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Concert series a musical smorgasbord

Pianist Daniel de Borah performs on February 19 at Macquarie Conservatorium Pianist Daniel de Borah performs on February 19 at Macquarie Conservatorium

Six concerts, a range of music new and familiar, performed by 15 visiting musicians in an intimate and friendly setting – Macquarie Conservatorium’s 2016 concert series brings some of Australia’s best artists and live music experiences to Dubbo.

This year, local audiences can expect breathtaking virtuosity from two solo pianists, mesmerising ensemble-playing from a string quartet and a piano trio, cool jazz improvisation by two very well-known artists, and an unusual meld of guitar music and drama exploring the mad, bad and dangerous worlds of Don Juan and Lord Byron. 

The series opens with a classic solo piano recital, making full use of the Conservatorium’s grand piano. Born in Melbourne and growing up in Canberra, Daniel de Borah’s obvious talent took him overseas while still in his teens to study piano at some of the world’s greatest music schools: Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, the St Petersburg State Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music, London.

He was a major prize-winner at the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition and has appeared as soloist with the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London. 

The first half of Daniel de Borah’s concert on February 19 explores the unique circumstances that inspired two sets of theme and variations by Schumann and Brahms. The second half features Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet suite, a searing musical portrayal of Shakespeare’s tale of doomed love. 

In March, a semi-staged music theatre piece takes the Conservatorium’s concert series in a new direction. Actor, writer and director Tama Matheson and acclaimed classical guitarist Karin Schaupp have woven poetry, drama and music into Don Juan, a unique performance premiered in 2015 at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Actor Tama Matheson and guitarist Karin Schaupp explore the dangerous and passionate worlds of Don Juan and Lord Byron in March

Don Juan is a feast of music and adventure, exploring the life of one of the most magnetic and seductive heroes in western literature, and that of his equally charismatic creator, Lord Byron. The evocative Spanish guitar music of Turina, Pujol, and Tarrega transports the audience to the worlds of Byron and Don Juan. 

Described by Musica Viva as Australia’s most internationally successful piano trio, the Streeton Trio performed to a very enthusiastic audience in the Conservatorium’s 2013 concert series. They return to Dubbo in May with a new cellist, the dashing Italian Umberto Clerici, recently appointed principal cello with the Sydney Symphony, who joins husband and wife founding members of the trio, pianist Benjamin Kopp and violinist Emma Jardine.

The Streeton Trio was formed in 2008 in Geneva, and has performed extensively across Europe, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, China, Australia and New Zealand. They will perform three masterful examples of the theme and variations form by Beethoven, Smalley and Tchaikovsky. 

Another critically acclaimed Australian chamber music ensemble visits in June. The Flinders Quartet delivers dynamic performances across the full spectrum of string quartet repertoire, notable for their unity of interpretation, fine balance and matched tone. Their Dubbo concert features an engaging mix of music by Beethoven, Britten and Greenbaum.

As teachers and mentors, the Flinders Quartet work with the Australian Youth Orchestra and its developmental programs for young chamber groups, and while the Quartet is in Dubbo, local string-players can experience their teaching at a masterclass. All of the visiting artists will give masterclasses in addition to their concerts, providing music students and teachers with valuable opportunities to learn hands-on from professional musicians. 

As well as presenting classical chamber music, each year the Conservatorium’s concert series explores different genres and styles of music, including gypsy, jazz, and folk. This August, Australia’s favourite jazz vocalist Emma Pask joins forces with renowned bassist Phil Stack, drummer Tim Firth and guitarist James Muller for a memorable night of jazz.

Born in Dubbo, Phil Stack has toured internationally with many of the jazz greats, while also playing and recording with multi-platinum rock band Thirsty Merc. Award-winning singer Emma Pask has also performed all over the world, and her stint on “The Voice” took her talent to an even wider audience.

Both Emma and Phil play regularly together with the great James Morrison, and in their Dubbo concert they’ll explore well-loved swing standards and cool Latin jazz.

The concert series comes full circle in November with another solo piano recital from a firm favourite of Dubbo audiences. Simon Tedeschi is one of Australia’s most sought-after pianists and has performed for world leaders such as Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, and in major concert halls throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

Acclaimed for his interpretation of the music of George Gershwin, Tedeschi’s most recent recording project explored key works by Russian composers Tchaikowsky and Mussorgsky. In his Dubbo concert, the versatile Simon Tedeschi now turns his focus to Franz Schubert, performing two monumental sonatas – the poetic G major and the reverential Bb major. Tedeschi’s insightful interpretation of these great works for solo piano will be a notable finale to another year of live music performances by visiting artists at Macquarie Conservatorium.

Tickets for Macquarie Conservatorium’s 2016 Concert Series are on sale now: for more information and bookings visit www.macqcon.org.au 

Events calendar

  • February 1: Term 1 starts at Macquarie Conservatorium with music tuition programs for toddlers, youth and adults – enrol now!
  • February 4: Free Intro Session Youth Music Theatre for kids 7-12 years, 4.00pm Macquarie Conservatorium
  • February 19: Pianist Daniel de Borah in Concert, 7.30pm Macquarie Conservatorium
  • February 20: Piano Masterclass with Daniel de Borah, 11am Macquarie Conservatorium