Enter before March 13 in this year’s Sydney Eisteddfod, Australia’s premier performing arts competition. Over 300 events across Music, Singing, Drama and Dance! There is over $400,000 worth of prizes and scholarships to be won and anyone can enter! Visit sydneyeisteddfod.com.au to enter yourself or your child today!

CD REVIEW – THE RUSSIAN ALBUM

THE RUSSIAN ALBUM
Christoph Croisé, cello; Alexander Panfilov, piano
Avie AV2410
✶✶✶✶1/2

When you think of classical cellists, whose names come to mind? Certainly, Jacqueline du Pré and Yo-Yo Ma, and then there’s Steven Isserlis and Mischa Maisky. Make a note now of another name to add to those ranks, that of Christoph Croisé. He’s only 26, but already has three successful CDs released and now adds a fourth with The Russian Album.

There are two sonatas for cello and piano, one by Rachmaninov, the other by Shostakovich, both played with what can only be described as Russian fire (although I wished that Panfilov could have toned it down a little at times!) This is followed by a short work from the 20th century Russian composer, Rodion Shchedrin, In the style of Albéniz, an unusual piece to say the least, and that’s followed by the March from Prokofiev’s The love for three oranges.

That’s the Russian line-up, but then there’s a bonus track, where Christoph plays a cheeky little two-minute piece composed by the Swiss cellist Thomas Demenga called New York honk. It’s this young man’s mastery of his instrument that enables us quite clearly to imagine New York’s traffic complete with all the bustle and sound of car horns. Altogether a first-class CD and one which lovers of the cello should add to their collections.

Michael Morton-Evans

In Conversation with Christopher Waterhouse

In Conversation with Christopher Waterhouse


Pianist and composer Mark Isaacs has been described as a musical genius and his first symphony was described by Vladimir Ashkenazy as “masterful”. Mark’s personality was once compared with that of Leonard Bernstein – a man possessing boundless energy, enthusiasm, highly skilled and passionate about performance.

This week he joins Christopher Waterhouse in conversation to share stories about how he approaches his art and what inspires him. 

Sydney Symphony Hour

​Sydney Symphony Hour​
​with Andrew Bukenya 


Tune in from 1pm on the second Tuesday of every month for Sydney Symphony Hour!

Andrew Bukenya looks ahead at the SSO concerts for the upcoming month, perhaps with some special interviews and guests!


Listen to the February program on demand

Andrew with previous Sydney Symphony Hour Guests

Fine Music Sydney, Celebrating 45 Years

2MBS-FM/Fine Music attracted many talented individuals, some of whom were frustrated at the lack of broadcast classical music and other minority genres.

This is a random sample of the station’s photo archives – people involved from Day 1 (15 December 1974) to mid 80s.

Sadly, some are no longer with us – having moved on to other things or deceased. We are proud of our volunteer team which tends to be around 250 at any one time.

If you think you know anyone in the above picture, you can check their names below!

Considering Matthew Shepard

The tragic death of Matthew Shepard in 1998 caused anguish and outrage. Nearly 20 years later it inspired composer Craig Hella Johnson to contemplate suffering, death and the flame of love. The youthful voices of VOX perform Considering Matthew Shepard, a musical memorial that reverberates with hope, a cathartic transformation of nightmare into serenity.

Event details: Thursday 20 February, 7.30pm
Venue: City Recital Hall
Tickets: $49 – $109
Phone bookings: 8256 2222
More information: https://www.cityrecitalhall.com/whats-on/events/considering-matthew-shepard/?mc_cid=08ead2dd84&mc_eid=%5bUNIQID%5d

ELD: The Interpretation of Gregorian Chant

Enjoy, Learn, Discuss Series

Details: Sunday 16 February, 2.30pm, Fine Music Sydney
Tickets: $10 for Fine Music volunteers, subscribing friends and concession or $20 general

Synopsis: Have you ever wondered how medieval monks sang Gregorian chant? We’ve all seen the square notes on four lines, and perhaps even sung some chant, but imagine what mysteries an even older notation from around the tenth century might reveal. Come and discover some places and people that had a significant influence in bringing us our modern Western music notation.”

About Neil
Neil McEwan recently retired from The Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, where, apart from lecturing in palaeography and conducting, he directed the Conservatorium choirs for nearly thirty years. Neil is currently Director of Music (Emeritus) at Christ Church St. Laurence, Sydney.

In Conversation with Christopher Waterhouse

On Wednesday 12th February at 1pm join Christopher Waterhouse when his guest in conversation is the award-winning Australian actor Valerie Bader. You’ll know Valerie for her stage work in The Wharf Revue, Children of the Sun and Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam and for her film and television work including All Saints, The Let Down and East of Everything. Audiences and critics applaud her comic timing and her versatility. Valerie is a passionate advocate for Australian writing and Australian works for theatre and the screen.

She’ll share stories of her life on and off the stage and selects some of her favourite music to share.

Valerie Bader in Conversation on Wednesday at 1pm on Fine Music Sydney. 

Fine Music 102.5 rebrands to Fine Music Sydney

Fine Music 102.5, the radio station created by music lovers for lovers of music, formerly known as 2MBS and soon to be known as Fine Music Sydney, is Australia’s first stereo FM radio station. The station was officially opened on 1 February 1975 and have now been on air for 45 years.

Fine Music Sydney’s current Chair is looking forward to the rebrand:
“ Fine Music Sydney more accurately defines who we are – a radio station based in Sydney, serving our audience across all delivery platforms – digital, streaming and FM.” 

Fine Music Sydney General Manager, Rebecca Beare, explains how this small change is a natural step for the organisation as, for many years, the community station has used ​‘Sydney’s fine music station’ as a tag line.

“As Fine Music Sydney prepares for the future it is critical that we retain our established values while we develop a new and modern identity as we prepare for the digital future. Fine Music Sydney’s mission is: To be Sydney’s preferred broadcaster of classical music, jazz and other specialist genres while nurturing emerging musicians and new music through active support. This is an exciting time for us as the rebranding reflects both the evolution of Fine Music in the current digital age while recognising who, what and where we are.”

Reacting to recent advances in technology over the last three years,  Fine Music Sydney has acknowledged that listeners are always finding more and more ways to tune in. The organisation decided that it was a crucial step to rebrand, ensuring that their station can be located easily when listeners engaged with AI (artificial intelligence technology), in particular, smart speakers. Mrs Beare explained:

“We would often receive listener technical support queries from frustrated listeners who were picking up Fine Music in Africa rather than Fine Music in Sydney when they asked their smart speaker to tune into ‘Fine Music’. Now we have made it much easier for any listener to find us anywhere on any platform.” 

Fine Music Sydney will continue to play an essential role in encouraging emerging musicians and music lovers in their ambitions to be professional musicians or broadcasters.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Fine Music Sydney will broadcast a wide range of fine music at 102.5FM, on digital at Fine Music DAB+ and online at finemusicsydney.com

From the Chair

David James

This month, we not only celebrate the official opening of 2MBS-FM 45 years ago but we reveal our rebranding in line with the expectations of our audience. For too long we have promoted ourselves as ‘FM’ with a lesser regard for the other delivery channels: digital (DAB+) and streaming.

We are now Fine Music Sydney and our name encompasses all the delivery platforms available to us as well as identifying the station’s geographical source.

This month, we not only celebrate the official opening of 2MBS-FM 45 years ago but we reveal our rebranding in line with the expectations of our audience. For too long we have promoted ourselves as ‘FM’ with a lesser regard for the other delivery channels: digital (DAB+) and streaming. We are now Fine Music Sydney and our name encompasses all the delivery platforms available to us as well as identifying the station’s geographical source.

We almost invented FM. Well, we launched it in Australia and other stations followed suit. The commercial sector originally thought that no one would listen to it because ‘everything you ever wanted is on AM’. The ABC experimented back in the 60s but no one listened because no one knew it was there. It took a ‘mob called the Music Broadcasting Society’ to come along and change it. And change it we did!

We had broken new ground for a few weeks when the station opened officially on 1 February 1975. You’ll notice a selection of special ‘anniversary’ programs this month, particularly those recorded by our volunteer sound engineers.

We are also beginning our quest to enable more information to be provided electronically about the station and our programs. Our volunteers are beavering behind the scenes to make Fine Music Magazine information available on subscribers’ smart devices. Over the next few months you will notice changes and the ability, soon, to access more information.

Please tell your friends about Fine Music Sydney. They’ll be rewarded with music presented by knowledgeable music-lovers for less than 30c a day and not just dished out from a computer server. There are other rewards, too; they’ll be helping to maintain an independent music service.

David James
Chair, Fine Music Sydney