11 August 2010

A stone's throw from Imre Palló's office is a venue that has eluded the world renowned conductor - until now.

On Sunday, the Hungarian-born maestro will add the Sydney Opera House to the long list of grand sites where he has led performances of leading musicians, singers and orchestras in a career spanning 46 years.

The Chair of Conducting and Opera Production at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Palló will control the baton for the final of the McDonalds' Operatic Aria staged by the Sydney Eisteddfod - one of the nation's most prestigious competitions for opera singers, and which dates back to 1933.

"Yes, it is a milestone for me, but more so an important acknowledgement of the eminence of The Con, its students and Faculty," comments an ebullient Professor Palló, who joined The Con in 2005 after 11 years at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

"I will, of course, be chuffed. It is a wonderful, world class venue, and like any conductor I will have great pleasure being there to help with the performances rather than as a member of the audience, something I have been many, many times."

Palló will lead the SCM Symphony Orchestra, made up of some 70 students, in supporting the six finalists in their quest for a prize totaling $57,000.

The orchestra will also entertain patrons before and after the completion of the competition, which comprises 12 Arias.

A highlight of its playlist will be a rousing rendition of William Schuman'sAmerican Festival Overture, a work written in 1939, five years before Schuman became President of New York's esteemed Juilliard School and won the first ever Pulitzer Prize for music composition.

The Schuman-Juilliard connection is timely.

Palló will lead The Con's Chamber Orchestra on a ground-breaking American concert tour in October, during which the orchestra will join with Juilliard students for a joint performance of American Festival Overture at the Lincoln Center.

"Sunday's event will involve a number of students who will be in the Chamber Orchestra for the US tour, so this will provide an invaluable opportunity for something of a dress rehearsal for that very special New York concert," comments Palló.

"Importantly, it will also involve a range of students who participated in the orchestra's tours to Europe last year and Germany earlier this year, so we have a highly professional unit at the Opera House this weekend."

After majoring in piano, composition and percussion at the Budapest Conservatory of Music and graduating from the Vienna Academy in 1964, Maestro Palló joined the Wuppertal Opera as a conductor, and later the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf.

His American debut at the National Symphony Orchestra in 1973 won him guest conducting roles with the New York City Opera at the Lincoln Center, which was the start of two decades as one of the Company's Principal Conductors.

Between scores of guest conducting engagements across the USA and Europe over several decades, Palló has held senior positions at the Frankfurt Opera, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Hungarian State Opera, and conducted concerts with Orchestra Victoria, several opera productions with the West Australian Opera and Don Giovanni with Opera Australia.

"Going to the Opera House will be a feather in the cap for the Con orchestra. It represents a reaching out to a wider audience and gaining greater public appreciation," comments the Maestro.

"It is bound to also generate greater interest in people coming to The Con. This is an institution of broadening international renown, one that is planting seeds for successful collaborations and relationships with the world's best music centres."

Dean and Principal of The Con, Professor Kim Walker said: "Maestro Pallo has a conducting reputation second to none. His prominence as a conductor and as a world-renowned teacher of conductors puts him in a league we can count on one hand. We are very lucky to have him here in Australia and know that he will lead the highly talented members of the Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra with distinction at a very important event in Australian music."

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

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