Jupiter Rising – 30th April 2023

Conducted by Marco Bellasi, this delightful Sunday afternoon program included:

– Michael Haydn: Sinfonia in C (Perger 19), Final Movement
– W. A. Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola K364, featuring soloists Daniel Kowalik (violin) and Thomas Chawner (viola)
– W. A. Mozart: Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter)

A special Pre-concert Introduction will be presented for audience members to hear the history of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, with an aria sung by Marco Bellasi, accompanied by pianist Ayesha Gough.

Thomas Chawner – Viola
Photography by Dylan Evans

We are extremely fortunate to have two outstanding musicians from the renowned Orava Quartet perform as soloists in this concert. Here we ask violinist Daniel Kowalik and violist Thomas Chawner to tell us a little bit about themselves and the upcoming concert.

1) When did you start playing your instrument, and what made you choose this instrument over everything else?  Do you play any other instruments?

Tom: I started playing violin at age 4. I did early childhood music classes, hosted by the University where my father was a lecturer. They had a workshop about violin making and I was a volunteer to come out the front to help sand an unfinished violin – right after that I apparently demanded a violin of my own! I then took up viola at age 13 or 14 when a group of my friends from school wanted to play string quartet together, but we lacked a violist, so I thought why not!?

Dan: My father taught me the violin at a young age. I was probably 6 years old when I started and don’t remember my first lesson. Playing, practicing and performing has been something I’ve always done.  The violin takes up the majority of my time so I don’t have much time to do too many other things, let alone play another instrument!

2) You are both founders of the internationally-acclaimed Orava Quartet which was formed in 2007.  When and how did you meet and get to work with each other?

Tom: Daniel and I all met at various Australian Youth Orchestra programs in the couple of years before we formed the quartet. That is actually where we met David as well, who would join us a few years later in the quartet. (Editor’s note: Daniel’s brother, Karol Kowalik (cello) is also a founding member of the quartet.)

3) For this concert, you are both soloists performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola K364.  What should the audience listen out for in this piece?

Dan: The viola! How often does one get to hear the viola as a solo instrument?

Tom: This piece is a fantastic work of conversation and operatic drama – the two solo parts converse with the orchestra, as well as each other. Mozart is always deceptively simple, and as most musicians would tell you, it’s much harder than it sounds – the hard part is making it sound easy! My personal favourite is the second movement, I wish I could add repeats to the music so that I could play it a second time.

4) In your view as musicians, why should people come to NRSO concerts?

Dan: People should come to an orchestral concert to experience the thrill of live music and the sheer power and beauty of an orchestra performing together in harmony. It is a unique and enriching experience that cannot be replicated by listening to recordings or watching videos. Attending a live concert allows one to fully engage with the music and the performers, creating a sense of connection and shared enjoyment with others in the audience.

Daniel Kowalik – Violin
Photography by Dylan Evans