Talent from the Con shining at the 2021 Sydney Festival

9 December 2020
Showcasing our world-class talent at the biggest event of the Sydney music calendar
Sydney Festival, a bold cultural celebration with cutting-edge arts and performance, will include multiple acts involving the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s talent early next year.

The Sydney Festival is an event held in January of each year, transforming Sydney with music, theatre, dance, circus, opera, visual art and more. It is held across a number of areas and venues, including the Seymour Centre, which will host a classic Australian music line-up.

Sydney Festival is a great opportunity for Sydney Conservatorium of Music students and staff to collaborate with each other and industry organisations to contribute to the cultural celebration. There are a number of acts announced for 2021’s Festival from the Con, which are not to be missed!

12 Hands 6 Grands

Artists: Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Bernadette Harvey, Elena Kats-Chernin, Stephanie McCallum, Natalia Ricci and Sonya Lifschitz
Venue: Sydney Town Hall
When: Tuesday 19 January 2021 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm

Natalia Ricci and Stephanie McCallum are both currently Conservatorium of Music staff members.

In 12 Hands 6 Grands, the Sydney International Piano Competition’s Artistic Director, Piers Lane, has invited six of Australia’s best female pianists to join in a rare collaboration. 12 Hands 6 Grands culminates in an astounding, musically complex performance by all six pianists – unleashing the sheer power and sublime expressive beauty of concert grand pianos. 

The Rise and Fall of Saint George

Artists: Lachlan Philpott and Paul Mac
Venue: The Headland at Barangaroo Reserve
When: Friday 15 January 2021 at 8:30pm

Paul Mac is a Doctor of Musical Arts student and casual staff member at the Con.

A love letter to Sydney’s fluid queer audacity, The Rise and Fall of Saint George connects us to a shared need to be a part of a community, explores finding solidarity in bleak times. It is an urgent call to arms to not let hard-won rights and freedoms be taken for granted.

Tình Khúc Tu Quê Huong / Songs From Home

Artists: Dang Lan and Toby Martin
Venue: Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
When: Saturday 23 January 2021 at 2pm and 7pm

Dr Toby Martin is a teacher for the Contemporary Music Practice degree at the Conservatorium of Music.

This concert premieres new songs that Lan and Toby have written together – songs about journeys to and from Australia, and complicated feelings about home, longing and displacement – as well as traditional Vietnamese songs given a new twist.  These songs represent a meeting point between Lan and Toby’s two musical traditions. They are local Sydney and western Sydney songs and stories, but they are also global ones. 


Artists: Sydney Chamber Choir
Venue: York Theatre, Seymour Centre
When: Thursday 21 January 2021 at 8pm

Featured music for this performance includes work by Associate Professor Paul Stanhope, Honorary Professor Ross Edwards, and Master of Music (Composition) student and Composing Women program participant Brenda Gifford.

In this joyful and uplifting program of contemporary choral music, Sydney Chamber Choir celebrates the universal experience of transition and renewal: the changing of the seasons; the passing of one year into the next; the great circle of birth and death. Featuring works by contemporary composers Brenda Gifford, Paul Stanhope, Brooke Shelley, Ross Edwards, Jonathan Dove and David Conte, Cycles is a joyful celebration of life itself.

Duo Histoire

Artists: Nick Russoniello and Murilo Tanouye
Venue: Sydney Town Hall
When: Thursday 14 January 2021 at 12pm

Saxophone player Nick Russoniello is a Doctor of Musical Arts student and casual staff member at the Con.

Duo Histoire features two award-winning young musicians, Nick Russoniello and Murilo Tanouye, in a unique combination of saxophone and guitar. For their Sydney Festival performance, the two musicians bring their signature charm to the sounds of nuevo tango, bossa nova and classic works by Enrique Granados and Isaac Albeniz.

Disruption! The Voice of Drums

Artists: Jeremy Rose & the Earshift Orchestra
Venue: York Theatre, Seymour Centre
When: Wednesday 13 January 2021 at 8pm

Jeremy Rose is an alumni and casual staff member at the Con. Drummer Chloe Kim is a current student in the Bachelor of Jazz Performance.

Alongside the voice, the drum is the most elemental form of human expression. Drums have been the heartbeat of music whose purpose is to disrupt, featuring in protests across the world from Hong Kong, to Russia and the United States. Jazz composer-saxophonist Jeremy Rose and the 8-piece Earshift Orchestra (Iron in the Blood, Sydney Festival 2020) return with a thrilling concert-length tribute to the timeless, visceral and disruptive power of the drum. 

Mambo Influenciado

Artists: Daniel Rojas & Ensemble Apex Strings
Venue: Vaucluse House
When: Friday 8 January and Saturday 9 January 2021 at 7:30pm

Dr Daniel Rojas is the Program Leader for the Composition discipline at the Conservatorium of Music. Ensemble Apex are comprised mostly of recent graduates from the Con.

Daniel Rojas brings the vibrant musical heritage of Latin America to Sydney’s Vaucluse House. Celebrated as a pianist, composer and improviser, the Chilean-born musician is known for infusing tango, mambo, salsa and folk music with contemporary classical sensibilities. Performing at the Sydney Festival with Sydney’s charismatic Ensemble Apex, Rojas will rework for local audiences some of Latin America’s best-loved tunes, including Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango and Mambo Influenciado by Chucho Valdes.

poem for a dried up river

Artists: Jane Sheldon and the Sydney Chamber Opera
Venue: Carriageworks
When: 6–8 January 2021 at 6pm and 9–10 January 2021 at 3pm

Jane Sheldon is currently studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Con and is part of the Composing Women program.

Struggle, exertion – where does it first show up in the body? In the breath. And that’s how Jane Sheldon’s poem for a dried up river begins: in summer darkness with the sounds of breathing floating over chirping cicadas. Gradually two sopranos emerge from the soundscape, their labour divided – instrument and words. Jane Sheldon reunites with Sydney Chamber Opera for another collaboration filled with detail and nuance, and a profound sense of connection.

SydFest will run from the 6–26 January 2021. If you'd like to find out more about the 2021 Sydney Festival, you can visit the website.

Images sourced from the Sydney Festival website.


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