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Newsletter No 3: 2018 Season

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From the President: Daniel Kirkham

One of the challenges of programming modern music is the nature of the orchestral parts we get. Unlike the works of Bach, Beethoven and other masters, which have been lovingly engraved and corrected over many years, more obscure mid-20th century music such as the Martinů Oboe Concerto we are performing in September is typically available only in a hand-written manuscript edition — from a time well before the advent of computer-assisted notation programs such as Sibelius and Finale.

So we get difficult to read parts, with all the idiosyncrasies of the copyist — and in the case of the Martinů, all the last-minute changes made by the first soloists and conductors. What fun!

But now that we are getting used to the parts, a wonderful and joyous work has emerged — and we are looking forward to bringing it to you. We hope you enjoy it.

As mentioned in the newsletter, our original oboe soloist for the concert, Nick Deutsch, had to withdraw due to an injury. His letter to us expressed disappointment that he wouldn’t be able to bring the Martinů and Barber works to life, but I'm sure our new soloist, Thomas Hutchinson will bring us his own fascinating interpretations.

Daniel Kirkham
President, ZMSO Inc.

Thomas Hutchinson

Change of Soloist for our September Concert!

Accidents happen to all of us. Sadly, Nick Deutsch, the oboe soloist announced for this concert, has been injured. We wish him a speedy recovery.

However, we are excited to announce that Thomas Hutchinson will play with us in an unchanged program that includes Barber's Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings and Martinů’s Oboe Concerto, both of them works of lyrical beauty.

New Zealand-born Thomas commenced oboe studies in Auckland before moving to Melbourne for further study at the Australian National Academy of Music. While studying there, he won ANAM’s Concerto Competition and the Most Outstanding Recital prize.

He continued his studies in Paris where he was unanimously admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. Following his final exam in 2015, he was awarded a mention très bien à l’unanimité, avec les félicitations du jury.

Thomas was also joint-winner of the 66th ARD Competition in Munich in 2017 and has appeared as a soloist in Germany, Croatia, New Zealand and Australia.

Here in Melbourne, Thomas holds the position of Associate Principal Oboe with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis, and teaches at his alma mater, ANAM, and the University of Melbourne.

We are grateful Thomas has accepted our invitation to perform with us at short notice!

From the Artistic Director - Rick Prakhoff

Our September programme is one which should please just about everybody.

From the American suite of Dvořák, through two works of Samuel Barber, the delightful Martinů Oboe Concerto, the rhythmically incisive The Straightened Arrow and back to Dvořák and his sunny and joyous eighth symphony − a wonderful journey through the old and new worlds of the late 19th century into the 20th century and to a work fresh off the press!

Selecting this music began with the suggestion of the Martinů Oboe Concerto − a work with a wonderful historical connection to Australia, having been written for Czech-born Australian oboe virtuoso Jiří Tancibudek who was touring Australia at the time of the Melbourne Olympics, prior to him becoming principal oboe of the MSO (then the Victorian Symphony Orchestra).

This connection of the old world and the new links all of the music in tonight’s programme. Dvořák’s sumptuous American Suite provides the opening. Samuel Barber’s extraordinary Adagio for Strings and one of his last works, the Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings links the new world to old Europe.

We are absolutely delighted to welcome Thomas Hutchinson, Associate Principal oboe of the MSO to play this and the Martinů concerto.

The Straightened Arrow, written for this concert by ZMSO/University of Melbourne Emerging Composer, Chris Pickering, is a link to the here and now. And we finish with that most summery of symphonies by Dvořák, his eighth − a truly wonderful programme which I do hope you are able to join us for.

Chris Pickering

New Commission: The Straightened Arrow

Chris Pickering is the ninth composer to write a new piece of music under the ZMSO/Melbourne University Emerging Composer program, which was instituted by our previous Artistic Director, Mark Shiell. There are so few opportunities for such composers to have their work aired and, as an orchestra, we feel it is an important way we can provide support to the musical community.

Chris comes to composition for symphony orchestra via an unusual and interesting path: originally a guitarist, he started earning a living from music as a jazz drummer and, following that, as a drummer for an indie band. He then took himself off to the centre of Country and Western Music − Nashville, Tennessee − where he spent five successful years as singer-songwriter.

However, deciding he needed a change in surrounds to nurture his creativity, Chris decided to move back home to Australia in 2013, and chose Melbourne as his new home base and to pursue further study in composition. It's been very rewarding for him so far, enrolling first in a Graduate Diploma of Composition at Melbourne Conservatorium, and now a Masters of Music.

His compositional style is still evolving, given that he is somewhat new to considering himself a contemporary classical composer, but it is very much based in his roots of melody and rhythm − coming from years as a ‘tune-writer’ and a drummer. After all, there's nothing wrong with writing a good tune.

Chris says The Straightened Arrow had two beginnings, where the first false start hatched the idea for what ended up becoming key themes of the final piece. And while you may interpret the recurring pizzicato as arrows hitting a target, and that the ideas of the piece have now been "straightened out", he says “music often doesn't want to be explained, and should just be heard and then re-imagined”.

2018 Concert Season

Our two remianing concerts for 2018 are now on sale. Please go to our Concerts page for further details and booking links.

From the Old World to the New

8:00 pm, Saturday 1st September - Xavier College, Kew
Dvořák – American Suite
Barber – Adagio for Strings
Barber – Canzonetta for Oboe & Strings
Martinů – Oboe Concerto
Thomas Hutchinson – oboe
Chris Pickering – Premiere of a new work
Dvořák – Symphony No.8

End Games

8:00 pm, Saturday 1st December - Camberwell Grammar School PAC
Haydn – Symphony No.104 in D major
Richard Strauss – Four Last Songs
Miriam Gordon-Stewart – soprano
Brahms – Symphony No.4


The Artistic Committee of Zelman Symphony has selected another wonderful program of fine music for 2019.

We can’t advertise the programs until our venues and soloists have been confirmed, but we expect to bring you two great violin concertos, a choral concert and, of course, the keenly contested Boroondara Eisteddfod Piano Concerto Award in June.

Probable dates are as follows:

Player Profile - Allison Pollard

Sometimes practicality wins out, and so it was that I came to play the bassoon. After joining the Eltham High School Year 7 band, later in the year I was told the only instruments left to choose from were bassoon or tuba. While I didn’t know what a bassoon was, the thought of carrying a tuba on the long commute between school and home made the decision an easy one!

My time in the band program at Eltham High under the direction of Ken Waterworth taught me a lot, not only about music and ensemble playing, but about the value of hard work and commitment. After school, I went on to complete my Bachelor of Music (Hons), specialising in Performance, at The University of Melbourne.

I have many highlights from my time studying music. The standouts are performing Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, playing in Geminiani Chamber Orchestra and my first professional concert in Orchestra Victoria playing beside my teacher, Elise Millman.

I began teaching bassoon while completing my degree and currently teach at Eltham High, Caulfield Grammar, St Michael’s and Carey Baptist Grammar. While bassoon doesn’t attract quite the same numbers as some other instruments, I like to think it’s a case of quality, not quantity!

I joined Zelman Symphony in 2010 and love the mix of ages and professions that come together to play in the orchestra. As a music teacher, Zelman has highlighted for me the lasting impact a quality music education can have throughout your life.

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Page last modified on August 26, 2018, at 08:32 PM