Twenty young violinists from regional towns across NSW will have the experience of a lifetime this Thursday 30 July, when they perform on the stage of the Sydney Opera House alongside professional musicians from the Australian World Orchestra & elite players from the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Six year old Charlotte Johnstone of Orange will be representing the Orange Regional Conservatorium at this exciting event.
The regional students will be conducted by one of the most famous and highly regarded musicians in the world, Sir Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, who is in Sydney for concerts with the Australian World Orchestra, a unique ensemble made up of exceptional Australian musicians drawn from top orchestras around the world.
The regional music students taking part in this two-day project of rehearsals, tutorials and concerts at the Sydney Opera House range in age from 6 to 17, and in skill level from beginner to advanced.
They are all students of NSW Regional Conservatoriums, a network of 17 regional music schools funded by the NSW Government through the Department of Education to provide high quality music education to regional school students.
“Over the past 3 years, the NSW Regional Conservatoriums have forged wonderful partnerships with the Sydney Opera House and a number of leading Australian and international orchestras,” says President of the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums, Stephen O’Connell.
“Our students have had similar opportunities with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from the Netherlands, the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as our own Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.”
For some of the students, this experience with the Australian World Orchestra will be the first time they have played with a full string orchestra.
“In smaller regional centres, there are not always enough musicians in town to form youth or community orchestras for our young violinists to play with,” says the director of Dubbo’s Macquarie Conservatorium, Vivienne Winther.
“So the thrill of playing right in the middle of a large orchestra will be quite new for some of them, on top of being tutored by brilliant professional players and led by an amazing conductor.”
The students have learnt specially arranged parts of the Bach Double Violin Concerto, participating in video-conference link-ups to work on their music together. The NSW Regional Conservatoriums use state-of-the-art video-conferencing to link students with high quality music teachers, in another initiative that provides regional youth with the best possible music opportunities.
“While in Sydney, our students will watch the Australian World Orchestra in rehearsal and in concert, have intensive tutorials on their parts, and join with the other players to rehearse as an orchestra, before performing their music on Thursday evening before a VIP audience,” says Patrick Brennan, director of the Central Coast Conservatorium.
“At our previous orchestral projects, several students gained real insight into the life of a professional musician and decided to pursue music as a career as a result. I’m sure this experience with Sir Simon Rattle and the Australian World Orchestra will bring similar inspiration to our young musicians.”