Conservatorium Chamber Music Competition Winners

The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music presents the finalists of the 2023 Conservatorium Chamber Music Competition. Current students have the opportunity each year to form a small ensemble with their peers, and perform a work of their choice in the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series.

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Betts-Dean + Kelly: program tba

A duo recital featuring decorated University of Melbourne alumna and now London-based mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean with pianist Stewart Kelly. Reigniting a partnership that is more than a decade long, Ms Betts-Dean and Mr Kelly return to the Conservatorium as part of our Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series.

Lotte and Stewart first performed together in 2012 when Lotte was a student at the Conservatorium. Both artists share a love of song repertoire and have worked extensively together over the past ten years. Lotte's impressive London-based career is a testament to the skills she cultivated at the Conservatorium and we look forward to her return.

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Duo Chamber Melange: Fibich, Sutherland, Boulanger & Fauré

MUSICAL KALEIDOSCOPE

A colourful mix of musical genres is familiar territory for Duo Chamber Melange. There is only one word that encapsulates the essence of this concert — kaleidoscopic. Journey from the Classical nationalism of rarely played Czech composer Fibich, through the vivid and energetic works by 20th-century women composers Lili Boulanger and Margaret Sutherland to conclude with Fauré's chamber music masterpiece Sonata in A Major. This mosaic of genres is truly fascinating — all these pieces are 'works of a youth' — as written in the early times of the composer's professional career.

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Pleione 11: Bochsa, Widor, Duncan, Arlen & Pinto

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!

Long-time collaborators, pianist Donna Coleman and harpist Jacinta Dennett are Pleione 11; they explore the notion of home in this program that features a premiere by Australian composer Eve Duncan. The program title There’s no place like home! evokes the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz and the image of Dorothy clicking together the heels of her ruby slippers, but the phrase originates in the lyric of “Home, Sweet Home” from Henry Bishop’s 1823 opera Clari. The celebrated French composer and harpist-in-residence for Napoleon, Robert Nicholas Charles Bochsa, borrowed the melody as the theme for a set of variations in his Duo brillant. Bishop’s estranged wife, Anna (1810–1884), made the song enduringly popular in Australia when she and Bochsa, now her lover, toured there just before his death in 1856.

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Buzbee + guest: Greenbaum

WORLD PREMIERE

The Faculty of Fine Arts and Music proudly presents the world premiere of Stuart Greenbaum’s Tuba Sonata.

This recital is presented as part of the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series. All concerts in this series can also be streamed live via the Melbourne Conservatorium website.

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Watts + Imison + Newcomb: Blaze

THE STRADIVARI OF THE BASSOON

The Parisian bassoonist and instrument maker Jean-Nicolas Savary jeune (1786 - 1853) is a particularly interesting figure in the world of historical bassoons. His instruments became so popular that in 1891, Charles Russell Day posthumously declared Savary jeune to be the Stradivari of the bassoon, lauding the Savary bassoon’s “peculiar singing quality of tone." Many leading players of the 19th century performed on his finely crafted, unique sounding bassoons. In 2012, Lyndon Watts collaborated with Swiss instrument maker Walter Bassetto to produce the first copies of Savary bassoons. Three Savary bassoons by Bassetto will be presented in this performance of three trios by François-Henri-Joseph Blaze (1784-1857), the infamous founder of music criticism in Paris, widely known by his nom de plume Castil-Blaze. The use of period instruments highlights the changes in character associated with the different tonality of each trio.

This recital is presented as part of the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series. All concerts in this series can also be streamed live via the Melbourne Conservatorium website.

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Sinclair + Rae: Rodrigo

Classical guitarist Nathan Sinclair presents a program of exclusively works by the Spanish composer, Joaquin Rodrigo. These works are the focus of the performance-led research undertaken by Nathan at the Conservatorium as well as being the subject of a new book by eminent Rodrigo scholars, Javier Suarez-Pajares and Walter Aaron-Clarke.

The culmination of Nathan's 30 + years performing, and 2 years of PhD research into the early guitar works of Joaquin Rodrigo, this program will be the first of its kind in Australia, presenting new editions of these early guitar works in chronological order.

Watch Nathan Sinclair's award-winning performance of Concierto de Aranjuez at the Concerto Aria Competition, 2021 here.

This recital is presented as part of the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series. All concerts in this series can also be streamed live via the Melbourne Conservatorium website.

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Kirsanova + Clarke: Schnittke, Szymanowski, Stravinsky & Saint-Saëns

This delightful program reveals a fascinating world of the past, where music is a mirror of other art forms, ancient cultures and history. The program features Neo-Baroque works - the sophisticated and ironic Schnittke's Suite in the Old Style and Stravinsky's Suite Italienne, derived from the ballet Pulcinella, which was inspired by the 18th-century commedia dell'arte. The unique violin style in one of the most famous violin works by Szymanowski, The Myths, evokes the imagination of Greek mythology and the thrilling Dance Macabre by Saint-Saëns depicts the allegory of death from the medieval art and literacy.

This recital is presented as part of the Melba Hall Lunch Hour Concert Series. All concerts in this series can also be streamed live via the Melbourne Conservatorium website.

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Brennan + Jones + Wong: Eötvös, Murray, Schultz, H Sdraulig, Boyd, Abbott & Fujimura

AUSTRALIAN COMPOSERS

A recital featuring Joel Brennan (A/Prof - Trumpet and Deputy Associate Dean (Research)), Derek Jones (A/Prof - Flute and Head of Woodwinds) and Jerry Wong (A/Prof - Piano and Head of Keyboard). The repertoire will consist of all living Australian composers. Four of the seven composers are Conservatorium staff members. One work will be a world premiere and another an Australian premiere.

The repertoire involving flute and trumpet is all intended to eventually be recorded and released on commercial CDs.

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Vains + Kelly: Beethoven

In the spirit of the Classical orators, Chad Kelly and Josephine Vains place rhetoric and the connection with audience at the centre of their music-making. Through performing the F Major Sonata with harpsichord and historical cello, this program sheds new light on the relationship between keyboard and cello at the cusp of the 19th century, and offers the audience a distinctly-coloured perspective of Beethoven's early compositional style within a rare sound world. In stark contrast, the joyous and masterful A Major Sonata will be performed using the Graf fortepiano, revealing not just the development of the keyboard, but the evolution of an entire genre.

Chad and Josephine are committed to the performance of works on historical instruments, with particular emphasis on historically-informed performance and the emotional impact of rhetorical ideas. The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music houses a unique collection of keyboards, two of which will be given prominence in this recital. The combination of harpsichord and violoncello in particular is virtually unheard of in the performance of the Op.5 Sonatas of Beethoven (even though the composer explicitly wrote for the combination). This would be a unique reading of these much-loved works and a first-ever rendition in Australia from two members of staff at the Conservatorium Early Music Studio.

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Chong + de Borah: Rachmaninoff

RACHMANINOFF FOR TWO PIANOS

Rachmaninoff was one of the most formative pianists of the 20th century, both in his pianism and compositional output. This year marks his 150th birthday and is therefore cause for celebration! This concert presents some of Rachmaninoff's finest smaller scale solo piano works as well as his emphatic Symphonic Dances - one of his last and most luminous compositions.

Acclaimed pianist Kristian Chong is joined by one of Australia's finest pianists Daniel de Borah (from Griffith University) in this powerhouse recital.

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Thompson + Martin: C Schumann, R Schumann, Dietrich & Brahms

FREI ABER EINSAM: A SALUTE TO VIOLINIST JOSEPH JOACHIM

Join us for a violin and piano recital in the stunning surrounds of the Hanson Dyer Hall. Written for the great violinist Joseph Joachim, the three pieces in this program feature works by composers in the circle of Johannes Brahms including Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann and Albert Dietrich.

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Murray + Marcheff + De Vries + Rudd: Carrilho, Ravel, Goss & Murray

Suites for Guitar showcases the beauty and vitality of guitars in concert, playing suites from Brazil, France and Australia.

The arrangement of Mauricio Carrilho's Suite for guitar and orchestra is an integral part of Max Rudd's PhD in performance thesis. Ravel's Danses Nobles et Sentimentales arranged by Doug de Vries is to be recorded by de Vries and Murray as part of a research output recording. Murray's Trin Warren is a new composition that will receive its first performance at this concert.

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Australian Wind Quintet: Ligeti, Paul Dean & Nielsen

Founded in 2022, the Australian Wind Quintet is a Melbourne-based group specialising in presenting twenty-first century Australian compositions by composers such as Elliott Gyger, Elizabeth Younan, Cathy Likhuta and Paul Dean alongside standard canonic repertoire.

The program opens with Ligeti’s explosive Six Bagatelles, exploiting the extreme dynamics and expressively lyrical qualities of both the whole ensemble and each individual soloist. This is followed by Australian composer Paul Dean’s quintet Jasper and Charlie, based on a scene from Craig Silvey’s novel Jasper Jones, a dramatically compelling work featuring the bassoon as the protagonist. The program concludes with Nielsen’s monumental quintet, a perennial masterpiece displaying magical colours and a rewarding depth of musical expression in a constantly changing, kaleidoscopic soundscape.

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Bogosavljević + Milošević: Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky & Shostakovich

After many successful recitals together in Europe, longtime friends, Svetlana Bogosavljević (cello) and Vladimir Milošević (piano) join forces for their first recital in Australia. They will present a program of Russian masterpieces, including Shostakovich’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. A work very dear to Svetlana, she performed it many times with her late Mother, Nada Kecman, who played for Shostakovich himself. The program opens with two virtuosic piano arrangements of Russian Ballets by Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

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Duo Eclettico: Hofmeyr, Edwards/Neville & Martin

MAGIC

Duo Eclettico celebrate the magical, the ethereal, the demonic, and the ‘other’, with works from South Africa and Australia. Hendrik Hofmeyr, arguably South Africa’s most celebrated living composer, is represented with Necromancer, a virtuosic yet beautifully colourful work evoking the magic of a necromancer, in Hofmeyr’s writing a symbol for LGBTIQ+ sexuality and attempted repression of this by traditional conservative forces.

Paired with Ross Edwards’ Full Moon Dances, in a stunning arrangement for saxophone, piano and percussion by Peter Neville. Edwards depicts the universal Moon Goddess incarnate, source of plant life and protector of the environment, performing a series of ritual healing ceremonies.

The recital culminates in the world premiere of Caerwen Martin’s major new work for soprano saxophone and piano, The Witch of Kings Cross, about a fascinating real-life figure – Rosaleen Norton.

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Duo Chamber Melange: Grieg & Greenhill

NORWEIGAN BEAUTY

Duo Chamber Melange present two jewels of chamber music by Norwegian genius Edvard Grieg alongside an inspirational Australian work written by Emma Greenhill.

The sonatas held a special place for Grieg who commented that ‘they each represent a period in my development: the first, naive, rich in ideas… the second, nationalistic… and the third, a wider horizon. They have each bought me great luck.’ Emma Greenhill’s Paper Boats, written for the 2017 Kendall national violin competition, is an evocative and energetic work.

Presenting amiable music from the 19th to the 21st century, Duo Chamber Melange hope to shine a light on beautiful pieces that engage from start to finish.

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Nexas Quartet: Spiewak, Ravel, Corea & Debussy

CHILD'S PLAY

Nexas Quartet are committed to sharing the musical diversity of the saxophone, showcasing its versatility and ability to cross genre boundaries.

Their performance in Primrose Potter Salon presents repertoire inspired by the joy and fun of childhood. Featuring masterpieces by Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Chick Corea and Australian Tomasz Spiewak, Nexas Quartet have crafted a program that will bring out the inner child in everyone.

A special opportunity to entertain the childlike sensibilities of fun, silliness and charm, Nexas Quartet have arranged works from full orchestral suites to saxophone quartet, demonstrating the versatility of their sound.

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Van Kuijk Quartet: Mozart, Debussy, Mendelssohn & Canat de Chizy

PARISIENNES

Quatuor Van Kuijk celebrate the quartet’s ten-year anniversary with a program of Mozart, Debussy, Mendelssohn and the Australian premiere of Edith Canat de Chizy’s String Quartet No.5 Oh God, written specially for the quartet.

Quatuor Van Kuijk are a fresh voice imbuing new energy and interpretations to the master works of the chamber catalogue. Join them for an evening traversing classical refinement in Mozart, the early Romantic explorations of Mendelssohn, the new Impressionist sounds of Debussy, and the thrilling and unsettling textural explorations of a new Edith Canat de Chizy work.

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Brodsky Quartet: Bach, Britten & Schubert

Brodsky Quartet celebrate their 50th anniversary with a brilliantly imagined program of Bach, Britten and Schubert. Weaving musical magic, the legendary string quartet will demonstrate to audiences the fiercely focused and blazing integrity that comes from 50 years of collaboration and imagination.

‘How has it been 50 years since we started this lifelong journey together? Looking back, I find it wonderful that 10- and 12-year olds were already infused with passion and belief in the longevity that is now playing out. Two of us remain from the beginning, one joined as we turned professional 40 years ago, and our new fourth member has had her own similar path in the endlessly rewarding and fascinating life that is the String Quartet! We still gain a huge amount of pleasure in the endlessly fascinating vocation we have made our lives’ work. Rehearsals can delve with manic intensity into the minute detail of our craft, as much now as when we were young and finding our collective voice. The passion remains in our hearts and, we hope, will still manage to thrill our audiences as we set off on this anniversary season!’ Brodsky Quartet

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Songmakers Australia: Schubert

THE BEAUTIFUL MILLER'S DAUGHTER

Songmakers Australia celebrate 200 years of Die schöne Müllerin (The Fair Maid of the Mill), a song cycle based on 20 poems written by Wilhem Müller.

‘I feel myself to be the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world. Imagine a man whose health will never be right again, and who in sheer despair over this ever makes things worse and worse, instead of better; imagine a man, I say, whose most brilliant hopes have perished, to whom the happiness of love and friendship have nothing to offer but pain… My peace is gone, my heart is sore, I shall find it never and nevermore… I may well sing now, for each night, on retiring to bed, I hope I may not wake again…’ With these poignant words Schubert described his state of mind after writing Die schöne Müllerin.

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Tarab Ensemble: classical Arabic music

SOUNDS LIKE ARABIA

Tarab Ensemble present instrumental Arabic music at immense scale. The ensemble has evolved to be Australia’s largest group dedicated to instrumental classical Arabic music. Although the group was founded by multi-faith Arabic speaking musicians, the vision of the ensemble has expanded to encompass non-Arab musicians from Australia, Iran, Germany, Armenia and Venezuela.

A testimony of the beauty, richness and diversity of Tarab and its ability to attract people from different cultures. A truly unforgettable musical experience with the power to stir powerful emotions.

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Quartz: Webern & Beethoven

LANGSAMER

Quartz present emotional works for the string quartet by Webern and Beethoven. Anton Webern’s utterly ravishing Langsamer Satz (Slow Movement) for string quartet was written when he was madly in love. Inspired by a hiking trip in the Austrian mountains with his future wife, the influence of Brahms in both romanticism and tonality are evident throughout. Referred to as ‘pure and exalted love music’, the emotions range from yearning to dramatic turmoil and finally, tranquility.

Beethoven’s string quartet Op.127 is the first of his legendary ‘late quartets’. It is an uncommonly tender and introverted work that exudes raw human emotion with spectacular control. The work embodies the stylistic traits of his final period of writing – sublime beauty, deeply intimate emotion, epic lengths and superhuman virtuosity. Beethoven’s final music is utterly transcendental.

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MCO Chamber + Aura Go: Tchaikovsky and Mozart

TRANSFORMATIONS

Music by two of the most-loved composers —Tchaikovsky and Mozart — revealed by the power of transformation.

For this performance MCO musicians are playing a Tchaikovsky work originally for piano solo with a string quartet, and a Mozart piano concerto with the quartet and piano. They are joined by one of Australia’s most extraordinary pianists Aura Go for these concerts.

In these lovingly crafted arrangements, we hear this great music anew, with both works revealing their innate relationship with the conversation and intimacy of chamber music.

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MCO Chamber: Haydn, Shaw & Beethoven

INSPIRATIONS

Three inspiring string quartets, inspired by the Classical tradition.

Beethoven was surely inspired by Haydn, but could Haydn have been inspired by Beethoven? By the time Haydn wrote his Op 77, Beethoven was establishing himself as the formidable voice of his generation, not least as Haydn’s worthy successor in the field of string quartet writing. In the Haydn, it’s possible to hear, if not the direct competition with the iconoclastic young Beethoven, his influence on the tastes of the time, with adventurous harmonies and dynamics, and a minuet that’s clearly too fast for dancing.

Beethoven’s Op 95 is a favourite of quartets and audiences alike: impetuous, dramatic, and simply overflowing with astonishing musical ideas. While it fully earns its moniker of “Serioso”, the stern Beethoven stereotype evaporates in the quartet’s final moments in a burst of joy.

An Entr’acte is a piece to be played in between other larger works. Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning American composer Caroline Shaw’s intermezzo was directly inspired by the Haydn quartet in this program, refracting and riffing on its musical language.

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MCO Chamber: Haydn, Shaw & Beethoven

INSPIRATIONS

Three inspiring string quartets, inspired by the Classical tradition.

Beethoven was surely inspired by Haydn, but could Haydn have been inspired by Beethoven? By the time Haydn wrote his Op 77, Beethoven was establishing himself as the formidable voice of his generation, not least as Haydn’s worthy successor in the field of string quartet writing. In the Haydn, it’s possible to hear, if not the direct competition with the iconoclastic young Beethoven, his influence on the tastes of the time, with adventurous harmonies and dynamics, and a minuet that’s clearly too fast for dancing.

Beethoven’s Op 95 is a favourite of quartets and audiences alike: impetuous, dramatic, and simply overflowing with astonishing musical ideas. While it fully earns its moniker of “Serioso”, the stern Beethoven stereotype evaporates in the quartet’s final moments in a burst of joy.

An Entr’acte is a piece to be played in between other larger works. Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning American composer Caroline Shaw’s intermezzo was directly inspired by the Haydn quartet in this program, refracting and riffing on its musical language.

More info and bookings

Selby & Friends: Copland, Arensky & Schubert

FINAL STATEMENTS

This extraordinary final program for the 2023 Season brings together two highly accomplished guest artists of the younger generation who are making great waves now they are back in Australia – the brilliant violinist Ike See, previously Assoc. Concertmaster of the Adelaide Symphony and now a core member of the tightly knit ACO, and solo cellist and lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium, Richard Narroway.

The program opens with Copland’s famous Vitebsk, a beautiful but brief work by the great American composer. We follow with the passionate and powerful Arensky Piano Trio No. 1 after having presented Arensky’s second piano trio in 2022.

And to bring the Season to a close, Schubert’s delightful, melody-rich piano trio was composed in the last year of his life – a testament to a beautiful and rich life extinguished too soon.

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Selby & Friends: Boulanger, Brahms & Rachmaninov

THREE STAGES OF MAN

Selby & Friends’ fourth program of the year celebrates the three stages of man – to begin, the very youthful Lilly Boulanger, sister of the famous Nadia, whose untimely death in her twenties brought an end to a spectacularly gifted artist whose talents are easily displayed in this powerful set. We follow with the succinct genius of a mature Brahms at the height of his powers, and finally an elegy to the memory of a great artist by Rachmaninov as he remembered Tchaikovsky in one of the most encompassing piano trios in the genre.

With Kathy for this tour is the brilliant and irrepressible Susie Park, visiting from the US, and the ever-popular Timo-Veikko Valve, Principal Cellist of the ACO.

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MCO Chamber + Aura Go: Tchaikovsky and Mozart

TRANSFORMATIONS

Music by two of the most-loved composers —Tchaikovsky and Mozart — revealed by the power of transformation.

For this performance MCO musicians are playing a Tchaikovsky work originally for piano solo with a string quartet, and a Mozart piano concerto with the quartet and piano. They are joined by one of Australia’s most extraordinary pianists Aura Go for these concerts.

In these lovingly crafted arrangements, we hear this great music anew, with both works revealing their innate relationship with the conversation and intimacy of chamber music.

Livestreamed on ADCH for $24

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Ensemble 642 + Lawrence: Frescobaldi, Caccini, Girolamo, Castaldi, de Rore, Kapsberger, Mayone, Cozzolani & Usper

BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY

Ensemble 642 invite the listener to experience the emotion, virtuosity and vitality of secular and sacred vocal music of the early Italian Baroque, which, hundreds of years later, still has the power to enthrall and delight.

At the turn of the 17th century, newfound approaches to musical expression exploded into every European musical community. At the heart of this movement were the courts of great Italian families such as the Medici, Sforza, Gonzaga, Pamhpili, and Colonna. To enthrall their patrons, court musicians broke many of the formal constraints that had bound them throughout the Renaissance and extracted every ounce of expressive possibility from ancient formulae.

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