Notes October – November 2018:2

Rach 2- Russian Romantics soloist Jian Liu share some thoughts about his life and also about the concert with us in October.

Jian Liu – Piano

It was definitely one of the performances that solidified my belief and personal conviction that music is a unique force of nature that can be extremely powerful and beautiful, yet private and personal at the same time.”

Aside from its beautiful melodies and virtuosic technical displays that give the concerto its well-deserved popularity, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 has always been a special and personal piece for me. It was the work I played when I performed a complete piano concerto with an orchestra for the first time, and I can still recall the experience quite vividly. The performance was in Kiev, Ukraine, when I competed at the final round of Horowitz International Piano Competition as an 18-year-old. I was completely immersed in the music, and I remember how emotionally satisfying it was to perform it with the National Philharmonic of Ukraine. The sense of music was so strong that I forgot that I was there, and I was completely embraced and submerged by the combined sound of piano and orchestra. It was definitely one of the performances that solidified my belief and personal conviction that music is a unique force of nature that can be extremely powerful and beautiful, yet private and personal at the same time. So I am really looking forward to playing it again after almost two decades, especially for my first time working with DSO! I have heard many wonderful things about the orchestra and Simon, so I am certain it will be another very beautiful experience for me.

This is a year of concertos for me, for some reason. I have performed concertos by Alfred Hill, Tchaikovsky, Benjamin Britten, and also Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and now Rachmaninov’s. In terms of future performances, I am going to China to play a few concerts there in November this year. I will be back to play Beethoven 4th piano concerto with Hawkes Bay Orchestra in December. Then in January 2019 I am going to Graz, Austria, to play a piano duet concert with Hamish Robb, before performing in Nelson at the Adam Music Festival in February.

Notes Jul-Sept 2018:7

 

Carmina Burana’s soloist, James Clayton (Baritone) share some thoughts about his life and also about the concert with us in September

“I’m so looking forward to this performance in particular as it’s a dream line up of soloists and of course maestro Marc Taddei at the helm”

The first time I performed this work I learned to expect the unexpected. Having prepared it in an oratorio “stand and deliver” style, the conductor promptly explained to me that this piece was “opera” and I should feel free to move and emote in any way I saw fit. This was a gift as it’s often difficult switching from fully staged opera to oratorio or concert work.

I had also very carefully paced myself for the 2 performances I was booked for, and had my recovery time down to the required 22 hours before the next evening, only to have both performances sell out and a 3rd performance booked for a matinee the next day – I really found out what I was made of then!

I’m so looking forward to this performance in particular as it’s a dream line-up of soloists and of course maestro Marc Taddei at the helm whom I’ve worked with many times including this work – and loved every minute of it. The first full rehearsal is always a moment where I just sit back and let the O Fortuna just wash over me; there’s something indescribable about that opening chord sequence with the choir that just makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end every single time.

It will also be great to finally visit Dunedin as I somehow keep missing it on my travels, I’ve heard a lot about the place and met a lot of people from there but never actually been there so this will certainly be a sense of completion for me in that regard, and what better reason to come than to perform this masterwork!

Notes Jul-Sept 2018:6

Carmina Burana’s  soloist Henry Choo (Tenor) share some thoughts about his life and also about the concert with us in September

Tenor – Henry Choo

“Playing the role of the dying swan (or “roasted Peking duck”, as Marc Taddei and I have redubbed it), presents many challenges”

I first came across Carmina Burana during secondary school, having performed excerpts of the work as a violinist. It’s a work that evokes  differing  emotions in me – from the feeling of awe at  the amazing orchestration to that of fear of the O Fortuna theme commonly used in horror movies, most notably The Omen.

Playing the role of the dying swan (or “roasted Peking duck”, as Marc Taddei and I have redubbed it), presents many challenges. The most obvious are the stratospheric notes without opportunity to warm the voice up beforehand. That said, Orff writes the piece with drama in mind, and the high- pitched setting of the movement reflects the searing pain felt as the swan is slowly roasted over a rotating spit.

Marc Taddei and I recorded my début solo album, BRIGHT POET, earlier this year and have a great working relationship. James Clayton and I have performed numerous operas together in Australia prior to his relocation to Wellington. Working alongside Natasha Wilson will be a new experience for me, as well as with Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. It will be my first visit to Dunedin and I am very much looking forward to it.

Notes Jul-Sept 2018:5

Carmina Burana’s  soloist Natasha Wilson (Soprano) share some thoughts about her life and also about the concert with us in September

“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to perform Carmina Burana in its entirety, as the soprano soloist”

I am very excited to make my Dunedin début, with this fantastic piece. I have sung the O Fortuna chorus many times throughout the years, as I am lucky enough to have been a part of the New Zealand choral community for quite a while. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to perform Carmina Burana in its entirety, as the soprano soloist, with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, and the local Dunedin choirs. The part of the soprano in this piece is so lascivious and lyrical; the Cour d’Amours is a lot of fun to perform. I’m looking forward to performing under the baton of Maestro Marc Taddei, who is not only based in New Zealand, but also in San Francisco, where I will be moving to in September this year. I am also excited to finally sing alongside Henry Choo, as well as James Clayton whom I have performed with through New Zealand Opera. This is my first time performing as a soloist in the Dunedin Town Hall, and I feel privileged that it will be for a performance such as this one.

Notes Jul-Sept 2018:2

Introducing Voila Viola! Conductor, soloist and the composer of Viola Concerto No. 2

Tim Deighton – Viola

“ I’ve always enjoyed the process of bringing a new musical work into the world”

I’ve just finished a  series of chamber music festivals in the northeast United States and (believe it or not) I’m looking forward to escaping the summer heat for a few weeks to return to my homeland to perform Anthony Ritchie’s second viola concerto.

Back in 2002, I performed and subsequently recorded Anthony’s first viola concerto for a CD of music for the viola by New Zealand composers. I very much enjoyed that work and we agreed that one day we’d collaborate on another piece together. That day has now come and I’m excited to work with Anthony again, and with Richard Davis and the musicians of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.  I’ve always enjoyed the process of bringing a new musical work into the world and it’s something I feel a duty to do as a violist and as a pedagogue – of course it’s a particular pleasure to do this in New Zealand with someone whose music I already so admire. Although we’ve discussed a few musical details via email, it’s really quite hard to predict exactly what will happen when we all get together to read the piece together for the first time. There is always some tweaking to be done (tempi, balance, etc) when exploring a new work. But that’s part of the attraction of new music for me, and I’m really looking forward to it!

After the performances with the DSO, I’ll return to the United States to start the new academic year with my class of 18 viola students, and to prepare for some concerts with my trio in the US and Taiwan in October. I have a sabbatical coming up next year, so I’m pleased that I’ll be able to get back to New Zealand again very soon!