NEWS & EVENTS
Keep up to date with the latest news and events
Welcome to the Gippsland Symphony Orchestra's 2024 concerts.
We finished last year with an exceptionally successful Proms concert, this was a first for the GSO, and judging by the response one that has been a long time coming. We will certainly present a Proms concert again in the future.
We started the year in January with our second GYSO program. A short program allowed for a more intense teaching and learning opportunity for the kids who attended. Once again Jayne Neilson led the workshops and encouraged the kids to be the best they could be.
Thanks also go to Katarina, Suzanne, and Malcolm who came along to work as a tutor/mentor.
There will be more workshops to come, keep an eye on the GSO Facebook page and this website.
Our first concert for 2024 celebrates women in music. Originally we wanted to hold this performance on International Women's Day but due to venue constraints we had to move the date but the concept remained. We will feature three female soloists; two incredible soprano sisters Iris Zavou and Janneke Ferwerda and pianist Lisa Blackman. We will feature works but two of Australia's finest composers; Elana Kats Chernin and Sarah Hopkins.
Performances are at the REGENT THEATRE in YARRAM on Sunday, April 21 and our home base the WGAC on Sunday, April 28, both concerts begin at 2.00 pm.
Here are the profiles of our three soloists.
Janneke Ferwerda is a graduate of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. It was there she was awarded a First Class Honours for a Bachelor of Music (Hons) specialising in classical voice performance. Janneke has sung in productions by Victorian Opera, Opera Scholars Australia, More than Opera, The Melbourne Festival, and internationally including a guest artist recital in Dubai's House of Pianos. She has also featured as a soloist on the classical radio station, 3MBS. You will also find Janneke sharing beautiful, meditative vocals for events across Melbourne's yoga studios and motivating other singers as a private vocal coach.
Iris Zavou studied for a Bachelor of Music at the Australian Catholic University and holds a LMUSA in classical voice. Since completing her studies, Iris has featured as a soloist in the Newman College Choir, 3MBS, Hamer Singers, and Gilbert and Sullivan Society Australia. She has also been involved with other ensembles including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Opera Scholars Australia, Citi Opera, and the Australian Girls’ Choir. Iris works as a Voice Tutor at St Michael’s Grammar School as well as the Australian Girls’ Choir and her private studio.
Lisa graduated from Burwood College (now Deacon Uni) with an Associate Diploma in Music in 1987. She started teaching as an associate teacher to Margriet Pendavingh. Lisa branched out to teach privately after a couple of years on the side of full-time employment outside music. She stopped teaching and relocated from Melbourne to Gippsland, and after settling in resumed teaching in Yarram. Lisa finished full-time employment with the move to Gippsland and took the opportunity to resume work with Margriet. Lisa completed exams under AMEB, Trinity College, and ANZCA with honours in 2007.
From September 25 to September 27 this year we held our first, of what we hope will be an ongoing event, the Gippsland Symphony Youth Orchestra String program. We had 35 students attend and some were playing an instrument for the first time. We had students participating from all over Gippsland, not just Warragul and it culminated in a concert on Wednesday afternoon for their parents and friends. The three days were a terrific success and there were many questions about 'when is the next one'.
Stand by for more information relating to a workshop in early 2024. Thank you to all the students for three fabulous days and the wonderful staff who attended and acted as mentors for the students; Jayne Nielson conducted the three days and demonstrated how fine an educator she is, thanks also to Suzanne Ercoles, Katarina Yalizis, Malcolm McCaffery and David Williams.
Check out our special pages of photos,
We are pleased to announce our concerts for 2023 will include a celebration of the majestic beauty of Tchaikovsky, a dedicated Chamber Concert series that will take the orchestra to different performance spaces across Gippsland, and a celebration of Movie Themes.
We are also preparing a concert at the new GPAC in Traralgon for the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall series.
More information to come.
A celebration of British composers.
Enigma Variations – Edward Elgar
“Something might be made of it” and with these immortal words, one of the most admired and acclaimed pieces of music began. Edward Elgar, whilst playing the piano one night after a day of teaching stumbled upon the thematic idea of his most famous piece the Enigma Variations. He started to play the theme in variations saying to his wife Alice, Powell (Variation II) would do this, or Nevison (Variation XII)would do it like this. Elgar himself describes it as being ‘commenced in a spirit of humour and continued deep seriousness’ and he proceeded to compose fourteen variations of the theme all dedicated to his friends and of course Alice, his wife.
Much has been made about the Enigma, but Elgar wrote “The enigma I will not explain—it's ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the apparent connection between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes,’ but is not played—so the principal Theme never appears. . . .” Many have pondered what the Enigma is, however, what isn’t in dispute is that the Enigma Variations is a classical music masterpiece
English Folk Song Suite – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Vaughan Williams, like Elgar, was a profoundly proud British composer. He was born and grew up in Gloucestershire where he had an idyllic childhood. He is a famous military band composer and his English Folk Song Suite, which he composed in 1923 has become a cornerstone of the military band repertoire. The suite was originally commissioned by the Royal Military School of Music and was titled Folk Song Suite, he added the ‘English’ dedication after he had orchestrated it for full orchestra. The suite is a collection of folk songs from Norfolk and Somerset including Seventeen Come Sunday, Pretty Caroline, Green Bushes, and Blow Away the Morning Dew to name a few. The form is March, Intermezzo, and March and it originally had a fourth movement which the composer removed from the suite and published as a separate work.
A Somerset Rhapsody – Gustav Holst
Holst shares some traits with Ralph Vaughan Williams, both born in Gloucestershire, and both shared a love of English folk music. Holst was a composer, trombonist, arranger, and teacher. A Somerset Rhapsody was composed in 1906 and the dedication is to Cecil Sharp a highly esteemed collector of English folksongs. Its original working title is A New Selection of Songs of Somerset and features up to ten folk tunes. In this piece, Holst uses four tunes; 1. The Sheep Shearing Song is a perfect depiction of the English pastoral countryside and is written for the Oboe d’amore. 2. High Germany is a song about marching off to war and was also included in the English Folk Song Suite by Vaughan Williams. 3. True Love’s Farewell, lovers saying goodbye, and the final tune in The Cuckoo.
Although not strictly a programmatic work Holst did confide in a colleague that the work did have a narrative:
“Into a quiet country scene comes the sound of approaching soldiers. A youth who is courting a girl is persuaded to enlist and go to war. The soldiers march into the distance and the pastoral quietness returns. The girl is left alone.”
We are pleased to launch our 2022 concert series with this outstanding program covering masterworks from the Classical to the Romantic era, the Gippsland Symphony Orchestra will present music from three of the most respected and loved composers of all time.
W.A. Mozart is a titan among composers, considered a Master of Composition he was the most prolific and inspired musicians of his time. He wrote over 600 works in his relatively short life. His overture to The Magic Flute, Die Zauberflote is a masterwork of the classic period. The work begins with a statement of chords that musicologists suggest is a nod to the Freemason movement. The plot of The Magic Flute is said to have hidden references to Masonry, this may be the case, but the Overture is one of the most thrilling and exciting to play and listen to.
Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer who took the folklore of his native Norway and presented it to the world. His Peer Gynt Suite No 1 is in 4 movements, Morning Mood, Ases Death, Anitra’s Dance, and the easily recognizable Hall of the Mountain King. Peer Gynt tells the story of Peer who tells people stories that aren’t true and as a result, he gets himself into some considerable trouble with a range of trolls, gnomes, and goblins. He insults the trolls and their king, which leads him on an adventure to escape the grasp of the Mountain King. The trolls and other creatures stalk Peer softly. As the chase gets faster and more intense, the music does the same.
Schubert is one musical wonderment. His symphonic compositions began as young as 15 and his Sixth Symphony was composed in his 20th year. All his symphonies went unheard during his lifetime and the first performance of the sixth was a decade after he died. His compositional style is heavily influenced by the titans Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The opening of the sixth is very reminiscent of Beethoven as is the third movement Scherzo, which Beethoven may well have composed himself. The first movement is a perfect example of the Romantic era composers use of Classical form but adding their individual fingerprints. Schubert died at the age of 31 and left behind a catalogue of songs (lieder), string quartets, and more importantly six stunningly beautiful symphonies.
It's a great thrill for the GSO to present this brilliantly conceived and composed symphony for you.
Once again the dreaded 'Rona forced the cancellation of our planned August concerts.
Once again Jacob Evans has prepared for a concert only to have to put it on ice. He has been preparing the Grieg Piano Concerto for some time now, originally due to be performed in March 2020. Jacob's ability to rise and rise again is a testament to his dedication and speaks volumes for his musicianship.
The orchestra has been willing to come and prepare the works for the concert as if we aren't in a Pandemic, there's such a dedication to this orchestra that really impresses me and makes me grateful that I get to conduct such a wonderful group of people.
We have started rehearsals for the November concert season. This time we are combining all the pieces that feature orchestra members as soloists, we've dubbed the concert 'Three in One' where you'll hear three of the most famous concertos in the music canon. Jacob Evans will present the Grieg Piano Concerto in a minor, Lynette Newman will present the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, the second movement of this piece was voted number 1 in the ABC Top 100 Classical pieces and Edward Pople will present the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
It's an honour to conduct the orchestra and for the GSO to give these outstanding musicians an opportunity to perform their interpretation of these classic works.
Please get your tickets from the box office at the Wedge or WGAC or get them online. It will be a great support and boost for us who are trying desperately to maintain a thriving music scene in GIppalsnd in the face of continual difficulty.
AUGUST CONCERTS are fast approaching and the orchestra has commenced preparation for one of our most challenging pieces to date. Edward Elgar's extraordinary musical masterpiece; The Enigma Variations.
“Something might be made of it and with these immortal words, one of the most admired and acclaimed pieces of music began. Edward Elgar, whilst playing the piano one night after a day of teaching stumbled upon the thematic idea of his most famous piece the Enigma Variations. He started to play the theme in variations saying to his wife Alice, Powell (Variation II) would do this, or Nevison (Variation XII)would do it like this. Elgar himself describes it as being ‘commenced in a spirit of humour and continued deep seriousness’ and he proceeded to compose fourteen variations of the theme all dedicated to his friends and of course Alice, his wife.
Much has been made about the Enigma but Elgar wrote “The enigma I will not explain—it's ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the apparent connection between the Variations and the Theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes,’ but is not played—so the principal Theme never appears. . . .” Many have pondered what the Enigma is, however, what isn’t in dispute is that the Enigma Variations is a classical music masterpiece.
Edvard Grieg had beginner’s luck with his A Minor Piano Concerto. Written when the composer was 25, it is one of the most performed piano concertos in the repertoire, and, along with the Peer Gynt suites, Grieg’s most popular work. Grieg later created two suites from his Peer Gynt music. Some of the music from these suites has received coverage in popular culture; see Grieg's music in popular culture.
It is with great pleasure that the soloist for the Grieg Piano Concerto will be the GSO cellist Jacob Evans.