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Newsletter No 3: 2010 Season

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From the President

We are delighted to report that 3MBS FM broadcast our 13th March concert in mid June and we all think we sounded fantastic (but we are biased!).

We launched our on-line booking system for our September concert at MLC. It proved to be very successful. We have decided to continue the on-line ticketing and encourage you to get your tickets early to avoid disappointment. We hope you enjoyed the streamlined access to the auditorium - it certainly reduced the strain on our Box Office volunteers.

I would like to thank the team so ably headed by Daniel Kirkham which tailored the on-line ticketing system. A huge effort went into planning it, setting it up, and monitoring on-line sales to make sure it all happened smoothly. We would like to hear from you if you have any feedback about the on-line ticketing.

Our volunteers are paramount to the success of the orchestra. Not only are the players volunteers, but so are all the ushers, Ray, Chris and David in the box office and kitchen (repeat offenders over many years) and the Committee (Allan, Daniel, Graeme, Gary, Carol, George and Ernest). Please thank them for all their work whenever you can.

We thank you for your support during 2010 and look forward to seeing you in 2011. I wish you a safe, merry and musical Christmas/New Year period with family and friends.

Allison Summers

Mark Shiell, Artistic Director - What do Conductors do?

What do conductors do? This was the question which first drew Mark Shiell to public attention across Australia when he wrote, hosted and conducted a series for ABC TV on this topic. His own fascination with conducting began with lessons as a 13 year old in rural Victoria. Further study followed in Melbourne with renowned conductors Graham Abbott and John Hopkins. After winning both the Brian Stacey Award and the Welsford Smithers Travelling Scholarship, he journeyed to Italy and Russia to immerse himself in the pedagogical tradition of the great conducting teacher Ilya Musin.

In seeking to pass on the pedagogical baton, Mark has devoted much of his time to conducting youth orchestras and choirs from Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to Tamworth, Korea and Japan. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Pizzicato Effect program which recently received national media attention ( has engaged Mark to work with students who otherwise get little music exposure, and lead them in the creation of an orchestra. To gain further experience in this area, in 2011 he will travel to Venezuela as a guest of the extraordinary and visionary El Sistema program.

Mark takes an ongoing interest in premiering works by emerging composers such as our offering from Antonio Tenace at our 20th November concert. Composers such as Andrew Ford, Nigel Butterly Michael Berkely, Matthew Hindson, Unsuk Chin and George Benjamin have all featured in Mark’s premiere performances of their works.

In addition to his role with Zelman, Mark is Principal Conductor of both the Macquarie Philharmonia and the Canberra Concerto Orchestra. Mark says: “It’s a joy to make music at every level. Developing community orchestras, working with young musicians and experienced professionals are all experiences rich with variety and constantly interesting.”

Heart and Soul: Mark Shiell previews highlights for 2011

Gustav Mahler said that "A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything." The depth and richness of the music of the great composers touches every corner of human experience. In 2011 Zelman Symphony will present music to touch the heart and soul of every listener. Highlights will be:

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43. A work of wit, charm, romance, rhythmic energy and masterly orchestration. All of this is combined in what many consider to be one of Rachmaninoff’s greatest compositions.

Sibelius: Symphony No 5. Sibelius’ music is inextricably linked to the people, countryside and history of his home country, Finland. The Fifth Symphony is perhaps his most popular. He struggled with its composition but was eventually to write: "In a deep valley again. But I already begin to see dimly the mountain that I shall certainly ascend....God opens his door for a moment and his orchestra plays the Fifth Symphony." This is music of great beauty, depth and power.

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 5. A war-time symphony and probably Vaughan Williams most popular, audiences believed it to be his "vision of peace". It is a work that comes from a place of great emotional strength. The final pages bring relief, serenity and peace. It stands at the summit of his symphonic achievements. Vaughan Williams dedicated this symphony "without permission and with the sincerest flattery to Jean Sibelius, whose great example is worthy of imitation."

Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor Opus 85. If one piece of music could be described as an outpouring of emotion then this would be it. The cello seems to be the voice of yearning itself with moments that cry out in despair like nothing else in music.

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4. Tchaikovsky's music never turns away from emotion. Instead he magnifies it in a way that is so personal, direct and honest that it becomes universal. This is a symphony of great emotional contrast - a journey that leads to the most triumphant and thrilling of conclusions.

Provisional 2011 Dates

A bumper season of seven concerts is planned for 2011, five in Melbourne and two in the country!

Unfortunately dates and venues are NOT yet final. We will confirm details to Friends of Zelman members and on our website early in 2011.

Saturday 19th February, late afternoon

Boroondara Council has invited us to give a free open-air concert in a park as part of their Summer- Music series. This has yet to be confirmed so look out for council advertising early in the new year.

Sunday 20th March, Daylesford Town Hall, 2:00pm
Saturday 26th March (or 2nd April), MLC, 8:00pm

Sunday 12th June, Hawthorn Town Hall, 2:00pm

The annual Boroondara Eisteddfod Piano Concerto Award Final – free concert. Enjoy the music as three passionate young pianists play with the orchestra and compete for this prestigious award.

Sunday 11th September, Country Venue, afternoon
Saturday 17th September, MLC, 8:00pm

Saturday 3rd December, MLC, 8.00pm

MLC concerts now have numbered seats.

Purchase your reserved ticket on-line using Visa or MasterCard at or by phoning Klaus Buechler on 9853 1962. Or mail your cheque to ZMSO, PO Box 408, East Kew, 3102 (sorry – no mail bookings by credit card).

Player Profile: John North - 104 year family link with the Orchestra

John North, like nearly all older viola players, first studied the violin starting as a boy of nine. His boyhood teachers were relatives. His grandfather, J B North, started the family’s links with Zelman Symphony, being the leader of Alberto Zelman’s Orchestra at its first concert in 1906 when it was called the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In the 1930s, that orchestra split into the then newly professional MSO with the remaining amateurs forming the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra.

As a young man, John studied the violin with Elise Steele, herself later a leader of the MSO, and then with Hermia Barton.

After taking up a position in the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra (NZBCSO) in 1965, John developed an interest in the viola and subsequently studied the instrument with Gavin Saunders, (ex Suisse Romande) as part of a Bachelor of Music (History and Literature) at Victoria University of Wellington. In 1969, he started to earn his living in the NZBCSO as a viola player. John prefers to play viola in orchestras finding that it better suits a man with long arms and broad fingers.

In 1974 John began his 28 year membership of the MSO as a violist retiring in 2003. Since then he has been a wonderful asset to our orchestra leading the violas. John alternates playing two Australian violas, one made by Lloyd Adams in 1933 and the other by Mark Pengilley in 1995.

In retirement, John lives on the Mornington Peninsula. Among other activities, he plays the violin in a concert party and continues working as a professional artists’ model.

In news since this Audience News was published, we regret to announce that John North passed away in March 2013.

Some highlights of 2010

The year started with an overflow sell-out concert, our first for very many years. Our wonderful soloist, David Griffiths said that you, the audience, created such strong positive vibes that it made him play at his very best.

We developed our 3MBS relationship and received good exposure in Melbourne Weekly, The Leader, Boroondara Bulletin, Joy FM and other media.

The double double-bass concerto with Phoebe Russell and Damien Eckersley at our last concert created a great deal of interest and those who were lucky enough to hear it absolutely loved it. Just before that, Phoebe played in a Prom Concert at Royal Albert Hall with the Australian Youth Orchestra which was broadcast live by BBC TV. The Director must have been quite taken by Phoebe as the camera kept coming back to her (for an excerpt go to Phoebe was also the inaugural recipient of a Zelman Symphony Grant for young players.

Pre-concert Talks by Mark Shiell

Some of you who attended our September concert had the opportunity to hear Mark Shiell’s pre-concert talk. We are sure this enhanced your evening.

We are doing this again at our 20th November concert at 7:30pm (with a lapel microphone to ensure everyone can hear Mark well). Subject to your feedback, we plan to make this a permanent feature of our MLC concerts. So do come early and learn more about the music you are about to hear.

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 April 14, 2013, at 11:54 PM