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Classical music All-Stars to return to Newcastle

Rebecca Riddle, Newcastle Weekly. https://newcastleweekly.com.au/classical-music-all-stars-to-return-to-newcastle/


Omega Ensemble is set to return to the Newcastle City Hall this month.

The Sydney-based group will launch its classical performance of Night and Now as part of the city’s New Annual festival.


The one-night show kicks-off a season cut-short by COVID-19 last year.

Artistic Director David Rowden says while the world is very different from when the Ensemble was last on stage, the performances in 2021 are, in many ways, business as usual.


“Audiences will no doubt notice some changes in the way they attend the concert halls and in the presentation of our performances,” he said. “But what won’t be different is the power and intimate connection that comes from live performance. “This year has caused us to reassess much of what we had always taken for granted and while we have adapted in many creative ways, it has also taught us there simply is no substitute for the live musical experience, for musicians and the audience alike.”


Touring throughout February and March, Night and Now, presents a program of concertos and quintets, including Chopin’s romantic first piano concerto.

The performance will also include the world premiere of a new work by celebrated Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, led by acclaimed flautist and local Novocastrian, Sally Walker, who is known both for her work in the Newcastle cultural community as well as around the country, regularly tours with Omega Ensemble, as a guest artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, as well as teaching at the Australian National University School of Music.


Omega Ensemble general manager David Boyce says the group’s musicians are eager to return to the concert hall stage despite the road ahead remaining uncertain. “When we return in February it will be more than 385 days since the Ensemble last performed on a concert hall stage,” he said.“For us, this is not only time to celebrate, but also to continue our commitment to supporting the livelihoods of Australian artists on home soil.”


As part of that commitment, the Ensemble has pledged to assisting those musicians and performing artists who remain without secure employment or financial support, with 10% of proceeds from ticket sales committed to the Freelance Artist Relief Australia, established by soprano Nicole Car.


The 2021 tour will commence in Newcastle, followed by performances in Sydney, Melbourne and Penrith.

Night and Now will be performed at the Newcastle City Hall on Saturday 20 February from 7pm.


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