Review: Monash bands shine in jazz and classical concert
Date August 11, 2014
Black, Brown and Beige
Monash University Big Band and Monash Academy Orchestra
Robert Blackwood Hall
Combining the institution’s two major instrumental ensembles, Monash University’s Academy of Performing Arts collated a sensible quartet of works for Sunday afternoon’s concert. Conductor Fabian Russell and the Monash strings made a positive impression right from the opening with John Adams’ Shaker Loops, handled with impressive aplomb, particularly in the outer movements where bowing and dynamic details came across with as much clarity as you hear from other more experienced bodies.
Not particularly jazz-connected, this work was followed by Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G which does have some bluesy passages, notably in the first movement. Soloist James Russo showed a clear command of the rapid-fire technical demands in more frenetic moments; he also exhibited a calm control of phrase in the middle Adagio’s elegant right-hand fioriture chains with their moving modulations. Apart from a tendency by the soloist to force the pace – and an occasional sluggish brass response – this impressed as a well-contrived interpretation.
Nexus by Don Banks is rarely heard these days but its fusion of jazz quintet and full orchestra is well worth reviving. The central ensemble is not over-stressed and the material remains attractively vibrant, its amalgamation of forces here working without fuss, including fine improvised solos from the quintet’s sax and trumpet.
The title work is a 1943 Duke Ellington composition, its creator preaching the symphonic jazz doctrine at some length; this performance was of a later, truncated version and as successful as the afternoon’s opening with few surface flaws and a great deal of commitment.
Javanese Shadow Puppets at Monash University
This is a rare opportunity to witness master Javanese dhalang puppet master Ki Joko Susilo … Continue reading Javanese Shadow Puppets at Monash University
John Griffiths on Renaissance Singer-songwriters
Renaissance art is scattered with paintings of singers accompanying themselves on the lute. The practice … Continue reading John Griffiths on Renaissance Singer-songwriters
Oxford University Press Book Contract to Monash Musicologist
Dr Paul Watt, a senior lecturer in musicology in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of … Continue reading Oxford University Press Book Contract to Monash Musicologist
Anthony Barnhill Wins Margaret Sutherland Bursary
Playing works by Ernesto Lecuona, Margaret Sutherland, John Adams, Sergei Prokofiev and a work of … Continue reading Anthony Barnhill Wins Margaret Sutherland Bursary
What’s on at the School of Music
From July to November 2015, the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music is celebrating its … Continue reading What’s on at the School of Music
50th Anniversary Celebrations Launched!
On Friday 24th July, the School of Music officially launched its 50th anniversary celebrations. The event … Continue reading 50th Anniversary Celebrations Launched!
Dr Paul Watt awarded prestigious European Union Research Fellowship
Dr Paul Watt, a senior lecturer in musicology in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of … Continue reading Dr Paul Watt awarded prestigious European Union Research Fellowship
Paul Grabowsky, Julien Wilson and Peter Knight finalists in 2015 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards
Finalists for the 2015 Art Music Awards have just been named, and we are pleased to … Continue reading Paul Grabowsky, Julien Wilson and Peter Knight finalists in 2015 APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards
Dr James Mitchell awarded a Balzan Prize visitorship
Dr James Mitchell, an Adjunct Research Fellow of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, … Continue reading Dr James Mitchell awarded a Balzan Prize visitorship
Blog: New York, New York!
Each year the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, in collaboration with New York University, … Continue reading Blog: New York, New York!
Clarinet Mega Day returns in 2015!
Monash University School of Music invites all clarinet players to the Clarinet Mega Day III. Come along for a day of all of things clarinet. Featuring masterclasses with leading professionals, orchestral excerpt class, a warm up session, vendor exhibits, panel discussions and VCE masterclasses. Also, why not join in and perform with the Monash Clarinet Mega Day Clarinet Choir?!
Audition short Course – Jazz and Popular Studies 2015
This course will include performance and ensemble processes that will assist in the building of skills that focus on attaining the standards of the audition requirements and an understanding of what is expectations for the Jazz and Popular course.