One of the more curious things you might have noted about the passing of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies earlier this year is how a composer who was such an enfant terrible back in the 1960s could end up the fondly admired Master of the Queen’s Music with a host of ‘popular’ compositions to his name like the catchy An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise, or suites of songs to be sung by Scottish schoolkids.
Next week in Sydney, the ambitious Verbrugghen Ensemble are aiming to put the record straight by winding back the clock on Sir Peter in a programme entitled Of Magic and Madness, the centrepiece of which will be a performance of one of his seminal early works: Eight Songs for a Mad King. Directed by Kate Gaul, the production will feature baritone Simon Lobelson as the deranged King George III as well as a bold new work by composer Matthew Hindson (This Year’s Apocalypse) and the lyrical Sextuor Mystique by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
1. Dazed or distracted with romantic sentiment.
2. Mentally deranged; crazy.
Vivien Conacher is an operatic mezzo-soprano from Sydney, Australia. She now holds a Tier 1 UK Exceptional Talent Visa and currently based in London where she studies under the tutelage of Yvonne Kenny. Vivien trained at the Royal College of Music, where she achieved a Distinction in her Masters degree in Vocal Performance. She then completed the Opera Works training scheme at English National Opera. Vivien is also an alumna of the Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse with Roger Vignoles and has participated twice in the prestigious Britten Pears Young Artist Programme.
Vivien has performed for Opera Australia, Grange Park Opera, the BBC Proms, Wexford Festival Opera, Iford Arts Festival, British Youth Opera, and Bloomsbury Opera. On the concert platform in Sydney, she has appeared as a soloist for Pacific Opera, Opera & Arts Support Group, and The Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation. In the UK, Vivien has performed in concert at the historical St-Martin-in-the-Fields, the Foundling Museum, and her new solo show entitled ‘Moonstricken’ will be performed at this year’s Bloomsbury Festival on 20 October. Vivien wishes to express her sincere gratitude to the Tait Memorial Trust for their support of her continued study and training.
Les Chemins de l’amour by Poulenc
Vivien Conacher (mezzo soprano) & Simon Kenway (piano)
copyright Puresonics Media for Pacific Opera.
Three young Australian ballet dancers are the lucky recipients of funding from the Tait Memorial Trust, Leanne Benjamin Awards in 2016. Created in 2014, to honour the career of Australian principal ballerina, Leanne Benjamin AM OBE to assist with the costs that young Australians face when they come to study in the United Kingdom. Carefully selected by Leanne Benjamin personally we are delighted to announce our support of these talented young artists.
The Leanne Benjamin Awards
selected by Leanne Benjamin AM OBE
Financial assistance for young Australian dancers studying at major UK ballet schools
John Frost – Leanne Benjamin Award
Funded by Australian theatrical producer and Tait Patron, John Frost AM
The Royal Ballet School
Rebecca is 17 years old and is from Melbourne, Australia. She started dancing at the age of 10 years and at the age of 11 was accepted into the dance programme at the Victoria College of the Arts Secondary School in Melbourne. At the age of 13 Rebecca began to develop a passion for ballet and
for the last three years has studied Cecchetti. She completed her final examination of ‘Advanced 2’ with a score of 100%.
At the age of 14 Rebecca won the State Silver Medal Award section, and also the National Lucie Saranova Silver section for her Cecchetti. Later that year Rebecca won a bursary to compete in the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition in the United States of America. Whilst one of the youngest
competitors, Rebecca received the second prize and was recognized as ‘The Most Promising Dancer’.
Rebecca’s Cecchetti success continued this year when she won the National Lucie Saranova Gold Medal section. In January 2015, she was also delighted to be a finalist in the prestigious Prix De Lausanne in Switzerland where Mr Powney first saw her.
Rebecca had the opportunity to perform the role of a child ballerina with Victoria Opera, in their production of ‘La Traviata’. She was also cast in several lead roles in her school productions, her most memorable being a ballet work of Opus 47 choreographed by English-born dancer Jonathan Taylor. Rebecca has received her ballet training from some amazing ballet teachers over the last few years, three of whom trained at The Royal Ballet School. Rebecca feels honoured to have been selected to attend The Royal Ballet School and looks forward to receiving what she considers is the best available teaching and the opportunity to train with exceptionally talented students.
This is Rebecca’s second year with The Royal Ballet School and as a LBA recipient.
Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School
Chloe Keneally studied at the Debra Whitten School of Dance, Australia. In January 2016 she auditioned for the English National Ballet School and was accepted immediately for commencement in September.
In April 2016, Chloe competed in the 2016 Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York following a successful video audition in December 2015. In 2015 she was selected to participate in The Royal Ballet (Upper School) Summer School in London as one of five Australians. Chloe participated in the City of Sydney Eisteddfod and was a Finalist in the Robert and Elizabeth Albert Scholarship (top 8%) and then placed 2nd (out of 80) for the 15 years classical section.
Other successes include the encouragement award for the 2015 RAD Jacqueline Morland Awards (youngest and only non-full time student in finals) and was awarded the most outstanding classical dancer of Brisbane Eisteddfod that same year. Chloe has been part of the Australian Ballet School Interstate training program from level 1 through to Invitee, and continued to train weekly with the Queensland Ballet Junior training program (since 2012). A career highlight was to dance the lead role of the Sugarplum fairy in 2015 in the Debra Whitten Ballet School end of year concert, dancing the challenging Grand Pas de Deux and variation with a professional male ballet dancer as guest artist
Leanne Benjamin Award
The English National Ballet School
Lauren has been dancing since the age of 4 at a local dance school, under the guidance of Kim Traynor. Through the encouragement of her teachers, her love of ballet was fostered. After performing with the Australian Ballet, in The Nutcracker, her dream was set. Shortly after, she became an associate of the Australian Ballet School, maintaining this position for 4 years.
In 2012, Lauren decided to focus on ballet and moved to The McDonald College and was taught by various teachers including Jane Kesby, Josephine Jason and Allan Cross. to continue her training. Moreover, Lauren performed various roles for the Premier State Ballet.
This year, Lauren was offered numerous places at various schools across Europe, but has decided upon attending the English National Ballet School, commencing this September.
Along with performing choreographed dances, Lauren has taken a passion to choreographing her own dances including; a contemporary piece she performed at the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship Finals and a classical solo which won the Classical Ballet 17/o section at Sydney Eisteddfod.
We are delighted to share the news that Tait Awardee, Benjamin Mellefont is to play Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto on Thursday 13 October 2016 7:30pm & Friday 14 October 2016 7:30pm at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall with the ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA.
Benjamin was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in October 2015. He has also performed as Guest Principal of the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Opera, London Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Sydney Symphony and Sinfonia Cymru, as well as performing with the London Sinfonietta. He has played at the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh Festivals.
Tait Winter Prom 2016
Benjamin joins us at the Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square, 30th November, to play Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the Tait Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Cottis.
“Post-concert Question Time (Thursday 13 October) – starts 15 minutes after the concert in the Music Room. Join conductor Nicholas Collon and Principal Clarinet Benjamin Mellefont, in the Music Room after the concert.
Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony isn’t just a matter of life and death – it’s more important than that. Written as an answer to Stalin at a time when one wrong note would have landed Shostakovich in the Gulag, it’s one of 20th-century music’s true epics, told in music of raw feeling.
It’ll make a powerful Liverpool debut for one of the UK’s most talked-about young conductors – and a striking contrast to Mozart’s beloved Clarinet Concerto, played by our own Principal Clarinet Benjamin Mellefont. Berlioz’s comedy overture kicks things off with a wink.”
Form the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s website
To learn more about Benjamin please go to his website
We are delighted to announce The Tait Memorial Trust, ‘John Amis Award’ at the Dartington International Summer School. The Award, valued at £1,700, will fund the studies of a young Australian for two weeks intensive work at next year’s School. This will be an annual award available to an Australian citizen who wishes to further their musical studies in the UK. Please apply directly to Dartington to register your interest.
Melbourne born Tenor Matthew Thomson was the John Amis Award’s first recipient at the 2016 Dartington International Summer School and Festival. Speaking of Matthew as the first recipient of the award, Isla Baring says,
“John loved singing, he loved Australia, and he loved Dartington – these three elements have come together perfectly in Matthew receiving the first of these annual awards in celebration of John’s legacy at Dartington.”
Writer, broadcaster, narrator, mimic, wit, raconteur, visionary, bon vivant, and an excellent organizer, John Amis’ life was a remarkable one, through which music, and the joy of it, ran as a rich golden vein.
When John Amis died in 2014, Isla Baring, the “Indian Summer” of his life, and Chair of the Tait Memorial Trust, of which John too had been an active patron, invited gifts from those who loved and appreciated him to create a ‘John Amis Award.
In celebration of John Amis’ defining role in its history, The Dartington International Summer School and Festival, and the Tait Memorial Trust have now joined to offer this award to an Australian Student applying to attend the Summer School each year.
John’s role in the Summer School goes back to 1948, when as William Glock’s right hand man, he helped set up the Summer School at Bryanston, a relationship that continued when the Summer School moved to Dartington in 1951, where John was closely involved in both its artistic direction and administration. Through the close friendships John built with notable musicians, composers, and conductors, he ensured that many of them featured at Dartington, where he worked to develop the special musical atmosphere that pervades to this day. (John was also in charge of the “trogs”; the unpaid volunteers who keep the show on the road – christened “troglodytes” by George Malcolm one summer.)
Matthew Thomson, Tenor
Matthew specialises in Baroque to Classical solo and chamber repertoire, this year bringing the characters of ‘Pyramus’ and ‘Sailor’ to colourful dramatic and vocal life at Dartington in Richard Williams’ quirky, demanding ‘back to back’ productions of ‘Pyramus & Thisbe’ and ‘Dido and Aeneas’, and excelling in his solo performances in the Monteverdi Vespers and Handel’s ‘Alexander’s Feast’.
Matthew says of his experience on the Advanced Opera Course at this year’s Dartington International Summer School and Festival
“These two weeks at Dartington provided one of the most intensive and rewarding learning and performance experiences of my career. I am thrilled too to be the first recipient of this award.”
Matthew’s course diary
“Week 1: Emma Kirkby was amazing to work with and learn from – as well as having the opportunity to have a lesson with Jessica Cash who was fantastic!! Having so many baroque and early music instruments there and working with all the lutenists really made the experience special. Also, I think it is important to give students the opportunity to sing some solos in the major concert alongside some of the more established professionals as I did in the Monteverdi Vespers with Stile Antico. Emma said some things that really assisted me regarding vowels and how I come on to notes when I sing. This will definitely change the way I approach songs in the future. Also, I feel like Jessica Cash helped me to overcome a mental block that I have been experiencing for years regarding listening to my sound and not singing freely – a bit of a revelation really!
Week 2: It is hard to pick a highlight of this week when it was opera for every session, but I have to say, I enjoyed it so much! Working with Maggie Faultless was probably the most valuable experience for me. Also, a shout out to the staff, particularly Georgie who was very helpful and understanding. Also – I loved the music shop. So many wonderful scores and so much money I probably shouldn’t have spent but did!! I have never really considered myself as someone who was good at performing staged opera – it isn’t something I have had confidence in. Performing in Pyramus and Thisbe, the comic opera, threw me in the deep end. I had to perform lines, a death scene, learn stage movements, memorise a tonne of music and on top of all of that, it had to be funny. A massive challenge that I really feel like I rose to. My confidence in this area has increased significantly to a point where opera is something I am seriously considering pursuing further.”
AUSTRALIA PIANO QUARTET
(Rebecca Chan, violin; Daniel de Borah, piano; Thomas Rann, cello; James Wannan, viola)
Thursday 15 September 2016 at 1:00PM
MOZART: Piano Quartet in E flat K.452 (after Quintet for piano & winds)
BRAHMS: Piano Quartet in C minor Op. 60
‘Intellectually and musically vigorous’ – Sydney Morning Herald
‘Chamber playing of the highest order’ – Limelight Magazine
The Australia Piano Quartet, Ensemble in Residence at the University of Technology Sydney, performs concert series at the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Recital Centre, as well as international tours throughout Europe and Asia. Following their London debut in 2015, the APQ returns to the UK, China, France and Italy in 2016.
In addition to the canonical masterpieces, the ensemble is committed to unearthing neglected works. They have commissioned piano quartets from Australian composers, including Elliott Gyger, Elena Kats-Chernin, Paul Dean and William Barton and have been broadcast on Foxtel Arts, ABC Classic FM and BBC Radio 3. In 2017, the ensemble will release their first disc, Mozart’s complete works for piano quartet.
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