Anna Dowsley – Career Progress

The photo shows Anna on the stage of the opera theatre in Bari, with her daughter, Maddie.

Members will be interested to hear that Anna Dowsley (mezzo), one of the Grads’ favourite soloists, is making an excellent professional career, in Australia and Europe.  Anna was highly commended by the judges in the Joan Carden Award of 2012 and, as a result, sang the mezzo solo in our performance of the Verdi Requiem to celebrate the great composer’s bicentenary in April 2013. Since that landmark concert for the Choir, Anna has sung with us on numerous occasions.

Anna has won a number of prestigious awards, including the Marianne Mathy Australian Singing Award and the Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship, both in 2012, and the Australian Opera Award in 2019.

She has also sung a number of principal roles in Opera Australia (OA) productions, including Don Giovanni,The Marriage of Figaro and Cosi Fan Tutte of Mozart, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and The Turk in Italy, and Gounod’s Faust. Recently, Anna has sung some important roles in European opera houses, including Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Bari, Italy. Most strikingly, Anna is currently playing the huge title role in Bizet’s Carmen in the State Theatre of Nuremberg in Germany.

Scheduled engagements for Anna in Australia for 2022 include: the title role in Pinchgut Opera’s Orontea, by Antonio Cesti, in May/June; a national tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) in June performing Bach; and, in August, a solo role in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, conducted by Simone Young, which is to be given in collaboration with Belvoir Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s play (this promises to be a delightful event, as Mendelssohn’s music is as charming as the comedy it accompanies).

Anna’s personal life is also taking on an extra richness. She and her partner, Jonathan Abernethy, tenor, also a principal artist with OA, have a ten month old daughter, Madelyn (‘Maddie’),who is with her in Europe.

It is very gratifying to see how Anna’s career is developing and that she remains very well-disposed towards the Choir.

John Bowan

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2022 Season

Our program for 2022 has now been finalised, although a little fine-tuning is still taking place. We are pleased to introduce you to this program marking our 70th anniversary year. This is also the thirtieth year that the Sydney University Graduate Choir has had the privilege of singing under the direction of Christopher Bowen OAM. We hope that you will consider subscribing to this series and note the dates in your 2022 calendar.

‘Singing On 2022’
​Date: Sunday, 8th May 2022
Location: Fort Street High School

This concert offers a curated collection of choral and instrumental pieces, similar to our very successful May 2021 concert.

‘In Paradisum’
Date: Sunday, 14 August 2022
Location: The Great Hall, University of Sydney

In this concert we present Fauré’s well-loved Requiem and Schubert’s serene Stabat Mater, at The Great Hall, University of Sydney.

Sydney Sings™ ‘Imagine…’
Date: Sunday, 13 November 2022
Location: Sydney Town Hall

This concert will deliver the inaugural performance of The Redfern Oratorio. Commisioned by Dr. Robyn Williams AO and composed by Christopher Bowen OAM, the piece is based on Paul Keating’s 1992 Redfern Speech, which represented a significant turning point in terms of policies affecting Indigenous Australians. This concert will be held at the Sydney Town Hall with a guest choir, and includes a performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

With the dates safely on your 2022 calendar, look out for further email updates with details of subscriptions, ticket purchasing and guest choir participation. We greatly appreciate your support for the Sydney University Graduate Choir and look forward to the opportunity to come together once again, to share the joy of music.

Jane Sinclair
President, Sydney University Graduate Choir

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August 15th – In Paradisum

It will not come as a surprise that we have had to abandon the planned performance of the Faure Requiem and the Schubert Stabat Mater at the Pitt Street Uniting Church on August 15. At this stage we are still considering options for a possible performance of those works in December.

We are still hoping to be able to stage the Sydney Sings performance of Haydn’s Creation on November 14th, however you will understand that this will need to be kept under review also.

In the event one or both of the remaining 2021 concerts do not proceed this year, if you have already bought tickets we will offer the same options as we did last year:

· Deferral of ticket(s) to 2022
· Donation of the value of the ticket(s) to the SUGC Public Fund
· A refund of the value of the ticket(s).

We greatly appreciate your support for the Sydney University Graduate Choir and look forward to the day when we can once more come together to share the joy of music.

Very best wishes,

Jane Sinclair

President, Sydney University Graduate Choir

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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

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

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

Purchase at the door from 2.15, or advance purchase at

Media Contact:
Margaret Vickers

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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

$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

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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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