Society News: October 2014

Not to be Missed

Your Artistic Committee has organised two more superb concerts for us to see out the year. First we have world class baritone and cellist Simon Wallfisch, accompanied by Rhodri Clarke, performing (amongst other things) Schumann’s master work Dichterliebe.

For those of you who have been watching the Society’s concert calendar and wondering what December will bring, we have an early Christmas present. The chair of our Artistic Committee, and one of Australia’s leading pianists, Caroline Almonte will be present a concert of works by Mozart and Beethoven. After the concert there will be the traditional end of year drinks. This is a concert not to be missed, so come along and bring a friend and introduce them to the Society.

Annual General Meeting

At the AGM on 5 October,  the existing committee was reelected with minor changes.

President – Simon Purtell
Vice Presidents – Alex Lawlor and John Perry
Treasurer – John Hulskamp
Secretary – Peter Anderson
Members – Caroline Almonte-Smith, John Poynter and Stephen Snelleman

After two years John Poynter had retired as president. Many thanks to him for his leadership over this period during which we have seen significant change including the creation of our Public Fund (with tax deductible status) and the establishment of our Artistic Committee. His remaining on the committee, along with the continuity of membership, bodes well for the Society.

In John’s Presidential address, as well as thanking the committee, he expressing his appreciation of Michael Cairns, Elisabeth White, Pam Hayes, Kerin Mosiere and Sarah Cuming for their untiring work on concert day.

Many thanks to all those who keep your Society running.

If you would like a copy of the President’s or Treasurer’s reports, please contact the Secretary. Copies will also be available at the next two concerts.

November 2 Concert The Singing Cellist

Simon Wallfisch (baritone/cello)
Rhodri Clarke (piano)

Schumann Dichterliebe op. 48
Mercadante Il Sogno (voice and cello/piano)
Donizetti L’amor funesto (voice and cello/piano)
Michael Head I arise from dreams of thee (voice and cello/piano)
Borodin Three songs for voice and cello/piano
Max Charles Davies Elegy (voice/cello)
Mayo Postcards to Goff, Kansas (voice/cello)

Born into a musical family, Simon Wallfisch began playing the cello aged five. At 18 He was awarded a foundation scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music. After graduating as a cellist with Honours in 2004, Simon returned to the Royal College of Music to study voice, gaining a Post-Graduate Diploma. During his studies in London, he was awarded many prizes including The Georg Solti Foundation, Giuseppe Di Stefano Competition Sicily and the Royal Overseas League “Young Singer of Promise”.

Wallfisch left London for studies in Berlin and Leipzig in He was engaged at the Zurich Opera House on the Young Artists’ Programme in 2009. There he had the opportunity to sing roles under maestros including Sir Mark Elder and Nello Santi. Recent roles include Pelleas (Grimeborn/Bury Court 2013), Escamillo (National Reis Opera, Holland 2013). Wallfisch has broadcast on BBC Radio, Arte, Bayerische Rundfunk/Fernsehen, NordDeutsche Rundfunk and Swiss Radio. During his studies in Leipzig, Wallfisch appeared as soloist in the Oper Leipzig, for the Bayerische Rundfunk, in Anhaltisches Theater Dessau and Karl Die beiden Pädagogen (Mendelssohn) in Ludwigsburger Schloss Festspiele. He also sang as a guest artist at the Landes Theater Gera-Altenburg, Stadttheater Fürth and Theater Magdeburg.

On the concert platform, Wallfisch has performed works by Bach, Brahms, Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart, SaintSaëns, Britten, Janácek and Orff in places including Opernhaus Leipzig. In 2014 he will perform as soloist with the Leipizg Gewandhaus Orchestra. As recitalist, Wallfisch was a featured artist at the Oxford Lieder Festival, London Purcell Room, St Georges Brandon Hill Bristol and in 2010 he performed Schubert’s “Die Winterreise” with Graham Johnson. Wallfisch is in demand as recitalist in Germany, France and Switzerland. Simon Wallfisch will make his debut CD recording with Nimbus Records in 2014.

The Welsh UK pianist Rhodri Clarke performs internationally as a vocal accompanist, instrumental accompanist and chamber musician. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Music London where he studied piano with Andrew Ball and piano accompaniment and chamber music with Nigel Clayton and Roger Vignoles. Rhodri has performed extensively in Europe, USA, South America and Asia. He has been fortunate to perform with artists of high international standing, including bassbaritone Bryn Terfel at a massed choral concert at Carnegie Hall and tenor Rolando with whom he recently released the Deutsche Grammophon CD “Mexico”, focussing on new arrangements of Mexican folk songs. In Dec 2010 he toured Mexico and Europe as chamber musician and accompanist with Villazon and the LatinAmerican chamber ensemble Bolivar Soloists, including most notably a performance at the Auditorio Nacional in

Mexico City. He has performed in many of the major European concert halls, including the Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Paris Theatre des Champs-Elysees, London Royal Festival Hall. Rhodri has collaborated with Berlin Philharmonic double-bass player Edicson Ruiz for successful performances at the Lucerne International Festival, Musica Atlantico Portugal and several recitals at the Berlin Philharmonie.

Since arriving in Melbourne Rhodri has been in great demand as an accompanist and repetiteur and has performed with Opera Studio Melbourne, the Australian Boys Choir, Exaudi Youth Choir and the Melbourne Welsh Male Choir as guest accompanist. As an official accompanist he has been engaged by the Australian Double Reed Convention, where he performed with the oboist Celia Craig.

December 7 Concert Heavenly Variations

Caroline Almonte (piano) and friends

Mozart Piano Concerto no.20(arranged for quartet)
Beethoven Piano Sonata no.30

Caroline Almonte has a reputation as a gifted, versatile and sensitive artist who brings a wealth of experience to every performance. Her studies began at the age of four with the Yamaha Music Foundation in Melbourne and continued with Stephen McIntyre. She completed her postgraduate studies at the Juilliard School in New York and since then, Caroline has developed a wide-ranging career of solo and chamber music performances that has taken her across Australia and around the world.

In 2014, Caroline  has performed with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, as well as chamber music collaborations with British violinist Daniel Hope, an exciting season of trio concerts with the Sutherland Trio, performances with the Australian String Quartet at the Dunkeld Festival of Music and a solo recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Last year Caroline and cellist Pieter Wispelwey strengthened their musical relationship with a recital tour for Musica Viva throughout NSW. In June 2013, she performed as a soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a spectacular performance of the Carnival of the Animals, conducted by Benjamin Northey and narrated by Dame Edna Everage.

Along with violinist Elizabeth Sellars and cellist Molly Kadarauch, Caroline is a founding member of the Sutherland Trio. Since its inception in 2010, the trio has showcased the most exciting new directions in composition worldwide as well as the classics of the chamber repertoire.

Alongside her various performances on stage, Caroline continues a prolific teaching career and is passionate about working with young people. She teaches piano at the University of Melbourne and has been involved in several projects with the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Melbourne Youth Orchestra and the Australian Music Examinations Board and regularly gives both piano and chamber music masterclasses. Caroline appeared as a member of the jury at the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Bach competition and was on the panel of ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year Award.

She has won numerous awards including winner of the keyboard section of the ABC Young Performer’s Awards, the Frances Quinn Arts Encouragement Award, the Hepzibah Menuhin Award, and 1st prize at the international chamber music competition in Trieste, Italy “Trio di Trieste”.

Caroline’s recording career for ABC Classics include the Peggy Glanville Hicks “Etruscan” Piano Concerto with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and a recording of English Songs with Yvonne Kenny.  In December 2013, she gave a live performance of ‘Blue Moon’ for ABC Classic FM’s ‘Sunday Live’ programme, featuring pieces with nocturnal or moonlit connections.