Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, which has raised over $100,000 for classical musicians since its launch in March, has announced satellite nights in Perth and Sydney to support artists affected by COVID-19. Mezzo-soprano Fiona Campbell will lead an exclusive series recorded live for MDCH in Perth’s Government House Ballroom, while Kawai Australia will live stream its Sydney counterpart from its studio in St Leonards.

“Starting on 13 May, our Wednesday Satellite Nights offer the chance to experience Australia’s great artists in concert, no matter where you live,’ said Co-Director Chris Howlett. “Talent and need know no boundaries. With high-quality streaming, neither do we. Importantly, each ticket fee goes straight to the artists, giving them hope and income in these challenging times.”

The first satellite night begins in Perth at 7PM AEST with clarinettist Ashley Smith and pianist Gladys Chua playing arias and fantasias from the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Weber, Puccini and Verdi. They’ll be followed by tenor Paul O’Neill, soprano Naomi Johns and accompanist Tommaso Pollio in a recital of arias and songs at 8:30PM. The following Wednesday at 10PM sees jazz vocalist Ali Bodycoat in recital with pianist Adrian Galante.

“I am completely thrilled to partner with MDCH in this extraordinary initiative and showcase some of Perth’s finest musicians to Australia and the world,’ said Fiona Campbell. “As artists we have all experienced lean years and sometimes the only thing that gets you through are your friends, colleagues and the promise of music. Thanks to the generous support of the Government House Foundation WA, we are able to do just that, create an opportunity for our dear friends who also happen to be world class artists.”

The Sydney series begins on May 20 with tenor Andrew Goodwin performing lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven and Gurvey at 7PM AEST, followed by the Australian Haydn Ensemble at 8:30PM. Artists involved in following weeks include harpist Emily Granger, Ensemble Offspring and cellist and pianist duo Kathryn Selby and Julian Smiles.

“At times like this it is crucial to ask yourself what’s important,” said Warrick Baker, National Sales and Marketing Manager at Kawai Australia. “When the call came from Chris for help, it was a very easy – yes whatever you need!”

“With the performing arts the very first to be impacted and the last to recover, the sector is on the verge of collapse,’ he continued. ‘MCDH has become a lifeline to so many who lost their livelihoods in a matter of hours. Not only has it created regular income for the musicians involved, it has created a unique viewing experience for audiences. We are very much looking forward to seeing the Sydney program commence.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” added Co-Director Adele Schonhardt. “All that matters right now is the artist, the audience, and the connection between them. We witnessed the power of that bond last week in Faces of Our Orchestras – a 14-concert festival of symphony players that earned stellar reviews and generated $65,000 in income for players without work. We’ve engaged over 130 musicians so far and we fully intend to keep building those ties to support many more on a national scale.”


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