A ‘SYMPHONIC’ HISTORY:
2014 Debut Year
DEBUT CONCERT – 16/02/2014 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
Conducted by Australian conductor Robert Dora, the orchestra’s Debut Concert occurred on February 16 2014 with the internationally renowned Chinese-Australian soprano Shu-Cheen Yu as well as the rising Melbourne violin virtuoso Matthew Rigby, featuring Grieg‘s Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, traditional Chinese folk songs (教我如何不 想他, 踏雪寻 梅, 在银色的月光下, 阿拉木汗), the world premiere of Gypsy Trance (rhapsody for violin and orchestra), Strauss‘ Gypsy Baron Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov‘s The Story of the Kalender Prince (from Scheherazade).
BUTTERFLYR LOVERS & SHOSTAKOVICH – 03/08/2014 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
The Debut concert was followed on August 3 2014 by a highly successful concert with acclaimed violinist Ji Won Kim (of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra) the repertoire for which was Rossini‘s William Tell Overture, Zhanhao & Gang‘s much loved Chinese Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, Shostakovich‘s music from The Gadfly as well as the world premiere of Anthony Wilson‘s orchestral work Númenor.
PROKOFIEV, REZNICEK, SATIE – 22/02/2015 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
The first concert of the 2015 season featured magnificent music from both Eastern and Western Cultures on February 22nd. The program opened with Reznicek’s Donna Diana Overture which was followed by orchestrated arrangements of traditional Korean and Malaysian works. Tony Gould, Australia’s iconic classical and jazz pianist joined the orchestra to present an unforgettable performance of Eric Satie‘s hauntingly beautiful Gymnopédies followed by an enjoyable and much appreciated solo improvised medley of well known musical numbers. The concert also included Prokofiev’s challenging and beautiful Romeo and Juliet Suites which were superbly dealt with by the orchestra.
ANZACS UNTOLD: ANZAC & Chinese Music – 29/03/2015 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
On Sunday 29th March the orchestra proudly presented it’s second concert for the year as part of the 100th Anniversary of ‘Gallipoli’. It showcased great classical works from both the West (Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture) and from China (the Australian Premieres of Red Plum Capriccio, with Erhu virtuoso Ying Liu, and Nan Zhang’s Red River Tone Poem, with soloist Terence Lu), as well as recognising the 200 Chinese ANZACS who fought in the defence forces in WWI. This unique musical event also presented two Australian compositions, a Song for Gallipoli by prominent composer George Dreyfus and the world premiere of Dora‘s Symphony to an ANZAC by Robert Dora. The symphony came to be after President Loui Kushinsky and the committee set Robert Dora, as artistic director of the orchestra, challenging task of finding a brand new composition dedicated to all ANZACS four months prior to rehearsals. After following various avenues with other composers on the 1st of January Robert decided to write a work in order to fulfil the brief.
ENIGMA, YU & BORODIN 2 – 01/08/2015 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
On Saturday 1st August the orchestra performed its third and final concert of a dynamic year, opening with Melbourne based Chinese composer Julian Yu’s brilliantly unique and engaging orchestral work New Upbeat (新起板) which contains many themes and musical references to Chinese folks songs as well as music of Australiana. This was followed followed by a stirring performance of Elgar’s sublime and much loved Enigma Variations, an interpretation which used tempos from performance recordings of Elgar conducting the work himself. The concert ended with a gutsy performance of Borodin’s brilliant, yet very under-performed, Symphony No. 2. which combined typically ‘intense’ Romantic period Russian themes and orchestration as well as many sublime moments, namely the slow third movement which has many musical similarities to some of Caesar Franck’s works.
MUSIC TO LOVE – 14/02/2016 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
To welcome in a new year of wonderful music making, the orchestra presented Music to Love, a highly successful Valentine’s Day afternoon concert which had Tchaikovsky’s phenomenal and much loved Symphony No. 6 performed alongside Julian Yu’s beautiful romantic Concerto on Chinese Themes for Clarinet & Orchestra (with the AO’s wonderful Aaron Klein as clarinet soloist) and the world premiere of Melbourne composer David Keeffe’s The Eternal Triangle.
CLASSIC WORLD – 31/07/2016 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
It’s second full symphonic concert of 2016 was Classic World and presented Prokofiev’s picturesque Symphony No. 1, Rachmaninov’s iconic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano & Orchestra (with virtuoso pianist Natasha Lin) as well as the world premieres of two exciting Australian works, Natasha Lin’s Ghost and Hugh Crosthwaite’s Adrift on the Ocean.
SYMPHONIC RAPTURE – 12/02/2017 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
The performance of David Scheel‘s A Hymn for Planet Earth was a beautiful start to proceedings and the 6 Chinese Folk Songs as orchestrated and arranged by Julian Yu was precisely and enthusiastically performed by the orchestra and received by the audience, which included the composer himself. Rachmaninov‘s Symphony No. 2 was a truly epic end to proceedings, lasting just under 1 hour in duration by itself, and was rapturously received by the audience and expertly performed by the orchestra.
SCHEHERAZADE – 30/07/2017 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
The AO’s second full orchestral ‘spectacle’ of 2017 opened with ‘boisterous’ renditions of Rossini‘s brilliant The Thieving Magpie Overture as well as of the ‘flamenco’ influenced Symphony No. 3 by Melbourne’s Benjamin Bates. The 2nd half of the concert featured a stirring performance of Rimsky-Korsakov‘s iconic symphonic suite Scheherazade (complete), after which there were calls of ‘encore’!
Over the course of its 2 major concerts in 2017, the AO continued its growth in terms of camaraderie between the players, its overall musical ‘strength’ and high calibre of musical performance as well as its reputation for being a highly fun ensemble of instrumentalists who together consistently deliver very powerful, ‘tight’ and uplifting performances.
DESTINY – 25/02/2018 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
The Australasian Orchestra’s ‘premiere’ concert of 2018 was highly successful as the orchestra passionately performed Tchaikovsky‘s joyous Symphony No. 4 and Verdi‘s grand The Force of Destiny Overture along with the concert’s two solo works. The highly talented flautist Adam Richardson gave a tantalising performance of Carmichael‘s Phoenix Flute Concerto, a highly difficult work for flute as well as for orchestra. This concert also saw the introduction of gifted young violinist Christian Li who gave a mesmerising performance Wieniawski‘s delightful Polonaise in D major in what was his first ever solo performance with an orchestra (or ensemble). Shortly thereafter he joint won the 2018 Menuhin Junior Competition in Geneva.
BRAHMS, CHOPIN & PERTOUT – 22/07/2018 (James Tatoulis Auditorium, MLC)
This second AO concert of 2018 saw the orchestra perform Johannes Brahms‘ joyous & uplifting Symphony No. 3 & with piano soloist Natasha Lin who returned to play with the orchestra by exquisitely performing Frédéric Chopin‘s beautiful Concerto No. 2 in F minor. The tantalising work Sonus Dulcis by well known & admired Chilean born Australian composer Andrián Pertout was also very well received.
CHAMBER CONCERT – 14/10/2018 (Christ Church, Hawthorn)
This concert saw the first Chamber Orchestra performance by members of the Australasian Orchestra. Opening with Grieg‘s picturesque ‘2 Melodies‘, the concert featured a sparkling contemporary performance of Bach‘s timeless Concerto for 2 Violins by violin soloists Mark Sadka & Hannah. The second have of the concert saw the ensemble perform Dvorak‘s stirring Serenade for Strings and Grieg‘s picturesque ‘2 Melodies‘, which was also well received by the audience.