Ben Hoadley has been the bassoonist with Omega Ensemble since 2013. He is also an accomplished composer with a Master's Degree in composition. Ben’s trio “Night Music”, written for the Omega Ensemble and guest artist Paul Meyer in 2014 received first prize in the 2015 Lilburn Composition Awards. In collaboration with Sydney playwright Craig Brush, Ben recently completed an opera that was work shopped by the Auckland based “Opera Factory” in April 2016, and which will receive a fully staged performance later in the year.
A chat with Ben Hoadley
How did your relationship come about with Omega Ensemble and what does it mean for you that they are premiering your new work ?
My relationship with Omega Ensemble started with playing the bassoon in the group, which was in 2012. I enjoy working with Omega Ensemble, and feel honoured to play regularly with such an outstanding group of talented musicians. The Omega Ensemble has also given me some wonderful opportunities as a composer and gives me the very happy circumstance of being able to pursue my two main loves - playing bassoon and composing. I have composed three works performed by Omega Ensemble over the years, 'Ostrakon' a wind sextet for saxophone and wind quintet first performed by Omega Ensemble in August in 2013, Trio 'Night Music' for clarinet, viola and piano in 2014 and the third piece is coming up on 29 May a new work 'Four Preludes' for clarinet, cello and piano. It is so great to be able to compose and play with the same group. To have a good relationship with the musicians performing your work makes a big difference in how the work is delivered. We have a lot of fun at rehearsals and concerts and we all share a passion for the music.
How do you feel about your new work being premiered alongside Beethoven, Bach and Brahms?
Having a new piece performed alongside important works by three of the great B’s is particularly intimidating, to say the least! These Four Preludes are short vignettes -- fleeting memories or tastes – designed to act as a foil to the much broader works by Bach, Beethoven and Brahms within the programming.
How did The Four Preludes come about?
The Preludes were commissioned by Petrina Slaytor for clarinet, bassoon and piano and are heard here in a new version for cello. They were written in January of this year, during a period of rest and introspection after several years of regular and frequent trans-Tasman travel. The Preludes spring equally from both countries in their inspiration. The bird calls heard in the first and fourth prelude are my transcriptions of two distinctive Grey Butcherbird calls that I heard repeatedly at Petrina’s house on Sydney’s North Shore during visits there in 2014 and 2015. Given that the Butcherbird has different songs at different times of year and in different places, we may never hear this exact call again.
Brahms and the Clarinet is Omega Ensemble’s next concert and is being held in the intimate setting of the Utzon room at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, 29 May 2016. Limited tickets are still available for the afternoon performance. If this fine Sydney weather continues there is no better plan than enjoying an afternoon concert of fine chamber music followed by watching the sun set over our beautiful Sydney harbour and city.