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Hello and welcome to our July newsletter. Well, it seems winter has finally arrived, which means our annual Schubertiade is just around the corner. One of our most popular events each year, the 2017 edition features a wonderful lineup of artists – more details below. I hope you can join us on Saturday 22nd of July for what promises to be a fantastic, fun night of music and cheer.

Season Two of the Lunchtime Concert Series is now only four weeks away. We're excited to bring your more beautiful music in the regular Friday 1:10pm time-slot. There are some great highlights this season, which I'll talk more about below. Details for Season Two were published in the brochure that was mailed out at the beginning of the year. If you require another copy you can just reply to this email, or phone 8313 5286 and we'll get one to you ASAP. You can also view the full details of the upcoming season on the website. If you'd like to book a Gold Pass, we'd be very happy to receive your call on 8313 5286, or you can also book online.

Evening Concerts

We have two fantastic concerts in July, and we hope you can brave the cold and join us here! On Tuesday the 18th it's the welcome return of the Australian String Quartet to the Evening series. In the first half of this concert the quartet will be joined by a chamber orchestra of string players comprising local students. The students will be tutored by the ASQ members during the day, before taking the stage to put their learning into practice in the evening. The second half of the concert sees the quartet performing Britten's String Quartet No. 1 in D major, op. 25. For bookings, call 8313 5286 or book online here.
Australian String Quartet
Photo: Jacqui Way

On Saturday the 22nd of July it's time for our annual Schubertiade. This year we have a great lineup of artists, with some of Adelaide's best talent, and as always we'll be serving mulled wine on arrival and coffee and sachertorte at interval. Breathtaking soprano Rosalind Martin will be performing Schubert lieder including An mein Klavier, An die Laute, Vier Canzonen and more, accompanied by the brilliant Roy Howat. Following the interval, the outstanding pairing of pianists Konstantin Shamray and Michael Ierace will together take on Schubert's symphonic Sonata in C major for piano four-hands D 812, Grand Duo. This will be a stunning night of music and revelry not to be missed. To reserve your seat call 8313 5286 or book online here.

Lunchtime Concerts

If you're anything like us, you don't know what to do with yourself on a Friday when there isn't a Lunchtime concert! However, the good news is we're now counting down the weeks until the start of Season Two, which kicks off on Friday the 4th of August. Season Two contains some wonderful highlights, including performances by Lucinda Collins (piano) with the ASQ, a piano recital from Konstantin Shamray, Sonatas for violin and piano with Dale Barltrop and Kristian Chong, along with concerts from the Conservatorium's main ensembles, the Symphony – , Chamber – , and Wind Orchestras. Add in some jazz and popular music concerts too, and you have a vibrant blend of performances from top quality artists and homegrown talent.

Songs of the Heart Land
Rosalind Martin and Roy Howat (4th of August)

ECSOGraham Abbott and Emily Legg (11th of August)

ASQPhoto by Jacqui Way
Australian String Quartet (18th of August)

Coming Up

On Sunday 23rd of July the much-loved Operativo returns to Elder Hall for it's third installment. The concert features some of Adelaide's finest musical talent including soprano Teresa de la Rocco, mezzo-soprano Catriona Barr, tenor Brenton Spiteri and baritone Mario Bellanova, accompanied by Michael Ierace. Sunday 23rd of July at 2:30pm, for a 3pm start. "A concert of arias to warm up the soul". Tickets are available through TryBooking or at the door.

Musica Viva Masterclass

Karoly Schranz - violin

Musica Viva Masterclasses are conducted by artists touring nationally as part of Musica Viva’s International Concert Season and offers unique perspectives on music interpretation, technique and performance. The Masterclass program provides students, music teachers and audiences of all ages with an entertaining and enriching learning experience.

Karoly Schranz

Takács Quartet violinist, Karoly Schranz, leads this exciting string masterclass in Elder Hall, featuring young musicians from the Elder Conservatorium and Adelaide Youth Orchestras.

Date: Thursday 17 August
Time: 11am-12.30pm
Tickets:  $20 (Adults), $5 (Teachers/Students), free for Elder Con students (ID required)


July Featured Composer

This month we turn our focus to the iconic British composer Benjamin Britten ahead of our Evening concert on the 18th of July featuring the Australian String Quartet, who will be performing his String Quartet no. 1 in D major.

Benjamin Britten
Born November 22, 1913, died December 4 , 1976.

With the arrival of Benjamin Britten on the international music scene, many felt that English music gained its greatest genius since Purcell. A composer of wide-ranging talents, Britten found in the human voice an especial source of inspiration, an affinity that resulted in a remarkable body of work, ranging from operas like Peter Grimes (1944-1945) and Death in Venice (1973) to song cycles like the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings (1943) to the massive choral work War Requiem (1961). He also produced much music for orchestra and chamber ensembles, including symphonies, concerti, and chamber and solo works. Britten's father was a prosperous oral surgeon in the town of Lowestoft, Suffolk; his mother was a leader in the local choral society. When Benjamin's musical aptitude became evident, the family engaged composer Frank Bridge to supervise his musical education. Bridge's tutelage was one of the formative and lasting influences on Britten's compositional development; Britten eventually paid tribute to his teacher in his Op. 10, the Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge (1937). Britten's formal training also included studies at the Royal College of Music (1930-1933).

Upon graduation from the RCM, Britten obtained a position scoring documentaries (on prosaic themes like "Sorting Office") for the Royal Post Office film unit. Working on a tight budget, he learned how to extract the maximum variety of color and musical effectiveness from the smallest combinations of instruments, producing dozens of such scores from 1935 to 1938. He rapidly emerged as the most promising British composer of his generation and entered into collaborative relationships that exerted a profound influence upon his creative life. Among the most important of his professional associates were literary figures like W.H. Auden, and later, E.M. Forster. None, however, played as central a role in Britten's life as the tenor Peter Pears, who was Britten's closest intimate, both personally and professionally, from the late '30s to the composer's death. Pears' voice inspired a number of Britten's vocal cycles and opera roles, and the two often joined forces in song recitals and, from 1948, in the organization and administration of the Aldeburgh Festival.

A steadfast pacifist, Britten left England in 1939 as war loomed over Europe. He spent four years in the United States and Canada, his compositional pace barely slackening, as evidenced by the production of works like the Sinfonia da Requiem (1940), the song cycle Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (1940), and his first effort for the stage, Paul Bunyan (1940-1941).

In July 1941, while still in the States, Britten received a $400 commission from an American patroness, Mrs Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, which presented him with the opportunity to compose his ‘official’ String Quartet No 1. Mrs Coolidge was a passionate devotee of the genre, and had already commissioned Bartók’s Fifth Quartet (1934) and Schoenberg’s Fourth (1936). Britten’s contribution was composed in the humble surroundings of a tool shed located in the garden of Ethel Bartlett and Rae Robertson, the British husband-and-wife piano duo who were his hosts during a stay in California. The finished quartet was first performed in September 1941 in Los Angeles, and earned its composer the Library of Congress Coolidge Medal for Eminent Services to Chamber Music. It is evident from Britten’s correspondence that his attitude to the commission was somewhat ambivalent. To his friend Elizabeth Mayer he confessed that the project would be ‘a bit of a sweat to do it so quickly, but I’ll do it as the cash will be useful!’, and to his older brother Robert he reported:

I’m to be presented with a gold medal at the Library of Congress in Washington in October, by Mrs Sprague Coolidge (the rich patroness of music, friend of Frank Bridge) for services to chamber music! Gettin’ quite distinguished arn’t I? But it doesn’t mean any money, unless I sell the medal, which wouldn’t be quite quite. Still the old girl has just bought a String Quartet off me for quite a sum, which will keep the wolf away for a bit, so I can’t complain.

More seriously, however, Britten told his benefactress that he rated the quartet as ‘my best piece so far’, and the Times critic wrote after its first English performance by the Griller Quartet in April 1943: ‘It looks as though he has begun to advance from his easy accomplishment into some new phase of development in his thought which will be watched with interest.’ The reviewer went on to describe the musical idiom as ‘unconventional’ and ‘experimental’ with its ‘harshly contrasted elements’, referring to the juxtapositions of passages in slow and quick tempos in the first movement inspired by Beethoven’s B flat major Quartet, Op 130. The ethereal diatonic opening to the work suggests the strong influence of neoclassical Stravinsky, as distinctively modified by the music of Copland, by whom Britten was befriended at the time of composition.

Eventually, the poetry of George Crabbe drew Britten back to England. With a Koussevitzky Commission backing him, the composer wrote the enormously successful opera Peter Grimes (1944-45), which marked the greatest turning point in his career. His fame secure, Britten over the next several decades wrote a dozen more operas, several of which -- Albert Herring (1947), Billy Budd (1951), The Turn of the Screw (1954), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1960), Death in Venice (1973) -- became instant and permanent fixtures of the repertoire. He also continued to produce much vocal, orchestral, and chamber music, including Songs and Proverbs of William Blake (1965), the three Cello Suites (1961-1964) and the Cello Symphony (1963), written for Mstislav Rostropovich, and the Third String Quartet (1975).

Britten suffered a stroke during heart surgery in 1971, which resulted in something of a slowdown in his creative activities. Nonetheless, he continued to compose until his death in 1976, by which time he was recognized as one of the principal musical figures of the twentieth century.

As mentioned earlier our readers have the chance to experience Britten's iconic first string quartet in Elder Hall performed by the Australian String Quartet at an evening concert on Tuesday July 18. Tickets can be purchased here or scroll down for your chance to win a double pass.

excerpts taken from biographies by Michael Rodman and Mervyn Cooke


  • Sitkovetsky TrioOur friends at Musica Viva are generously offering two double passes to see the Sitkovetsky Trio. Big emotions can come in small packages. Be moved by outpourings of love and loss in piano trios by Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn’s teenage exuberance, and Australian Lachlan Skipworth’s homage to the ‘pounding wave’. The Sitkovetsky Trio is made up of three young virtuosi with countless solo prizes and achievements to their names. For your chance to win a double pass, please reply to this email by Tuesday 11 July and mention "Musica Viva".
    Adelaide Town Hall, Thurs 13 July, 7:30pm
  • Evening ConcertWe are giving away two double passes to our upcoming 'Schubertiade' concert in the 2017 Evening Concert Series. Featuring Rosalind Martin (soprano) & Roy Howat (piano) performing Schubert lieder, plus two more of Adelaide's finest pianists, Konstanin Shamray and Michael Ierace, playing the Sonata in C major for piano four-hands D 812, Grand Duo. For your chance to join us for all the fun, please reply to this email by Monday 17 July and mention 'Schubertiade'. Elder Hall, Sat 22nd of July, 6:30pm

Congratulations to our winners from last month: A Gorey and P Morey won Musica Viva tickets to see Pacifica Quartet; R Peake and C Beng won tickets to the Evening concerts of their choice; and K&G Miller and J Mercer won tickets to see Palace Nova's screening of Don Carlo.

Coming up at Elder Hall

Music at Elder 2 Sunday 16 July, 2:30pm
Selby and Friends 
Proud Folk

Australian String Quartet  Tuesday 18 July, 6:30pm
  Evenings at Elder Hall
  Australian String Quartet

Schubertiade  Saturday 22 July, 6:30pm
  Evenings at Elder Hall

Schubertiade  Sunday 23 July, 3:00pm
  Operativo III

Lunchtime Concert Series  Friday 4 August, 1:10pm
  Lunchtime Concert Series
  Songs of the Heartland

Hope to see you soon, thanks for reading.

Martin and the Elder Hall team.

Elder Conservatorium of Music


T: +61 8 8313 5286

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