The Balmain Sinfonia: Clarinet Mastery And The New World

Francesco Celata. Image supplied. Photo credit Keith Saunders.
Francesco Celata. Image supplied. Photo credit Keith Saunders.

The Balmain Sinfonia conducted by Gary Stavrou opens its 2016 program with a program of clarinet virtuosity and symphonic joy with both an American and central European twist.

Showcasing clarinetist and SSO member Francesco Celata, the concert features American Artie Shaw’s much-adored Clarinet Concerto as well the showy Czardas by Monti, Smetana’s sweeping Moldau and Dvorak’s epic New World Symphony.

 The orchestra’s founder, artistic director and conductor, Gary Stavrou observes that the Moldau – with its famous themes depicting nature, drama and patriotic pride – was the epitome of Romanticism. Monti’s Czardas in the style of an alternately teasing then unhinged Hungarian dance, is probably the most famous and technically brilliant piece ever written for violin and is here performed in an arrangement for clarinet – “the ultimate party piece for a talented soloist” he says.

“Shaw’s tuneful Clarinet Concerto has risen above early snobbery to withstand the test of time and be universally adored by audiences the world over. And the New World Symphony may well be the most well-known and well-loved Romantic symphony of all time,” he added.

The Balmain Sinfonia with conductor Gary Stavrou.
The Balmain Sinfonia with conductor Gary Stavrou.

Francesco (Frank) Celata graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1987, having studied with Phillip Miechel and Pamela Bloom. He then studied in Amsterdam with Piet Honingh (Concertgebouw Orchestra) and Siena with Giuseppe Garbarino. In 1991 he returned to Australia, where he was appointed Principal Clarinet with the then Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. He joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1993 as Associate Principal Clarinet and has appeared as soloist on several occasions. He has also appeared as soloist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia, and on a number of occasions between 2003 and 2009 he appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra as guest Principal Clarinet, performing on international tours and recordings. Frank Celata has also been a past soloist with Balmain Sinfonia, performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto to great acclaim. Frank has also given generously of his time as wind tutor to Balmain Sinfonia.

The programme:

Smetana: The Moldau/ Artie Shaw: Clarinet Concerto/ Monti: Czardas (arr. clarinet)/ Dvorak: Symphony No. 9


Tickets $25 / $20 concession at the door or or 9181 3929



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