Canberra Sinfonia performs Tangos & Mozart. Conducted by Leonard Weiss. Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest. Saturday, June 1, 3pm. canberrasinfonia.com or eventbrite.com.au.
Rach and Rumsey. Canberra Sinfonia. Conducted by Leonard Weiss. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Sunday, June 16, 3pm (pre-concert talk at 2.15 pm). nco.org.au.
Canberra conductor Leonard Weiss is preparing to go to the US to study with maestro Marin Alsop. But he still has a number of conducting engagements to fulfill here before he goes. Two of them are in concerts coming soon - one of which includes a world premiere.
It's a rather fabulous combination of classical and romantic structure with some contemporary language.Leonard Weiss
On June 1, he will conduct the Canberra Sinfonia, of which he was co-founder, in a program with two very different genres.
Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-flat major, K. 364 (320d) is, he says, "a beautiful synthesis of concerto form and symphonic writing" and one of the composer's most popular concert works.
He says soloists Barbara Gilby (violin) - who was the first violin graduate of the Canberra School of Music - and Lucy Carrigy-Ryan (viola) - who completed undergraduate studies in music, Spanish and law at the Australian National University - will have plenty of opportunity to display their talents in the virtuoso string parts. Gilby has performed the work with her sister, Janet Rutherford and one of those performances was part of the last concert conducted by Stuart Challender, who died in 1991.
"I'm thrilled to be working with Lucy and Barbara," Weiss says.
The idea of coupling the Mozart work with what Weiss calls "an eclectic mix" of South American tangos arose from Carrigy-Ryan's time as a scholarship holder at the Emilio Balcarce Tango Orchestra School in Argentina. The tangos of that area have nuances of style and extended techniques for string instruments including percussive effects and additional ad lib elements.
Argentinian composer Mariana Rivaya has made a special arrangement of the traditional Tanguera by Argentinian Mariana Rivaya, along with tango arrangements by Australian composer Dan Walker and Astor Piazzolla's Libertango. Weiss says, "It's good fun."
On June 16, Weiss will conduct the National Capital Orchestra in a concert that includes the world premiere of Canberra composer Michael Dooley's Piano Concerto no. 1 with pianist Andrew Rumsey.
The pianist, who made his Carnegie Hall debut in 207 as part of a US/Canadian tour promoting Australian music, last performed with the orchestra in 2015. In this concert he will play a hand-crafted 2.7 metre piano as soloist in the concerto.
It's a work that is "quite a journey", beginning in C sharp minor and ending in a different key. Weiss says, "It's a rather fabulous combination of classical and romantic structure with some contemporary language. Michael is largely a jazz musician and, for example, the second movement has a great amount of jazz. There are some nice time switches."
The other work on the program is Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2 in E minor Opus 27. Weiss says, "There's so much ebb and flow in his Romantic writing - it's really incredibly powerful. There's the push and pull of really strong, intense emotion."