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Century of music at the Con

21 September 2015
The Con celebrates its centenary with a week-long celebration featuring students, staff and guest alumni performers

Sydney Conservatorium of Music Centenary Festival to feature an eclectic concert program led by international guest musicians and alumni returning to celebrate 100 years of musical education.

Richard Bonynge. Photographer: Denis de Marney.

Richard Bonynge AC CBE, c1951, London. Photographer: Denis de Marney.

The University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music will stage a week-long music festival featuring an eclectic concert program led by international guest musicians and alumni who are returning to the Con to celebrate its centenary. The Centenary Festival, 6-11 October 2015, is the second major event to mark 100 years of music at the Con this year.

From a chamber orchestra to a wind symphony, modern to early music, and from opera to jazz, every night there will be a different concert that sees some of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s (SCM) star graduates perform alongside current students and staff.

Celebrated Australian musicians and Con graduates including conductor Maestro Richard Bonynge AC CBE, Sydney Symphony Orchestra principal musicians Kirsty Hilton and Paul Goodchild, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Artistic Director Paul Dyer, international opera sensation Amelia Farrugia, and American-based pianist Lisa Moore will take part as special guest soloists.

Professor Anna Reid, Dean and Principal (Acting) of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music said: “Several of our prominent alumni musicians will be returning to their musical roots. Audiences will be treated to the musical stars of today working with the musical stars of tomorrow. It will be an historic week of music making at the Con, and we hope many Sydneysiders can celebrate with us.”

Maestro Bonynge is the special guest conductor and music director of the Festival’s gala event, Haydn’s Orfeo (1791). He was one of the earlier revivalists of the famous Italian masterpiece, which he conducted at the Viennese premiere in 1967 when one of Australia’s greatest opera singers and the late wife of Bonynge, Dame Joan Sutherland, starred in the role of Euridice.

Maestro Richard Bonynge said: “The success of the opera rests with the beauty of the music, the extraordinary vocal writing, and the magnificent choruses that propel the drama and a very rich and varied orchestration. It promises to be a wonderful tribute to the Con’s milestone birthday, and I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Australia to take part in this momentous event.”

Alumni Amelia Farrugia, Brad Cooper, Damian Whiteley and Simon Lobelson, along with opera sensation Greta Bradman will form the cast of star soloists in the spectacular operatic event, along with over 200 musicians from the SCM Symphony Orchestra and SCM Chamber Choir.

Other star guests of the Festival include Paul Dyer, who will bring a flavour of the Brandenburg Orchestra to the Con as he leads an early music ensemble in concert on harpsichord. Australia’s best exponent of contemporary music, Lisa Moore, will lead a modern music ensemble on piano. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Associate Principal Trumpet, Paul Goodchild, will appear as guest soloist alongside the Con’s burgeoning Wind Symphony Orchestra. While Sydney Symphony Orchestra principal second violinist, Kirsty Hilton, will perform with the SCM Chamber Orchestra.

A former Conservatorium director, Dr Ronald Smart (1992-1994), will also return to conduct the glorious SCM Chamber Choir in a matinee acapella concert.

Jazz musicians from across the country including guest tenor saxophone soloist Dale Barlow, and current Con teachers who make up the Matt McMahon Paths and Streams, Sandy Evans Trio, and The Bassmen will perform in an all-star Alumni Jazz Orchestra for the Festival finale.

Several special announcements will be made during the Festival. These include the first recipient of the inaugural Peter Sculthorpe Fellowship, a new patron for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Richard Bonynge by the University of Sydney.

For more on the Centenary Festival program and tickets visit the Sydney Conservatorium of Music website.

Verity Leatherdale

Manager, Faculty Media and PR
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