Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev
Saturday 3 November, 7.30pm
The Concourse, Chatswood
409 Victoria Av, Chatswood, 2067 Directions
Peter Ellis: Conductor
Benett Tsai: Cello
Barbara (Yuanyuan) Jin: Mezzo soprano
Debussy: La Mer
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme Op 33
Kezia Yap: eggshell
Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky
with the Willoughby Symphony Choir and choirs from Barker College and Abbotsleigh
Pre-concert talk at 6:45pm in upper foyer of The Concourse.
The widely appreciated Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra is spreading its wings to deliver a concert in the marvellous acoustic of The Concourse which will not fail to leave audiences with a glow of awe and inspiration. The Concourse allows audiences to be part of the full scale orchestral and choral sound experience but up close and personal.
In this concert, four works will be presented by the KPO ranging from the newly minted to the familiar classics. eggshell by local composer and participant in the 2016 KPO Young Composers' Workshops, Kezia Yap, is a beautiful, delicate piece which will touch your emotions. The familiar and virtuosic Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky will be performed by phenomenal prodigy, 13 year old Benett Tsai on cello. Benett takes his place beside many other now famous performers as Outstanding Performer in KPO's 2017 Secondary Schools Concerto Competition, playing the artistically demanding Elgar Cello Concerto.
You will also be immersed in the impressionistic seascapes of Debussy's La Mer, together with Prokofiev's vast epic based on the life of 13th century legendary Russian prince, Alexander Nevsky in which local acclaimed mezzo soprano, Barbara Jin, joins the full choral force of the Willoughby Choir, with an expanded KPO filling the stage, all under the direction of conductor Peter Ellis.
KPO brings you music from the intimate to the expansive, from emerging composers and performers to works which have stood the test of time.
Benett Tsai - cello
Remarked as “dazzling and assured in his charismatic heartfelt playing which is full of fluid intensity” (Sydney Arts Guide), Benett Tsai has had his mainstage debut at the 2017 Musica Viva’s Huntington Estate Music Festival, playing the Grieg Cello Sonata with pianist Ian Munro and the Kodály Duo with violinist Alexandre da Costa. He has also appeared with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Milton, the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra under Steven Hillinger and the Australian Chamber Orchestra Academy under Aiko Goto. Benett’s performances have been broadcasted live by ABC Classic FM and FM 102.5.
In 2019, Benett will perform with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and the Penrith Symphony Orchestra in their subscription seasons. He will also play a solo recital at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre as part of their Chamber Concerts Series.
Benett was the winner of the 2016 Fine Music National Young Virtuoso Award. He has received a few first prizes including the 2017 NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition, the Grand Prize (String Section) of the 2017 ENKOR International Music Competition and the 2015 Australian Concerto & Vocal Competition (Young Performers). As the youngest semi-finalist of the 2018 ABC Young Performers Awards, Benett was awarded a Special Commendation for his recital.
Since the age of five, Benett has been learning the cello with his uncle Thomas Tsai. His other teachers include Susan Blake and Li Wei Qin. Benett’s musical influences also include his pianist father Joshua Tsai, David Pereira and Laszlo Kiss. He has played for Steven Isserlis, Nicolas Altstaedt and Gavriel Lipkind.
Presently, Benett is a Year 9 student at the Sydney Grammar School on a full music scholarship. Aside from music, he also enjoys playing tennis and football.
Barbara (Yuanyuan) Jin - mezzo soprano
Chinese mezzo-soprano Barbara (Yuanyuan) Jin studied for three years on scholarship at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music, China. In 2013, she relocated to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to complete her Bachelor of Music as a recipient of the International Student First Prize Scholarship. She currently graduated in Masters of Opera Performance, studying with Maree Ryan AM. She is a recipient of the Diane Wishart and Quin Quin Foundation scholarships. She is in the 2017 Young Artist Program with Pacific Opera.
Barbara’s operatic credits have included Mercedes (Carmen), La Badessa, La Suora Zelatrice and La Suora Infermiera (Suor Angelica), Miss Fitzhenry, Lady Jersey and Second Nun (Williamson’s English Eccentrics), and Dawn’s Attendant, Mopsa and Secrecy (The Fairy Queen). ClassikON commented of her performance in The Fairy Queen, “Ms Jin has impeccable diction, most suitable for a piece sung in English and a very flexible voice suitable for a variety of singing genres.” Barbara has also appeared in the ensemble for Adamo’s Little Women, Bernstein’s MASS as a Street Singer at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, and in the premiering opera, Ui no Fa’aoe. In October 2016, Barbara was portraying Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, conducted by Stephen Mould. In January 2017, she is going to cast Mrs McLean in Susannah with Opera New England.
Barbara’s awards include the Outstanding Student Award at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music; first prize in German Art Song for the Hong Kong International Singing Competition; first prize in 19th Century Music; first prize in Opera for the Great Composers Competition and second prize in the Nuremberg Music Festival.
She has participated in masterclasses with international conductor, Semyon Rozin in 2015, and with Greta Bradman in 2016.
Peter Ellis is a native of Halifax, UK and read Music at the University of Birmingham, studying violin, organ and conducting. He was Music Director of the Birmingham University Chamber Choir and also a member of the renowned City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, performing at the BBC Proms, on BBC Radio and Channel 4 television and on the Gramophone award winning EMI recording of Syzmanowski’s King Roger.
Peter qualified in Music Education from the University of London Institute of Education in 2000 and relocated to Australia in 2002. Peter has held a number of artistic positions including Music and Artistic Director of both the Newcastle University Choir and Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra and Music Director for Tenor Australis. He has made regular guest conducting appearances for a number of leading vocal ensembles including Coro Innominata, Macquarie University Singers and the Choirs of Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle and St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney. Peter also enjoyed four years as pianist for the David Jones Christmas Choir. In addition, as a participant in the Symphony Australia conductor development program, Peter conducted the Tasmanian, Adelaide and Queensland Orchestras.
Always heavily involved in church music, Peter was Assistant Organist/Director of Music at Sydney’s St. James’, King Street from 2005-2009. He directed a number of orchestral masses and also recorded and broadcast with the choir and Australian Baroque Brass. He was latterly Director of Music at St. Luke’s, Mosman from 2009 to 2015. Peter continues to make appearances as organist and harpsichord continuo player.
Peter has been Director of Choral Programs at Sydney’s Barker College since 2012. As well as direction of one of Australia’s largest school choral programs, Peter is conductor of the college’s renowned Chamber Choir. With Barker’s choirs he has performed in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Istanbul, Cannakale and Gallipoli, as well as giving the first performance outside the USA as well as the Boston and New York premieres of Eric Whitacre’s choral version of Goodnight Moon. Future tour appearances will include Edinburgh, London and Paris. Peter also directs a number of junior and alumni ensembles and teaches both middle and senior school classroom music. He is fanatically committed to music education and community outreach.
In August 2015 Peter became Music Director of Willoughby Symphony Choir. He has since conducted recordings, prepared them for performances of Beethoven 9, Christmas, Opera Gala and Promenade concerts as well as conducting 2016 Season performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Faure’s Requiem and Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass. 2017 conducting appearances will include Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the WSC and WSO and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Other upcoming conducting appearances will include concerts with the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic and NSW Lawyers Orchestras.