16 January 2008

Venturing out

Excuse the indulgence as I venture into other musical forms for a minute. The Australian Youth Orchestra is currently in Canberra for its annual National Music Camp.

I attended two concerts last weekend and was stunned by the capability and commitment of these young musos. The camps are open to students aged 14-24, and the current one has an attendance of about 300. Apparently, most of the professional classical players in Australia are graduates of these camps, which are currently in their 60th year. Students are tutored by professionals covering all manner of music-related matters. This obviously includes playing but ranges to composition and even writing about music. The feature instrument this year is the harp. I heard two concerts at the excellent concert hall at the Canberra Girls Grammar School. There were symphonic works by Richard Strauss, Dvorak, Lutoslawski, Stravinski and John Talbot (one of the tutors) and chamber orchestra pieces by Corelli, Barber and Tippett. It was all truly impressive.

If you read this in time, there’s a harp concert (including one work for 6 harps: presumably a very rare experience) in the National Library foyer 5.30-6.30pm Thurs 17 Jan, a performance of music composed at the camp to accompany silent films at the National Film & Sound Archive 7.30pm Friday 18 Jan, and final concerts at the Canberra Girls Grammar at 5-6.30pm (Beethoven, Bartok, Sculthorpe, Debussy) and 8-9.30pm (Dvorak, Prokofiev) Saturday 19 Jan. All free. Take a short break from jazz and dig this!
  • Australian Youth Orchestra website
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