Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Terra Australis World Orchestra

You can sense the excitement over at the brand new “Australia World Orchestra” website:

One of the most exciting orchestral initiatives in Australia, the Australian World Orchestra’s (AWO) vision is simple: to bring together Australia’s finest classical musicians from around the world to form one of the country’s most electrifying orchestras.

I can hardly wait to see them, and there’s four concerts to choose from:

  • Sydney
  • Sydney
  • Sydney
  • Parramatta

Parramatta?  Why bother leaving the CBD at all?

Still, I guess it’s a big country, and a full orchestra can’t zip around like the ACO, so I’ll just have to content myself with the webcast.  The what-cast?  Chance would be a fine thing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cellists in mini skirts

Yuja Wang’s appearance at the Hollywood Bowl, to play Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 while simultaneously wearing this body hugging outfit and appropriate clubbing heels, has attracted more than its fair share of comment, a couple of which are worth repeating here.

First up, music critic Robert D. Thomas, writing in the Pasadena Star-News, explained that:

It also may (or may not) be worth mentioning that she came on stage last night wearing the shortest dress I’ve ever seen a female pianist wear, an orange sheath that elicited gasps from the audience.

I can only infer from this that Robert D. Thomas has in fact seen shorter skirts, but only on male pianists.  Is he prepared to name names?  What sort of town is Pasadena anyway?  Cue Monty Python…

Pasadena squire? Famous place! Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.

As for the other quotable quote, this came from her indoors, who when confronted with the Yuja Wang photo, simply asked “Is she a cellist?”

I wonder what Robert D. would have made of that!


Postscript to this piece – someone has injected some nice solid science into the debate – see Visual Cues Impact Judgment of Piano Performances.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The SSO and Local Talent

imageThe Sydney Symphony Orchestra is the first out of the blocks with their 2012 program.  While it’s encouraging to see that they have upped their Repertoire Safety Index, it’s still well below average at 5.3.  What’s more concerning is that their Australian composed content has fallen to a dismal 5%.

It’s nice see that our premier orchestra – funded as they are by the Feds to the tune of a lazy $10 million or so – have been able to ensure that works composed by Australians edge out those composed by Hungarians (3%), Brazilians and Argentinians (both 2%), but it pales a bit in comparison with the volume of works composed by Russians (16%), French (19%) and Germans (24%).

Here are the results…could try harder!