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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, presenting this epic work (which I should point out was written by Britten at the…

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 going through my mind, after “what do you wear?”, was “will I be able to…

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 held his Stradivarius gently, presenting it face-out towards the audience as though it were a…

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 refurbishment. The result is a vibrant venue with gorgeous architectural details and a warm acoustic.…

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 program featured music for Advent and Christmas from the haunting 15th-century song of the nuns…

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 time musicians. Peter Ellis hails from Yorkshire and studied at Birmingham and London before making…

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 at the Independent’s signature ‘Prelude in Tea’ series, there was talk of what this inclusion…

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 who are all professional string players. The concert began with Mozart’s Symphony No. 33 in…

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 Australia’s leading vocal ensembles in this visually delightful church transported the enthusiastic audience to another…

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 platform for local talents to further their performing careers. Leading Australian oboist Anne Gilby opened…

Q&A with Bach Akademie Australia’s founder, violinist Madeleine Easton

Ahead of Bach Akademie Australia’s final concerts for the year, classikON spoke to the ensemble’s Founder and Artistic Director, Australian violinist Madeleine Easton, about the group’s inception, the ‘Comfort and Joy’ Bach’s music brings (particularly at Christmas-time), and why you shouldn’t overthink Bach (if you don’t want to!). classikON: You’ve spent much of your career…

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 were treated to an “afternoon tea” on stage with The Idea of North singing an…

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 Director Sam Allchurch described his experience in this his first year with the choir as…

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 of Brisbane chamber musicians, performing chamber music centred around the flute. The ensemble on Friday…

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, you’ve hopefully also read Phillipa’s excellent interview with Kathryn covering the themes and rich backstory of…

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 sun pouring in through the stained-glass windows. Formed in 2015, Soirées Musicales Quintette is an…

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, Egmont, in 1810. From the opening majestic chords, the orchestra, ably led by concertmaster Maria…

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 early so had plenty of time to read the program for this piano recital. The…

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 violinist Marianne Edwards graduated with a PhD from Sydney University and is Associate Principal Second…

Q&A with Selby & Friends’ Kathryn Selby ahead of Beethoven’s Back tour

Ahead of Selby and Friends’ 2019 season finale tour, Beethoven’s Back, classikON’s Phillipa spoke to Kathryn Selby about the enduring appeal of Beethoven, his compositional genius, and the tour’s special guests –  Sydney Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Andrew Haveron, and rising star cellist, Australian Richard Narroway. classikON: Beethoven’s Back is an all-Beethoven program. Beethoven’s popularity continues to…

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 flute, both duet and solo. The programme promised something a little bit different, something fresh…

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 Sydney Conservatorium of Music. I, like most others I imagine, was there primarily to hear…

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 scene, sounds of wildlife were brought to life with a combination of dynamic expressivity, instrumental…

“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 always been, and continues to be, perpetrated on women and girls. Musically this poses some…

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 and any opportunity to hear it performed is exciting, and sadness because after eight years…

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 doubt that the higher lines would be heard. Warren gave a singular demonstration that she…

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 the classic four-movement structure. Named “Pastorale” by one of Beethoven’s early publishers, the title is mostly…

Q&A with Halcyon’s Jenny Duck-Chong ahead of IN NATURE

Ahead of Halcyon’s concert, In Nature, on Saturday 12th October, classikON’s Phillipa spoke to Halcyon’s Artistic Director, co-founder and mezzo-soprano, Jenny Duck-Chong about nature and poetry as artistic inspiration, the importance of supporting new music, and the unique soundscapes In Nature will evoke. classikON: Why do you think it is that composers throughout history, and still today, turn…

Bach Akademie Australia didn’t disappoint with Bach’s magical concerti

If there was a star-spangled concert in Sydney’s Early Music scene, this would be it. Madeleine Easton, Neal Peres da Costa, Mikaela Oberg, Alicia Crossley and Aaron Reichelt represented the best in their chosen instruments and they didn’t disappoint. What really struck me was how tightly the ensemble played – from the get-go to the…

SUSO & Pacific Opera cater for all senses with Hänsel und Gretel

“Once upon a time, on the edge of a great forest, there lived a very poor woodcutter with his wife and his two children, Hansel and Gretel…” What better way to begin a long weekend than inside a fairy tale! Eat, relax, and fully immerse yourself After delicious quick meal at a favourite local eatery, Joe’s Table in…

Leichhardt Espresso Chorus’s Michelle Leonard OAM on reimagining Handel’s Messiah for 2019

Ahead of Leichhardt Espresso Chorus’s 21st birthday celebration, Messiah Reimagined, classikON’s Phillipa spoke to the group’s founder and Artistic Director, Michelle Leonard OAM, about her vision for the 2019 transformation of the Messiah, the composers’ design brief, and the power of arts organisations to facilitate conversations about contemporary issues facing Australia. The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus describe…

With Sara Macliver, the Australian Haydn Ensemble stunningly interpret the Delirium of Love

After a picnic lunch in the sunny Botanic Gardens, it was only a small step in the imagination to be transported to an eighteenth-century garden to listen to Scarlatti’s Concerto Grosso No. 3 from Six concerti in seven parts, which opened the Australian Haydn Ensemble’s fourth concert series, Delirious Love. Written in a major key…

Sophie Rowell & Kristian Chong’s immaculate Sydney Mozart Society performance was thoroughly enjoyable

A packed hall at Chatswood Concourse welcomed violinist Sophie Rowell and pianist Kristian Chong, who are no strangers to the Sydney Mozart Society. Sophie won the ABC Young Performers Award in 2000 which gave her the opportunity to play as soloist with the major Australian orchestras. She then founded the Tankstream Quartet which won many…

Bel a cappella’s 2019 Come & Sing Project was a super day of singing and camaraderie

It was with a light heart and high expectations that I boarded the Saturday morning ferry towards Cockatoo Island for the 2019 Bel a cappella Come and Sing Project. My expectations were high because this was the second such project I had participated in with Bel, the first being a three-hour rehearsal of Thomas Tallis’s…

“Netsuke and Inrō” a well put-together fusion of opera & theatre traditions

Netsuke and Inrō was a splendid fusion of noh and kabuki theatre traditions with Italian opera, which carefully selected from each while never being confused about what it was trying to achieve at any given moment. The setup was simple: a small, low stage backed by Shōji and containing the accoutrements of a teahouse; the only…

Australia Ensemble’s Heart*Beat was live music at its exhilarating best

Before the music started at this Australia Ensemble concert, Dene Olding gave thanks to the late Justice Jane Mathews for all her support to music in Sydney and that the evening’s music was dedicated to her memory. Jane loved attending concerts and mixing with the musicians. She was also a fan of Richard Wagner’s The…

Song Company’s “Mind Over Matter” was a unique and explosive chamber comic opera with strong performances

When I volunteered to write about The Song Company’s Mind Over Matter, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Billed as “a zany musical comedy surrounded by vocal arrangements of 1980s pop hits”, the only thing I was sure of was that my companion and I were in for a unique experience! Upon entering…

Kenny Broberg showcased his virtuosity in a multifaceted, impactful recital

Kenny Broberg is rapidly becoming a notable figure in the piano world. In 2016, he was a Grand Finalist in the Sydney International Piano Competition. The following year, he won the Silver Medal at the Van Cliburn competition in Fort Worth Texas, and in 2019 he won Third Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in…

“Schumann & the Woman” was delightfully presented by Ayşe Göknur Shanal & Ashley Hribar

With an impressive list of awards, prizes and accolades to her name, I expected great things from Ayşe Göknur Shanal and I was not disappointed. Also the program was much anticipated; it featured my favourite song cycles by Robert Schumann, Frauenliebe und -Leben (Women’s lives and loves) and Dichterliebe (Poet’s love), as well as the Op. 13 songs of…

The inaugural Eastside Sydney Music Festival finale was an all-Baroque “Stravaganza!”

The final concert of the inaugural week-long Eastside Sydney Music Festival (ESMF), curated by Professor Neal Pere da Costa and supported by Sydney University, was an all-Baroque affair held at the Paddington Town Hall. It featured musicians from three groups – Ironwood, The Australian Haydn Ensemble, and The Muffat Collective – all renowned for their…

Selby & Friends’ “The Game Changers” an intriguing and fascinating program of revolutionary composers

Elena Kats-Chernin’s Blue Silence for Piano Trio must be one of the most stunning introductory pieces to a recital. Written in 2006 for her son suffering from schizophrenia, the piece is an exquisite journey into meditation and peace. I defy anyone to listen live to this soundscape that calls up oceans and deep meditative colours and…

Ironwood opened the inaugural Eastside Sydney Music Festival to riotous applause

The rain momentarily eased in time to celebrate the opening concert of the inaugural Eastside Sydney Music Festival. Featuring Ironwood at the Paddington Town Hall, this was the first of 10 musical events in interesting venues around Paddington, to be performed in less than a week. Neal Peres Da Costa, the Artistic Director, and also…

Q&A with Tempo Rubato’s Georgina Lewis

Located in the inner-city suburb of Brunswick, Tempo Rubato is Melbourne’s newest and hottest destination for live classical music! Although the venue and bar only opened its doors on the 2nd of June, it has already garnered the attention of audiences and dogs alike (more on that later!). classikON’s Phillipa recently spoke to Tempo Rubato’s Georgina…

Australia Ensemble’s “Cool Fire” a concert of contrasts

The newly refurbished foyer of the Sir John Clancy Auditorium provided a welcoming grand entrance for the Australia Ensemble’s fourth subscription concert of 2019, Cool Fire. The concert was themed around contrasts not only within the works themselves (especially the piece by Paul Moravec, from which the concert takes its title), but also with the…

‘New Constellations’ a veritable showcase of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra

The Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra made its first, and very welcome, visit to Newcastle on the evening of Saturday 17th August, bringing its touring program entitled ‘New Constellations’ to the highly successful 2019 Newcastle Music Festival. Co-founder and clarinettist Nicole van Bruggen’s introductory talk outlined the history of the group, which grew from the suggestion…

Selby & Friends’ Kathryn Selby on musical game changing

Selby and Friends’ upcoming tour, The Game Changers, will “explore composers whose influence made a significant impact upon the world of classical music”, with Kathryn Selby joining forces with Australian violinist Susie Park and cellist Julian Smiles to perform “a moving homage to those whose vision was far ahead of their time”. The thread of…

18th Bangalow Music Festival conducted conversations through chamber music

Set in the heart of the quaint town of Bangalow, Northern New South Wales, the A&I hall was an intimate venue for chamber music. Locals flock each year to attend the Bangalow Music Festival, an important event for their community. Bangalow Music Festival, presented by Southern Cross Soloists, is now in its 18th year. The…

The Australian Youth Orchestra with Jan Lisiecki performed their interesting & ambitious program with excellence

It has been about 30 years since I have heard the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO). The maximum age of orchestra members is 25 years so that is longer than any of the present musicians have been alive! The program was interesting and ambitious so I was intrigued. I expected a good concert but we got…

The Newcastle Music Festival is a musical force with which to be reckoned

The 2019 Newcastle Music Festival is officially underway! classikON sat down with the Festival’s Co-Artistic Directors, Ross Fiddes and Dr. David Banney to find out why the Festival is well worth attending (hint: the answer involves “great locations, beautiful city surroundings, and extraordinary performances”). Now in its 4th year, the annual Newcastle Music Festival has…

Bel a cappella’s superbly sung concert beautifully balanced abstract with descriptive works

Entering the beautiful Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel in the heights above Manly suitably prepared me for an afternoon of soaring voices and close harmonies from Bel a cappella. They began with their backs to the audience, singing John Cage’s ear for EAR (antiphonies), in antiphonal style, without the conductor. Solo tenor, Ben Mullaney, sang a…

The brilliance of the Sydney Soloists sextet was on full display in their program for the Sydney Mozart Society

Every programme given by the Sydney Mozart Society is carefully thought out in collaboration with the artists. Whether intentional or not, Friday night’s concert was notable for featuring music which to most listeners was to some extent unfamiliar. The performing artists, the Sydney Soloists, were probably more familiar to many in the audience and the…

Flinders Quartet brought to life a vivid picture of Shostakovich through the lens of his string quartets

Unfortunately it’s not often that you see concert programmes combining the spoken word with live music, but in regards to the life and music of Shostakovich, it seems only natural. A composer who often felt the full effects of Stalinist rule, his life and music were so deeply intertwined that it would seem impossible to…

Willoughby Symphony’s “Enigma” a night to remember

There can scarcely be a piece of music about which more has been written and postulated than Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which gave the title to Sunday afternoon’s concert by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. Like so many famous works, it came about by serendipity as Elgar was experimenting on the piano when his wife arrived home…

The Jacobean Singers’ joy of singing was palpable in their “Dido & Aeneas”

On Saturday 20th July, the Jacobean Singers performed Purcell for a loyal audience in Vaucluse. The peaceful St Michael’s Anglican Church was a beautiful venue for the performance. The Jacobean singers is an established group of predominantly older singers with a loyal audience of locals who came to support them. My own reason for coming…

“Sounds of the World” showcased international young vocalists to conclude the inaugural Gondwana World Choral Festival

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I couldn’t make it to the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. However, thanks to the ABC Classic media partner, I was still able to listen to this fantastic concert, with the benefit of commentaries by Vanessa Hughes which brought the choirs to life. The inaugural Gondwana World Choral Festival has been…

Ironwood presented divine & distinctive string quartets in their program, “Prussian Frogs & Bohemian Princes”

The Paddington Uniting Church provided the beautiful venue for Ironwood’s concert Prussian Frogs and Bohemian Princes. It was a cold night, and after extensive warming up of their period instruments, the members of Ironwood performed Haydn’s String Quartet Opus 50 No.6 in D Major, dedicated to the Prussian King Frederick William II. It was nicknamed…

Soirées Musicales Quintette’s Governor’s Soirée an invitation to discover Brisbane’s musical history

Stepping into the warmth and intimacy of Old Government house was a relief from the brisk Brisbane night. With its rich, oak panelled doors, archways, high ceilings and chandeliers, it was a fitting venue for Soirées Musicales Quintette: A Governor’s Invitational Soirée. The concert showcased Romantic music from a unique Brisbane perspective. Formed in 2015,…

Thoroughbass’s “Bach in Three” enjoyably contrasted the music of the Bach family

Thoroughbass presented once again a well thought through program of chamber music in their Bach in Three, which contrasted the work of the three biggest names in the Bach Family – Johann Sebastian (JS), Carl Philipp Emanuel (CPE) and Johann Christian (JC). The venue, Mosman Gallery, was perfect for such a performance – intimate and…

Queensland Baroque’s Radiance shone brightly through a drizzly Brisbane afternoon

Queensland Baroque: Radiance shone brightly through a drizzly Brisbane afternoon on Sunday. The concert took listeners on a musical journey, rediscovering the Baroque period. The lush melodies radiated through the historic church, as the sunlight struggled through the stained-glass windows. Queensland Baroque was founded in 2018 as an orchestra for Baroque lovers with period-style instruments.…

Tea with the Seraphim Trio – a perfect way to spend a winter’s afternoon

On a winter’s afternoon there is only one thing better than sitting by a sunny window with coffee and cake, anticipating a concert by the Seraphim Trio – the concert itself! Entitled Memories, the Prelude in Tea concert at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney began with Czech composer Josef Suk’s Elegie. The Seraphim Trio…

Thoroughbass’s Toybox is sure to entrance young & old alike

Ahead of Thoroughbass’s performances of Claude Debussy’s The Toybox at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, classikON spoke to the group’s Director, Diana Weston. Thoroughbass is “an early music ensemble on an odyssey”, whose “mission is to uncover the unusual, the recently re-discovered, and to see familiar things in a new light” – their “quest is…

Twilight Musical Dialogues’ “Musical Kin – Husband and Wife” was a musical festivity of family in all its incarnations

On Friday June 21st, 2019, Twilight Musical Dialogues hosted the first instalment of “Musical Kin”; a musical festivity of family in all its incarnations. With an eclectic program of works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Leopold Mozart, Ami Williamson, Fanny Mendelssohn, Felix Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Carla Bley, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach and…

UNSW’s Winter Gala program curated around women in love, life and musical creativity

I was pleased when the UNSW Winter Gala was moved from the Sir John Clancy Auditorium to the more intimate Tyree Room at the Scientia Building. This made for a convivial, cosy atmosphere, as rugged-up enthusiasts had the pleasure of being musically entranced by Sara Macliver and Ian Munro. One could immediately feel the collaboration…

Evergreen Ensemble’s Curious Caledonians transports to a different time & place in Australian history

Highland ceilidh, Regency quadrilles and Victorian parlour songs, the Evergreen Ensemble and partners’ programme, Curious Caledonians, draws on the collections of songbooks and sheet music housed in the Sydney Living Museums and the State Library of NSW. They were handwritten copies brought by Scottish immigrants to Australia. The magnificent Elizabeth Bay House made an apt…

Sydney Chamber Choir provides food for thought on a wintry night

Just before the long weekend that celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, Sydney Chamber Choir put its Kings and Queens in a row with a concert exploring composers with the Royal seal of approval. On a dark and wintry Sydney night, we were as if transported to a substitute London’s Westminster Abbey with ‘A Royal Affair’…

Australian Haydn Ensemble with a French Twist

On Sunday June 2, the Australian Haydn Ensemble performed an interesting program with a “French Twist” at the Independent Theatre in North Sydney. This included works with a French connection by Mozart and Haydn, paired with works by little known and rarely performed composers Jadin and Devienne, plus the more well-known Rameau, whose Cinquième Concert…

Q&A with Sydney Chamber Choir member, Ria Andriani

In the lead-up to Sydney Chamber Choir’s concert this Saturday, 1st June, classikON chatted with one of the choir’s singers, Ria Andriani, who is preparing for this ambitious concert which showcases masterworks from two Masters of the Queen’s Music – including Australia’s Malcolm Williamson – plus two of Handel’s grandest royal works. Ria, a graduate…

Selby & Friends provided a vivid evening of Beethoven for the Sydney Mozart Society

The latest Sydney Mozart Society concert was cleverly timed to coincide with the opening of Vivid Chatswood but, fortunately, although the visual aspect was welcoming, we were insulated from the sound effects. On this occasion, Kathryn Selby continued her well-established friendship with the Society, aided by two distinguished musicians. Andrew Haveron was born in London…

Opera Bites lecture series: The Operas You Know & The Operas You Don’t

Explore the fascinating world of opera with popular opera lecturer Murray Dahm. Since 2003, Opera Bites Co-Founder Murray Dahm has delivered accessible, friendly and informative lectures, drawing on its history, culture and music. Join him as he explores a variety of areas of operatic history from composers and voice types through to genres and quirky…

Scots’ Church Choir & Melbourne Chamber Orchestra’s gift to the people of Melbourne

What a gift to the people of Melbourne – a free performance on Sunday 21st April by The Scots’ Church Choir and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra of one of the masterpieces of the Baroque era – J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor – and superbly performed too. Composed over a long time and assembled at…

Danaë Killian is one of Melbourne’s piano treasures

On Saturday 20th April 2019, Dr. Danaë Killian gave a short piano recital which included fine performances of Mozart and Liszt and she championed the music of four composers of her city. From a star afar, a 2-minute miniature by Eve Duncan charms with its simplicity and elegance of form whilst Evan Lawson’s far more…

Q&A with Kate Moore, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Composer-In-Residence

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra is proud to present the world première of Kate Moore’s Piano Concerto, commissioned by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. The concert, entitled Pastoral, is also a part of Vivid Sydney’s 2019 program in Chatswood. Ahead of the première, Kate Moore shares how it came to be that she is Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Composer-In-Residence,…

Flinders Quartet 2019 Composer Development Program participants announced

Launching from a supremely successful inaugural composer workshop in 2016, Flinders Quartet’s (FQ) Composer Development Program is now an annual event, the quartet has invited six emerging composers from across Australia to participate in the 2019 program: Oliver Beard, NSW Joseph Franklin, NSW Timothy Franklin, VIC Simon Kruit, WA Natalie Nicolas, NSW Chloe Sinclair, NSW…

Yet again Josie & the Emeralds shone brightly and required no polishing

Concerts featuring Josie and the Emeralds are always a delight and this was no exception. Entitled ‘Fantasy’ and held in Glebe Town Hall on Friday 26th April, a crowd of regular devotees and many new faces were treated to Fantasias and fantasy-inspired music composed for viols and voice. Brooke Green, as founder and Director of…

Australian Chamber Choir’s “St John Passion” an immersive, enthralling & transcendent experience

Disclaimer: The St John Passion by J.S. Bach is my favourite work of all time. I am in love with this composition. At nigh on 2 hours of music the St John Passion is a journey with the greatest composer of the Baroque times – some would say ever – into a time and place…

Australia Ensemble’s concert “No Strings Attached” was a carefully crafted programme contrasting the familiar and the less so

Problems with light rail construction and venue renovations, as well as the Sydney Swans playing a home match at the SCG, meant that reaching the Sir John Clancy Auditorium at the University of New South Wales on Saturday was problematic. It took very little time, however, to realise that the effort was worthwhile with a…

Coro Austral presented a program of mainly Spanish music with some French & Australian for good measure

Coro Austral is a group of 13 (mostly) unaccompanied voices under the direction of Margot McLaughlin. In this concert they presented mainly Spanish music with some French and Australian for good measure. The first half of the concert focussed on pieces to do with war. The French Renaissance composer Clément Janequin’s La Guerre (La bataille…

Willoughby Symphony’s Eternity concert took the audience on a ‘rhapsodic journey’

The heart and the alternate reality In an inspiring Sunday afternoon at The Concourse, the epic ferocity of a symphony orchestra in full flight, a passionate and instinctive cello soloist and a magnetic contemporary choral requiem were brought to life by Willoughby Symphony and Choir, conducted by Michelle Leonard OAM. The Eternity concert took the…

Goldner String Quartet’s mastery was on full display throughout Sydney Mozart Society’s imaginative programme

Why is it that the sound of the Goldner String Quartet is so distinctive? Certainly there is their perfect timing and intonation but there is more than that. I feel sure that I could pick their playing from ten recordings of top quartets just as 80 years ago one could identify the Amadeus quartet even…

Consort 8’s Eastertide programme delivered a diverse array of reflective music

It’s that time of the year when concerts abound around Sydney in the countdown to Easter Sunday, many of them featuring major works by JS Bach. Consort 8’s first performance of the year, timed with the end of the Lenten Season, provided a rather nice change of pace and focus, although there was one Bach piece…

Sydney Chamber Choir programme joyfully celebrated the power of the voice

Sam Allchurch took his audience to heart and taught them a thing or two about singing in his first subscription concert as Music Director for Sydney Chamber Choir in 2019. Music on Music was billed as a celebration of singing as an artform, and the ‘feeling of joy that only singing can give,’ and it certainly…

Andrián Pertout’s monumental piano work ‘Luz Meridional’ is full of delights

Rarely do I hear a new work that is so strong and meaningful and as full of so many delights as Andrián Pertout’s monumental piano work Luz Meridional. This is singularly one of the most important piano compositions ever written by an Australian composer. For me it ranks with the best works of Larry Sitsky…

Q&A with Sam Allchurch, Sydney Chamber Choir’s new Music Director

In the lead-up to accomplished young conductor Sam Allchurch making his debut as Music Director of Sydney Chamber Choir this Saturday, March 30th, classikON chatted with him about his pathway to conducting, programming music about music, inclusivity in classical music, and the difference between a choral concert and a poetry recital. classikON: The Sydney Chamber…

Sydney Youth Orchestra’s performance gave enjoyment in spades

Sydney Youth Orchestras comprises no less than fourteen orchestras embracing ages from 6 to 25 years, with students progressing with experience and being directed to areas to suit their individual talents. They have provided this essential function in New South Wales for 26 years. To start proceedings in the Verbrugghen Hall on a lively note,…

Ku-ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra’s intriguing and innovative programme works a treat!

What a transformation there has been in the Ku-ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra. Gone are the creaky strings and hesitant woodwind entries resulting in an efficient and accurate unit. Perhaps its new principal home in the expanse of Chatswood Concourse has helped in this. Conductor Paul Terracini has been in charge for eighteen months and much of…

The Australia Piano Quartet presented a stimulating concert of contrasts for the Sydney Mozart Society

It’s hardly necessary to say that the Sydney Mozart Society, now in its sixty-ninth year, produced another recital of the highest quality. The Australia Piano Quartet is now in its eighth year as Resident Ensemble at Sydney’s University of Technology where it has focused largely on contemporary Australian composers and has worked with the School of Software…

Elysian Fields ‘What Should I Say’ is a thoroughly enjoyable CD that challenges boundaries

Brisbane’s Poinciana trees are bursting with vibrant red flowers, showering footpaths, rooftops, roads, and parked cars with flamelike petals. A perfect afternoon for listening to Elysian Fields. What Should I Say is the first CD to be released by classical jazz fusion ensemble, Elysian Fields. Elysian Fields is Australia’s only band featuring an electric viola da gamba. Its founder, Jenny Eriksson,…

Oliver Fartach-Naini makes the guitar sing in ‘Suite Latina’ recording

Oliver Fartach-Naini’s newest release, Suite Latina, is his first solo album in a recording career that spans over twenty years. A prolific chamber musician, Fartach-Naini’s discography includes recordings of Schubert’s Winterreise for two guitars and viola (Winter Journey), folk songs from around the world (Canto Antigo), works composed for his guitar duo with Lee Song-Ou…

Australian Haydn Ensemble positively shone with Haydn’s Farewell

Under the guest direction of Pinchgut Opera’s Erin Helyard, the AHE positively shone. This was the best performance I have seen from them. Helyard played the piano solos on the program, as well as the continuo, on a magnificent period fortepiano; a replica of an instrument by the famous late 18th Century Viennese maker Anton…

Zelman Symphony had much to entertain, delight and move

This being my first time in this venue I was delighted to experience their still fairly new, state of the art performing arts centre which seats 850 and a stage big enough for a large orchestra and choir. In addition there is a very impressive organ of 40 independent stops and a front of open…

Richard Gill would have been proud of SYO’s Celebrating Strauss

Richard Gill was an immensely popular conductor and musical educator and the Sydney Youth Orchestra dedicated the last concert in this year’s cycle to him. The concert had another dedicatee, namely Richard Strauss who is generally agreed to be an important link between 19th century romantic composers such as Liszt and Berlioz and 20th century…

Outlaw Opera was adept acting and singing, carried off in spades, and to a great reception

Christina Henson is nothing if not versatile, having trained in both opera and medicine, and she produced a show to wake up sleepy Avoca on a Friday night. Avoca Beach Theatre is a beautifully situated Boutique Picture House and plans for it to be replaced by a multiplex will hopefully be shelved. The show was…

Halcyon’s Shining Shores shows their energy supporting living composers is rewarding for audiences

For Halcyon, their last concert for 2018 could be considered something of a landmark for the vocal chamber group. Formed in 1998 by mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong and soprano Alison Morgan, the ensemble has been a leading light in the fostering of new Australian art music, especially for voice. With Duck-Chong now at the helm as…

Q&A with Halcyon’s Jenny Duck-Chong about Shining Shores

We did a Q&A earlier in the year about how Halcyon is celebrating 20 years. This Saturday 1st December, you’re doing your last concert in your birthday year. In this concert you’re reflecting on the world around us and works significant to you as a group. classikON: Looking back over 20 years, it must be…

Ensemble Three recording Despite Our Silent Elders shows directions in new music in Australia

The CD is named after the longest work on the recording, Elliott Hughes’ Despite Our Silent Elders. At just under 16 minutes this straightforward composition allows the stellar talents of Joel Brennan, trumpet, trombonist Don Immel and guitarist Ken Murray to enchant the listener with gorgeous tone and immaculate intonation. These three musicians are a…

Pinchgut Opera artists discuss Hasse’s Artaserse

Johann Adolph Hasse’s 1730 opera Artaserse was very famous in its day, but it has rarely been performed since 1760 and certainly not in Australia. A number of things are immediately obvious in a discussion with the key creatives of this project. They are extremely proud to be involved in the opera’s resurrection. They are…

Sydney Mozart Society | The Streeton Trio was faultless and reflected the intense moods of the music

How exciting it must have been to be a music lover in Vienna in the early nineteenth century. If you had grown tired of Hummel and even the innovative but ageing Haydn, and were lamenting the premature death of the brilliant Mozart, you had the revolutionary rise of a young Beethoven to assess. On 22nd…

Duo Blockstix recording of Works for percussion and recorder

This recently released CD of Australian works is a pleasing addition to the recorded repertoire of local composers and is testament to the skills of the multi-talented and virtuosic performers Alicia Crossley and Joshua Hill. Blockstix Duo display not only wonderful technique and musicianship but the project itself shows them to be great supporters of…

Soirées Musicales Quintette get straight to the heart at Old Government House in a trip back in time

On 9 November 2018, an appreciative audience gathered at Old Government House to experience a recreation of a concert held in exactly the same location on the same date 112 years before, in 1906. The original concert celebrated King Edward VII’s birthday, and the version presented by Soirées Musicales Quintette replicated the original program faithfully.…

[A]part: Ellen Kirkwood & Sirens Big Band is [A]part from the Crowd

As the Brisbane heatwave sets in like thick soup, an afternoon of lying under the fan, listening to music is a welcome reprieve. The volume knob has to keep being turned up, so the speakers can compete with the beats of reversing bobcats next-door. Hopefully, the builders are receptive to experimental, big-band jazz. Ellen Kirkwood’s…

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s Discovery was an exhilarating evening

I have a problem. I’ve heard the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra play now on five occasions and keep waiting for a wrong note, an error in tempo, or creakiness in the strings but they just don’t occur. Is there a better council funded orchestra in the world I ask myself? Of course the orchestra is made…

Thoroughbass: Bach’s Gamba Sonatas

Situated in lovely Mosman, “Bach’s Gamba Sonatas” presented by Thoroughbass displayed the depth and complexity of the music written for the viola da gamba and harpsichord spanning two generations. With nuanced interpretations and a rich command of each instrument, Througbass’s Sunday afternoon concert in the Mosman Art Gallery allowed the audience an insight into music,…

Flinders Quartet launch their 2019 season!

On a stormy Melbourne evening the Flinders Quartet gathered at a familiar venue, fortyfivedownstairs, for their 2019 season launch. The quartet played at the launch of the venue back in 2002, so it was only fitting it was used as the place to launch their upcoming 2019 season. For almost 20 years the Flinders Quartet…

Evergreen Ensemble’s Snow in Summer provided many colours

‘Snow is Summer’ pays homage to the windswept landscapes and islands of Scotland. The program drew together music from folk and art music traditions, moving between hauntingly beautiful melodies, toe tapping folk tunes and a contemporary Australian commission. The instrumentation of the group provided many colours. Based around period instruments such as baroque violin, viola…

Sydney Mozart Society presents Australian String Quartet

At 8pm on a rainy Friday evening in Chatswood’s Concourse Concert Hall, four of the country’s most respected musicians took the stage as the Australian String Quartet. The ASQ is something of an institution within the Australian classical music scene, performing in various formations for over 30 years. In addition to their rigorous touring schedule,…

Melbourne Composers’ League presents 19 new works at Montsalvat in two concerts

In the historic Montsalvat in the hills just out of Melbourne two concerts of 19 new works were presented by the Melbourne Composers’ League in just one day. The MCL is a rarity in Australia – a group of composers who band together to present new music with a focus on composers from Victoria. Appropriate…

A journey through time; a seamless joinder of music, bird song, art and film

It was such a treat to attend the sell-out performance of “Where Song Began” – a musical celebration of Australia’s birds and how they shaped the world – held in the atmospheric wood panelled room at Cottesloe Civic Centre, in Perth. While the music captivated me the room was unexpected. It reminded me of Tudor…

Halcyon’s From the Hungry Waiting Country is an expansive, dreamlike journey

The grey haze of clouds hangs over Brisbane. I watch the sky in distrust, waiting. I walk on dull, dead grass, and watch the angling, fat crows. An hour’s train ride, and then I’m home to my back yard, to its sagging pawpaw tree, failed veggie patch, and red, red dust. The geckoes are hungry.…

Sarah Grunstein performs Fantastic Fantasies

It would be difficult to imagine a more suitable backdrop for a piano recital than the Utzon room at the Sydney Opera House with a gradual change from a James Jackson painting to a vivid night sky and sea transport of various kinds taking a look in. If only they could have heard the music,…

Introducing you to River City Voices!

River City Voices is a not-for-profit auditioned “symphonic” style choir based in Parramatta, western Sydney. They will perform large scale classical and contemporary choral works under the artistic direction of Sarah Penicka-Smith. Aiming to become integral and permanent players in the diverse musical landscape of western Sydney through exemplary choral performances that reflect, engage and…

Australian Chamber Choir sings complex music fearlessly and it thrills the listener

In the impressive Grand Court at the Art Gallery of NSW the Australian Chamber Choir presented one of the finest concerts in Sydney this year. Their perfectly chosen program ranged from the early baroque to music from our time and all had romantic or emotional intent. Audible gasps of delight occurred from audience members on…

Around the sun with Song Company

As we take our seats and open up the program for The Song Company’s Four-Colour-Season concert at Darling Quarter we are immediately hurled into confusion. What’s this? There are song names and word extracts and names of seasons and months swimming in front of us in circles. What will come first? How will we know…

Ironwood’s Classical Lyricism and Fervour was an evening of warm weather, beautiful tones, and spectacular works

With a program featuring a composer known as the “Spanish Mozart”, it should seem fitting that Ironwood’s 3rd concert in this year’s season was accompanied by a beautifully warm evening at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Ironwood is a period-instrument ensemble established in 2006 that explore not only historically informed performances of late-Renaissance works, but…

Bel a Cappella’s 2018 Come and Sing was monuMENTAL. A perfect way to spend the day.

On Saturday afternoon if you happened to be wandering through Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building you may have been somewhat astounded when instead of the usual bland piped elevator music, the sound of 80 voices singing 16th century anthems and motets soared over the weary shoppers and latte sippers. This was the culmination of Bel a…

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra with David Fung was full of passion

When is an encore not an encore? When it starts the programme, as Nicholas Milton explained after the orchestra had began unexpectedly with the “Trepak” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker suite. No one would be in the mood for an encore after the Pathetique symphony so let’s have one now – and a second time for luck!…

Sydney Mozart Society presents Australian Haydn Ensemble

Probably the most welcome rainstorm in Sydney history put the Chatswood audience, which included eminent patrons Lauris Elms and Donald Hazlewood, in a relaxed mood for the latest concert by Sydney Mozart Society with The Australian Haydn Ensemble, were very welcome debutants to this series, well known for playing on period instruments. Simone Slattery hails…

Ana de la Vega’s Mozart Myslivecek Flute Concertos with English Chamber Orchestra

Recording the Mozart Flute Concertos is a bold move. Every professional flutist knows these works and they are the most commonly requested concerto for any professional orchestral audition. Likewise, they have been recorded superbly many times. Rampal and Nicolet gave us classic recordings in the 1960s. Jump forward to 2002 and Patrick Gallois pushes the…

Selby & Friends immensely enjoyed performing works by composers with troubled souls

I wonder what effect the title of Selby and Friends’ latest concert “Troubled Souls” had on readers? It certainly didn’t apply to the performers who clearly enjoyed the occasion immensely. They were; Julian Smiles well-known to all as, among others, the cellist of the Goldner quartet, Natalie Chee, who is concertmaster violinist for the Stuttgart…

Consort 8 was a joyful noyse with first-class playing and singing

With all the discordant noise coming out of Canberra these days, not to mention natural disasters around the world, an evening where one can push all this out of the conscious mind and sink into some ‘joyful noyse’ was most welcome. A crowd of faithful Consort 8 followers as well as first-timers turned up at…

Soirées Musicales Quintette – sanctuary on a Sunday afternoon

As a winter wind whipped through Brisbane swirling leaves and dust, Saint Mary’s Anglican Church in Kangaroo Point provided a serene backdrop to a charming performance by Soirées Musicales Quintette. Founded in 2015, the Brisbane-based ensemble enhances the romantic classical musical experience by performing in heritage venues wherever possible. The five members are sopranos Annie…

Celebrating Ross Edwards’ 75th Birthday

Birthday invitations are not to be sneezed at and it was a privilege to be part of a celebration of Ross Edwards’ seventy fifth year at City Recital Hall. He is probably Australia’s best known contemporary composer with Peter Sculthorpe no longer with us and has continued the tradition of invoking sounds of native Australia,…

Bel a cappella showed unbounded enthusiasm for the carefully chosen music appreciated by a grateful audience

This was the second in Bel a cappella’s annual season and I was lucky enough to hear the first. Running since 1995, they have set high standards for an amateur group throughout. Sunday’s concert was held in the Catholic Church of St Augustine in Balmain, a sublimely beautiful venue for a concert titled “Salve Regina”…

Flinders Quartet was perfectly balanced for the theatrical nature of the works

Two Australian composers were featured in the Flinders Quartet concert at Independent Theatre more as arrangers than presenting new music but highly successful nonetheless. Calvin Bowman’s The Curly Pyjama Letters with text by Michael Leunig presents 7 whimsical snippets from Leunig spoken over music basically from earlier eras of music history. The writing for the…

Five questions with Lachlan Dale about his record labels Art As Catharsis and Worlds Within Worlds

Hi Lachlan! Tell us a little about the project. I am currently working on the launch of my new record label, Worlds Within Worlds, which will be focusing on classical, traditional and fusion world music. Our first release centres on the Tehran-born tar player, Hamed Sadeghi and his group, the Eishan Ensemble. The group creates…

Rags, Bags and Tangos with Deborah de Graaff (clarinet) and Tonya Lemoh (piano) is carefully chosen pieces played exquisitely

There are so many wonderful things about this recording. It is played exquisitely. The ensemble between de Graaff and Lemoh is impeccable. The carefully chosen collection of pieces makes a great listening experience. And there is a nice balance between pieces you will probably be familiar with, and new works to enjoy. Four Australian composers…

Jenny Duck-Chong on 20 years of Halcyon

Kate Tribe had a wonderful Q&A with Halcyon’s co-founder and Artistic Director, mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong. Kate: Twenty years is a wonderful milestone for an organisation. When my Market Research business was at that point, I remember looking back and thinking about what I had started with, and the journey it had been. In those 20…

Backstage Music was an ideal way to finish the week

BackStage Music on Friday night was exactly what my brother and I needed. The week had been fairly crazy and we needed to mentally close the door, allowing the weekend door to open. For me, choosing what to do with my time when not at my full time job, is selecting something to take me…

Australian Haydn Ensemble joined by Simon Martyn-Ellis was an impressive delight

The AHE has been around now for about 6 years and it continues to be one of Australia’s premier early music groups. Often they present ensembles of a larger scale but in this concert it was decidedly “chamber” with the core members, Skye McIntosh & Simone Slattery (violins), James Eccles (viola) and Anton Baba (cello),…

Wonderful surprises abounded at Consort 8’s Fratres.

I’ve been to enough Consort 8 concerts to know three things about them. Firstly, the standard of performance is tops – fabulous recorders, skilful playing of viols, lutes and theorbo, and where else are you going to get a gaggle (or whatever the collective noun is) of sackbuts?  Secondly, the program will contain more than…

Audiences exhilarated by Willoughby Symphony Choir’s The Seasons

While Joseph Haydn had a long and successful musical career, his personal life was not so great. He rarely saw his parents after moving in with his friend Johann Spangler as a teenager and he had a long but unhappy childless marriage to Maria Anna, who had no love of music and was said to use…

Michael Tsalka joins ThoroughBass – It was wonderful to hear such a virtuoso of the harpsichord

The Israeli harpsichordist Michael Tsalka was the featured artist at this concert at the Mosman Art Gallery, and what a coup it was for a small local group to perform with such an outstanding international artist. Thorough Bass, under the leadership of Diana Weston (harpsichord), presented an interesting program, with their usual mix of early…

Superlative Chamber Music Making from the Australian World Orchestra

The Australian World Orchestra was formed in 2011 under the patronage of Sir Charles Mackerras, comprising Australian musicians playing in local state orchestras and overseas in international symphony orchestras. Sadly, the group only plays for one week a year in Australia, but has already lured famous conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Simone Young and Zubin Mehta, with Riccardo Muti…

Wonderful musicianship from Bach Akademie Australia

The huge audience that attended the concert by the Bach Akademie Australia in the St Francis of Assisi Church Paddington are great supporters of the music of Bach and also enthusiastic for the success of this newly formed specialist group. Founded by violinist Madeleine Easton in 2017, all the instrumentalists are well versed in period…

Coro Austral hosted an exhilarating evening

What an exhilarating evening hosted by Coro Austral at St Augustine’s Church in Balmain. Coro is a Sydney based amateur chamber choir which specializes in music of Hispanic origin. Their bubbling director, Margot McLaughlin, kept us fully informed before each piece and clearly is blessed with perfect pitch as she started each segment with an introductory note. Her enthusiasm was…

Bel a cappella performed JS Bach’s Chaconne with sensitive singing that captivated the listeners

The near capacity audience for Bel a cappella at the historic Christ Church St Lawrence were treated to a concert by an ever improving community choir singing repertoire that suits their skill set and creating a performance that shone. Musical director and conductor Anthony Pasquill chose wisely when constructing this concert. For me the work…

Song Company’s Byrd Round Table at Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art after Hours

On entering the Art Gallery of NSW entrance hall on Tuesday evening the audience was seated around a small stage containing a table set with goblets, wine and candles. We are all invited, Artistic Director Anthony Pitts tells us, to a 16th-century dinner party in the Tudor home of one Mr Robert Dow. Pitts went…

Selby and Friends’ Beethoven by ballot was a great concert of audience favourites

Kathryn Selby put together yet another intriguing programme, on this occasion based on one composer’s works. She is, of course, an accomplished pianist in her own right and her reputation enables her to lure top class international and local performers to play with her. Grace Clifford studied at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music until 2014…

The Opus Now concerts at Alpha Gallery are a treat

In a program with a new work by an Australian composer it would be easy to gloss over a Beethoven string quartet, the Razumovsky Opus 59/1, but the Opus Now concert at the small and very intimate Alpha Gallery in Newtown was a most notable exception. And even more surprising was that this is an…

Anna McMichael and Daniel de Borah’s ‘In other words’

A new recording on the independent Australian label, Tall Poppies, showcasing transcriptions for violin and piano, is cleverly and most appropriately named “In Other Words“. Both violinist, Anna McMichael, and pianist, Daniel de Borah, are well-known and well-credentialled Australian musicians. This set of transcriptions is unique in that not only did the four composers featured…

Australian Haydn Ensemble’s Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 & 3

Forming part of a series of reconstructions, Peres Da Costa with the Australian Haydn Ensemble, performing all of Beethoven’s piano concertos, this recording of the 1st and 3rd concertos is remarkable for a number of reasons. Principal of these is the exacting research brought to the playing of all the instruments, that places it as…

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s spectacular Thomas Tallis’ England

I had been looking forward to reviewing this concert ever since the 2018 brochure appeared in my letterbox. English music of around 400 years ago is simply divine. It’s the music of Shakespeare’s time, and the music dramatic. Our program started in near darkness with just a spotlight on the chamber organ. Music of Orlando…

Ensemble Three was an adventure through nature

Ensemble Three played to a full house in the Salon at the Melbourne Recital Centre. An unusual ensemble of a trumpet, trombone and guitar, I rather anticipated something closer to swing or jazz. Instead the concert was an adventure through nature – an inspired collection rendered anything but natural with their amplification, electronic soundscapes and…

Sydney Baroque Music Festival: Musical Pilgrims

This was the culminating concert of a week’s summer school for young musicians from all over Australia and New Zealand, specialising in early music. The week was under the mentorship of The Muffat Collective. The tutors Rafael Font (violin), Anton Baba (cello) and Anthony Aboudamad (harpsichord) joined the students for this all-baroque concert in the…

Jennifer Eriksson produces two for the price of one – Marais Project and Elysian Fields in one concert

We have been following Jennifer Eriksson’s “Marais Project” since its inception. Marin Marais (1656-1728) was a prolific viola da gamba player and composer. He wrote many volumes of gamba music. In the year 2000 Ericsson set herself the ambitious task of doing live performances of all of them. Her concerts feature a lot of other…

Peninsula Summer Music Festival: Bach Violin Sonatas

Three of Bach’s sonatas for violin and obligato harpsichord were presented in this concert, the C minor with its beautiful opening movement, B minor and the G major. No programme was given so we relied on the information mostly supplied by Julia Fredersdorf who in her last recital as artistic director of this festival presented…

Australian Haydn Ensemble’s playing was perfection

There is always a sense of relief when you arrive in your seats at Angel Place after having passed the god-awful infernal din emanating from the Ivy night club, and there is that magic moment of pure silence just before the musicians are about to play. In this instance our anticipation was rewarded by the…

Consort 8’s A Renaissance Christmas was a fabulous start to the Season

We’ve all heard of the recorder, and many can recognise a viol da gamba, lute, and theorbo when they see one. But how about a cittern? Or a psaltery? And a tapan? All featured in the fabulous Consort 8 concert on Saturday night, kicking off the Christmas/Advent season with a program of (mostly) Renaissance works.…

Hoang Pham brilliance tempered by a fine balance and propriety with Zelman Symphony Orchestra

It was a dark and stormy night (well early Summer evening actually) and to get to the Melbourne Recital Centre involved some dashing across dark glisteningly wet black streets, Melbourne was experiencing one of its stormiest beginnings to Summer for many a year so the turnout for the Zelman Orchestra was very creditable and thus…

Josie & the Emeralds Celebrate the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Music with a fascinating and rich program

Josie (Josie Ryan, Soprano) and the Emeralds (four viol da gamba players) first presented a special program honouring Lady Music in 2014. It was such a success with their audience, the Emeralds decided to make it an annual event. Some 80 fans crowded into the Glebe Town Hall – including Dame Emma Kirkby and her…

Sydney Chamber Choir 2018 Season Launch

Fresh from supporting the Sydney Flash Mob Choir on Wednesday evening (15th November) at the City Recital Hall, the Sydney Chamber Choir, arguably one of this country’s finest choral ensembles, launched their 2018 program with their own quintessential mixture of elegance and energy. In 2018, the choir’s 43rd year, Music Director Richard Gill, OAM, is…

Coro Austral celebrate Love, Loss and Remembrance

On the eve of their Cuban tour, Coro Austral, conducted Artistic Director Margot McLaughlin, presented a concert pillared by the Mass For the Dead by Portuguese composer Manuel Cardoso. The clear acoustics of the Redfern Town Hall and its simple decor created an intimate performing space for this acapella celebration of Love, Loss and Remembrance.…

Bel a cappella – sumptuous choral music in spades

Bel a cappella’s final concert for 2017 took its name from Arnold Schonberg’s 1907 score Friede auf Erden (Peace on Earth). This harmonically rich and highly romantic work in four parts received not only a rare airing in Sydney but also a thoroughly commendable one. Musical director Anthony Pasquill brings a depth of understanding to…

Balmain Baroque were engaging with a delightful program

On a hot and seemingly ‘summer-esque’ and seriously smouldering Sunday at St Peters Presbyterian Church in North Sydney, the well-known Balmain Baroque presented a delightful program of Vivaldi, Handel, Quantz, Mattheson and two of the most underappreciated composers of the Baroque – Zelenka and Fasch. Opening with a reduction of Zelenka’s “Salve Regina” (ZWV 135),…

One Woman and Two Divas is a magical evening combining generous and personal

What a truly magical evening of musical theatre, opera, unique music and gourmet food in a corrugated iron shed seemingly in the middle of nowhere! While the weather outside was a little frightful, it was absolutely delightful under the glass chandeliers and fairy lights. Large heaters warmed us as we enjoyed an intimate setting with…

Sydney Mozart Society hosts Enigma Quartet and Timothy Nankervis

This was the last concert of the Sixty Seventh year of the Mozart Society and it was appropriate that, in contrast to recent programmes, we were treated to works familiar to many listeners. The Enigma Quartet has been playing for twelve years and has become a feature of the Sydney classical music scene. Marianne Broadfoot,…

Con Opera & Opera Australia: Mozart’s The Magic Flute

Mozart’s The Magic Flute was popularly received and critically acclaimed when it premiered in Vienna, in 1791. Mozart attended the performances multiple times and delighted in the popular reception. However, he died a mere 2 months after the opera’s premiere. He was 35 years old at the time. If you base your knowledge of Mozart…

Australian Haydn Ensemble’s Beethoven’s Emperor arranged by Vi King Lim

How better to spend a rather chilly, drizzly, overcast Saturday afternoon in Sydney than to attend a concert given by the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE), a group specialising in historically-informed performances of late Baroque and early Classical music on period instruments. All three works were arranged for a streamlined ensemble consisting of two violins, two…

Sydney Chamber Choir and The Muffat Collective lamented – but the audience did not

Love indeed knows no boundaries – and the music heard tonight was some of the most sorrowful on earth, but sung and played with such beauty. Lamentations and libations (at interval) were promised and the capacity Great Hall audience did not suffer. It was great to see Roland Peelman back in Sydney as guest conductor…

Sydney Mozart Society arrange to please and Southern Cross Soloists performance excellent throughout

There must be a tremendous amount of planning that goes into the programming of Sydney Mozart Society concerts. At Chatswood Concourse on Friday, there was a programme that consisted largely of familiar works arranged for unusual combinations of instruments. These arrangements were worked by John Rotar, who, although few of us are aware, composed the…

Q&A | Sirius Chamber Ensemble about Where the Heart Is

On Saturday 21 October 2017, Sirius Chamber Ensemble is performing Where The Heart Is – a collaborative fundraiser for the not-for-profit organisation Habitat for Humanity Australia. The concert program will focus on the plight of the homeless in our society, featuring works by composers who were known to have been homeless or displaced during their…

A Twinkling Star in the Sydney Music Scene

On Sunday 8 October, local musician (clavichord, fortepiano, traverso) Ivan Foo presented An Evening with Mozart at St Mark’s Church in Hunters Hill. This is the second concert by Ivan Foo that I have attended, and it appeared many in the audience were also repeat attendees. I admire any amateur musician who is confident enough…

Q&A with Latin-Australian singer Daniel Alejandro

Venezuelan born Latin-Australian singer, Daniel Alejandro is returning to his hometown Bondi, following the international release of his debut album El Amor. It will be an intimate one-night- only concert Songs of Rhythm & Romance on Tuesday 17 October at Bondi Pavilion. Q&A with Daniel How old were you when you decided to be a…

Alan Holley’s Doppler’s Web is wonderfully chaotic

An intense listening experience- wonderfully chaotic, musically inspiring, a showcase of the talents of some fantastic musicians and a wonderful collection of Alan Holley’s compositions.

Kathryn Selby has friends a-plenty – exemplary trio performance and brilliantly constructed programme

Kathryn Selby is not short of friends – the quality of her pianism and selection of her programmes is testament to that as is the number of her fans.

Consort 8 have tremendous flexibility to programme unusual and rarely heard works

A veritable feast of delicious 16th and 17th Century works, most of them from Spain and Italy, were served up to a full hall.

Song Company’s Dreamers of the Day was non-stop entertainment

The concert, or maybe a more accurate description, the entertainment Dreamers of the Day presented by The Song Company is a 75 minute near non-stop journey through bits and pieces of music from Handel and Bach to the present day. The longest work at nearly 40 minutes (though it incorporated the Swingle Singers version of…

Australia Piano Quartet | Innocence and Experience in composition and interpretation

The Australia Piano Quartet has been the Ensemble in Residence a the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) since 2012. They have toured throughout Europe and Asia and have given concerts at the Barbican and Wigmore Hall in London. Their specialties include performing rarely heard works, and works by Australian composers. Andrew Haveron, the concert master…

Sydney Mozart Society | Memorable evening from Duncan Gifford and friends

Duncan Gifford now lives in Madrid but returns to his native Australia annually. He has the distinction of being the highest placed Australian in the Sydney Piano Competition when he came third in 1992 as well as numerous other competition successes. Susan Collins has performed as a violin soloist in Australia, Europe and USA as…

BackStage Music was riveting throughout

We found our way on a cold winters night to a dark, dingy Darlinghurst lane with a steel roller shutter door and wondered what we had let ourselves in for. Inside however, we found a cosy space with chairs and a lot of people sipping wine. A small stage was set up with some high…

Australian Chamber Choir was a treat!

Sometimes you go to a concert and after just a few seconds know you are in for a treat. Lucky me, I had that experience with this, my first encounter with the Australian Chamber Choir. This exciting ensemble of young singers from Melbourne is on the tail end of a tour that included numerous concerts…

Bel a cappella and Australian Baroque Brass were insightful and shone

Bel a cappella’s concert billed Motetten was, for me, memorable for a work that was not a motet – Paul Hindemith’s Apparebit repentina dies (1947) for choir and eight brass players. This 25 minute work shows Hindemith writing life affirming music full of hope after the horrors of World War II. Bold, clean melodic lines…

Three’s Midnight Songs recording brings additional layers of satisfaction

The CD Midnight Songs by the Melbourne group Three is a wonderful introduction to repertoire that is evolving especially for this ensemble and it should have wide appeal amongst the concertgoers of Australia and overseas. Having heard the group in Sydney several years back I knew of their brilliant technical skills and high musicianship. Being…

AWO Chamber 8 was a fantastic gig with rockstar musicians

Last Thursday evening saw the Australian World Orchestra bring their ‘Chamber 8’ to Melbourne to perform first as a septet, and then as a quintet for this evening of superb chamber music in, it must be said, the rather large ‘chamber’ of the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall. True to their ‘supergroup’ billing, uniting musicians from 8…

Selby & Friends’ Proud Folk was chamber music in the best tradition

Kats-Chernin’s The Spirit and the Maiden (2004), was commissioned in 2001 for the Macquarie Trio (of which Selby was a member) and has undergone several revisions since that time. It is based on an intriguing Russian fairy tale where, in Movement I, a young girl accidentally drops her scarf in a well and when she…

Simone Young conducting Australian World Orchestra and ANAM was an exceptional and unforgettable concert

“One could say that Young did not just conduct the symphony; she danced the symphony” It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages attend this concert which featured the collaboration of Australia’s finest musicians now playing in the finest orchestras over the world and conducted by one of the few Australian conductors…

A luminous, multi-channel, sophisticated experience by Argo

NIGHT ONE: to the earth Spring Hill Reservoir 8 July 2017 music for string quartet + cavernous spaces John Luther Adams Canticles to the Sky^ Chris Perren a luminous moment, unfolded* Philip Glass String Quartet No. 5 Connor D’Netto String Quartet No. 2 in E minor Bec Todd live visuals Concert Review The concert began…

Australian World Orchestra Chamber Eight tour: world-class homegrown brilliance

A group email recently arrived in my inbox with an invitation to join a fantasy football league. Not knowing what, or who, the teams or players were, I simply deleted the message. But if I’d been asked to pick my dream-team orchestra, my curiosity would have been piqued. The Australian World Orchestra (AWO) does essentially…

David Gray dazzles on the Christie theatre organ.

They don’t make fun like this any more. As Scottish organist and pianist David Gray stepped on to the stage in the Kelvin Grove State College Auditorium, presented by TOSAQ and the Queensland Music Festival, he won the audience’s heart by saying Brisbane is his favourite place to play in Australia. (Note: get ready to…

Sydney Chamber Choir | A slice of Sydney’s choral and vocal talent was on show on a beautiful winter’s day at Sydney University’s Great Hall

The University of Sydney’s Great Hall set the scene on a sparkling winter’s Sunday afternoon for Sydney Chamber Choir’s Saint Nicolas program. The afternoon’s repertoire took the audience on a journey from Hildegard von Bingen’s Selections from Canticles of Ecstasy to the erupting celebration of Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas in a concert that Musical Director…

Lidia Bara’s performance with Balmain Baroque was nothing short of spectacular

Balmain Baroque performed for a small audience of mainly friends and family in the sympathetic acoustics of the St Peters Presbyterian Church in North Sydney. They played a range of mostly sonatas and arias by Schutz, Telemann, Boismortier, Bernardi, Handel and Corelli. One of the benefits of this early music is that it was common…

Sydney Mozart Society presents an excellent program with a performance of the highest quality by Sydney Soloists

Sydney Mozart Society’s concert in Chatswood by the Sydney Soloists, who recently morphed from the Verbrugghen Ensemble, come with great pedigree. All members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, although Robert Johnson has recently announced his retirement. A Divertimento in E flat for horn, violin and cello by Haydn was the first offering. An early piece…

Australian Haydn Ensemble warmed one’s soul on a cold winter’s night

A delightful program based on Paris in the late eighteenth century sufficiently warmed one’s soul on a cold winter’s night. In the presence of their esteemed Patron, former NSW Governor, Dame Marie Bashir, the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE), along with guest soloist Melvyn Tan, gave another wonderful historically-informed performance. The vast majority of the strings…

Leichhardt Espresso Chorus performs Solomon with a difference

I knew I was in for ‘Handel with a difference’ as soon as I arrived at the ticket desk. Many people seemed to be wearing something pink or yellow or both. The ticket table was laden with a huge pile of coloured streamers (pink and yellow predominating) and I was invited to take one, along…

The Flinders’ Quartet on Collins #2 displays a tight ensemble with exemplary intonation

Lunchtime concerts in the CBD are wonderful for city workers, being so close for so many people, so I wonder why there were not more people attending this concert. There were a few younger people but the audience of 80 or so were probably mostly retirees. There was nothing here that could be criticised as…

ThoroughBass are joined by Israeli keyboard player, Michael Tsalka

On a somewhat dull winter afternoon in Sydney, I attended a ThoroughBass concert named “Overture and Concerto” at the Mosman Art Gallery. The Grand Hall, previously a Methodist church featuring lovely stained glass windows and an expansive timber ceiling that provided great acoustics, was an ideal setting for chamber music. The group, comprising Shaun Ng…

4MBS Festival of Classics’ Mozart and the English Bach, celebrated an unshakeable historic British connection

As headlines roared about the UK election and the ongoing woeful Brexit saga, the 4MBS Festival of Classics concert Mozart and the English Bach, presented by the Queensland Choir and Sinfonia of St Andrew’s, celebrated an unshakeable historic British connection. The artistic link between London and Salzburg was forged when Johann Christian Bach (the youngest…

Alan Holley talks about his works being performed by Sirius Chamber Ensemble

In the lead up to Sirius Chamber Ensemble’s concert on Friday 23 June, 2017, I interviewed Alan Holley who composed most of the works in the program. Kate: Sirius Chamber Ensemble has performed several of your compositions and you have heard them perform other works many times. How do you find this familiarity enhances the…

Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s Unfinished Romance; I wished it didn’t finish

I have to confess something right here, at the very beginning of this review. I am, quite simply, in love with the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra. I say this not apologetically, but just in order to let you know what you will be in for when you go to see an ARCO performance, so…

Eyes wide open at Argo Saturation: music heard, felt and seen

Trying to classify an Argo performance is like trying to describe a flavour. To really get it, you have to experience it.

Bravo and congratulations to everyone at Con Opera for La Calisto

La Calisto by Francesco Cavalli is a beautiful opera in three acts, ripe for fun and games. Characters hide and overhear things they shouldn’t, dresses are taken on an off, and cross dressing is de rigeur! It’s all typical of Venetian opera action and ends with the lead character being turned into bear and then…

An evening of beautiful music from Eusebius and Florestan

The Friends of Eusebius and Florestan – a name which represents the contrasting dreamy and passionate natures of Robert Schumann – produced a performance of Schubert at the Northcote Town Hall which wended amiably and comfortably through these contrasting styles. First up on the programme was the Clarinet Quartet in D, op.7 of Bernard Crusell.…

Wolfgang Steffen’s composition superbly recorded at Sydney Conservatorium of Music

I’ve been enjoying my super music dictionary, the 29 volume New Grove II, for about eight years, but this is the first time I’ve noticed a typo, as I read the entry for Wolfgang Steffen. It’s not an insignificant one, because it’s the composer’s surname! I’m guessing many readers will not be acquainted with Wolfgang…

Ayşe Goknur Shanal and Andrea Katz present Les Chemins De l’Amour

From the moment that Ayşe Goknur Shanal entered the Utzon Room at Sydney Opera House we were transported through song from a sparkling autumnal Sydney Harbour, to the shores of Italy, Spain, Argentina and France. Les Chemins de l’Amour brought us a refreshing repertoire from the South American and French classical traditions, full of tales…

A Balancing Act: The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa

I was sad to miss the first collaboration in 2015 of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa. Who doesn’t like a circus? This time I was looking forward to hearing some old tunes from the Brandenburg’s CD Tapas and some brand ‘new’ Spanish baroque works with eight acrobats flying around in the City Recital Hall.…

Sirius Chamber Ensemble bring many Musical Tales to life with caring, exciting and authoritative performances

This recital by the Sirius Chamber Ensemble was as much about words as it was music. Each of the five works had spoken text and their success as integrated compositions was due in the main to the quality of the music. Abschied von der Erde by Schubert was, as one would expect, the standout both…

Sydney Mozart Society presents Australia Piano Quartet

Chatswood on a Friday night is buzzing with the night food markets and people heading out for time with their family and friends. Climbing the stairs to the concourse is like heading up to the temple, where one can see directly into a Korean Karaoke restaurant and the emboldened displays of fashion at TopShop. Rising…

Pacific Opera’s Race for the Sky showcases our emerging singers

What do you do? You’ve spent three to four years working hard on your voice to perform some of the greatest music in the world to the best of your ability. Then what? Sydney is lucky to have Pacific Opera to step in at this point, the company that has risen from the turmoil of…

Josie & The Emeralds’ Monteverdi and the Golden Age was a delight

The singer Josie Ryan and the viol consort The Emeralds are doing a series of concerts this year to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi’s birth. Monteverdi’s music stands at the cusp between the Renaissance and the Baroque and here we heard works from his Books of Madrigals 3, 4, 5 and 8 spanning…

Sydney Chamber Choir’s German Romantics was an amazing concert of flawless music

I first met young conductor Sam Allchurch on a tour bus in 2003, travelling around the United States with Gondwana Voices. Tonight’s guest conductor would sit next to me on the bus and we discuss in detail the music we were performing and what he was going to do when he’d grown up. Well he…

Flinders Quartet’s Schubert in the South was over too soon

Flinders Quartet is such a well-established ensemble on the Melbourne, and indeed Australian, music scene that one might be tempted to view an evening with them as ‘just another performance’ but how wrong that would be! Thursday evening at The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre was billed as ‘Schubert in the South’ but while Schubert headlined,…

Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra provided an evening of joy and wonder leading the audience through a soundscape rich in deep emotional resonance

The Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra (ARCO) brought a touch of Italian Romance to the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Friday night, and it was an evening of joy and wonder for all. A trio of Beethoven up front followed by Wolf and Mendelssohn after the interval performed by a rotating…

Australian Haydn Ensemble’s Boccherini Night Streets – authentic HIPsters at atmospheric Cell Block Theatre

After a prolonged run of wet weather in Sydney, the sun shone brightly for the first concert of the Australian Haydn Ensemble’s 2017 season. It featured the works of WA Mozart, Luigi Boccherini, and Giuseppe Cambini, either arranged for or originally composed for string quintet. Unlike Mozart, both Boccherini and Cambini moved away from their…

Gavriel Lipkind’s Bible of the Cello

Occasionally you attend a solo recital that reaffirms your belief in the importance of the genre and the concert at the packed Utzon Room at the Sydney Opera House by the cellist Gavriel Lipkind was one of those events. A musician of profound insight and truly amazing technique, Lipkind captivated the audience from the very…

Streeton Trio lifted the heart, gladdened the soul and played in complete accord

The long line-up outside the Independent Theatre well before opening time augured well for the afternoon’s events, indicating that the regulars know the quality of the lavish afternoon tea provided as part of the afternoon’s entertainment. The ‘Prelude in Tea’ series has clearly become an indispensable part of many music-lovers’ cultural calendar. This month’s stars…

Three: an evening of open, intelligent, intuitively understandable, whimsical, and purposeful music

Whimsical, Intelligent and Difficult. This is how Don Immel, on the Trombone for Three, a unique ensemble seeking to challenge and expand the chamber music space with their combination of brass and guitar, characterised both the final piece on offer at the Melbourne Recital Centre and, by extension, the players themselves. It was this piece,…

The Muffat Collective started the season with a concert filled with discoveries

I first heard the newly-formed Muffat Collective play in the Live Broadcast Studio of radio station Fine Music FM 102.5 late last year and was most impressed. They announced themselves as the latest group of historically-informed performers of seventeenth and eighteenth century chamber music, all having been graduates of The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague…

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra staged Handel’s Messiah is a showpiece

“He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!” The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra stage Handel’s Messiah. It’s a momentous occasion, a season opening concert, and what better than to launch with the masterpiece that is George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. I nearly didn’t believe the publicity material that claimed the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra had not ever…

‘Masterpieces’ concert by Thomas Heywood was seamless

Thomas Heywood’s choice of repertoire on Saturday 18 February at Kelvin Grove College Theatre, presented by TOSA QLD (Theatre Organ Society of Australia QLD), was varied and impressive. The first piece, The Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition, had everyone on the edges of their seats, waiting to hear how Hull’s arrangement…

Omega Ensemble: it is hard to imagine a better performance of the Haydn and Mozart pieces in a more beautiful venue

The Utzon Room with its sweeping harbour views behind the stage is always a favourite venue for its dreamy atmosphere. Having the Omega ensemble present this delightful program here was a treat.

Song Company Accidental Plan’s engaged the audience from beginning to end

Listening to the Song Company in the Yellow House, Potts Point was for many in the audience a trip back in time. Revisiting works and composers that were played on a regular basis in Sydney in the seventies this cabaret style production references aspects of the life and musical times of the once avant-garde English…

Multiple Keyboards showcased modern works on 4 grands and 3 toy pianos

An inspiring concert in an interesting venue and the repertoire was engaging. This was apparently the third such concert; if there are more, I will be there!

Zelman Symphony showed Stefan Cassomenos in fine form for a Scandinavian theme

Pianist Stefan Cassomenos strode on stage to warm applause, and left it to a thunderous ovation some 30 minutes later.

Omega Ensemble’s debut recording on ABC Classics is interesting and polished

The famous and much-loved Clarinet Quintet of Mozart, and two contemporary pieces composed by fellow Australians, Ian Munro and George Palmer.

Josie & The Emeralds celebrating St Cecilia with Viols, Voice, and Organ

Their concerts are always an uplifting and joyful experience. Amy Johansen playing organ really added to the celebration of the life of St Cecilia.

Paul Cutlan talks about his String Project

The versatility of The NOISE led me to employ their creativity as improvisers as well as their consummate skills as classical players.

Enigma Quartet showed marvellous interplay at The Independent Theatre

A fairly young but accomplished string quartet named The Enigma Quartet presented the monthly Prelude in Tea concert at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney on a warm spring afternoon.

The Evergreen Ensemble with Chris Norman and David Greenberg

The eclectic mix of music in this concert was a good light hearted toe-tapping experience. Catch them if they appear in your glen.

ThoroughBass Cock Crow brings Rosemary Dobson’s poetry to concert format

The concert is intimate and personal. The blend of poetry and strings is a fine choice, as the attack of the keyboard reflects the accuracy of the chosen poetic words.

Forest Collective’s Pierrot Lunaire had voices weave beautifully around each other

The Forest Collective is one to watch out for and I hope you are able to join them for future concerts.

Ensemble Offspring’s Kontiki Racket – excellent musicianship bringing new music to life

Impressive concert for the brave choice of new music, excellent musicianship and dedication to bring it to life. Great Sydney has groups so enthusiastically dedicated to sharing new music.

Ensemble Offspring’s Kontiki Racket festival: innovation, diversity and pushing boundaries

Giving access to the world of new music. The exploratory nature of Ensemble Offspring is important to the future of music making, both generally and in Australia specifically.

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.

Song Company launches the Attraction of Opposites for 2017

The 2017 program is full of great beauty and that is how the evening ended when the singers left us

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 miss the Paganini’ by a fellow classikON-er, but it would be a little wait via…

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.

Reflection of Podium Festival, Croatia, July 2016

Alan Holley composer in residence at Podium Festival, Croatia In the utterly picturesque coastal town of Fazana and the island of Brijuni in the northern part of Croatia the 2016 Podium Festival presented world class chamber musicians from six countries. This is a reasonably new festival on the European circuit and is characterised by its…

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.

Australian music in Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia

Paul’s performances will be broadcast on Serbian radio and on Albanian radio and television.

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.

Experience a sonic underground world at Argo’s Flow

Revolutionary Brisbane contemporary classical/electronic duo argo, are presenting their unique sonic descent into an underground world in Spring Hill Reservoir

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.

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 occupied in 1841, has now been gutted and only the outer sandstone walls remain with…

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 things Italian and Baroque, I was looking forward to hearing some music from the peers…

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Omega Ensemble: Stanhope, Isaacs and Mahler

The Omega Ensemble is impressive. I will always be happy to attend any of their concerts and to recommend you do so too.

Pinchgut Opera’s Bajazet is an amazing production

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful ensemble in Pinchgut Opera, who are dedicated to producing these forgotten masterpieces and have had the vision and will to make it happen.

XL Arts ‘Rusalka’ was an evening of excellent music and entertainment

Excellent music and entertainment which I thoroughly enjoyed. If this is the calibre and performance quality of XL Arts productions, get on their list for any of their future events.

Australian Haydn Ensemble performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto to a crowded house

It is testimony to this chamber music group that the last movement of the Haydn, which as the programme noted ’demands virtuosity from the whole party’ was executed superbly.

Ensemble Vinifera connected Hungarian sense of fun and serious

Ensemble Vinifera is violist Ella Brinch, cellist/founder/artistic director Andrew Wilson, & clarinettist John Martin. Joined by violinists Catalin Ungureanu & Airena Nakamura.

The Idea of North lead an evening of love, bosanova, barbershop and jazz

The Idea of North lost no time in warming up the audience with their sense of humour, incredible musicianship and innovative choices.

The Musician Project shows us the future is bright for orchestral music in Australia

From the opening bars the phrasing was subtle and the articulation was delicate. McBride had the full and intense attention of the focussed orchestral players.

Sydney Chamber Choir’s 40th anniversary concert was a promise of even better things to come

The three hour program was a fascinating combination of the old and the modern; showcasing the total professionalism of the choir.

Pearl & Dagger’s ‘The Raven’ was a superb treat for the senses

Combined melodrama, chamber music and drama of the late C19th & C20th in hugely entertaining and darkly atmospheric re-creation of parlour entertainment.

Brandenburg’s Vivaldi Unwired was a tour de force sensual journey through the brilliance of the baroque and back

What I experienced was a challenge to think twice and then some – about my expectations of the both Antonio Vivaldi and the ABO itself. Brandenburg’s Vivaldi Unwired was a tour de force sensual journey through the brilliance of the baroque and back

Songs set to music by a broad range of composers beautifully performed by St James Choir

A different taking of the Song of Songs. The poetry is beautiful, erotic and sensuous. Down the centuries composers have been attracted to these love poems.

Funk Engine has tight playing and ripping talent

Funk Engine have served their time at the Con well, as evidenced by their tight playing and ripping talent. Pogson’s pieces give ample opportunity for each musician to shine with at least one solo for guitar, sax, drums or bass in each piece.

Alan Holley: Hamerings CD launch

Combining music with visual arts is an excellent combination because they combine to create an excellent space to be surrounded and absorbed in the music you’re hearing.

Ironwood with Anneke Scott: Stolen Beauties

Never predictable and always surprising with a tight program, this exceptional chamber orchestra has again delighted with this concert series

The Marais Project Smörgåsbord!

This beautifully compiled CD with extensive booklet notes certainly comes highly recommended for the uninitiated who wish to learn about Swedish culture, history, & music.

Alicia Crossley: Alchemy

The phrasing, articulation and dynamics were beautifully executed and the sound well supported, making the most of the space. A diverse concert.

Israel in Annandale

Alexander Knight is a seriously good bass baritone. If any young singer has that elusive ‘it’, it is him. Michelle Leonard held large & diverse forces together in her characteristically forthright manner.

From Late Medieval Plain Chanting to Contemporary Estonian Jailhouse Rock!

The Cell Block Theatre is near perfect form showing off this group’s considerable capacities. The sopranos produced some stunning sounds and whole group produced power without unnecessary force.

Australia Ensemble’s My Twentieth Century

I am so impressed by this ensemble. They have a loyal following with good reason. This was music making at its best and it is always worth the trek out to UNSW.

ThoroughBass provided a musical feast of varied flavours, composed by Ann Carr-Boyd

A series of folksong arrangements bookended the concert. Very varied styles here despite the tone set by the constraints of an early music ensemble.

The Sydney Consort: The right mix of devotion and enjoyment for Good Friday

Music for Good Friday! Couperin imbues the music with a lightness of touch By far the most intriguing work in the Sydney Consort Good Friday program was the short Francois Couperin motet style Troisième Leçon à deux voix for 2 sopranos and continuo. Even though the text and the subject matter are gloomy Couperin imbues…

Kimisis: contradictions create a sense of mystery

Electronic echo effects applied to both voice and trombone add a cathedral-like blending of sounds as the music and poetry build to its ecstatic climax, spangled with strobe lights and glitter.

Opera in the Pub. Go! Bravo Opera Bites, bravo

If you ever get a chance to see Opera Bites in a pub, or anywhere for that matter, go! The singers are passionate about their craft and deliver fun and compelling classic operatic repertoire.

The Choir of Christ St Laurence in top form for 2015 Lenten concert

Congratulations for getting the Easter season off to such an expressive start, thanks to the thoughtful direction of Neil McEwan and the sensitivity of the choir to its own strengths.

Alexander Knight and Chris Cartner – For Love of a Poet

A very satisfying performance of much-loved Schumann repertoire by a promising young Sydney singer. A glass of wine and the chance to chat with performers in the church hall was an added bonus!

Australia Ensemble were raising sparks!

What an inspiring concert to hear! A luscious 20th century program and Raising Sparks by James MacMillan. It truly had some beautiful moments.

The Marais Project: Smörgåsbord Music from Sweden

Jenny Eriksson teams up with Tommie Andersson, a fellow Swede to produce a CD of Swedish music. There isn’t a track on this CD that you wont enjoy!

Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra play with musicality, enthusiasm and warmth

I am so impressed with a community orchestra doing work of this quality. I have suddenly become a fan of the Ku-ring-gai Phil. Make the effort and go to their next show.

The Goldner String Quartet play with an easy grace and flawless precision

Play with an easy grace and flawless precision. Demonstrate prowess as both individual performers and as a polished ensemble.

40 composers create astounding and mesmerizing music with 4 bar works combined

What is the world record for the greatest number of composers in one piece? According to Liz Jigalin it’s 40, and the Music Box Project has just broken it. The effect is astounding and mesmerizing.

Unexpected jewels found at Music by the Sea

Every now and then life rewards us with unexpected jewels. Tonight was one of those rare and utterly delightful times. I am now checking into how to get onto the subscriber list.

Ironwood & Ensemble Offspring’s Broken concorts wove a magical mixture

They wove a magical mixture which seamlessly moved from the early 17th century to 2015. Clocking in at just 70 minutes.

Musician Project’s Mahler 9 was a truly cathartic experience

The next time The Musician Project plays, you’ve no excuse to not go along. If this concert is anything to go by, you’ll get much more than your money’s worth.

Insight | Ann Carr-Boyd & the Flying West project

Ann Carr-Boyd’s bottom drawer is full of largely unpublished and unrecorded manuscripts from 40 years ago, ThoroughBase and The Flying West project been recording them.

St Cecilia and the Brandies’ heavenly harmonies

The Arrival of the Well-Dressed Queens of Sheba It’s been quite the week for early music in Sydney, with ACO’s new rendition of the Four Seasons and the impeccable Tafelmusik in town, but what a pleasure to have some heavenly music by George Frideric Handel, performed during the week of Handel’s birthday. We were treated…

Omega Ensemble celebrates 10th anniversary with polished, thoughtful performance

Celebrating their 10th anniversary, this ensemble once again demonstrated a polished, thoughtful performance and I will be looking forward to the season to come.

The Sydney Consort’s ‘Irish Baroque’ interspersed Irish folk songs with concertos and sonatas

Well programmed thoroughly enjoyable concert, interspersing Irish folk songs with concertos & sonatas. I’ll be attending whenever possible in future.

Grigoryan Brothers: ‘This Time’ is music to enhance your day

Grigoryan Brothers’ This Time is a pleasant album to play when you are relaxing. A beautiful recording includes Australian-made guitars.

Estivo Trio presents ‘France and Romance’

This dynamic ensemble, which burst onto the chamber music scene at the 2014 Estivo Festival in Italy, is taking it by storm.

Sine & Syrinx: Jane Sheldon & Alison Morgan

So often when reviewers write about a concert where there is new music most of the writing concerns the compositions and the performers are largely ignored.

Sydney Piano Trio inaugural concert – Classical: Redefined

An ensemble of the highest technical standard and that they bring a real excitement to the stage. The very enthusiastic audience gave them a welcome to remember.

Cyrus Meurant: Seul

Cyrus Meurant’s album, Seul, is no doubt a play on the fact that Meurant himself plays the instruments by himself, a synthesiser in the first track (The Clearing), and a violin in the second (Reflet).

Alain Franco: JS Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier

I have never actually sat and listened to the 48 from beginning to end. So this was definitely an experience to remember and I am glad I went.

The Sound of Burning Water: a stunning hour of solo percussion

A journey through ‘thirty years of solo percussion gems’. Backdropped by visual digital earth abstractions by Andrew Wholley, and electronic sound by Ilia Bezroukov, the audience were asked to let go and be suspended in a mindspace that listened, and listened again.

Oliver Brett: Organ recital at St Mary’s Cathedral

Messiaen’s “La Nativité du Seigneur” is rarely heard. So this free recital at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on the 14th of December was a treat.

Balmain Sinfonia: a sense of community pervades

Welcoming music lovers of all types The Balmain Sinfonia presented a concert this past Sunday, featuring a program of Romantic favorites. The atmosphere at Macquarie Theatre was one of relaxation and friendliness: groups gathered in the lobby before the concert and during intermission, with drinks and baked goods. Overall, there was a sense of community…

Reservoir Trio & Ella Brinch played Legendary Piano Quartets with heart & soul

This concert was a fitting end to a great season. Anyone coming to chamber music for the first or fifty- first time will derive great pleasure from a great social enterprise.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd is about obsession. Todd is obsessed with revenge. Mrs Lovett is obsessed with respectability and Judge Turpin is obsessed with his ward Joanna. They will all do what ever it takes! Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Miller’s realisation of these obsessions is the one the great creations of musical theatre of the twentieth century.…

Inessa Galante at Sydney’s City Recital Hall

One of those concerts that will stay with me for the rest of my life. This standing ovation was well deserved. I was up with the best of them.

Bel a Cappella’s Puer natus est and their heart firmly placed on their sleeve

The ensemble will be well prepared, the program will be well constructed and Musical Director Anthony Pasquill will have his heart firmly placed on his sleave.

Josie and The Emeralds: Honouring St Cecilia

And who is St Cecilia you may ask? No less than the Patron Saint of Music, who received such an accolade in honour of her 2nd or 3rd Century martyrdom. Doubtless she would have a special affinity for The Emeralds, given her association with the viol as portrayed in the paintings of Raphael, Rubens and…

Selby & Friends: a treat for the senses

What a brilliant way to finish the year! The last of five Selby & Friends chamber music concert Tours for 2014 was certainly a treat for the senses. Kathy introduced the program as belonging to young men, as all three pieces were composed by WA Mozart, Brahms and Schubert early in their careers. Divertimento Mozart’s…

The Idea of North at The Basement

This four-piece a capella vocal group can handle anything. This was a fantastic concert in a great venue.

The Sydney Consort: The Mannheim School

The Sydney Consort: The Mannheim School – a special journey through the period, each piece showcasing aspects of the school itself.

ThoroughBass: Music to tap your foot to!

ThoroughBass, Mosman, 16 November 2014 ThoroughBass, a Sydney ensemble founded in 2009 and which performs lesser-known baroque and contemporary music, served up wonderful musical fare on Sunday afternoon in another of the St Luke’s Concert Series in Mosman. Diana Weston led from the harpsichord, and was joined by Anna Fraser (soprano) and Dr Shaun Ng…

Welcoming Ensemble Offspring: Hatched

In allowing two younger, but already highly experienced musicians to be part of their group for a year, Ensemble Offspring are both giving to the future and also gaining from the energy and delight that these musicians bring to all they do. This well-designed concert, exploring a mix of emerging Australian composers and two of…

Bleedthrough Electro acoustic works for flute and guitar featuring Kyron Audio

Combination of pre-recorded sound with live music has often troubled the electro-acoustic concert-goer. Enter then Australian boutique high-end audio manufacturers, Kyron Audio.

Chris Cartner performs the masterpieces of Franz Liszt

Relatively informal mood, Chris speaks about each piece, illuminating the music. A genuine warmth & mutually beneficial relationship between audience & performer

A beautiful new acoustic instrument ‘Yaybahar’ by Görkem Şen

Yaybahar is an acoustic instrument where the vibrations from the strings are transmitted through coiled springs to frame drums creating a hypnotic surround sound.

Flinders Quartet: The Magic of Paul Dean

An excellent concert and experience. The concert had variety, intensity, lyric beauty, passion and wit in the excellent playing and tight ensemble.

Richard Strauss | Erin Wall, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis

This does Richard Strauss justice. Detailed sleeve notes add to the value of this highly recommended CD.

Alan Holley 60th birthday concert

On a gorgeous afternoon, 50 music lovers settled into an art gallery on leafy Riley Street to celebrate the 60th birthday of composer Alan Holley, one of Sydney’s best-loved music figures.

Leichhardt Espresso Chorus – Glorious!

12 October 2014, St James King Street Gloria – new and newer An early Sunday evening saw a capacity crowd assemble at St James King St Sydney to hear just one hour of music—but what an hour it was! The Leichhardt Espresso Chorus with Sydney Brass were performing three contemporary works, the earliest only 40…

Peter Sculthorpe: Complete Solo Piano Music with Tamara-Anna Cislowska piano

Lovers of Australian music will be richly rewarded by this beautifully presented, definitive collection of Peter Sculthorpe’s piano music.

Sydney Conservatorium presents Little Women

Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 11 October 2014 A childhood favourite I was keen to see this performance of Little Women by the Opera and Vocal students at the Sydney Conservatorium as I (to my shame) hadn’t been to see one of their productions before and this was a favourite book of mine. I probably read…

Song Company: For Emperor and Pope, Music for a Renaissance Court

A very well-produced CD put together with thought and with a comprehensive booklet that provides some very informative and interesting translation of the songs.

Resonance presents Taryn Fiebig and Chris Cartner in recital

The Right Balance Admired opera star Taryn Fiebig is best known for being able to project over a full orchestra so in her recital with pianist Chris Cartner it was more a case of finding the right balance and these two performers were totally successful. Opera Favourites Moving from the drama required to bring opera…

Selby & Friends: Swedish Delight

On a pleasant spring afternoon in the upper North Shore of Sydney, the latest concert of the Selby & Friends Tour 4 (out of 5 for 2014) showcased renowned Swedish cellist Torleif Thedeen with pianist Kathy Selby. The concert commenced with Australian composer Paul Dean’s new work titled Three Intimate Interludes. It was the second…

Agony and Ecstasy: Australian Music from the Time of Arthur Boyd

A companion to the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition ‘Arthur Boyd: Agony and Ecstasy’. A collection of snapshots, a survey of Australian music across the eight decades of Arthur Boyd’s life.

Balmain Sinfonia: Jubilee concert

The audience had certainly received their money’s worth at a concert where interesting concepts and unique programming were evident.

Sirius Chamber Ensemble: Meet the composer

A wonderful series featuring composers, this time Christine Draeger & Paul Smith. It’s rare for an unfunded group have a concert wholly of new Australian works.

Halcyon and Soundstream Collective: Stolen

New Music Network Presents: Stolen Halcyon and Soundstream Collective Saturday 6 September 6, Sydney Conservatorium, Music Workshop Geoffrey Collins, flute in hand, took his seat in absolute silence. His three colleagues did the same. A long, pregnant pause. No-one breathed. Collins made a declamatory gesture, as if he were about to conduct a downbeat, and…

Flinders Quartet in Sydney

Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House, 3 September 2014 Schubert – String Quartet No 13 in a Minor, D804 (Rosamunde) Much of this program was in minor keys which often are quite sad, reflective and certainly there was a ruminative feel to this program. The String Quartet by Schubert is certainly a serious work. It was…

Katia Beaugeais, Jeremy Rose and the Sydney Conservatorium Modern Music Ensemble

The concert by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Modern Music Ensemble (MME) on 6 September was one where the overall effect was greater than the component parts. It is of the utmost importance that the best of the students at the Sydney Conservatorium are given expert guidance by their staff and conductor Daryl Pratt does…

Nicholas Russoniello: Between Worlds

This debut album of the up-and-coming saxophonist, Nick Russoniello, accompanied by the Acacia Quartet, has something for everyone, especially classical, jazz and ragtime music.

ThoroughBass was dramatic and stunning as the mythological Phaedra

Hester Hannah was dramatic & stunning as the mythological Phaedra. Drama was heightened by red lighting, casting interesting shadows on the walls & intensified the inner tensions of this tragic, dignified woman.

Melbourne Recital Centre Great Performers Series – Nicolas Hodges

Nicolas Hodges – Piano 27 August 2014 For those in the audience who had rushed to make it into the city for a mid-week recital the Six Bagatelles (Op. 126) by Beethoven were a perfect way to open this performance. This set of miniatures provided contrasts of mood within each perfectly formed piece. Hodges immediately…

The Marais Project – From Medieval Mystics to the Rocky Horror Show

The Sydney Conservatorium Recital Hall was packed with music lovers on Sunday afternoon, ready to once again savour the delights of viola da gamba music at the talented hands of Jenny Eriksson and her merry band – The Marais Project. There had been several tantalising posts on Facebook about the program, which turned out to…

Pacific Opera – The Gondoliers Dream Getaway

Based on Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta, Pacific Opera’s presentation of ‘The Gondoliers Dream Getaway’ at Riverside, Parramatta, is just that…a dream getaway!

Dialogue: The Art of Elegant Conversation

Refinement and exquisite musical dialogue were certainly the order of the day as Greg Dikmans and Lucinda Moon presented a program of duets and two solo works. Both performers engaged the audience with spoken introductions and explained interesting points about both the music and the period instruments being used.

Paul Grabowsky Sextet – The Bitter Suite

In these cooler winter months we want some warming background music, to sip our wine and slurp our tea to. The Bitter Suite, released by ABC Jazz, is a great CD for that. Some tracks make you feel like you’ve walked into a classy 1930’s cocktail lounge from a BBC drama, with gorgeous people dressed…

An Australian War Requiem

AN AUSTRALIAN WAR REQUIEM Sydney University Graduate Choir and Orchestra Sydney Town Hall, Sunday August 10 2014 Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem is the end result of a truly staggering effort put forth by a bevy of passionate supporters, including government bodies both domestic and international, patrons, citizens, the wider arts community and of…

Slava & Leonard Grigoryan: Song of the Guitar

The boxed set Song of the Guitar brings together five CDs, originally released over the period 2003 to 2008. It’s very much a Grigoryan family affair, with three CDs from brothers Slava and Leonard as duo guitarists, two solo CDs from Slava, as well as several arrangements and two original pieces by their father Eduard.…

Heavenly Playing of Supernatural Music

Once again, this exciting new addition to the Sydney classical scene did not disappoint. The Reservoir Trio seems to have a knack for creative programming.

Lyle Chan: Speaking for himself through Music

It is rare to hear from a live composer & less common to hear his story through his own words & his music performed by Acacia Quartet to provide an evening of remembrance & music

The Brandies do Vivaldi as Dmitry Sinkovsky leads with a swish of his ponytail

The first movement of Winter was Sinkovsky’s new spooky, icy & foggy interpretation that was simply outstanding & one of the best renditions I have ever heard.

Ensemble Three

Playing in the intimate Recital Hall East at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Ensemble Three, Joel Brennan, trumpet, trombonist Don Immel and guitarist Ken Murray, all staff from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, gave a recital to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience. This group was up from Melbourne for the Sydney International Brass Festival and…

Jane Sheldon’s Symbiosis

As Jane explained at the beginning of the concert on Friday night, Symbiosis, from Ancient Greek meaning “together” and “living”, it is the close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species. “These hour-long programs are designed to cast a light on the symbiotic nature of chamber music performance: breathing together, thinking…

Halcyon’s Giving Voice: A beacon in Sydney’s musical culture

A beacon in Sydney’s musical culture & again the performances were exemplary & at the service of the music. One of the most important & satisfying concerts in Sydney.

La Rêvolution: A Bastille Day Concert

Bathed in blue, white and red lights, the stage at City Recital Hall was furnished like a Parisian salon for La Rêvolution: A Bastille Day Concert.