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Newsletter No 1: 2018 Season

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From the President: Daniel Kirkham

Welcome to our 2018 Concerts!

This year will be a return to our roots, presenting fine concerts in suburban venues. But after the excitement of our Hamer Hall and Recital Centre concerts in 2017, we aren't resting on our laurels — with all our 2018 soloists having national and international profiles.

After last December's fabulous concert with Hoang Pham, we paid our best wishes to departing Artistic Director Mark Shiell and welcomed Rick Prakhoff to the podium. Rick has been busy with our programming committee over summer and has put together a compelling series of concerts, which we trust you will enjoy — Rick's extensive introduction to the season and all the concert details are in this newsletter.

Finally, we recently took delivery of our fourth tympani. Thanks again to those of you who donated to our appeal and we gratefully acknowledge the grant received via the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Programme.

Daniel Kirkham
President, ZMSO Inc.

From the Artistic Director - Rick Prakhoff

I’m thrilled and excited to be starting my tenure as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Zelman for 2018.

We’ve hit the ground running with programming for this year – I can’t begin to tell you how many emails have been flying between committee members but I’m confident we’ve selected four interesting, challenging and extremely contrasting programmes which should also be attractive to our audience.

We have a wonderful line-up of soloists joining us this year and their diverse choices of concerti have allowed us to create four distinctly different concerts.

At the same time I am pursuing a few repertoire lines which I see as particularly rewarding for the orchestra in both the short and long term. Brahms and Haydn don’t appear until the final programme but are, along with the absent Beethoven, pillars of the orchestral repertoire which I intend focussing on in the future. We touch on Sibelius and tackle Stravinsky for the first time in many years for this orchestra both of whom created some of the great orchestral repertoire in the past century.

Our second programme is a wonderfully popular programme of Tchaikovsky and Sibelius – two composers who complement each other perfectly I think, and finishing with the great fourth symphony of Tchaikovsky – a real blast!

The third programme was inspired by Nick Deutsch’s choice of the beautiful Martinů oboe concerto. The American connection with this programme has led to a lovely programme of the rarely performed American Suite by Dvořák alongside the sublime Adagio for Strings by Barber and the stirring Symphony No.8 by Dvořák.

The final programme for the year is the most ‘retro’ of the year, but I think it offers a wonderful connection between three lions of the German tradition – Haydn, Brahms and Strauss, all writing in their final years. Brahms 4 is one of the absolute pinnacles of the repertoire and, along with the Strauss sung by expat Australian soprano Miriam Gordon-Stewart, should attract an enthusiastic audience. Miriam’s Sieglinde was one of the highlights of the first Melbourne Ring – it’s an absolute coup to get her singing with Zelman in the brief time she will be in Australia.

And now to our first programme – I love the combination of Debussy’s ground breaking Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune with the Ravel G major piano concerto and the suite from Stravinsky’s Firebird. Certainly a challenging programme but a brilliant way to start the year with a programme which shows off each section of the orchestra.

Our Soloists for 2018 will delight you

We have an amazing line-up of soloists for your delight and ours this year.

In our March concert, well-loved Melbourne pianist, Caroline Almonte will demonstrate her virtuosity in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. Caroline graduated from the Juilliard School in New York, is a member of the Sutherland Trio, has played with major orchestras such as the MSO, and has accompanied many world famous soloists.

In May, we are privileged to have Svetlana Bogosavljevic, Ensemble Liaison’s charismatic cellist, to play Tchaikovsky’s virtuosic and graceful Variations on a Rococo Theme. Born in Serbia into a family of prominent Yugoslavian musicians, she studied at the prestigious Special High School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium of Music, Moscow, the Peabody Conservatorium, Baltimore, and the Cologne Hochschule of Music. She is a founding member of Melbourne’s unique and highly acclaimed trio, Ensemble Liaison.

For our September concert, we are thrilled to have as our soloist Leipzig-based Nick Deutsch, Artistic Director of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and a member of the Australian World Orchestra. Nick is one of the most sought after oboists of his generation and has played as solo oboist with many of the world’s greatest orchestras under conductors including Zubin Mehta, Kiryll Petrenko, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Dudamel and Sir Simon Rattle. Just putting those names into a ZMSO Newsletter is quite amazing.

And in December we welcome extraordinarily gifted US-based expatriate Australian soprano, Miriam Gordon-Stewart to sing Strauss’ Four Last Songs. She has sung leading roles in opera houses around the world including at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Châtelet Opera Paris, Opera Australia, Hamburg Staatsoper and has given acclaimed performances at the Bayreuth Festival.

2018 Concert Season

All our concerts in 2018 are now on sale. Please go to our Concerts page for further details and booking links.

French Connections

8:00 pm, Saturday 24th March - Xavier College, Kew
Fauré – Pelléas et Mélisande Suite
Debussy arr Ravel – Sarabande
Ravel – Piano Concerto in G
Caroline Almonte – piano
Debussy – Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Stravinsky - Firebird Suite (1945 version)

Northern Lights

8:00 pm, Saturday 19th May - Xavier College, Kew
Daylesford Town Hall - 2:00 pm, Sunday 20th May
Sibelius – Finlandia
Sibelius – Karelia Suite
Tchaikovsky – Variations on a Rococo Theme
Svetlana Bogosavljevic – cello
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No.4

Boroondara Eisteddfod Piano Concerto Award Final

2:00 pm, Sunday 17th June - Hawthorn Arts Centre
Program to be announced once finalists are determined.

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
Nick Deutsch – 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

From the Concertmaster - Susan Pierotti

The tonal foundation of all orchestras is the string section. We play more than the other instruments and provide the basic sound, the other instruments adding colour. The first violins play generally higher and have more tunes, the second violins play lower tunes and operate as the rhythmic drivers of the music, along with the violas and others. Though most violinists can fill both roles, many get categorised as a ‘first’ or a ‘second’ player. Some often find themselves continually sitting at the back where it is hard to hear the rest of the orchestra.

My policy is to mix and match. Community orchestra players, compared to professional ones, have more of a say as to where they would like to sit. Taking their requests into account, I move players for each program from front to back, from second to first violins, so that everyone gets a go, the aim being for a more homogeneous sound and more cohesive playing.

What do you do when the conductor requests, "Listen to the cellos" if you can’t even see them, let alone hear them? During some rehearsals this year, I have invited each first violinist to sit with me on the front desk. After initially freaking out, they appreciated that what they hear down the back is quite different to what one can hear up the front. It has also educated me what strengths each violinist has – and what a splendid group we have in Zelman Symphony!

Reviews of our Last Concert

We enjoyed reading the reviews of our debut concert in the Recital Centre last December with Hoang Pham. You can purchase the CD from or at our next concert.

Sylvester Kroyher: Bohemian Rhapsody Club

Overture: “Intense excitement and emotional feel was well delivered by the orchestra.”

“Hoang Pham established a strong rapport with the orchestra.” “...Hoang dazzled the audience... with great dexterity and flair along with spotless direction from the conductor directing a well fused orchestra.”

"Hoang’s faultless performance integrating his virtuosity with the orchestra ...what a musical experience"

Peter Hagen: Classikon

“Fine sound produced throughout the entire orchestra...”

“...programme designed to please...”

“...the orchestra’s great dynamic range was most carefully controlled and pleasingly varied...”

The full reviews can be read on our Concert Reviews page.

DVD and CD of Babi Yar Concert Available

The DVD of our Shostakovich Symphony No.13 Babi Yar is now on sale. We've had some wonderful feedback about it, some saying it is "world class". Go to to purchase your copy.

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Page last modified on August 18, 2018, at 06:20 PM