17 March 2010

The momentum is surging for the major music development project, 101 Compositions for 100 Years, with two works to be performed back-to-back in Sydney.

In a musical coup, The Con on 26-27 March will host a premiere of the chamber orchestra version of Symphony No 4, Los Angeles - the highly acclaimed work of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt - together with the Australian premiere of esteemed Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen's Chamber Music VIII Op. 94 The Trees, All their Green.

The "double whammy" concerts in the Verbrugghen Hall will add another milestone to the trajectory of the scheme towards a 2015 crescendo.

Pärt, described by the Los Angeles Times as "a cult figure revered for the mystical aura of his meditative music," is one of the Marquee Composers for the 101 Compositions project, which has been initiated by The Con to help celebrate its centenary.

The Uncommon Fanfare in LA concert is a co-commission of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Canberra International Music Festival and The Con, while the Sallinen work is another international co-commission with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Wurttemberg Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Ensemble.

The program will feature Maestro Imre Palló and Timo-Veikko Valve (cello), performing courtesy of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Pärt, 75, was scheduled to be in Sydney for the concert - part of The Con's 2010 Conductors' Series - but has been burdened by ill-health.

"This is a very special concert and also a very prestigious part of the 101 project. We are honoured to have someone of Arvo Pärt's distinction on board with us, as well as being able to offer the Australian premiere of the work by Sallinen," commented the Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker.

"The work had its world premiere as a major symphony last year when it was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and attracted rave reviews - now it is our turn!"

The symphony is 37 minutes long. It was written 38 years after the Third Symphony.
The Los Angeles Times review remarked: "Pärt dedicated it to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oil executive with political ambitions who was accused of fraud and now languishes in a Siberian prison. For the composer, the symphony is meant as 'carrier pigeon' he hopes might 'reach faraway Siberia one day.'

"While considerably longer than the earlier ones, it is exceedingly beautiful."
Pärt's achievements have been honoured by his election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; his nomination as 14th International Composer of the Year by the Royal Academy of Music in London; and his Contemporary Music Award at the Classical Brit Awards in London.

Five years ago Estonia staged a major national festival to mark his 70th birthday.
Under the 101 program, a broad range of international and national composers of renown are being commissioned, year-on-year, as well as an array of upcoming and talented local composers from around Australia.

Those selected have helped shaped music in the past 100 years and are considered most likely to shape music in the next 100 years. The new works aim to embrace classical through to modern and span all genres - orchestra, modern music
ensemble, choirs, percussion ensemble, opera, big band; and involve all 43 musical instruments and voice taught at the Conservatorium.

The vast majority of new works will premiere in Australia, many of them at The Con.
Part of the scheme's objective is to reinforce The Con, the University of Sydney, Sydney and Australia as centres of excellence and innovation in the world of contemporary music.

The project was instigated by Professor Walker and Father Arthur Bridge, the founder of Ars Musica Australia.

The inaugural international composition last year was an orchestral amalgam of Bob Dylan songs called Mr Tambourine Man by leading American composer John Corigliano.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 37002c1b4c182b263e3c3e223723132a0c5258273501150612192e45