23 September 2009

When musician Minah Choe flies out of Sydney on Sunday for performances in Europe she will be renewing a feeling of a "dream come true" denied her eight years ago.

As a 21-year-old student in the final year of her Bachelor of Music in 2001, Choe was chosen as a soloist for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Chamber Orchestra's tour of South America, and ready to launch her professional career.

But the day of departure coincided with the 9/11 World Trade Center attack and the tour was cancelled. Graduation that year meant she missed selection for the revised tour in 2002.

Now the 29-year-old cellist, from Gordon, studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at The Con, is packing her bags as part of the 34-member Orchestra, which is undertaking its first ever European concert tour, with seven performances in four countries over 15 days.

The orchestra, made of eight postgraduates and 26 undergraduates and led by Maestro Imre Pallo, will perform a repertoire of Mozart, Mills and Beethoven, as well as support soloists from European partner institutions - Royal Northern College (Manchester, UK), Conservatoire de Lausanne (Switzerland), Conservatorio N. Paganini (Genoa, Italy), Universitat Mozarteum Salzburg (Austria) and Konservatorium Wien Privatuniversitat (Vienna, Austria).

"There is definitely a feeling of déjà vu, but a very nice one," comments Choe, who completed a Masters at Indiana University in the USA in recent years.

"I remember so well how fantastic it was to be chosen in the Orchestra in 2001 - it was something that many music students obviously aspire to; and the let down of the cancellation, although for all the right reasons.

"But going to Europe eight years on is something very, very special. Exciting and extremely challenging."

Challenging is something of an understatement for percussionist Rob Oetomo, who will be performing solo on Australian composer Richard Mills' the Sequenzas Concertantes - a piece composed for three percussionists.

During the performance, Oetomo will be surrounded on stage by percussion instruments - marimba, xylophone, bass drum, glockenspiel, wood block, snare drum, tom toms, cymbals and tam tams.

"This is a marvelous opportunity for the Chamber Orchestra and a major showcase for the talents of so many Con students and Alumni," commented Dean and Principal Professor Kim Walker.

"We have established strong relationships with five of the world's major music institutions as partners for the tour and working with them and their musicians promises some wonderful outcomes."

The last overseas excursion was in 2003 when the orchestra went to New Caledonia for a sell-out, five concert tour.

The orchestra was established in the 1970s. Since 2004 it has worked under the baton of Nicholas Braithwaite, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Charles Dutoit and the Conservatorium's current Chair of Conducting, Professor Pallo.

Over the years members of this ensemble have gone on to positions in a range of international orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Danish Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Orchestra will perform a farewell concert in the Verbrugghen Hall, at The Con, on Saturday afternoon.

Contact: Scott Saunders

Phone: 02 9351 1298

Email: 2a44212c2d062d3347412e3640562c4c3c0b1f661041