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Newsletter No 2: 2010 Season

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From the President

This is a year of continuing excitement and growth for us. Our kick-off concert on 13 March was our first sell-out in over 20 years. We were delighted that the audience seemed to like it very much, despite the heat in the auditorium. Once again, we apologise for that and are working with MLC to make sure it doesn’t recur. Our soloist, David Griffiths, tells us he felt a palpable buzz in the audience and the players felt it too. That all helped lift our performance and we hope to do even better for you. We are looking forward to hearing the concert broadcast on 3MBS – keep an eye out on 3MBS’s program.

Following the sell-out at the last concert, we are introducing a reserved seat system. You will be able to pre-book seats on-line, by phone or mail. Details are in this newsletter. We urge you to pre-book to avoid disappointment and to get the best seats. The player profile in our first newsletter featured Don Hancock who has played with us for 64 years. This newsletter features 16 year old Phoebe Russell, our youngest player, and a section leader at that!

Allison Summers

Pre-Concert Talk

As a new initiative, Mark Shiell, our conductor and artistic director will discuss the program with the audience before our next concert on September 4th. The talk will commence at 7:30 pm in the auditorium. So do come early and enjoy learning more about the music you are about to hear.

From Mark Shiell - My Current Thinking on Conducting

I have been twice, so far, to study in Russia; Moscow in 2006 and St. Petersburg in 2008. During and since that time, I have become fascinated with the unique contribution to the understanding and teaching of conducting that was made by one man, Ilya Musin. Musin, who taught for 60 years at the St. Petersburg Conservatorium, believed that the art of conducting lay in making music visible with your hands and that there are two components to conducting, expressiveness and exactness. These are actually in opposition to each other and a conductor must find the way to bring the two together.

He taught his students to develop gestures that emerge from the emotional nature of the music, in effect moulding an organic sound sculpture. Drawing on some of the ideas of the legendary founder of the "Method Acting" technique, Constantin Stanislavsky, Musin believed that conducting requires one to "pick up" the sound and lead it from the first note to the last in a piece of music, similar to Stanislavsky's concept of the "unbroken line."

In the past, if I wanted to convey something about the emotional content of the music to the musicians, I would simply ask for it. Musin's uniquely systematic approach to conducting gestures, which is able to combine clarity/exactness with the emotional character of the music, has had a liberating effect on my ability to communicate with the orchestra and ultimately, with the audience.

Player Profile: Phoebe Russell, at 16, our youngest player, and a section leader at that!

When choosing to play the double bass, it doesn’t pay to be petite. Well petite she may not be but Phoebe Russell, like her chosen instrument, does not lack elegance. She certainly does not regret the somewhat unusual choice she made in grade two as a sort of consolation prize to her then first love, the harp. At the time, being sturdy of frame and having a parent with a large car were the main prerequisites.

Although still a year eleven student at Melbourne Girls' Grammar School, Phoebe has already accomplished much in her musical endeavours and has ambitions to eventually study as a soloist in America. As well as performing solos and playing in ensembles at school, she leads the basses at Melbourne Youth Orchestra and took part in the Australian International Symphony Orchestra Institute (AISOI) in Hobart. She has been promoted into the second round of Symphony Australia's Young Performers Awards and plans to audition for others.

For one so young, Phoebe has a strong work ethic. As well as practising hard (and sending her mother to sleep in the process), she has attended master classes at ANAM and in Canada.

Zelman Symphony is delighted to have someone with so much talent and energy playing with us and leading our double bass section. We very much look forward to her teaming up with us and her teacher, Damien Eckersley as soloists in Bottesini's Passione Amorosa for two Double basses on Sept 4th.

Reserved Seating and New Booking System

We are pleased to announce that, as from our September concert, all Zelman Symphony concert tickets will be for reserved seats. Booking will be much easier and you will be able to reserve the seats you want. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Ticket pricesAdultConcessionChild (to 16)
Credit card*$24.30$19.30$4.30
* includes $0.30 per ticket charged by Trybooking.
Refunds not possible (unless in exceptional circumstances).

From early June, you will be able to buy tickets:

  • On-line using credit card until 5pm on concert day at
  • By phone using credit card until the afternoon of the day before the concert: call our ticketing officer, Klaus Buechler on 9853 1962. Sorry but unpaid tickets cannot be held for you.
  • By mail using cheque (no credit cards) made out to: "Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra" mailed to PO Box 408, East Kew, 3102 with:
    • Name and address for mailing tickets
    • Phone No & email address for queries
    • Number of each type of ticket requested and total amount payable.
  • Buy reserved seats at the box office paying cash on the night (no credit cards). However, the best seats will be taken by earlier bookings.

Antonio Tenace - 2010 Emerging Composer

As announced in our last Newsletter, each year we will commission an outstanding emerging composer to write a work specifically for Zelman Symphony. We will workshop the work through the year and premiere it at our concert on November 20th. We are delighted to announce that Antonio Tenace, a PhD student at Melbourne University, has been selected by the University to be this year’s Zelman composer. Having studied physics at university in the 1990’s, Antonio comes to his composition through a keen interest and exploration of the nature of sound. This has made him acutely aware of instrumental timbres, alternative tuning systems and how the human ear perceives sound.

More recently, Antonio reached a crossroads in his life as a professional musician, deciding to pursue an academic career in composition for personal growth and to learn about and contribute to Australian contemporary music. He was awarded the 2009 APRA Composer Award for his orchestral work in the 3MBS-FM National Composer Awards. As well as having his music played and recorded in Australia and the US, he is highly regarded as a composer in other genres such as Jazz/fusion.

Antonio is on the executive of the Melbourne Composers League which is a not-for-profit organisation run by dedicated volunteers. The League promotes contemporary art music in Victoria and makes strong international connections. In particular, it aims to showcase the works of Victorian composers in the Asia Pacific region. Antonio is currently a full time carer for his ailing mother and given his Italian descent, is not averse to some fine food and wine.

The Rest of our Exciting 2010 Season

Saturday 4th September 8.00pm, MLC
Sunday 12th September 2.00pm, Yea Town Hall

A Concert of Energy, Grace and Passion!

Beethoven - Symphony No. 4
Mozart - The Marriage of Figaro Overture
Rawlings - Snow Rising
Bottesini - Passione Amorosa, for two double bass soloists.

As a new initiative, Mark Shiell will give a free pre-concert talk in the auditorium at 7:30. Come early and learn more about the music.

Snow Rising, a work for string orchestra, was composed in 2004 by Katherine Rawlings who also plays the violin in our orchestra. Katherine says that, reflective of a struggle with cancer, this piece moves through several different moods: sadness, frustration, the celebration of life, the waiting. Finally the snow, symbolising a spirit of beauty and light, evaporates and rises up into the sky, finding peace and rest. Katherine recently commenced her PhD studies in composition at Melbourne University.

Saturday 20 November, 8.00pm, MLC Our final concert is a celebration! Mahler's sunniest and shortest symphony will help us celebrate his 150th birthday. The absolutely gorgeous Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss will introduce us to the wonderful voice of Australian soprano, Helen Barnett. We will also play Antonio Tenace’s new work especially commissioned by the orchestra. This is a concert not to be missed!

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 June 12, 2011, at 03:56 PM