July 8, 2016
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Pastoral whimsies, fireworks, love and death

A snapshot from Preliminary Round 1 Concert 3 of the Sydney International Piano Competition With 16 performers down and another 16 to go, Preliminary Round 1 Concert 3 opened the second day of recitals in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Vergbrugghen Hall, the concert hosted by ABC Classic FM’s Damien Beaumont. The competition is getting everyone talking, and there is a lively Twitter commentary running online. A prodigious young pianist from Cairns, Reuben Tsang, stunned the crowd as the Australia Showcase performer with his renditions of Chopin’s florid Etude in A Flat Major Op. 25 No 1 and the Prestissimo from Beethoven’s Sonata in F minor Op. 2 No 1. Exciting playing from Alyosha Jurinic with Beethoven’s op. 27 #1 in @SydneyPianoComp #sipca LIVE on @ABCClassic https://t.co/0rmQT97Wfl — Tom Ford (@TomFord83) July 7, 2016 Russian pianist Andrey Gugnin continued the Beethoven theme with Fantasia in G Minor Op. 77, the emotional intensity of the work visible on his face as he rocked forward and back. He followed the Beethoven with Liszt’s Faribolo Pastour (Pastoral Whimsy) and Transcendental Étude No 5 Feux Follets (Wills o’ the Wisp), practically leaping off the stool as he placed the last note. Australian pianist Jeremy…

July 8, 2016
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Witches, bastards, whirlwinds and clouds

A snapshot from Preliminary Round 1 Concert 2 of the Sydney International Piano Competition The crowd was still buzzing from the first concert as we lined up to hear the second group of eight players in the Sydney International Piano Competition’s first round. “I’ve never heard the Mephisto Waltz played like that!” came the muttering from one aficionado and there are certainly plenty of punters in for the long haul, ready to hear every performance and experience every nuance of the competition. Russell Torrance was Master of Ceremonies, presiding over the event and calling the action for the live audience and ABC Classic FM listeners from the studio in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Verbrugghen Hall. The concert began with an Australian Showcase performance by Melbourne pianist Nicholas Young, who played Serge Bortkiewicz’s brooding and passionate Ballade in C Sharp Minor Op. 42 on the Fazioli piano, treating the audience to wonderfully florid technique and pianistic beauty – and this was just the warm-up act! The first competitor for this section, Japanese-American pianist Rachel Kudo performed a pair of Domenico Scarlatti Sonatas (A Major K.332 and A Minor K.175) with touching delicacy before tackling Brahms’ Variations on a Theme of…

June 23, 2016
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Muv.ac is bringing orchestral auditions into the 21st-century

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Eoin Andersen shares his experience of the online service.​ As long as there have been orchestras, there have been auditions. It’s a familiar process to most professional musicians, but it can be stressful and not just because of the pressures of performance. Making the right contacts, finding the best vacant positions, providing the correct paperwork and coordinating a busy schedule can make the necessary business of auditioning a challenge, and this can be even more problematic when auditioning overseas in a country where English is not the first language. Fortunately, a new online service is bringing the process of auditioning into the 21st-century. Muv.ac are a one-stop-shop for orchestral musicians, listing vacancies from orchestras around the world. Users can distribute C.Vs, make online applications and download all necessary documents, easily, quickly, and perhaps most importantly, cheaply. One of Australia’s most highly-regarded orchestral musicians, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra co-concertmaster Eoin Andersen, is one of thousands of musicians already using the service. Andersen was a long time member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, held the position of principal second violin of the Ochester der Oper Zürich, and has also been either guest principal or…

June 22, 2016
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Opera: entertainment for one and all

Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s Jolene Laverty explains why this centuries-old art form has something for everyone.  If there is one event in the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s season that’s guaranteed to sell out, it’s the Icon Water Opera Gala. For seven years (and counting), every seat at the ANU’s historic Llewellyn Hall has been taken up by eager opera fans, most of whom purchase their seat more than a year before the performance. When casting one’s eye around at the audience, it’s interesting to note that the patronage doesn’t only come from those dyed-in-the-wool fans of classical music, upon whom symphony orchestras owe their existence. There are also young couples, friendship groups of all sizes, students, and a surprising number of hipsters.  So what is it about opera that appeals to such a broad range of music lovers?   In many ways, opera is analogous to a Turkish banquet – it has something for everyone, and many different cultures across the ages have used opera to tell a story. The narratives can be tragic or comedic; serious or just plain baffling. Sometimes, opera is all of those things. The Chinese had their ‘golden age’ of opera during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), where common…

June 20, 2016
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Resonance launches at Melbourne Town Hall

It’s 19th-century parlour music, for the 21st century​. Following three years of regular events in Sydney, Resonance will welcome music lovers in Melbourne this week with a launch in one of the city’s most historic venues. The beautiful Yarra Room at Melbourne Town Hall will provide an elegant Victorian backdrop for an evening which encapsulates the concept of the Resonance brand: outstanding musical performances in beautiful surroundings, and with an air of informality and a focus on socialising. Since 2013 Resonance has presented over 30 programmes with music ranging from Purcell to the works of contemporary Australian composers. The series has seen leading opera singers and instrumental soloists, chamber groups and even an award-winning youth choir take to the stage, and during that time the model has remained largely unchanged. The concerts themselves run for one hour without interval, and are followed by complimentary drinks parties aimed to bring audiences and artists together in a way which never quite happens with regular concertgoing.  My name is Chris Cartner and I’m the founder and pianist for the series, and this social aspect is a key ingredient of the Resonance ‘experience’. The approach was not to try to recreate ‘parlour music’ evenings…

June 10, 2016
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The Do’s and Don’ts of Tax Returns

Accountant Dianne Steller offers her top tips for making the most of your tax return as an artist. 30 June 2016: probably not a date that many have circled on their calendar, but for us accountants, it has huge significance. It’s the date marking the start of the new financial year, and that means it’s that time of the year again: Tax Time. For freelance workers, such as musicians, artists and other freelance creative professionals, getting your finances in order for the annual tax submission can be stressful, but it needn’t be. Here are some simple tips to help you in the lead up to the end of the financial year, and completing your Income Tax Return. DO keep accurate records of your income and expenses. If possible, summarise this information into categories. DON’T give your accountant an unsorted shoe box full of receipts (unless you want to pay the cost of having the accountant summarise it for you!) DO keep all relevant invoices. If you are selected by the ATO for an audit, they will want to see the original invoices and documentation which support your deduction claims. DO keep a record of your travel between workplaces – a…

May 17, 2016
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Opera: Launching into a rewarding, exciting but difficult profession

Ahead of Queensland Conservatorium’s The Magic Flute this week, Head of Opera Nicholas Cleobury gives insight into training opera singers. In January this year I became Head of Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. This week we present our Val Machin Opera Scenes (The Magic Flute) directed by our Movement Director, the renowned Anna Sweeny. It’s been an exciting start at this vibrant music school, surrounded by wonderful colleagues and motivated students; I am thoroughly relishing the experience. My new job in Brisbane brings together many strands of my work, from opera conducting, in particular recently at Mid Wales Opera with its emphasis on young singers, the Jette Parker programme at the Royal Opera House and the National Opera Studio in London. Training singers to be the finished article takes time and has many facets. The Con is well set to build on its valued reputation and offer a real journey for students from Day 1 to their launch into this rewarding, exciting but difficult profession. Just having a voice is only the start, there is so much more to it! It takes time and there are no shortcuts. Foremost in our minds here at the moment is The Magic Flute. As well as being demanding vocally (I once…

April 19, 2016
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From One Performer to Another: Andrew Batt-Rawden

The Australian composer and publisher shares the tricks of his trade. Some artists get employment contracts allowing them to perform and earn doing what they love, while enjoying the benefits (and challenges) that come with being an employee. But for most professional artists, there are the pleasures of being a freelancer, sole-trader or the director of a business. When you’re starting out on your career as a creative professional, it’s important to know your Bs from the Cs and have an understanding of your market value. Whatever you want to do is your business. And believe me, it IS a business. Your professional activities are the creation, promotion and communication of content or services delivered from your art form, whether that be composition, historically informed performance, conducting, acting, dancing, stand-up comedy, contortionism – whatever you’ve chosen as your discipline. What’s crucial is that you think of your professional life as an artist in corporate terms, to understand the value and marketability of the skills you’re offering. Here’s business-speak 1-0-1: Your content can be an artistic “product” intended for the general public (a business to consumer relationship), or a product meant for a business-to-business transaction, otherwise known as “B to B”….

March 24, 2016
features

The Game Changers: Hildegard & Pérotin (1150)

Ten experts decide who and what changed the course of music history. This article is available to Limelight subscribers. Log in to continue reading. Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism. Subscribe now

March 24, 2016
features

The Game Changers: The Castrati (1680)

Ten experts decide who and what changed the course of music history. This article is available to Limelight subscribers. Log in to continue reading. Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism. Subscribe now