounding’s and modern renditions of “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”. I’ve been proved wrong! Yesterday I…

 
Acacia & Halcyon’s rehearsal performance = a great preview of tonight’s concert

We were privileged enough to attend a lunchtime rehearsal concert for The Acacia Quartet and Halcyon’s current concert program. It was a short program and it left US wanting more. The venue, the New Hall at Sydney Grammer School is…

 
Zubin Kanga’s Spectrum at The Independent

The offer of a recital at the elegant Independent Theatre on a beautifully crafted grand piano by Zubin Kanga, in a world premier performance of custom composed works and collaborations. Firstly, I must introduce you to the finely hand crafted…

 
Classical Clubbing at The Standard

After a decade of violin and piano lessons during school, I found myself more interested in loud rock festivals than classical music for most of my twenties. But in recent years I’ve been drawn to more complicated and progressive music,…

 
The Good, the Bad, the Awkward by Sally Whitwell

I don’t normally read the liner notes of CD’s but I felt the need to know more about Sally Whitwell, she’s such an intriguing character. Her approach to music seems to be as eclectic as her personal style. She composes,…

 
classikON reserve at Musica Viva’s amarcord

We had a wonderful night introducing classikON reserve to Sydney! Eleven classikON-ers met for a casual chat before the concert, sat together during the performance and stayed on afterwards for a drink at the lovely Felix in Ash Street. amarcord…

 
Sonus Quartet, The Passionate

I’m starting to believe that Sunday afternoon is the perfect time for a chamber music concert, and if the classikON calendar is anything to go by, I’m not alone. Another trend I’m enjoying is the shorter concert. A concert that…

 
‘Outback Adventures’ with the Enigma Quartet

Last Friday (20th July), I went to see one of the most dynamic string quartets in Australia, the Enigma Quartet. These four young and exceptionally talented musicians performed the first in their current Concert Series at the Conservatorium of Music…

 
“Intimate Moments” with Julian & Dimity @ the Independent

On Tuesday 17th July, I went to the Musica Viva Coffee Concert at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney. The Goldner String Quartet are playing all of the Coffee Concert Series this year. For this performance two of the Quartet’s…

 
The Sydney Symphony & Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony

As always, this Sydney Symphony concert was awesome and also very interesting as it brought together three different styles, orchestra layout and specific mood. The conductor David Robertson (Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor starting in 2014) is a wonderful communicator…

 
Gondwana Voices before heading to China

I’ve not kept it a secret that I’ve been slow to appreciate voice (and I’m not talking about the tv show). The Gondwana Voices broke all reasons I’ve resisted in the past. The Gondwana Voices were one of 5 choirs…

 
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