It is an honour to have Associate Professor Gerard Willems AM as Omega Ensemble’s ambassador. Gerard has supported and mentored many of our musicians, including Maria Raspopova on piano, he has provided professional support and musical support since Omega Ensemble’s inception.
Gerard Willems is probably best known for his ARIA-winning recordings of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Gerard commenced the first recording featuring 32 piano sonatas in 1997 and completed by 2000, by doing so Gerard became the first Australian to record this collection. But Gerard did not stop there. The end result was the world's only recording of 36 Piano Sonatas, plus 5 piano concertos and the ‘Diabelli Variations’. Gerard Willems’ DVD performance of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ concerto (with Sinfonia Australis) won the International DVD Association’s Award for Music Excellence in 2005.
As Australia’s pre-eminent Beethoven interpreter and one of its finest concert pianists it is always a delight and an inspiration to spend time with Gerard. He somehow manages to share his passion with his audiences as well as his peers in supporting and mentoring many artists.
As you may already know, Gerard has a great history with the Sydney International Piano Competition. The Sydney International Piano Competition is taking place from the 6th to 23rd of July at the Sydney Conservatorium (until the 19.7.) and the Sydney Opera House (for the 4 final nights with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra). The competition is only held every 4 years and is one of the biggest festivals of piano music in the world. It is expected to draw around 16,000 people for the live audience and around 2 million + listeners worldwide via the radio and internet live broadcast.
The Piano Competition’s Artistic Director Piers Lane AO has invited Gerard to play a very special selection of Beethoven piano sonata movements to a very exclusive audience at Sydney Grammar School. This event is on this Friday 26 June at 6.30pm in 'The Big School Hall'. If you act quickly you may still be able to secure seats for this intimate recital with Gerard. Purchase a ticket or find out more.
As many classical music fans can never seem to get enough Beethoven, don't forget that Omega Ensemble's next performance at the City Recital Hall is one of Beethoven's greatest works, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. Tickets on sale now.