A lot has been said about Chamber music over the past few centuries, and it stands to reason. It is the core of all Western art music and provides the foundation for all musical forms that follow it. Chamber music is the intimate negotiation and the art of musical conversation, performed to audiences in intimate settings. It is a musical conversation between friends and shared with audiences. It is the ultimate in musical democracy. There is no conductor, sometimes one person leads and sometimes they accompany, each sharing and dividing the roles in constant musical dialogue.
Gustav Mahler remarked “In its beginnings, music was merely chamber music, meant to be listed to in a small space by a small audience.” The American writer Catherine Drinker Bowen said “Chamber music- a conversation between friends.” We’ve all had those wonderful moments with our friends where we talk, reminiscence and have a great time; the same goes for chamber musicians. After spending weeks at home learning the music on their own, they come together in the first rehearsal and the magic unfolds.
Omega Ensemble’s new co-artistic director and resident pianist, Maria Raspopova also has her own thoughts on chamber music: “[Chamber music] starts with the name, continues with the repertoire and ends with the challenge of bringing it to life. When one person plays, one person speaks. When 4 people play, 4 people speak. Sometimes they speak in harmony, other times they disagree passionately. They challenge each other, inspire each other. They support, tease, gang up again each other, laugh and have loads of fun together. The musicians who are together on stage in the moment of performances are supremely important to each other as they go deep into these intense emotions. It is with these thoughts in mind, David and I selected the works for the next season. Next year, we focus on the repertoire where each instrument has a strong voice and is not afraid to show it,” Maria has been performing with Omega Ensemble since its inception, and this year joins David Rowden as Co-Artistic Director, bringing a new dimension to the programming for the 2017 Season.
Unlike playing in an orchestra, chamber music fosters a stronger sense of friendship and camaraderie. Each of the players needs to be aware of each other, constantly communicating with their eyes, their shoulders, and through gestures. The players are engaging in a constant musical dialogue with their musical peers and they are projecting this to the audiences. It’s an experience like no other, in both performing and listening to chamber music. The audience feels as though they are taking part in this musical conversation.
This year, you are invited in, to be part of the conversation and experience the magic of chamber music with an intimate performance by your friends at Omega Ensemble. Be in the audience for the world premieres of four newly commissioned works and hear music never before performed. Rediscover some old classical favourites, rarely brought to life on stage.
Up close and personal.
As Maria said, chamber music is about the individual voices coming together in the art of musical conversation. Every player and their instrument has a unique voice. These unique voices come together to perform exquisite renditions of well-known chamber works, rare gems that have been lost to time and in the hands of these musicians and their instruments, world premieres of new music are taking place. You can get to know some of the key players of Omega Ensemble in a more intimate and up close and personal setting this year. The new lunch concerts at City Recital Hall, A Taste of Omega feature individual members of the Omega Ensemble as their showcase their individual talent, their instrument and their personalities. Get to know the players more get insight into their role in the chamber ensemble.
Enriching lives through music.
From the heart of the Romantic period with Rachmaninoff’s Elégie, to the Impressionistic world of Ravel, this is a season that will invigorate and delight the senses. This is chamber music that touches the soul and invigorates the senses. Delicately spun melodies and lush harmonies unfold as the musicians reveal their craft and their dedication to the highest quality performances. A subscription is the perfect way to experience this music. Subscriptions also make a great gift for friends and loved ones, particularly those new to chamber music. Give them the joy of their first chamber music experience and see what all the fuss is about.
Omega is also appearing in the Art Gallery of NSW this year in an exciting program featuring the concert music of Bernard Herrmann. Enjoy the surrounds of the Botanic gardens and explore the Art Gallery of NSW before taking in some daring and exciting music. Find out more.
Local music performed by local musicians
Over the course of the 2017 season you can hear four newly commissioned world premier pieces. Local music performed by local Musicians. To date Omega has commissioned and premiered dozens of new works by Australian composers, celebrating the cultural diversity that this country has to offer. Find Out More. This year's season boasts four new commissions celebrating the unique compositional voices of Australian composers Ben Hoadley, Samuel Hogarth and Cyrus Meurant. This year the tender and lyrical voice of the clarinet is featured in each of the new works ranging for clarinet quintets to trios.
... the forerunners of exquisite chamber music in Sydney...
This is a year to not be missed as Omega explores every nook and cranny of the chamber repertoire, showcasing the beautiful lyricism; the peaks of instrumental writing and demonstrating the art of musical conversation, all at the same time sharing this experience with you, the audience.
To get a taste of Omega in your home before the Season starts don’t forget to check out our ‘On Demand’ performances. Hear and see this delightful chamber music and be part of the musical conversation in your own home. If you want to take Omega in the car to work or on an outing, they recently released their debut album on ABC Classics. Purchase the album.
Subscribe now and be part of the musical dialogue with Omega Ensemble in their 2017 season. Don’t miss out on experiencing the most iconic chamber music, presented in the most intimate and inviting venues in Sydney.
Samuel Cottell is Omega Ensemble’s resident writer. He is a pianist, arranger, composer, researcher and musicologist who is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he is researching the life and music of Tommy Tycho. He is published in the Grove Dictionary of Music and recently was awarded a National Library of Australia Summer Scholarship to research music arrangements contained in the Geoff Harvey Music Collection housed in Canberra. Samuel is the lead writer for Cut Common Magazine and regularly contributes to Fine Music Magazine and a number of other music publications. He teaches classes in music analysis, arranging and film music within the University of Sydney Music Department.