Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

By Stella Joseph-Jarecki

Scrolling through Facebook as a musician, and as a friend of musicians, has been sobering of late. It is integral that we take social distancing measures seriously, but understanding that doesn’t necessarily make the mass cancellations any easier.

But there are some bright rays of hope emerging during this disconcerting time. A notable example is Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, an organisation created by seasoned arts professionals Chris Howlett and Adele Schonhardt in response to the unfolding COVID-19 health crisis. From its website, the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall will be broadcasting a number of concerts which were scheduled to go ahead during this time, transmitted to the comfort of your living room thanks to the magic of the internet. Tickets can be purchased online and can be booked up to one minute before the scheduled start time of the concert.

Melbourne Digital Concert Hall’s first season has been copied below. Full artist biographies and ticket links can be found at http://melbournedigitalconcerthall.com/

ARCADIA WINDS – FRIDAY 27TH MARCH AT 7PM

Arcadia Winds are trailblazers for Australian wind music.

Awarded a fellowship at the Australian National Academy of Music upon their formation in late 2013, they became Musica Viva Australia’s inaugural FutureMakers musicians from 2015–17. They have brought their brand of energetic, joyful and spontaneous performance to festival stages in almost every state and territory in the country; concert halls across mainland China; and listeners around the world through broadcasts of the BBC Proms Australia chamber music series.

A desire to celebrate and promote Australian music has led Arcadia Winds to commission and perform works by prominent Australian composers.

STEFAN CASSOMENOS – FRIDAY 27TH MARCH AT 8.30PM

Melbourne pianist and composer Stefan Cassomenos is one of Australia’s most vibrant and versatile musicians. He has been performing internationally since the age of 10, and is now established as one of Australia’s leading pianists.

Cassomenos is a founding member of chamber ensemble PLEXUS, which since launching in 2014 has commissioned and premiered over100 new works. Cassomenos’ own compositions are regularly commissioned and performed throughout Australia. Cassomenos and violinist Monica Curro have recently been announced as Artistic Directors of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival from 2019. Cassomenos is generously supported by Kawai Australia.

TRISTAN LEE – SATURDAY 28TH MARCH AT 5PM

Tristan Lee is an Australian pianist internationally recognized, and critically acclaimed, for his distinctive and moving recital programmes and recordings. He has played in major venues in Australia, Europe and China, including the Wigmore Hall, and St Martin in the Fields, London, amongst many others.

His mentors and teachers have included François-Frédéric Guy, Leslie Howard, Glenn Riddle, and Ian Holtham. Tristan Lee has extensively performed, researched, and recorded the music of Beethoven, Brahms, and Liszt.

LATITUDE 37, SATURDAY 28TH MARCH AT 7PM

Latitude 37 is an exciting baroque trio whose members were drawn together by their passion for historically informed performance of 17th– and 18th-century music.  The distinctive combination of baroque violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord, opens up a wealth of repertoire that is rarely explored by other Australian ensembles. Over the past ten years they have become firm favourites on the Australasian early music scene. Their critically acclaimed performances are characterised by the marriage of scholarship and keen sense of historical style with virtuosity, creative flair and a warm rapport with audiences.

Laura Vaughan and Donald Nicolson have been performing as a duo since their student years at the Royal Conservatorium in The Hague. The music of seventeenth-century France, especially Marin Marais, is treasured by them both. They have explored many works, ranging from the well-known sonatas by JS Bach, to more exquisite rarities from the time of Henry VIII.

ZOE KNIGHTON, SATURDAY 28TH MARCH AT 8.30PM

Zoe is a founding member of Flinders Quartet, one of Australia’s finest chamber ensembles.

With pianist Amir Farid, she has recorded for ABC, performed throughout Australia and released 5 CDs on the MOVE label. Their partnership will be reignited in 2020 with performances throughout Australia and New York.

Zoe is currently fortyfive downstairs musician in residence and artistic patron of Resonance String Ensemble in Woodend.

ELYANE LAUSSADE, THURSDAY 2ND APRIL AT 7PM

A graduate of the Juilliard school in New York City, pianist Elyane Laussade has delighted audiences on five continents with her imaginative and strongly individual playing. The New York Times has said she is “a pianist with a powerful, polished technique and many an original interpretive notion….with an impeccable sense of style and dazzling power.”

Elyane’s most recent endeavour is the Mozart Project which will see her perform all 27 Mozart piano concertos with orchestras around Australia. Her love for the musical experience as a close encounter has inspired her to run a special series of intimate recitals at the Laussade Studio in Melbourne.

SONGMAKERS AUSTRALIA – THURSDAY 2ND APRIL AT 8.30PM

Unique in the musical landscape of Australia, Songmakers Australia brings together some of the country’s leading singers and instrumentalists in a diverse repertoire comprising some of the pinnacles of chamber music.

Under the artistic patronage of Graham Johnson, founding director of the acclaimed London-based Songmakers Almanac, pianist Andrea Katz teams with soprano Merlyn Quaife, mezzo-soprano Christina Wilson, tenor Brenton Spiteri and bass-baritone Nicholas Dinopoulos in inspired programs that feature a dynamic interplay of song and chamber music.

KRISTIAN CHONG – FRIDAY 3RD APRIL AT 7PM

One of Australia’s leading pianists, Kristian Chong has performed throughout Australia and the UK, and in China, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, and Zimbabwe. His wide-ranging performance schedule finds him equally at home as concerto soloist, chamber musician and recitalist.

Described by The Age as ‘a true chamber musician at work’, his collaborations include the Tinalley and Australian String Quartets, violinist Vadim Gluzman, cellist Li-Wei Qin, flautist Megan Sterling and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, with whom he has recorded with ABC-Classics. His festival appearances include the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the Adelaide, Huntington Estate, Mimir and Bangalow Festivals.

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