Sydney's top music students on stage in Italy for first chamber music summer school

30 June 2014

The finest musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music are about to set off for the first European Chamber Music Summer School in Italy this week. The inaugural Estivo will see 47 tertiary music students from the University of Sydney's music faculty perform in over 20 concerts in 12 historic venues across 3 major cities - Verona, Venice and Mantova - in northern Italy from 7-19 July.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Dean Dr Karl Kramer said: "It is the first international music program of its kind made available to Australian tertiary music students. It's going to be demanding, but an incredible experience for our students to take part in an intensive two week chamber music program, performing in some of Europe's most magnificent venues and most popular tourist spots."

The students will stage daily concerts in piazzas, churches, conservatories, palaces, concert venues and government offices. Prestigious venues like the Bibiena Theatre, where Mozart gave his first performance, the Palazzo Te also in Mantova, and La Pieta in Venice, are just a few of the iconic places where the performances will be held.

Comprising eight chamber music ensembles - two wind quintets, brass quintet, saxophone quartet, three string quartets, and a piano trio - plus six pianists accompanying six opera singers, these talented young musicians will perform repertoire from the traditional chamber music canon. In between the rigorous concert schedule, they will work closely with some of the best teachers from all over Europe, as well as key mentors from the Sydney Con and Australia's pre-imminent string quartet, the Goldner String Quartet.

Bridget O'Donnell from the Hillel String Quartet, one of the ensembles taking part, said: "The four of us have been together since the start of 2012, mainly playing in Sydney. This will be our first time together overseas, which will be an awesome experience.

"Italy is such a beautiful country, steeped in music history and culture. It will be the perfect place to improve our chamber music skills. We hope that the experience will make us more resilient performers and we're also quite excited about consuming large amounts of pasta!" she said.

Estivo has been set up in collaboration with the Conservatorio di Verona, where the students will be based, and the Conservatorio di Musica in Mantova. It coincides with Verona's world-renowned summer festival of opera, the Arena di Verona Festival, which students will attend.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music's top students were selected through a competitive audition process earlier this year to join the inaugural European Chamber Music School in Italy.

An annual event, Estivo is a commitment by the University of Sydney to give Australia's preeminent young classical musicians insight and exposure to studying and performing internationally.

Follow the students at Estivo in Italy at

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The ensembles and musicians attending Estivo:
Bennelong Brass
- Jonathan Baker, Milo Dodd, Owen Morris, Tim Skelly, Benjamin Turner

Estivo Piano Trio- Jonathan Bekes, Fox Chan, Ying Ho

Fracture Saxophone Quartet- Peter Chao, Nathan Henshaw, Peter Leung, Simon Watts

Adelphi String Quartet - Yeonhee Kim, Josephine Lumanau, Bernadette Morrison, Klara Morrison

Hillel String Quartet - Benjamin Adler, Bethan Lillicrap, Bridget O'Donnell, Elizabeth Woolnough

4 String Quartet - Nathan Greentree, Vincent Lo, Kay-Yin Teoh, Benjamin Tjoa

Festivo Wind Quintet- Cameron Burgess, Chloe Chung, Joshua Davies, Toshiyuki Hosogaya, Justin Sun

The Sydney Zephyr Wind Quintet - James Fisher, Osvaldo Junior, Katrina Todd, Gillian Williams, Sarah Young

Vocalists - Damian Arnold, Zoe Drummond, Sarah Kemeny, Imogen Malfitano, Daniel Nicholson and Joshua Oxley

Pianists - Pavle Cajic, Sherilyn Chen, Su Choung, Patrick Keith, Rachael Lin and Alex Waite

Estivo: European Chamber Music Summer School will be staged thanks to the generous support of Il Conservatorio Statale di Musica 'Evaristo Felice Dall' Abaco' di Verona and Conservatorio di Musica 'Lucio Campiani' Mantova.