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Newsletter No 4: 2018 Season

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From the President: Daniel Kirkham

Welcome to our final Audience Newsletter for 2018.

You can read our forthcoming soloist Miriam Gordon-Stewart’s reflections on the Strauss Four Last Songs, the centrepiece of our concert on 1st December. This is beautiful, sumptuous music, not to be missed.

Our Babi Yar concert of 2017 keeps on giving, with the news that the video recording of the event has recently been screened in USA, with more screenings to come. The full story is below.

Behind the scenes, we’ve been working on our 2019 concert series and have formed a series with some of the most loved concert repertoire and featuring a list of outstanding soloists. The details for most of the concerts are below, and tickets will go on sale very soon. Stayed tuned to our electronic media, including our new Instagram feed for release dates.

We look forward to seeing you at these concerts, and encourage you to book early for the best seats.

Until then, we wish you the compliments of the season and a happy New Year.

Daniel Kirkham
President, ZMSO Inc.

Miriam Gordon-Stewart - Soprano Soloist
Reflections on Strauss's Four Last Songs

These songs are some of my favourites, not only to sing but also to ponder.

My interpretation of the songs changes with every new phase of life. I first sang the Four Last Songs in 2004 when I was 30 years old. With the help of my teacher, Deborah Polaski, I worked intensively on them, studying the texts and looking for ways to have each thought translate into vocal colour. One of the most interesting challenges was the moment that requires the voice to ascend and float like a bird on the text, ‘Und die Seele unbewacht, will in freien Flügen schweben’ (The soul, unguarded, hovers in free flight). I sought to find the right balance for the final song: in singing about death, I tried to express wonder, exhaustion and hope all at once.

But Strauss’s music alone communicates so many subtleties of the human condition. More and more, I try to act as a conduit for that subtlety without imposing on it too much. So much of the challenge is simply in honouring what is written with purity of sound and mastery of technique.

These days, I have a strong sense of my own mortality but also a great appreciation for beauty — in nature and in music. As the only biological instrument, the human voice is changed by its own story. If we listen closely, we can hear the singer’s experiences in their sound. My story involves great adventure, deep loss and true love. This is perhaps why Strauss and I are such good friends, and why I love coming back to these songs time and time again.

From the Artistic Director - Rick Prakhoff

My first year as Artistic Director of Zelman Symphony ends with a program of absolute classics: Haydn’s last symphony, Strauss’s final composition (first performed after his death) and Brahms’s final symphony.

There is much thought behind our choice. In early repertoire discussions, Susan Pierotti and I were in furious agreement that we should include some Haydn symphonies in Zelman’s repertoire. Brahms took Haydn and Beethoven’s craft and extended the symphonic form by building on their legacy. The mighty final movement of the fourth symphony, thirty-two variations on the opening eight-bar theme based on a JS Bach cantata, uses one of the oldest forms in the book. Brahms goes on to compose a stunning movement of musical and architectural majesty.

Richard Strauss’s final work, this most exquisite of musical farewells, requires a light orchestral touch and a singer of enormous skill, vocal beauty and technique. When the opportunity arose to have Miriam Gordon-Stewart join us, this was the first work which sprang to mind.

Thank you for joining us this year on this exciting and stimulating musical journey, and I urge you to come to our final offering for the year, a wonderful concert of entertaining, powerful and magical music!

2018 Concert Season

Please go to our concert page for further details and the booking link.

End Games

8.00 pm, Saturday 1st December - Camberwell Grammar School PAC
Haydn – Symphony No.104 in D major
Richard Strauss – Four Last Songs
Miriam Gordon-Stewart – soprano
Brahms – Symphony No.4

Zelman Symphony makes its USA Debut

Zelman Symphony is proud to announce our recent USA cinematic debut! This resulted from our Babi Yar 75th Anniversary Commemoration Concert held in Hamer Hall on 17 September 2017, which many of you attended.

The second half of the concert, comprising the commemoration ceremony and the performance of Shostakovich Symphony no.13, was shown at the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Keene, New Hampshire, as part of their Nathan E Cohen Lecture Series.

The screening was introduced by Dr Hank Knight, Director of the Cohen Center. In an amazing coincidence, Dr Knight was a colleague of Yevgeny Yevtushenko, author of the Babi Yar and other poems used in the Symphony, and often recited Yevtushenko's poems in English alongside Yevtushenko's recitations in Russian. In his introduction, he recalled the occasion when Yevtushenko explained his motivation to write the Babi Yar Poem.

Two other showings in the USA are already planned and there is discussion regarding more showings in the USA next year. This will create much wider exposure for the story of the Babi Yar Massacres, Yevtushenko's poems and Shostakovich's symphony, more than we had ever imagined possible.

This has all been championed and organised by Evelyne and Joel Cohen, friends of the orchestra, who live half the year in Melbourne and the other half of the year in Keene. We express our sincere gratitude to them for putting the story of Babi Yar on the wider world stage and for creating Zelman Symphony's US film debut.

See the trailer and purchase a copy of the DVD of the whole concert, produced by Raymond Hoefer at Hofland Music.

2019 Program - Tickets on sale Soon

Tickets for 2019 will go on sale once we receive confirmation from each of the venues. Check via our website, Facebook and Instagram feeds for details or join our Friends of Zelman email list.

8.00 pm, Saturday 16th March – EHPAC, Xavier College

Mendelssohn – Overture: Ruy Blas
Sibelius – Violin Concerto
Ji Won Kim – violin
Elgar – Enigma Variations

We welcome again Ji Won Kim who played Beethoven and Tchaikovsky’s concertos to standing ovations.

8.00 pm, Saturday 18th May – EHPAC, Xavier College

includes:
Mozart – Clarinet Concerto
David Griffiths – clarinet
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5

David Griffiths played this concerto with Zelman eight years ago to great acclaim. It’s time for him to wow us again!

2.00 pm, Sunday 25th June - Hawthorn Arts Centre
Boroondara Eisteddfod Piano Concerto Award Final

Program to be announced once finalists are determined.

Saturday Evening, 14th September – Melbourne Town Hall

Keep the date and watch our website for details of an exciting event in cooperation with Melbourne Bach Choir.

8.00 pm, Saturday 18th May – EHPAC, Xavier College

Beethoven – Violin Concerto
Alexandre da Costa - violin
Sibelius – Symphony No. 1

Canadian star Alexandre da Costa will play Beethoven’s sublime concerto on a 1701 Stradivarius.

Player Profile - Suzanne Wedding

I became a trumpet player by accident. My younger brother had been learning the trombone at high school when a neighbour asked him to join his brass band. He casually asked if any of the other children in the family would like to learn an instrument. After putting my hand up, I was asked if I would like to learn the cornet. I said yes, even though I had no idea what a cornet was! I was in the last term of Year 9 at the time. After many years of learning the piano, I took to the trumpet like a duck to water. The trumpet seemed like such an easy instrument as you only had to play one note at a time!

I have taught trumpet in the Education Department for the past 30 years. I teach three days a week at Blackburn High School, a day at East Doncaster Secondary College, as a casual teacher at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and run a busy private practice in my home studio. My students are now pursuing professional trumpet careers in Australia and overseas.

I am also heavily involved in running the Eastern Centre of the Musical Society of Victoria (MSV).

I have been principal trumpet for Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra for the past three years and have recently become a member of the orchestra committee. It is a pleasure to actually play in an orchestra rather than teach endless orchestral excerpts to youngsters!

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Page last modified on November 21, 2018, at 08:43 AM