22 March 2010

A cello crafted in 1812 that was the pride and joy of the wife of convict-era Governor Lachlan Macquarie will be

featured in a special performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's annual Open Day next Sunday.

Fully refurbished, the cello - now part of the collection of the Museum of Sydney, which is located on the site

of Australia's first Government House - will have its first public "outing" in some 196 years. The restoration was

possible due to the generous assistance of Neil and Hamish Balnaves of the Balnaves Foundation.

One of the world's renowned celloists, Emma-Jane Murphy, will play the delicate instrument at a ceremony to mark the 2010 Macquarie Bicentenary Celebrations as part of The Con's Open Day festival program.

Murphy will join internationally acclaimed didgeridoo player William Barton in a world premiere performance of Peter Sculthorpe's newest work, 'Remembering Mrs Macquarie.'

The composition by Sculthorpe, a National Living Treasure, was written in honour of current NSW Governor, Professor Marie Bashir.

The Con has historic links with Governor Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth. The institution's main building, located on the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens, was once their official stables.

The Open Day festival, which aims to welcome people of all ages and from all walks of life to one of the world's leading music institutions, will present one of the biggest schedules of classic and contemporary music concerts, displays and lectures on record.

Involving a mix of Faculty, Students, Alumni and Guest Artists from around Australian and overseas, the event is expected to attract more than 10,000 people.

In another 'dips our lid' to the Lachlan Macquarie Bicentenary, Year 10 students from Macquarie Fields High School will deliver a five minute poem inspired by the speech the Governor made after landing in Sydney to take up his post on 30 January 1810.

One key paragraph in that speech urged the following:

'I am sanguine in my Hopes, that all those Dissentions and Jealousies which have unfortunately existed in this Colony, for some time past, will now terminate forever, and give way to a more becoming Spirit of Conciliation,Harmony, and Unanimity, among all Classes and Descriptions of the Inhabitants of it.'

The Year 10 pupils at Macquarie Fields High created their monologue in collaboration with a professional poet, Dr Lachlan Brown, and The Red Room Company, a boutique not-for-profit firm dedicated to promoting new Australian poetry and Australian poets.

Brown, who lives in Campbelltown, completed a PhD on the poetry and prose of internationally acclaimed Australian poet Kevin Hart at the University of Sydney last year. He is a winner of the University poetry prize and the Henry Lawson prize. He travelled to France last year to study the riots in Paris in 2005 and their links to similar incidents in Sydney.

'It is just so exciting and inspiring that so many people - from across The Con, the Conservatorium High School, Regional Conservatoria, external musicians and artists from overseas - are coming together to make the festival happen in a big way,'commented Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker.

'We are truly blessed with the line-up this year. Music and music talent are to the fore on all fronts. Just about all genres of music will be performed, providing a variety that will offer at the very least something for everyone.

'To add to the lustre will be The Con's very own tribute to Governor Lachlan Macquarie and Mrs Macquarie, drawing on the brilliance of Peter Sculthorpe, Emma-Jane Murphy, William Barton and the students from Macquarie Fields High.'

Officially launching the 2010 Open Day, the NSW Minister for the Arts and Minister for Fair Trading, The Hon Virginia Judge MP said the links between the Macquarie's and The Con added resonance to this year's Open Day music extravaganza.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 3a3136075e211402090f332b595c331249070c1d37481317064d1338