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Mathisha Panagoda – Australian Musician Spotlight

Born in Sydney, Mathisha Panagoda began learning the cello at the age of four.

This week, debussycat conducts a Q&A with Australian cellist Mathisha Panagoda. Mathisha is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Sydney Camerata, recipients of the 2010 Musica Viva Award for Chamber Music. He is the cellist of the Silvaner Ensemble, a winner of the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra and blogs for ABC Limelight Magazine.

Born in Sydney, Mathisha Panagoda began learning the cello at the tender age of four. He completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours), studying under Danish cellist Georg Pederson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and holds a Juris Doctor in law from the University of Sydney. Mathisha has performed as a member of the Melbourne, Queensland and Sydney Symphony Orchestras as well as the Australian Youth Orchestra.  In 2009 he was the recipient of a Symphony Australia National Fellowship.
Mathisha has travelled the world with his cello. As principal cellist and a soloist of the SBS Radio & Television Youth Orchestra, he toured Europe, Russia and Hong Kong. As a member of the AYO, he has participated in two international tours to Europe and Asia performing at festivals including the BBC Proms (one of the world’s greatest classical music festivals). In Japan, Mathisha was selected as an academy member of the Pacific Music Festival and just last year he was invited to perform with the Aldeburgh Strings, a new international string orchestra based in the UK.

Q&A with Mathisha

What inspired you to form Sydney Camerata?

I was inspired to form Sydney Camerata to provide opportunities for musicians at a similar stage in their careers to me. In my final year of study at the Sydney Conservatorium, I was looking for more opportunities to gain practical experience- in particular in an ensemble inspired by groups such as the ACO where the style of working is a close nexus with chamber music. I was fortunate to have some friends who shared a similar desire and together we began to plan some concerts that have developed into our Sydney Camerata concert series.

What is the group dynamic like?

The group has a very unique dynamic for a number of reasons. All the musicians are highly trained and talented so they bring with them a refined set of skills. The musicians are all ‘young’ (generally between 20 and 30 years of age) and come with a fresh, modern day approach to classical music. Being young and talented, many of these musicians are on the cusp of professional careers. For many of them, playing with Sydney Camerata is an exciting opportunity to work independently of the confines of an institution or symphony orchestra. Everyone is there for the love of music, they work as professionals and have a lot of fun along the way. For this reason the dynamic of the group is one of great enthusiasm, energy and excitement.

How often do you practice?

We rehearse in intensive periods, not only because we find this the most effective and efficient method, but many of our musicians also fly from interstate to play with us. Usually musicians will be posted music a few weeks prior to rehearsals commencing so they can prepare their parts. We will generally begin rehearsals 4 or 5 days prior to a performance. The first day will usually be sectionals and rehearsals for principal players to discuss technicalities such as bowings and musical ideas. We will then spend a few days rehearsing daily to put the program together.

I’ve been enjoying your posts on Limelight Magazine. What kinds of things do you think your readers are most interested in?

The purpose of my blog is to follow my journey as a young musician in Australia. I think my readers like to hear about my personal experiences and thoughts in relation to music. Many are very interested to hear about the sorts of opportunities young people have in this country and I’m delighted to be able to share my experiences with them.

What’s your favourite symphony?

Probably Beethoven 9 or Brahms 4 but I also can’t go past Shostakovich and Dvorak Symphonies.

What’s your favourite type of classical music?

Very difficult question but I’m particularly into chamber music, string orchestra music and large symphonic music. More recently I’ve started exploring more contemporary composers such as Golijov and Vasks.

Favourite composer?

An impossible question but if I had to narrow it down it would probably be either Beethoven, Brahms or Tchaikovsky but there really are too many more to name!

What do you think makes classical music special?

What makes classical music special is its ability to transcend reality and transport the listener to another place. It’s often an intellectual exercise unique in that it involves three people- the composer, performer and listener. These three people can be from different parts of the world and have lived in different eras yet their synthesis creates something new every time.

The thing that I love most about classical music is that it’s an endless journey of discovery. I listen to a lot of other styles of music and while I will enjoy but be sick of a pop song in a matter of weeks, there is so much to discover in most pieces of classical music that they stay with you for life.

How do you think the digitalisation of media will affect classical music in the future?

The digitalisation of classical music will help it to reach new audiences and transcend formalities that have often turned people away from it. You no longer have to dress up and pay a lot of money to go to a concert hall to find yourself sitting in the back row. I watched the Berlin Philharmonic in my pyjamas in my bedroom via their Digital Concert Hall online last week. Still nothing beats a live performance for me, but the digital era has the potential to breathe much needed fresh air into classical music.

The Sydney Camerata

 ©  Sabina Chitty – debussycat Sydney Classical Music Guide

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Popular Classical Top 100

Amadeus (1984) is available from Amazon.com. Click on image to purchase.

No. 97 is Mozart’s Requiem – Lacrimosa. Composed in Vienna in 1791, the Requiem has been featured on countless movie soundtracks. Lacrimosa is the 8th movement of the Requiem, and the most famous. Mozart died before finishing the Requiem at the young age of 35, and Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed and delivered the Requiem to Count Franz von Wasell. The Count had commissioned the piece for a requiem Mass to commemorate his wife’s death (which, incidentally, fell on Valentine’s Day – how tragic!).  Count Franz von Wassell commissioned the extensive work anonymously,and it is likely that he intended to put his own name on it.  Perhaps he would be a household name had he succeeded, but Mozart’s unexpected death and a benefit concert for his widow put a spanner in the works.  In the critically acclaimed 1984 film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s highly fictionalised stage play Amadeus, it is suggested that it was not Franz von Wassell but Salieri (the famous Italian composer of the Habsburg Court) who anonymously commissioned Mozart’s Requiem.  If you haven’t seen it yet, Amadeus really is a first class film which is sure to ignite your passion for Mozart as it did mine.

No. 97

Requiem – Lacrimosa

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

Purchase Lacrimosa – iTunes

Purchase Lacrimosa – Amazon

 

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Events · Sydney Classical Music Guide · Sydney Free Classical Music - Events News

May 2011 – Events in Sydney

Opera

Baroque Opera: King Arthur – Purcell

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

The Early Music Ensemble

Neal Peres Da Costa conductor

Brendan Carmody director

May 13, 14

Click for Information & Tickets

Haunting Handel

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

May 13, 14,  18, 20, 21

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Symphony 

The Fellowship of the Ring: On Stage and Screen

Sydney Symphony

Peter Jackson’s epic film complete with music by Howard Shore

Ludwig Wicki conductor

Kaitlyn Lusk vocalist

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

Sydney Children’s Choir

May 6, 8

Click for Information & Tickets

Mahler 10, Love and Death

HINDSON Concerto for two pianos world premiere

MAHLER Symphony No. 10 (completion Rudolf Barshai)

Ami Rogé piano

Pascal Rogé piano

May 12, 13

Click for Information & Tickets

Mahler 9: Another World

MOZART Piano Concerto No. 13 in C, K415

MAHLER Symphony No. 9

Vladimir Ashkenazy conductor

Steven Osborne piano

May 18, 21

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Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra: Symphonic Spotlight

KERRY Symphony PREMIERE

GRAINGER In a Nutshell 

BARTOK Concerto for Orchestra

Ben Northey conductor

May 25, 26

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Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra: Symphonic Spotlight – Tea & Symphony

GRAINGER In a Nutshell 

BARTOK Concerto for Orchestra

Ben Northey conductor

May 27

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Glittering Fröst

MOZART Eine kleine Nachtmusik

BRAHMS (arr Fröst) Hungarian Dances

HILLBORG Peacock Tales (Australian Premiere)

COPLAND Clarinet Concerto

RAVEL (arr. Tognetti) String Quartet

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Richard Tognetti Artistic Director and Lead Violin

Martin Frost Clarinet

May 22

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Recitals

Mike Majkowski and Decibel

New  Music Network

May 15

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Musica Barroca

Salut! Baroque

May 25

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Classic 3

Musica Viva

May 23

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Brentato String Quartet

Musica Viva

May 23

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Emerald Crossing

Selby & Friends

RACHMANINOV Piano Trio Elegiaque No.1 in G minor TNii/34

MOZART Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor, K.478

EDWARDS Emerald Crossing

SCHUMANN Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op.47

May 17

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Jazz in the Café

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

May 16

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Cocktail Hour Recitals

Sydney Conservatorium of Music

May 9 – 6:00pm

May 16 – 6:00pm

May 23 – 6:00pm

May 23 – 7:30pm

May 30 – 6:00pm

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Ironwood

ARRIAGA Quartet No. 3 in E-flat Major (first movement only)

KEVIN MARCH Water Dreamers

MOZART Quartet in E-flat major, K428

May 15

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Top of the Pops presented by Sydney Omega Ensemble

Kats-Chernin – Eliza’s Aria

Beethoven – Clarinet Trio

Schubert – Trout Quintet

May 29

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Lang Lang in Recital

BEETHOVEN Sonata in C, Op.2 No.3

BEETHOVEN Appassionata Sonata, Op. 57

ALBENIZ Iberia, Book I

PROKOFIEV Sonata No. 7

June 8

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Choirs 

It’s all about Rhythm!

 Sydney Philharmonia Choirs

Carl Orff Carmina Burana

George Gershwin Porgy and Bess (Symphonic Picture)

Leonard Bernstein West Side Story (Symphonic Dances)

May 14, 15 

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Radio Broadcasts

The following ABC Classic FM (92.9 MHz) broadcasts are advertised on the ABC Classic FM website.

Sunday 8 May

METROPOLITAN OPERA – Capriccio – 7:05pm

Richard Strauss’ Capriccio was recoreded in New York last month with a cast including Renee Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaise and Russell Braun.

Monday 9 May

IN PERFORMANCE: Australian String Quartet – 8.00pm

At last year’s Bangalow Festival, the Australian String Quartet perform Andrew Schultz’s Clarinet Quintet along with Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor.

Tuesday 10 May

IN PERFORMANCE: Venice Baroque Orchestra – 8.00pm

Recorded in the Concertgebouw, Asmterdam, the Venice Baroque Orchestra features soprano Karina Gauvin, mezzo-soprano Kristina Hammarstrom and tenor Peter Gijsbertsen performing Vivaldi’s La Senna festeggiante.

Wednesday 11 May

AFTERNOON CONCERT: Suisse Romande Orchestra – 1.05pm

Arabella Steinbacher (violin) and Tobias Berndt (organ) feature in this performance including Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and Faure’s Pelleas and Melisande, Op 80: Prelude.

Thursday 12 May

AFTERNOON CONCERT: Anna Grinberg & Liam Viney – 1.05pm

From last year’s Bangalow Festival we hear pianists Anna Grinberg and Liam Viney perform a program including Schumann’s Carnival Jest from Vienna and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 4 and 5.

Friday 13 May

IN PERFORMANCE (LIVE): Ami and Pascal Roge – 8.00pm

Live from the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, the Sydney Symphony is joined by husband and wife pianists Ami and Pascal Roge to perform the world premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Concerto for two pianos and the Mahler realised Carpenter Symphony No 10 in F sharp.

 

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Articles · Australian Musicians Spotlight - Free Classical Music · Sydney Classical Music Guide · Sydney Free Classical Music - Events News

Dr Gina Ismene Chitty – Australian Musician Spotlight

Gina Ismene Chitty is an Australian pianist, composer and author. debussycat had the opportunity to interview her and discuss her latest book.  Dr. Gina Ismene Chitty, primarily an Australian classical concert pianist and composer, has performed in the USA, West Germany, India, Australia and Sri Lanka. She was a winner of a Tchaikovsky Piano Competition held in Sri Lanka and was awarded a scholarship at the Moscow Conservatorium. However, a family diplomatic appointment took her to Washington D.C. where she graduated with a B. Mus majoring in piano performance from the George Washington University. She continued her postgraduate work at the American University and later at Sydney University. Gina was awarded a Ph.D at the Contemporary Music department at Macquarie University in Sydney in 2006. She has performed at various venues in Washington DC, with solo piano performances at Meridian House International, George Washington University and recorded performances on WGMS, Washington DC Radio Station. In Sydney she has had performances of her compositions, as well as major works by well-known composers. Gina has performed as a soloist playing the piano concerti of Beethoven, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.

Dr Gina Ismene Chitty: Australian pianist, composer & author.

Gina’s research for her Ph.d involved analysing Afro Lusitanian music genres in diasporic communities, with a focus on the Sri Lankan diaspora in Sydney, and their ambivalent attitudes toward the dance and music forms of the hybrid baila. Baila is a genre of popular dance music which originated among the Kaffir people (a group whose ethnicity comprises a blend of Portuguese, African and native Sinhalese). Gina outlines the engagement of diasporic communities with the music of their homeland in her book Public Postures, Private Positions. This book includes some of the findings of her doctoral research. The book was released in 2010 and focuses on an interesting sociological perspective, hitherto never addressed in academia. Sydney Sri Lankans are a diverse community, and Gina has a field day analysing and studying the often ambivalent and surprising attitudes of this group towards the baila genre. The more anglicised Sri Lankan migrants and the less anglicised migrants have contrasting and different attitudes and ideas about the baila, as do their offspring. Public Postures, Private Positions is an amusing and interesting engagement of diasporic communities with this particular strand of music of their homeland. Gina is presently writing a book The Transitional Motifs in the Late Piano Sonatas of Beethoven as well as a book about Sri Lanka where she addresses the very early years of her childhood, with anecdotes about the quaint community of academics in the University of Peradeniya where her father, Senator Doric De Souza and mother Violet de Souza (former head of the University library) were domiciled.

Public Postures, Private Positions is available from Amazon here and is a must have for sociologists and ethnomusicologists. 

© debussycat Sydney free classical music guide 2011

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