The Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra would like to invite you to join us at our Autumn Concert – ‘Pastoral Interlude’ – with Conductor Warwick Potter and special guest soloists Billy Richardson (oboe), Nathan Christen (clarinet), Preston Ellis (french horn), and Gabrielle Kerin (bassoon) on the 7th April 2019 to be held at the Tweed Civic Centre at 2.30pm.
Warwick Potter, who is no stranger to the NRSO, is the Director and Conductor of The University of Queensland (UQ) Symphony Orchestra and Director of the UQ Wind Ensemble. Professionally, he has conducted the Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Queensland, Tasmanian, West Australian Symphony Orchestras and Camerata of St. John’s across a large range of orchestral portfolios.
In the youth ensemble sector, he has conducted the Queensland Youth Symphony (at the express invitation of John Curro), Young Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, MOST Symphony Orchestra and the Great Public Schools Symphony Orchestra since his move to Brisbane in 2010. He has also been conductor to Queensland Youth Orchestra (QYO) Wind Symphony since 2010.
Warwick likes to use young soloists when at all possible in a community setting. It gives these players the type of priceless experience that they would not usually obtain. Fortunately, the NRSO is also of similar belief. He has chosen the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante for this reason, and for the relative ease for the Orchestra in the context of a crammed rehearsal period.
The four young soloists are Billy Richardson (oboe), Nathan Christen (clarinet), Preston Ellis (french horn), and Gabrielle Kerin (bassoon).
Billy is a former principal oboist with the Australian Youth Orchestra, QYO and UQ Symphony Orchestra, having won several prizes for his solo performances. He graduated from UQ in 2018 with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and now works as a Judge’s Associate in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
Nathan is a second year Bachelor of Music (Honours) student at UQ studying with Kate Travers, and a budding composer. He is a member of UQ Symphony Orchestra and UQ Chorale, and recently joined the Band of the 1st Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, performing in various government events.
Preston Ellis is also a second year Bachelor of Music (Honours) student at UQ and is being taught by Neil Favell. He has held the position of section principal in the QYO’s Wind Symphony since 2017 and is also an accomplished pianist, having achieved AMusA in piano at the age of 16.
Gabrielle Kerin is a naturally gifted bassoonist who is currently studying in fourth year Bachelor of Music (Honours) at UQ under the tutelage of Dr Warwick Potter. She is currently the principal bassoonist for the UQ Symphony Orchestra as well as the Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS). She toured internationally with QYS in 2017 and this year has been invited to do a solo performance for the upcoming ‘No Strings Attached’ concert at St John’s Cathedral in August.
Mozart’s delightful Magic Flute Overture starts the concert and Beethoven’s (Pastoral) Symphony No 6 ends this afternoons program. The Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra look forward to working with Warwick Potter and these young musicians and hope you (dear reader) could join us to give them a warm welcome.
Pastoral Interlude – Spotlight on NRSO Musician
Richard Williams – timpanist
For this concert we highlight the role of Richard Williams, one of the core musicians in the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra who has been performing in our percussion section for over a decade. The veteran timpanist is also a committee member and stage manager – he is always there to perform the arduous task of setting up the stage before every concert and packing up afterwards. Here, we ask Richard to tell us a little bit about himself:
How did you decide to become a timpani player?
At age 13 my mother took me to an orchestral concert of The St Louis Symphony Orchestra. I was immediately fascinated with the percussion players especially the timpani player. The timpanist was considered the solo position in the orchestra and I soon found out why. The timpanist plays similar notes as the trumpet and string bass players, and is very dominant in a lot of classical pieces of music by all the great composers. I got private lessons from the late great Rholand Koloff who was the solo timpanist for the New York Philharmonic for over 30 years. I still watch him on YouTube playing in Fanfare For The Common Man by Aaron Copeland with the New York Philharmonic conducted by James Levine. It is well worth the watching of as he was considered one of the greatest.
When did you arrive in the Tweed region and how did you find the NRSO?
I arrived in the Tweed Heads area in 2005 and had just finished my 23 years as solo timpanist with the Queensland Pops Orchestra under the late conductor, Colin Harper. I was invited to play solo timpani for the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra under its founder, Barry Singh, in a rehearsal for a Gala concert. Barry was impressed with my playing and offered me the position as solo timpanist for the NRSO and I have been playing ever since.
Tell us about one of your favourite classical pieces that you like to perform and why is it special?
My favorite classical pieces are the symphonies of Gustav Mahler as they use a lot of timpani and percussion. My first ever piece of music I performed as solo timpanist was with the California Youth Symphony, playing Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique at the War Memorial Opera House of San Francisco when I was just 16 years of age. The interesting thing is that Berlioz used the timpani to portray thunder for the storm scene in his symphony. The same storm sounds are required for Beethoven Symphony No. 6, subtitled the Pastoral Symphony, in which I will play the timpani thunder sounds in the 3rd movement. The upcoming concert entitled PASTORAL INTERLUDE by the NRSO will be performed on Sunday 7th April, 2.30pm at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre conducted by Dr Warwick Potter.
John Curro and Hugh Won reunite in “Musical Portraits”
Conducts “An Afternoon at the Proms”
Barrie Gott (b.1947), M.Mus. LTCL A.Mus.A, began his music career as a professional musician, studying trumpet with John Robertson and Harry Larsen at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He subsequently joined the National Training Orchestra and was a regular casual player with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Barrie holds performance diplomas from the AMEB, Trinity College of Music, London in and a Masters degree in conducting from Azusa Pacific University in California where he studied with Dr. Gary Bonner. He has also studied composition and arranging at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with Ross Edwards and Don Banks.
Barrie has taught at all levels of education in private and government sectors and was Director of Instrumental Music at Azusa Pacific University. He currently works for Education Queensland as a Senior Instrumental teacher and is a state examiner for the AMEB.
As a conductor Barrie has served as music director for Salvation Army bands in Sydney, Pasadena and Brisbane as well as the Brisbane Excelsior Band where he was successful in bringing a new dimension into concert programming. He is the former owner and musical director of the Queensland Pops Orchestra.
As a composer and arranger Barrie is published in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Europe and his works are on concert programs all over the world. He is a regular contributor to the Standard of Excellence repertoire for beginning concert bands in the education system.
Barrie is also an adjudicator for contests, festivals and eisteddfods throughout the world having officiated at regional, state and national contests in Australia and overseas in Norway and New Zealand.
Barrie was the recipient of the 2004 Frank Wright Medal for services to banding.
Soloist for “Appassionato” – Irit Silver
Irit Silver has been Principal Clarinet of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra since 2007. She is a 2010 Churchill Fellow, having spent six months studying with Alexander Bader of the Berlin Philharmonic. She has appeared with Sydney Symphony and the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra as a guest Principal and as a soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
“Memoirs” – People’s Choice Concert
Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 20th anniversary with the upcoming concert, “Memoirs”, on Sunday 30th March 2014.
The NRSO was founded by its original Conductor and Artistic Director, Mr Barry Singh, who grew up dreaming of conducting his own orchestra one day. That dream became a reality in early 1990s, starting with an 18-piece chamber ensemble, and now, as the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra, draws as many as 60 musicians for each concert.
Since Mr Singh’s retirement in late 2012, the orchestra and its committee, run solely by dedicated volunteers, have worked tirelessly to keep that dream alive. Magnificent repertoires are put together with guest conductors, invited professionals and local musicians, all with the common goal of bringing the highest quality classical music to the Northern Rivers for the enjoyment of all our audience.
And it is our audience that we thank today for all the support they have given the orchestra, many of whom have been attending our concerts from the beginning. The audience makes us their local orchestra. As one audience has commented, “The NRSO concerts are a high point which I look forward to and try not to miss”.
To celebrate NRSO’s 20th anniversary, our audience helped us select the repertoire for “Memoirs”. The journey of the NRSO is re-lived in this program, with a collection of all-time favourites including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Mozart’s Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, and many more. We look forward to sharing this wonderful concert with our audience, who have made it possible for us to keep performing throughout the years.
At this concert we will also present the major raffle prize, “No Strings Attached” painting by Di Skelly Heron. A well known and respected Australian artist, Di held her first solo exhibition in Perth in 1987 and subsequently exhibited around the world. Borne from her love of the orchestra and music, “No Strings Attached” is a colourful and uplifting reflection of the NRSO, a truly marvellous artwork. The lucky winner of the painting will be drawn and announced at the concert.
“Memoirs” – People’s Choice Concert, conducted by Chen Yang and performed by Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra, is on Sunday 30th March 2014, 2.30pm NSW time, at Tweed Heads Civic Centre.
To purchase tickets with credit card please click here.
For any enquiries please phone 0466 819 154. Tickets (cash-only) are also available at the Box Office from 17th to 28th March, Monday to Friday between 10am – 3pm, or at the door if not sold out.
Chen Yang conducts “Memoirs”
The Conductor for the NRSO’s ” Memoirs” concert is Chen Yang, a well- known and respected personality in South East Queensland musical circles. Chen has been associated with the Queensland Youth Orchestra for several decades starting as a violinist in 1975 and later appointed concertmaster from 1978 to 1980, He toured with the orchestra in 1980 to Europe, including the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Aberdeen, Scotland. Chen studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and graduated with distinction in violin performance. Chen’s first professional engagement was as Concertmaster of the Queensland Theatre Orchestra (later renamed the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. under the baton of Georg Tintner. In 1981 he joined the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as a member of the first violin section until 1989. He has continued to perform as a freelance musician, performing in show orchestras for many major musical productions. Chen is the leader and conductor of The Sinfonia of St Andrew’s orchestra and is also the string teacher at St Hilda’s School, Southport, and the leader of the Corda Spiritus Orchestra of Brisbane who have performed several concerts for 4MBS Music Festival in recent years. Chen also performs with the Badinerie Players of Brisbane, an ensemble which performs on period instruments. He is also a prolific arranger of string music for the Junior String Ensemble and was the conductor of QYO3 from 1983 to 1988. He is also a judge at Eisteddfods and competitions. The NRSO is delighted to welcome Chen to guide us through the rehearsals and performance of “Memoirs”
For bookings click here
Guest soloist John Coulton plays Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto
John Coulton is an international trumpet player, concert and recording artist, who has toured and performed with some of the world’s finest conductors and orchestras including the Hamburg Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Ballet Company and the London Concert Orchestra. His playing has been recorded for numerous radio and TV programs, and was featured in the 2000 Sydney Olympics Games.
John’s career highlights include a performance of the Shostakovich Concerto for Piano and Trumpet with Nikolai Demidenko at the British Proms and a solo recital at the 2010 International Trumpet Guild Conference in Sydney. He has even performed for Her Majesty the Queen on three separate occasions.
John started learning the trumpet when he was 8 years old, following in his sister’s footsteps. “I thought it was very cool,” John remarked. He studied at The Queensland Conservatorium with Yoram Levy, where he learnt to develop his own style and trumpet artistry through years of intense work. He went on to do a Masters degree and studied with various teachers in the UK, France, Germany and the United States.
John is currently enjoying a busy freelance career with the Queensland Symphony orchestra and the Camerata of St. Johns, among others, as well as teaching the trumpet students at All Saints Anglican School at the Gold Coast.
The NRSO was one of John’s performance avenues when he was studying at the Conservatorium. After living and working overseas for nearly 12 years, John returned to Queensland in 2012 and reunited with the orchestra. “It is a great opportunity to play with the NRSO once again and support this great organization,” John said.
For Monumental Masterpiece concert, John will be playing the Hummel Trumpet Concerto, which he says is one of the quintessential pieces of music in the Trumpet repertoire. “It was written for the brand new ‘Keyed Trumpet’ invented in 1796, without which the modern Valved Trumpets that we use today may never have evolved to their present form,” John explained. “The piece demonstrates the newly acquired chromaticism of the keyed trumpet and regularly blends beautiful lyrical lines with fanfare type motives which were commonplace in the trumpets of old.”
So what are some of the major features to listen out for? “The second movement is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written for the Trumpet,” John reflected, “and the Third movement contains many technical challenges, and potential pitfalls, for the trumpet player!”
Up Close and Personal with Spiros Rantos – violinist/conductor
Spiros Rantos, violinist and conductor, was born in Corfu, Greece, grew up in Athens and pursued his musical studies in Vienna, Austria, where he met his wife and musical partner, Israeli born pianist Brachi Tilles.Spiros has won the International Violin competitions of Colmar, France and Forte dei Marmi, Italy and commissioned and promoted over 400 performances around the world as a soloist, chamber music player and conductor. He has recorded over 55 records for many labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Harmonia Mundi, Adelcord and Grevillea Records. He has been a frequent guest performer for National broadcast companies in Europe, Asia and Australia. Spiros came to Australia in 1976 as a member of the Vienna based group Ensemble 1. He is the founder, artistic director and conductor of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and has taught at the Victorian College of the Arts, the University of Southern Queensland & University of Melbourne.
The Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra has the pleasure of performing under the expert baton of Spiros Rantos for their upcoming concert, “Monumental Masterpiece” at the Tweed Civic Centre, Sunday 17th November 2013. Spiros Rantos, who is of Greek origin, has a reputation internationally for his brilliant violin playing and conducting. One can’t help but be under his spell with the pure emotion he evokes from his orchestra. The charismatic Spiros is also well known for his storytelling and a great sense of humour.
We spoke to Spiros and asked him a few questions about his amazing career.
- Why did you choose to play the violin?“The decision was with my parents and uncle who was a famous cellist in Greece. When I started at age five I really didn’t have much say, but by the time I was fifteen I started performing in my teachers’ orchestra in Athens, and having many “professional” engagements. At eighteen I held the position of first violinist at the Opera in Linz, Austra, and the next year I moved to Vienna.”
- What style of music inspires you the most?“I try to keep an open mind as every genre of music and every part of music history has its own justification and place in our minds and souls. I am, though, mostly fond of the classics – Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. I have a great admiration for Dvorak and really love Prokofieff, Debussy and Ravel.”
- Who is your favourite conductor?“There have been so many amazing conductors through history that is very difficult for me to pinpoint one. Each one has brought their understanding and feeling of the music they present and one can’t help but be under their spell during performances. Apart from the great ones like Solti, Boehm and Toscanini, there are two close to my heart: Sergio Celibidache and Mariss Janson.”
- Tell us what the coming year holds for you.“In the next few months I will be performing with Brachi Tilles on Piano, the Mozart Concerti for the Moreton Bay Orchestra, recitals in Noosa and Bribie Island, masterclasses and recitals in Victoria and conducting a concert with the Toowoomba Concert Orchestra. We also hope to finish our recordings this year and release to CDs by the end of 2013.”
Banquet lady of the NRSO
As the saying goes, behind every successful man, there is a woman. For the Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra, behind every successful concert, there is Jennifer Ferris.
While the NRSO prepares their upcoming concert, a “Banquet of Brahms and Beethoven”, meet the person behind the scenes who prepares a banquet for the orchestra.
Jennifer has been a tireless supporter of the NRSO for over a decade. An avid lover of classical music, she is there at every concert. However, one will rarely see her in the auditorium enjoying the music, for she is always busy in the kitchen preparing afternoon tea for the audience during the interval. “I used to help Lyn (McBurney) serve afternoon tea,” Jennifer explained, “but when Lyn became the orchestra manager, I took over the catering with some of the other ladies. I just happened to last the longest!”
Perhaps even more importantly, she also organises food for our musicians, providing lunch and morning tea during rehearsals to keep the orchestra happy. It is fortunate then, that she is not required on stage as well. “I’m useless at playing music!” she said. But not in the kitchen!
Jennifer is also a member of the NRSO committee, helping to distribute newsletters and selling concert tickets at the box office.