Friday, January 29, 2016

2016, another year, lots of variety

My contract with OV ended in early December with a fun 5 @ 5 concert featuring the cello section. I was in Bach's Brandenburg concerto no 6 - such fun to play.

There was more Bach in early Jan, this time at A=415 with a baroque group performing Cantata BWV 248V in St John's Southgate. It took the bass 48 hours to settle down to the lower pitch, which is a semitone lower than it is used to.

And between the two was the annual New Years Eve concert with the Auzzie Pops Orchestra. This year we stayed in Melbourne rather than partying the fee away on the Sydney tour! The accountant is happy about that. So the poor bass went from a Mario Lanza medley to Bach in the space of 3 days. Variety really is the spice of life.

My next project was the Residential Summer String Camp at Camp Clayton, near Ulverstone, Northern Tasmania. A huge mob of musos ranging from 7-70 were divided into 4 orchestra and 20 chamber ensembles and yours truly was the bass tutor this year. As the picture attests, we survived a tiring by fun week.

At time of writing I am working on a Beatles cover band gig in Hamer Hall. Great arrangements by Nick Buc. Such a lot of fun.

OV Contract coming to an end

Apologies to my regular readers (er, both of you!) for my tardiness in posting update on my website and blog. I have been busy, but that is no excuse.

My contract as acting princpal bass with OV ends at the end of November. It has been full, challenging and varied. Solo, chamber, small orchestra, ballet, opera and full symphony orchestra repertoire have provided lots of fun and notes.

It all started with a symphony concert and lots of chamber gigs in Bendigo in August, see photo.

A six week ballet season was next up, with Stravinskys Symphony in 3 Movements followed by the Australian Ballet's new version of Sleeping Beauty, including a CD recording.

October was a month of smaller projects such as the Herald Sun Aria competition, Mostly Mozart and Morning Melodies. And we are now in the opera season, where the main course is Mozart's glorious Marriage of Figaro.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back to Melbourne - with OV for the rest of the year

Back to Melbourne - with OV for the rest of the year
My time with the Tasmanian Symphony ended in June 2015. What a great orchestra. I will be back soon.

After a stint in the UK (where I finally sold my house, yay) I am now back in Melbourne, on an acting principal contract with Orchestra Victoria.
After a chamber and orchestra season in Bendigo we move into the ballet season - 20:21 (Stravinsky symphony in three movements) then Sleeping Beauty. October has a series of smaller scale orchestral projects then the opera season features the Marriage of Figaro and Elixir of Love. That should keep me busy up until Xmas!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015 is off and running

Where do the years go? I must be getting old when I come out with lines like this.

So here we are in 2015 and it looks very much like I will be spending most of it in Tasmania with the remarkable TSO. And why not, they are fantastic in every way.

We started in mid January and since then have done some CD recording sessions for Giselle, with Nicolette Fraillon and the Australian Ballet. David MacAllister came along for the sessions. He is crucial in setting dancable tempi for the recordings. It was fascinating to watch him work. We see the singers in the Sitz rehearsals for the operas but we only work with the dancers in the pit. It was insightful to watch Nicolette and David work together. They are an amazing team. Everything stems from the dance, and Nicolettes main job is to shape the music to make it fit the stage.

Between the two weeks Giselle recordings we had conductor workshops with Johannes Fritsch and his excellent young trainee conductors. Some stars for the future in that class.

October 2015

In October the weather can be varied - so too the gigs.

The month began with an interesting program with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. There were two guitar concertos in the middle (that I was roster off) - by Rodrigo (the famous one) and Tan Dun. I was there for the two glorious Debussy pieces, LÁpres Midi and Images 2 - Iberia. The older I get the more I love impressionist French music.

Next I was down to Fish Creek for a new program in a new venue. Waratah Hills Vineyard is making wonderful pinot noirs as well as a great range of other top drops. Its a spectacular setting in the midst of rolling Gippsland hills, and has an intimate space for chamber concerts. I took my group Kammermusik down for a quartet concert on 4th Oct. Great audience, really buzz, fun all round. And I got a chance to play Failing again, which is always fun. We gave the world premier of my version of the 6 German Dances by Mozart, K600.

Next it was off across the Bass Strait for 3 programs with the TSO:-
Ballet music - Nutcracker and Swan Lake, as well as Barbers quirky Cello Concerto
Education concert - features Little Red Riding Hood
Conductor workshops - where for one session I was the only bass, playing Shostakovitch Symphony no 9!! Among other gems

And finally we did started our last major Kammermusik program for the year with a concert at the Celia Rosser Gallery at Fish Creek. We played Rossinis string sonata no1 in G in between two Dvorak epics - the Terzetto and quintet in G

Monday, October 27, 2014

September 2014

The weather is finally warming up, and the gigs just keep rolling along.

In late Aug I did a chamber concert for the Myer Foundation in the Capitol Theatre in Bendigo with the Firebird trio and Antoinette Halloran. We played the Trout quintet and I had to rattle off some arrangements of opera classics for a Trout 5tet scoring, eg Carmen Habanera, Musettas Waltz from La Boheme etc. That tested my arranding skills a little!

After helping out the Stonnington Symphony do battle with Beethoven 9, the next main season was La Bayadere with the Australian Ballet and OV.

But the biggest gig of recent months was the Andrea Bocelli tour of Australia and NZ with the Auzzie Pops Orchestra. It was a blast! Bocelli is a star and a lovely person - so too Delta Goodrem, who was gracious enough to all the Stuarts to have thier photo taken with. The highlight of the year for me!

We performed in the big sports/rock arenas, such as Rod Laver in Melbourne, the All Phones arena in Sydney etc.

Kammermusik - Fish Creek Oct 2014

The photos on this page were taken at concerts at two Fish Creek venues in October 2014:-

Sat 4/10/14, Waratah Hills Vineyard. We performed a quartet program of Mozart, Bach and some more modern music - a smorgasbord of treats. The photo below is Roy performing the Bach E maj partita

Sat 25/10/14 - Celia Rosser Gallery, Fish Creek. The main course was Dvorak's majestic quintet in G, with his Terzetto and Rossini's first string sonata. Repeat concerts Parkville on Nov 9th. Great space, lovely audience, it was an all round great occasion......that almost didnt happen.

The shot below is of the Drovak Terzetto rehearsal, with Roy, Tim and Jason

The Fish Creek concert was not without its problems. It would be just wonderful if everyone could get on and make the world a better place but petty politics often gets in the way and stuffs things up. Shame. We got to the gig in the end but it was hard work. We will not be performing in Fish Creek for quite some time, until the scars have healed