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Newsletter No 3: 2015 Season

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From the President: Daniel Kirkham

I’ve often pondered why, as a professional working with the latest technology, that I, like many of my colleagues, also engage in a centuries-old art form of playing in a symphony orchestra? There are probably many answers to this dichotomy, but I think one reason, other than the convivial social aspect, is that even if we are playing a work scratched out with a quill by Haydn over 200 years ago, we are performing live — and every performance gives us the opportunity to bring something new into life.

In the same way, Zelman Symphony is proud to have been involved with three premieres this year, culminating in the performance of Night and Now by Elena Kats-Chernin written for flute soloist Sally Walker. In doing this, we keep this centuries-old art form alive with new works for everyone to enjoy. I'd like to thank our Artistic Director Mark Shiell for his charismatic leadership which attracted Sally and Elena to give us this unique opportunity.

Daniel Kirkham
President, ZMSO Inc.

Elena Kats-Chernin New Flute Concerto - Night and Now

15 years ago a conversation with a bank teller in Coogee led renowned Australian flautist Sally Walker to a solid friendship with Elena Kats-Chernin, one of Australia’s most celebrated composers. Elena was the bank teller’s mum! The latest chapter in their relationship was the premiere with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) on 24th October of a concerto Elena has written specially for Sally. Zelman Symphony is honoured to be giving the Victorian Premiere on 5th December.

Over the 15-years, Elena and Sally have both enjoyed great successes and their respective international careers have flourished.

So why DSO and Zelman Symphony for the premieres of Night and Now? “I’d met the Chief Conductor at the DSO, Matthew Wood working with contemporary music group Halcyon” says Sally. “When I mentioned Elena’s new concerto, Matthew said that DSO would love to premiere it. We thought it would be a great fit, as they have a really strong commitment to playing new Australian music.”

“The second performance will be in Melbourne by Zelman Symphony, with another inspiring conductor I met through Halcyon, Mark Shiell,” says Sally. Zelman Symphony also actively promotes new Australian compositions.

What can we expect from the Night and Now concerto? “I felt I wanted to start the piece in a different way to how concertos usually begin,” explains Elena. “Often a concerto starts fast and furious and dazzling, but I wanted to start dark and brooding and let it unfold. Suddenly the word ‘night’ came to me. Because I do work at night very often. It just felt right. The first movement is a really slow “opening-a-book-at-night” kind of situation. Then it develops and becomes more active, getting brighter and brighter. It has a lot of optimism, even though it starts really in a dark way.”

Night and Now is written to fully showcase Sally’s musical talents and her unique sound: “Sally’s sound is full bodied. It isn’t a little flute which flies away – it has earth. That is Sally… how she is, very earthy, and elf-like at the same time. That’s what flute is, the way Sally plays it.” Elena believes that their friendship and mutual respect will add another dimension to the performances: “It is fantastic to work with a friend and a player with a depth of interest in my work, with a knowledge of where I’m coming from and how I got there.”

This article is based on an article in the November 2015 issue of The Flutist and material from Steven Godbee Publicity.

Our Largest Percussion Section Ever

The percussion section for the Kats-Chernin Flute Concerto has five players who between them play 19 different instruments including regular ones like the timpani, bass drum, and snare drum but then we have three old MMBW cast iron covers off water meters (pictured), a cow bell, temple blocks and woodblocks. Our new glockenspiel purchased with the benefit of generous donations from supporters will have its first airing at this concert. And we have a second glockenspiel, a vibraphone, tubular bells, xylophone, triangle, tambourine, maracas, timbales, claves, cymbals, hi-hat and tom-tom. We welcome 12 year old Mees van Lammeren to his first gig with an adult orchestra.

Polish Arts Festival

The 13th National Polish Arts Festival will be held in Melbourne over Christmas – New Year. We have been invited to play in the two major festival concerts accompanying two renowned world class Polish pianists and some wonderful local musicians of Polish background. The second concert will be our Hamer Hall debut!

7.00 pm, Saturday 2 January 2016, Melbourne Town Hall. Program includes Paderewski Piano Concerto in A minor played by fine young Melbourne pianist, Konrad Olszewski. Polish pianist, Anna Miernik will play Chopin’s Rondo à la Krakowiak. Book via www.polart2015.com.au.

2.00 pm, Sunday 3 January 2016, Gala Concert, Hamer Hall. Program includes Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 with Polish pianist Marian Sobula who performs around the world and has won many international Piano Competitions. Adam Piechocinski will play Wieniawski Légende for solo violin and orchestra. Book via Arts Centre Melbourne.

Details of the entire 13th National Polish Arts Festival are at www.polart2015.com.au

Player Profile: Ayssa Kennedy

Eight-year-old Alyssa began her musical education by putting up her hand to learn piano. Arriving home, she was questioned “What would you practice on?” “My toy piano.” (with 15 multi-coloured keys!) Next day, her teacher asked, “Would you like to learn what Suzie learns?” With no idea of what a violin was or sounded like, Alyssa replied, “Alright”. And that was the beginning to her career.

Throughout early training, Alyssa was involved with weekend quartet rehearsals and regular performances with other students. This training was unique at the time and she attributes this to her love of ensemble playing. While a student in Box Hill TAFE’s classical stream course, the teachers invited her to join their piano trio which performed regular gigs. From this experience she went on to form her business “Euphonic Quartet” which is still in demand.

A meeting with her first violin teacher saw her begin violin teacher training. This was a wonderful time of supervised teaching which forms the basis of how she teaches today. With a Performance Degree and Master of Music, Alyssa commenced the never-ending debate — teaching versus performance.

For sixteen years, Alyssa has taught at Essex Heights Primary and is now Instrumental Co-ordinator. To be able to pass on the essential musical skills to the next generation has proved to be a blessing both for Alyssa and her students. Are there potential future Zelman players among them? We will have to wait and see.

Vale Klaus Buechler

It is with great sadness that we report the recent death of Klaus Beuchler. He was a valued member of the orchestra’s Viola Section for over 20 years. In recent years, he volunteered in the important role of telephone booking officer. Klaus’ smiling face and playing will be missed.

Life Members

It takes a great number of volunteers to make an organisation like Zelman Symphony work as well as it does. The Zelman committee has decided it is appropriate to award Honorary Life Memberships to a few key people to recognise their unstinting service and huge contributions.

Phillip Carrington conducted the orchestra for 19 years (1980–99) and in 2002-04. He was also a soloist and devoted committee member.

Henry Huggins played the horn with the Orchestra for many years and contributed greatly as President, Committee Member and advisor as the Orchestra transitioned to an Incorporated Association.

Lesley McGarvie was a very hard working committee member and President, and was leader of the viola section for many years.

Eve Provan played with the orchestra for very many years and contributed greatly as Secretary, Committee Member, violinist and volunteer.

Rodney Reynolds has been of huge assistance in planning and organising our Mahler 8 concerts; the restoration of our Celeste; building, providing and playing a superb virtual organ for Holst’s The Planets; and in so many other ways.

Chris Summers and Ray Summers are the long serving unsung heroes and leaders of the back-of-house team without whom concerts could not proceed. To name just the key things they do, Chris cooks the tasty snacks for interval, leads the catering team and takes great photos of the orchestra. Ray is backstage manager and helps Chris with catering.

Our 2016 Season

We have a number of exciting concerts planned for 2016. Here are the dates for your diary:

Saturday 5 March, Xavier, 8 pm

Saturday 21 May, (Venue not final), 8 pm
Sunday 22 May, Daylesford, 2 pm
(dates and venues to be confirmed)

Saturday 10 September, Xavier, 8 pm

Saturday 3 December, Xavier, 8 pm

Full details will be announced soon.

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Page last modified on December 17, 2015, at 11:58 PM