Society News: July 2013

We are already half way through 2013 and there are still six outstanding concerts yet to presented by the Society this year. Members whose subscriptions are due will receive a renewal notice with this newsletter. This  reminds us of what is an excellent time to introduce new members to the society. Our next two concerts are quite different. We start on July 7 with a concert of baroque and early classical music and follow in August with a piano recital of German romanticism.

The committee is busy planning for 2014. The renowned Melbourne pianist Caroline Almonte has agreed to advise the committee on artistic issues. Her ideas, expertise, vitality and assistance will be of great value to the Society and are very much appreciated.

July 7 Concert (2pm)

L’Oiseaux Lyre – Ruth Wilkinson (recorder) – Miriam
Morris (viola da gamba) – David Macfarlane


Morel: Chaconne en trio from “Premier livre de pièces de violle”
Marais: Les voix humaines from “Pièces de viole duSecond Livre”
Couperin: Huitième ordre (si mineur)
Quatrième concert from “Les Concerts Royaux”
W.F. Bach: Polonaise no. 2 in C minor
Telemann: Trio sonata in G minor
Sonata no. 4 for recorder and basso continuo from  “Sonata Metodiche”
C.P.E. Bach: Sonata in G minor for viola da gamba and obbligato harpsichord

Ruth Wilkinson is a recorder and viol player specializing in violone whose musical expertise and passions are based on the performance of music from the 12th to the 18th centuries. Her performances have been praised for their musical integrity, imagination and brilliance. As a member of many of Australia’s early music ensembles including La Romanesca, Capella Corelli and Consort Eclectus she has toured extensively throughout Australia, Europe and South East Asia for Musica Viva. With Samantha Cohen, Ruth is a member of Melbourne based Ludovico’s Band.

Ruth has recorded numerous CDs on Move and Larrikin labels with her ensembles and has also released a solo recording of French recorder music by Dieupart entitled Countess of Sandwich. Ruth’s playing commitments are complemented by teaching recorder and Historical Performance Practice at the Early Music Studio of the University of Melbourne. In 2012 she was made an honorary associate of the Monash University School of Music. Ruth has produced a generation of talented professional recorder players who are working in Australia, Europe and America.

Miriam Morris pursues a varied career as a soloist and chamber musician as a player of the viola da gamba. In addition to her work with early music ensembles, she has appeared as a specialist baroque performer with the major symphony, opera and chamber orchestras of Australia, including the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Pinchgut Opera. She is often heard on the ABC and has played in Arts Festivals throughout Australia. She plays with Consort Eclectus, Convivio and Les Goûts- Réunis. Miriam has performed throughout Australia and in the US, New Zealand, England and Sweden. Miriam teaches cello and viola da gamba at the University of Melbourne and has taught at the Victorian College of the Arts and Monash University. She pioneered the teaching of viols at primary and secondary level in ensemble-based programmes in South Australia and Victoria.

Miriam’s CD of solo works and songs of Tobias Hume on the ‘Move’ label received international critical acclaim. She has also recorded for ABC Classics. Consort Eclectus recorded its first CD in 2007 with commissioned works by Australian composers Natalie Williams and Calvin Bowman. She has recently collaborated in a yet to be released recording of the Handel Recorder Sonatas with Ruth Wilkinson and John O’Donnell.

David Macfarlane (harpsichord) studied organ at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music, and musicology at the University of Sydney where he was the organ scholar. From early in his studies, David has been particularly interested in historically informed performances of keyboard and choral music from the earliest manuscript sources through to the music of contemporary composers. After graduating, David moved to Austria, where he studied in and graduated from the church music and performance departments of the University for Performing Arts, Vienna. David was active as a performer and repetiteur whilst based in Europe. He was the Director of Music at Salvator am Wienerfeld where he officiated on the historically classified 1741 Dacci organ. He has recorded and performed live for a number of national broadcast companies.

Since returning to Australia, David has continued to follow his passions for organ and harpsichord performance and choir training. David has conducted and developed two major choirs. He is the organist at Newman College, as well as organist and harpsichordist for Past Echoes and is on the staff of the University of Melbourne. In recent years, David has directed the choir at All Saints’ Anglican Church, East St Kilda, presented recitals for the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields, the Past Echoes Autumn Festival, the Organ Society of South Australia, Christ Church, Brunswick, St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne and Adelaide Town Hall.

August 4 Concert (2pm)

Tristan Lee (piano)


Beethoven Piano Sonata No.15 in D major, ‘Pastorale’

Liszt (Wagner) Fantasy on Themes from Rienzi, S.439 Isoldens Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde S.447 Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op. 5

Tristan Lee is an Australian pianist currently residing in England. Since making his London debut at the Wigmore Hall in 2009, he has been enjoying a busy performing schedule internationally. Recent engagements have included a tour of the UK with his piano trio culminating in a recital at London’s Wigmore Hall in October; as soloist in Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the Northumberland Symphony Orchestra (Newcastle) and the Highland Regional Youth Orchestra (Inverness); and recitals throughout the UK, Italy, Lithuania, France, the Netherlands, Cuba and Australia. Later this year he will direct from the piano Mozart’s Piano Concerto K414 and Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto with the Cruiteran Ensemble in Scotland. In Australia Tristan Lee has performed recitals for the Melba Festival and the Diamond Youth Series, appeared as concert has been broadcast numerous times on television and radio. His competition successes include being a major prize winner in the Southern Highlands International Piano Competition 2009, first prize and the gold medal winner in the Australian Youth Piano Recital, Dandenong Festival 2008, as well as first prize in Prix Scarbo, Manchester 2009. Tristan gained a Master of Music Performance (with Distinction) from the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester) in 2009, having graduated the year before with a Bachelor of Music (First-class honours) from the University of Melbourne. Since completing his formal studies, Tristan Lee has been mentored by Leslie Howard and Benjamin Frith. He recently commenced lessons with the renowned French pianist, FrançoisFrédéric Guy in Paris.

Vale John North

John David North was born on 14 January 1940, the son of Tralford North and Marjorie (nee Cooper). Music was in the family: his grandfather, Joseph North, had been leader of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at its inaugural concert on 11 December 1906. Very early on, John showed interest in music, beginning violin lessons at the age of nine. At 25 he was playing with the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra and it was during his time with that orchestra that he made the change from violin playing to the viola “as it suited a man with long arms and broad fingers”. He gained his Bachelor of Music degree at Victoria University in Wellington.

He returned to Melbourne and joined the viola section of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 1974, under its Chief Conductor, Hiroyuki Iwaki. John played with the MSO for 28 years, well into the time of Iwaki’s successor, Markus Stenz, No concert goer could miss John’s luxuriant beard. He retired from the orchestra in 2003, to enjoy the quiet of his Crib Point home on the eastern side of Mornington Peninsula, but almost immediately took up his bow again to play with the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra – named after the founder of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Alberto Zelman (1874-1927).

John was a private person but also warm-hearted and generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise when such would be helpful or seemed necessary. He was opposed, for example, to the Society’s name-change in 2008, from the British Music Society to the Lyrebird Music Society. John’s interests were not exclusively musical. He was a keen conservationist and from time to time acted as an artist’s model. He will be remembered with affection and be very much missed.

Thanks to John Perry for this farewell and David

Keuneman, Allison Summers and Denis Vaughan for allowing us to use material from their eulogies for John.