The Con’s Centenary Festival

RB London 1951-1952

The University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music will stage a week-long music festival featuring an eclectic concert program led by international guest musicians and alumni who are returning to ‘the Con’ to celebrate its centenary. The Centenary Festival, 6-11 October 2015, is the second major event to mark 100 years of music at the Con this year.

From a chamber orchestra to a wind symphony, modern to early music, and from opera to jazz, there will be a different concert every night, featuring some of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s (SCM) star graduates who will perform alongside current students and staff.

Celebrated Australian musicians and Con graduates including conductor Maestro Richard Bonynge AC CBE, Sydney Symphony Orchestra principal musicians Kirsty Hilton and Paul Goodchild, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Artistic Director Paul Dyer, international operatic soprano Amelia Farrugia, and American-based pianist Lisa Moore will take part as special guest soloists.

Maestro Bonynge is the special guest conductor and music director of the Festival’s gala event, Haydn’s Orfeo (1791). He was one of the earlier revivalists of the famous Italian masterpiece, which he conducted at its Viennese premiere in 1967 when Dame Joan Sutherland, one of Australia’s greatest opera singers and the late wife of Bonynge, starred in the role of Euridice.

Maestro Richard Bonynge said: “The success of the opera rests with the beauty of the music, the extraordinary vocal writing, and the magnificent choruses that propel the drama and a very rich and varied orchestration. It promises to be a wonderful tribute to the Con’s milestone birthday, and I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Australia to take part in this momentous event.”

Alumni Amelia Farrugia, Brad Cooper, Damian Whiteley and Simon Lobelson, along with soprano Greta Bradman will form the cast of soloists along with over 200 musicians from the SCM Symphony Orchestra and SCM Chamber Choir.

Other star guests of the Festival include Paul Dyer, who will bring a flavour of the Brandenburg Orchestra to the Con as he leads an early music ensemble in concert on harpsichord. Australia’s best exponent of contemporary music, Lisa Moore, will lead a modern music ensemble on piano. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Associate Principal Trumpet, Paul Goodchild, will appear as guest soloist alongside the Con’s burgeoning Wind Symphony Orchestra. While Sydney Symphony Orchestra principal second violinist, Kirsty Hilton, will perform with the SCM Chamber Orchestra.

A former Conservatorium director, Dr Ronald Smart (1992-1994), will also return to conduct the glorious SCM Chamber Choir in a matinee acapella concert.

Jazz musicians from across the country including guest tenor saxophone soloist Dale Barlow, and current Con teachers who make up the Matt McMahon Paths and Streams, Sandy Evans Trio, and The Bassmen will perform in an all-star Alumni Jazz Orchestra for the Festival finale.

Several special announcements will be made during the Festival. These include the first recipient of the inaugural Peter Sculthorpe Fellowship, a new patron for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Richard Bonynge by the University of Sydney.

For more on the Centenary Festival program and tickets visit the Sydney Conservatorium of Music website



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