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Newsletter No 3: 2012 Season

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From the President: Allison Summers

So far, 2012 has been a great year for Zelman Symphony and we expect our final concert will be at least as good as the previous concerts this year.

  • Our first concerts for the year with exuberant clarinettist David Griffiths at Daylesford and Xavier were great sell-out successes.
  • The Boroondara Eisteddfod Piano Concerto competition in June was of a very high standard – the young pianists really tested us!
  • Then we were delighted that British pianist, Julian Jacobson, came out again to play Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto at Xavier and at our debut concert in Ballarat the following day.
  • And what an experience it was for the orchestra to contribute to Federation Square’s 10th Birthday celebrations by invitation! The Flash Mob in the Atrium was so much fun and our concert later that afternoon in BMW Edge was very well received with 16 year old Margaret Kong playing Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto magnificently.

We are now turning our thoughts toward our 80th birthday next year and are proud and somewhat anxious in announcing a HUGE celebratory program in this newsletter!

Allison Summers,
President, ZMSO Inc

From the Artistic Director: Mark Shiell

It's no secret that I love this orchestra and that I want to see it continue to grow into the most vibrant, collaborative, engaging, passionate, energetic and highest quality community orchestra in Melbourne. For me, music making is an act of love and imagination. It's passionate stuff. When we throw ourselves into the music like this we make ourselves vulnerable - we reveal ourselves. This is how I approach making music and its how I work with the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra. If I am willing to be vulnerable and enthusiastic it gives other permission to do just that. In the end we invest ourselves in the music in a much deeper, more exciting, more caring way than perhaps we normally think is possible. We are on an exciting path as we head towards 'our 80th'. Passionate engagement with music and rehearsal means that standards continue to rise - this is certainly one of my passions!

I have been with the Zelman Symphony now for 3years. It feels like we are still just at the beginning. Turning 80 seems like an excellent moment for a new beginning! I invite all of you to share our journey with us.

Our 80th Birthday Celebrations

2013 - 2014 sees us celebrating our 80th anniversary with some amazing events!

As many readers will know, our history goes back 106 years to 1906 when Maestro Alberto Zelman Jnr formed the first Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. That orchestra was a mix of amateurs and professionals and gave all the major concerts in Melbourne until the early 1930s. Sadly, Alberto Zelman died in 1927. In 1932, together with the professional members of Alberto's orchestra, Bernard Heinze, later to become Sir Bernard, formed the then newly professional Melbourne Symphony Orchestra that we know so well today. And in 1933, the remaining musicians formed the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra in honour of their beloved Alberto. The orchestra has been giving quality concerts ever since.

Alberto Zelman and the MSO loom large in Melbourne's musical history. The Percy Grainger Museum and other museums in Melbourne devote a great deal of space to his history. We have of course published "Your friend Alberto Zelman" by Don Fairweather which recounts this history in a very readable way and is available for purchase at our concerts for $15.

The first Zelman Symphony concert was held on 30th September 1933 in the Melbourne Town Hall. The program featured Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Elgar's Enigma Variations and Vaughan Williams' A Sea symphony with a choir of 180 voices.

We considered repeating that program to celebrate our 80th anniversary but our ever optimistic and visionary Artistic Director, Mark Shiell, had other ideas! So, we open our 2013 anniversary year with a program including the most loved and best violin concerto ever written, the Beethoven Violin Concerto, to be played by Roy Theaker, Associate Principal of the MSO. That concert will be given in Daylesford and at Xavier.

And then comes the BIG BANG, or perhaps the BIG BAND! We will return to our original home, Melbourne Town Hall, to give two performances of Mahler's 8th Symphony, the largest Choral Symphony ever written, also known as "The Symphony of a Thousand". Mahler's 8th is rarely performed because of the huge resources required and was last performed in Melbourne over 10 years ago. We will have a choir of over 400 voices, a children's choir of 100, an orchestra of 120 including a number of top professionals as Guest Principals, eight Opera Australia principals as soloists, and of course an organist. We will give two performances, the first on Saturday 21st September and the second on Sunday 22nd. Even with two performances, we expect the Town Hall to sell out very quickly because, with 650 people on stage, there will be a huge demand for seats from family and friends but also, the work will be in great demand by the public at large so we will urge you to book your seats early!

And if that is not enough, we will cap off our anniversary celebrations with a first for ZMSO by giving a concert in the Myer Music Bowl. This concert will be from 5 pm to 6 pm on Saturday 22 February 2014 as a curtain raiser to the MSO concert later that evening. This is by invitation from the MSO to jointly mark our common origins and to help us celebrate our 80th anniversary. What a wonderful invitation from Melbourne’s fantastic MSO!

Zelman Symphony's 2013 Season

Saturday 23 March, 8pm - EHPAC, Xavier College

Sunday 17 March, 2pm - Daylesford Town Hall

Roy Theaker - violin, Associate Concertmaster, MSO

Beethoven - Violin Concerto
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5

Sunday 16 June 2 pm MLC Kew:

The annual Boroondara Eisteddfod Piano Concerto Award Final – Free concert.

Saturday 21 September, 8pm - Melbourne Town Hall

Sunday 22 September, 4:30pm - Melbourne Town Hall

Mahler - Symphony No 8

Saturday 30 November, 8pm - EHPAC, Xavier College

Ben Martin - piano

New work by Zelman Symphony Melbourne University Emerging Composer for 2013.
Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5

Saturday 22 Feb 2014, 5pm to 6pm - Myer Music Bowl

Curtain raiser to MSO’s concert that evening.

Further details about these concerts will be announced in January via our mailing list and via Facebook - see

Player Profile: Graeme Barker

"Although I can't say I remember, my mother told me years later that I was obsessed with the violin at the young age of two, staring for hours at a picture of a violinist playing the instrument." Graeme Barker’s infant fixation was to turn into somewhat of a self portrait as his musical life was to progress.

Growing up in a musical environment at home, Graeme rapidly turned his childhood obsession into ever increasing proficiency on the violin which led to numerous solo performances at school and at local branches of The Musical Society of Victoria. During these formative years, he gained his first orchestral experience performing sacred choral works with Dr Hermann Schildberger and Douglas Heywood. After gaining the prerequisite standard, Graeme was able to fill out his musical education through attending numerous national music camps. His love of Bruckner can probably be put down to one such memorable event when Georg Tintner, during a steamy Final Concert, conducted with a jumper on. One can only guess who felt more uncomfortable.

Reasons for even a temporary change from violin and viola are many and varied. In Graeme’s case it was an elixir of youth. Being too old for the Australian Youth Orchestra, he borrowed a viola, learned the alto clef in record time and thus used the older cut off age for viola players to gain entry. This enabled Graeme to play under the baton of the likes of Sir Bernard Heinze and Sir John Hopkins.

Though the young Graeme considered a professional career in music, he instead devoted his time to his family, (marriage and bringing up three boys), and a career in the Department of Defence.

As well as Joining Zelman Symphony in the mid 1970’s, Graeme has led a highly active musical life performing in pit orchestras and other large ensembles. Graeme derives great satisfaction from playing in our orchestra and particularly enjoys his part in the complex combination of musical elements. He thinks the standard is high but that new heights are attainable.

Graeme has leadership roles in a walking club, scouting and of course as past President and current Vice President of Zelman. He also enjoys travelling, reading and gardening. As a musician, he is romantic at heart, particularly enjoying the lilting tunes of Dvořàk and magnificent counterpoint and orchestration of Bruckner.

View our Flash Mob on YouTube

We so enjoyed doing our Flash Mob at Federation Square as part of our contribution to Fed Square’s recent 10th Birthday Celebrations. Visitors to Fed Square as well as the 100 invited Fed Square stakeholders lunching in the Atrium were amazed to find themselves in the middle of a symphony orchestra at full tilt! See us on YouTube (the link will be on very soon) thanks to students and staff of JMC Academy, a private college which trains professionals in entertainment technology. Their students have been gaining practical experience by recording our concerts, a win-win outcome for them and us. And we now express our deep gratitude to JMC’s film and television students for filming the Flash Mob and editing it so well.

Bendigo Bank Grant - THANKS!

ZMSO with Leo Baeck Centre have just received a most generous grant from Bendigo Bank’s Kew East Branch via the Community Enterprise Charitable Fund to enable LBC to air-condition the hall in which we rehearse. This will allow LBC to scrap its ancient, energy intensive oil heating system, thus reducing pollution and making the hall user friendly for all.

Should you have any unmet banking needs or wish to discuss your banking options, you are welcome to contact George Prodromidis, Kew East Bendigo Bank’s Manager, on 9859-7699. Mentioning that you are a supporter of Zelman Symphony will help you and the orchestra.

Friends of Zelman

Join free to stay in touch. Receive concert notices, flyers and newsletters. Email or write to Friends of Zelman, PO Box 408, Kew East, 3102.

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Page last modified on December 14, 2012, at 07:00 PM