Next Concert: In Paradisum


In Paradisum
3pm to 5pm, Sunday 15 August 2021
Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney

In this concert the choir presents two great works: Fauré’s peaceful Requiem and Schubert’s beautiful Stabat Mater.

In his Requiem opus 48, the French composer Gabriel Fauré distilled some of the most beautiful melodies he ever composed. This well-loved work with its continually unfolding modulations is both tranquil and intense. It is dominated by the very human feeling of faith in eternal rest, without the terror and wrath of the Last Judgment.

Franz Schubert’s Stabat Mater D383 was preceded by an earlier Stabat Mater based on the Latin text. This latter composition is longer and more complex, and was inspired by a liberal German translation of the Latin text written by Friedrich Klopstock. In this work we experience a sequence of solos, duets and trios alternating with vibrant choruses. It is a choral symphonic masterpiece that represents Schubert at the height of his creative powers.

Music Director:
Christopher Bowen, OAM

Soloists:
Soprano – Elke Hook
Tenor – Richard Butler
Bass – Andrew O’Connor

Tickets:
$55 General Admission
$40 Pensioners (no Seniors Card)
$25 Children 16 and under & full-time students

Bookings:
Purchase at the door from 2.15, or advance purchase at
https://www.trybooking.com/eventlist/sydneyunigraduatechoir

Media Contact:
Margaret Vickers
pr@sugc.com.au

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Calling all singers!

November 14th 2021 – Sydney Sings(TM) Haydn’s Die Schöpfung (The Creation)

Sydney University Graduate Choir will once again present a Sydney Sings(TM) event this year at the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 14th November, Joseph Haydn’s wonderfully uplifting Die Schöpfung. Please hold this date, if you are interested in joining us for this great work. We will sing under the baton of our acclaimed Music Director, Christopher Bowen OAM, whom you will recall from previous Sydney Sings(TM) events.

The choir invites singers to join us on the day, and invites audience members to come along and enjoy the great sound of many voices, soloists and orchestra.

Date and times: We will all rehearse together in the Sydney Town Hall in the morning of Sunday 14 November, arriving around 8.15 – 8:45am, and perform the concert in the afternoon from 3.00pm. Lunch break 1.00 – 2.00pm
There will also be a full day rehearsal on Saturday 13 November and a half day rehearsal (soprano/alto morning, tenor/bass afternoon) on Saturday 6 November.

In past years Sydney Sings(TM) has performed great works including the Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem and most recently, the Brahms German Requiem in 2019. Many guest singers enjoyed these performances immensely and are very keen to repeat the experience with Die Schöpfung. We are also eager to welcome new guest singers to the ranks. It promises to be a great day!

Save the date(s), get out your Creation score if you have one, and start practicing! We will announce when the website is ready to take your registrations.

Looking forward to singing Haydn’s Die Schöpfung (The Creation) with you in November!

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Australian War Requiem on ABC Classic FM

We are delighted to announce that ABC Classic FM will broadcast the Sydney University Graduate Choir’s 2018 performance of the Australian War Requiem as the Lunchtime Concert (1.00 – 3.00pm) on Anzac Day this year.

The Australian War Requiem was composed by the Choir’s Music Director, Christopher Bowen OAM. It is a work of great depth and emotion, creating a powerful homage to those who suffered so much death and destruction as a result of the ‘war to end all wars’. It was performed in the Sydney Town Hall by the SUGC choir and orchestra, with guest choristers, a children’s choir and soloists to mark the Centenary of the Armistice of 11 November 1918. Whether you were able to attend this concert or not, the opportunity to listen to this extraordinary work should not be missed.

Christopher Bowen’s idea was to create a musical composition inspired by the letters Australian soldiers wrote to their mothers during the war. The librettist, Pamela Traynor, immersed herself in hundreds of these letters, but also included in her text words of love and sorrow that had been written by mothers to their sons. The resulting composition provides a moving reflection on the pity of war.

The soloists for this performance were the late Taryn Fiebig (Soprano), Ashlyn Tymms (Mezzo-soprano), Andrew Goodwin (Tenor), Adrian Tamburini (Bass) and Wade Kernot (Bass).

The Choir would like to take this opportunity to express its deep sorrow at the recent passing of Taryn Fiebig.

You can read more information about the work, including the full libretto (p.30), in the concert program from 2018 here and of course there is also our dedicated Australian War Requiem web site.

We hope you enjoy this outstanding work of commemoration on Anzac Day.

Jane Sinclair
President, Sydney University Graduate Choir

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Singing On

2020 has passed and in 2021 the Grads are “Singing On”.

In our first concert for this year the choir will perform for the first time at the historic Fort Street High School in Petersham. A varied program will see pieces by Beethoven, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Brahms and others, as we return to the joy of choral singing. Included in this program are Beethoven’s beautiful but rarely performed Opferlied and Elegisher Gesang, and the Brahms Geistliches Lied.

The concert also includes a new work by Christopher Bowen for choir and ensemble orchestra. A Fragment of Sappho is a paean to love based on the tale of Helen of Troy, and was commissioned by a distinguished Sydney surgeon as a gift to his wife on the occasion of a special wedding anniversary. This performance will be the premiere of this powerful and touching composition.

These works will be accompanied, in various combinations, by piano, string quartet, harp, oboe and horn.

Amy Moore once again joins us as our soprano soloist. Amy is an accomplished soloist whose broad repertoire includes a particular focus on baroque and contemporary music.

WHAT: Singing On – a curated program of choral works

WHEN: 3pm to 5pm Sunday, 2 May 2021

WHERE: Fort Street High School, Petersham

TICKETS:
$55 General Admission
$40 Pensioners (no Seniors Card)
$25 Children 16 and under & full-time students

BOOKINGS: Purchase at the door from 2.15, or advance purchase at https://www.trybooking.com/eventlist/sydneyunigraduatechoir

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2021 Season

It is with enormous pleasure that Sydney University Graduate Choir advises its 2021 Choral Season.

This announcement is slightly later than usual due to uncertainties raised by Covid19 that initially raised doubts as to whether we would be able to perform in 2021, then saw a change to our November 2021 Sydney Sings™ concert due a performance clash. However subject to any future Covid19 vagaries the program for 2021 is as follows:

May 2021 ‘Singing On’
​Date: Sunday, 2nd May 2021
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Fort Street High School

Our first concert of the year sees the choir performing for the first time at the historic Fort Street High School in Petersham. A varied program will see pieces by Beethoven, Fauré, Saint Saëns, Brahms and others, as we return to the joy of choral singing!

August 2021 ‘In Paradisum’
Date: Sunday, 15 August 2021
Time: 3:00pm
Location: The Great Hall, University of Sydney

The timeless Fauré Requiem and Schubert’s Stabat Mater, sung at The Great Hall, University of Sydney, the choir’s spiritual home.

November 2021 – Sydney Sings™ Haydn’s Creation
Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Sydney Town Hall

As we once again join with choristers from around Australia, our November concert will be the ever-inspiring The Creation/Die Schöpfung by Haydn, sung in German.

We look forward to seeing you at all of these concerts. I shall be in touch again soon with full subscription details and individual ticket prices. In the meantime, if you purchased and deferred a 2020 subscription rest assured that you need take no action – you will receive your tickets through the mail in good time for the first concert.

Best regards on this very wet day in March,

Jane Sinclair
President, Sydney University Graduate Choir

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Summer Music with the Sydney University Graduate Choir

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? The Sydney University Graduate Choir recently released a second ‘Best of’ compilation of past performances hand-picked by Christopher.

Listen here

We also have a not-to-be-missed sale of performace CDs produced prior to 2017. If you’re looking to fill any gaps in your SUGC CD collection, discover new music, or rediscover previous performances then check out the flyer which contains the available CDs and purchase instructions here.

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An August afternoon with the Sydney University Graduate Choir

For many, many years the second weekend in August has featured the Sydney University Graduate Choir’s winter concert in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. This year we were due to perform Fauré’s Requiem along with Schubert’s Stabat Mater and of course we are disappointed to be at home, unable to join our friends in the choir, the orchestra and our audience – all fellow choral music lovers.

But all is not lost. Our wonderful Music Director, Christopher Bowen, has created a glorious ‘Best of’ compilation of the choir’s live performances for our enjoyment. So we invite you to pour yourself a suitable drink, settle down in your favourite armchair and enjoy an August afternoon with the Sydney University Graduate Choir.

Click here once you are ready

By the way, this special compilation is available for a two-week period only.

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Elijah and Dvořák

We hope you and your loved ones are well following the Lockdown period. Perhaps you are now beginning to see some family members and friends, all the while retaining the physical distancing and hand-washing recommended.  But still we cannot go to the theatre or the concert hall.

During this period the choir has not been able to meet, and the best advice at present is that large choirs are not expected to be able to rehearse together this year.

We are very sad to advise you that we must cancel our plans to sing Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” in November this year. We hope to sing it at some time in the future.

To keep in touch and remind you what a thrill it is to hear the great choral works, we are offering the opportunity to listen to one of our most-loved past performances in the Great Hall of Sydney University– the Dvorak Stabat Mater from May 2015.  It will be available for 2 weeks, to July 26th. Please alert your music-loving friends to this opportunity.

Dvořák – Stabat Mater
Sydney University Graduate Choir and Orchestra conducted by Christopher Bowen
With soloists: Lucinda-Mirikata Deacon, Ashlyn Tymms, David Hamilton and Adrian Tamburini
Click here to hear it
And here to read the accompanying program

And look out for more music videos on the SUGC YouTube channel soon!

As you are no doubt aware, Covid19 has had a devastating effect on artists and the Music industry throughout the country. The choir has had to postpone its entire 2020 concert program.

As a completely volunteer organisation without government or University funding, we are entirely dependent on singing fees, ticket sales and donations to continue our commitments to bring great choral music with a professional orchestra and soloists to our audiences. Our professional Music Director, Christopher Bowen, has kept choristers active with small “Zoom” singing sessions and advice on individual practice so that we will be ready to return to performing as soon as larger gatherings are permitted.

If you have enjoyed our performances, we would be most grateful if you could consider a donation to help keep the choir going. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. You will find details here:
                                                         DONATE

If you have subscription tickets or individual tickets for the November 8 “Elijah” concert in the Sydney Town Hall you will receive a separate note about these tickets.

Our thanks and very best wishes,

Jane Sinclair

President, Sydney University Graduate Choir
president@sugc.com.au

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ANZAC Day 2020

** STOP PRESS ** As a result of the hugely positive response, the video of An Australian War Requiem will remain available for a further week, to the end of Sunday May 3rd, the day that we were to have held our first concert of 2020. ** STOP PRESS **

For the first time in a century Australians have not had a public celebration for Anzac Day, and this reminds us at Sydney University Graduate Choir of the extraordinary work, An Australian War Requiem, composed by Christopher Bowen to a text by Pamela Traynor to commemorate the outbreak of the Great War, WWI, in August 1914.

So this ANZAC Day weekend we are, for the first time, making the entire premiere performance (August 2014) video available online, free of charge.

WATCH HERE

The text of this work was based on letters between young men at the Front and their mothers at home in Australia.  These letters are held in the archives of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. You can browse the original concert program here.

The choir, joined by a number of guest choristers from other choirs, and children’s choirs from Warrawee Public School and Fort Street High School, accompanied by the Choir’s professional orchestra, premiered this work on August 10, 2014 in the Sydney Town Hall in the presence of the Governor General and numerous members of the diplomatic corps from countries involved in that war.

For those who would like a permanent copy of this performance, it may be purchased on CD (audio) or DVD (video) from our website.

We hope you will enjoy this work, and we look forward to seeing you again at our next performance, when we are able to be together again.

Stay well!

Jane Sinclair
President, Sydney University Graduate Choir

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Farewell to John Cran

One of the important elements that has made singing with the Grads and attending our concerts a special experience is the outstanding quality of the professional musicians, who regularly perform with us. This quality was personified in spades in John Cran, the legendary bassoonist, who sadly died in early April, aged ninety-two.

John spent a large majority of his 92 years, performing as principal bassoon with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In his career with the SSO, he played under the great Eugene Goossens and with such important wind players as Charles Mackerras, who was an oboist with the orchestra before becoming a major conductor, and the distinguished flutist, Neville Amadio, whose playing was admired by visiting conductors such as Eugene Ormandy.

John’s love of music was such that, after retirement from the Sydney Symphony, he continued to perform regularly with us and with such organisations as the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. The Choir is very fortunate that the musical skills of our Music Director, Christopher Bowen are such that we have been able to establish long-term links with John and other fine professional instrumentalists.

John’s personal style was unfailingly gentle, unassuming and professional.

It was always reassuring for us choristers to see him take up his position in the ranks of the woodwind section at our concerts. He did this regularly, including in our Sydney Sings performance of the Verdi Requiem in 2017, in which he performed on his ninetieth birthday. He also played the Principal Bassoon part in our Sydney Sings performance of A German Requiem of Brahms on November 2019. John was so closely identified with his beloved instrument that some of us used to think he looked rather like a bassoon. It is good to know that the Cran name will continue to be linked with the Choir through John’s bassoonist-daughter, Lucinda, who has already played in a number of our concerts.

Farewell, John Cran! We are honoured to have been able to share in your distinguished artistic life.

John Bowan

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