5 July 2010

Jazz and more jazz will set the tone of a musical juggernaut involving students from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) at the biggest cultural event of 2010, the Shanghai World Expo.

The Con's Jazz Big Band left Sydney for China on the weekend for a program of performances, which together with follow-up concerts by the Con's Percussion and Saxophone Ensembles, will represent the largest participation of any Australian institution.

In a major boost for The Con on the back of a high-achieving first semester, pre-tertiary, undergraduate and postgraduate musicians will take part in 30 concerts at the Expo between July and October in the Australian Pavilion, the Expo Musical Festival and the World Youth Carnival.

Veteran composer and arranger Bill Motzing will lead the 19-member Con Big Band, which has garnered a strong reputation for the variety of its jazz program.

"We'll be mixing it up and keeping the audiences wondering," commented Bill, who has been conducting the Con Big Band for more than a decade and is internationally renowned for his arrangements for Oscar Award ceremonies and composing for films such as Newsfront, Young Einstein, The Quiet American, Coca-Cola Kid, and co-arranger for the theme song of The Simpsons TV series.

"It will be stamina-testing but the tour is a real feather in the cap for the band members," said the Dean and Principal of The Con, Professor Kim Walker. "We are incredibly proud of the role our students and Faculty members will be playing at the Expo and know it will be an enriching experience for all concerned.

"Being invited to perform on such a large scale at the World Expo in July and October, as well as participate in masterclasses, is a tremendous accolade for the Con Big Band the Percussion and Saxophone Ensembles and the University of Sydney."

Professor Walker said the Shanghai commitments were "the icing on the cake" of a positive first six months of the year for the Con, its Faculty members, Staff and Students.

  • A record 902 SCM students, with 899 on the main campus, combining to make the most students studying music in the University of Sydney's history, and the largest consortium in Australia.
  • A further 1,300 enrolments in the Open Academy, involving students aged five to adult learners.
  • This year, research enrolments have risen by 4%, Post Grad enrolments by 6% and international enrolments by 9%.
  • Academic offers reached above 200 - versus 169 in 2005, with a majority of students admitted with a UAI/ATAR of over 80.
  • SCM maintained highest Learning and Teaching scores compared to other University of Sydney faculties on the "Good Teaching Scale."
  • Most popular combined degrees across the University were Music/Medicine, after Advanced Science/Medicine.
  • Reached the annual budget target for donations of $1.7 million.
  • Social inclusion and community engagement events rose from 540 in 2009 to 685 in 2010.
  • Grants in support of overseas students from 34 countries rose sharply and all accepted students had achieved distinctions in their home institutions.
  • Presentations for Friends of The Con included three highly regarded Australians, film director Bruce Beresford among them.
  • Con Alumnus and founder of the Brandenburg Orchestra Paul Dyer won the University of Sydney Alumni Award.
  • The Con initiated the Honorary Doctorate granted to pre-eminent conductor Vladimir Ashkenhazy.
  • The Con Symphony Orchestra was resident orchestra at the Bronnbach Festival in Germany.
  • The Con hosted the world premiere of the final version of Arvo Paart'sSymphony No 4, Los Angeles, jointly commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Canberra International Festival of Music and the SCM, a 101 Compositions for 100 Years work.
  • The Con hosted the Australian Premiere of Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen'sChamber Music Op.94, The Trees, All Their Green, a101 Compositions for 100 Years work.
  • More than 10,000 people attended the SCM's second annual Open Day, featuring the world premiere of Remembering Mrs Macquarie, commissioned by SCM from Peter Sculthorpe and dedicated by him in person to the University's Chancellor, Professor Marie Bashir.
  • Hosted "Preserving Tradition, Facing the Future", a Symposium on Asian Musical and Visual Cultures, chaired by Professor Keith Howard, the Associate Dean, Research, at SCM, attended and including presentations by dozens of leading music scholars and performers from the USA, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia, and augmented by an exhibition of Chinese calligraphy and concerts of Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Balinese music, played on traditional instruments.
  • In partnership with ABC Classic FM, the Aurora Festival and Australian Music Centre, the Con hosted ISCM World New Music Days, acknowledged as the most important festival of new music in the world, held in the southern hemisphere for the first time, featuring 188 works from 52 countries, performed in 24 concerts across venues from the CBD to Campbelltown.
  • The Con staged 32 concerts and four well-attended public lectures in March and April (by Richard Toop, Keith Howard, Bruce Beresford and Lyndon Terracini). The concerts included five world premieres of new works as part of its flagship program for The Con's centenary in 2015, 101 Compositions for 100 Years.
  • In May and June, The Con staged 42 concerts and two lectures (by Judy Bailey and Damien Beaumont), concluding with Beethoven's 9th "Choral" Symphony under conductor Imre Pallo to a standing ovation.
  • The Con's Sensational Sunday programs and Conductors Series attracted record audiences as have the Conductors Series.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music's appearance at the Australian Pavillion of the Shanghai Expo 2010 is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 03282f2f59050700240d352f2a41161018550a152f44060806570619