Bookings: Register your interest for any of the talks online here.
Venue: The talks will be presented on Zoom. Some in-person tickets may be available, subject to COVID restrictions. Please check this page regularly for updates.
Composers Writing for their Instruments
Sunday 21 February, 2.30pm
This talk explores how composers write for their own instruments, using their intimate understanding of the unique sound made, and the technical possibilities available to players. Examples that spring to mind are Bach-Organ, Chopin-Piano, Paganini-Violin, Lassus-Voice, Dowland-Lute.
Presenter: Robert Small
Robert Small presents Fine Music Breakfast on alternate Mondays and also Sunday Morning Music, Evenings with the Orchestra and Recent Releases. He trains new presenters and has given several ELD talks with topics including Carlo Gesualdo and Louise Dyer.
The Magic of Choral Singing
Sunday 21 March, 2.30pm
Choral singing is an integral part of our modem‐day concert life. Every year Handel’s Messiah is performed countless times around the globe, and audiences continue to fill concert halls for performances of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The physical and emotional benefits of choral singing have been widely documented in recent decades: from lowering stress levels to strengthening your immune system. What is it about choral singing that makes it so magical?
Presenter: Alex Siegers
Alex is a singer, conductor and educator across jazz, baroque, contemporary, choral, and a cappella genres. She sings Alto with the Choir of St James’ King St, and performs regularly with The Song Company, The Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, and her Musica Viva in Schools show, Da Vinci’s Apprentice. Alex has a Bachelor of Music (Jazz Voice)/Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics & Asian Studies) from Sydney Conservatorium of Music and when she isn’t singing, Alex is the Music Engagement Assistant at UNSW Music Performance Unit.
What’s the Sting in Scott Joplin?
Sunday 18 April, 2.30pm
Scott Joplin died over 100 years ago, having never recorded apart from piano rolls, never saw his major work performed, never saw the fame he deserved and died bankrupt, discouraged and worn out. His passing also “heralded the end of this style in mainstream popular music”. Yet in more recent decades, ragtime, and Scott Joplin in particular, have been rediscovered and appreciated. In this presentation we will examine the music of Joplin and explore the style of ragtime and its other performers.
Presenter: Jeannie McInnes
Jeannie has been involved in the jazz scene for four decades as a radio presenter, curator of the Doubly Gifted Jazz Art Happening and coordinator of the Sydney Jazz Club Berry Island Picnics. She has a passion for twentieth century jazz and a love of sharing it.
Disobedient Servant: The unsinkable Leopold Mozart
Sunday 16 May, 2.30pm
Salzburg, 1739. A penniless foreign philosophy student looked at his future, knotted himself a rope-ladder, and climbed. To do so, he had to learn to work the system. How did he do this? What were the dangers? Even his marriage was against all odds. The little-known facts give some answers.
Presenter: Anne-Louise Luccarini
Anne-Louise: British born, Australian raised, a lifetime of hands-on dabbling in the arts has been enabled by earning her keep in conventional ways. Long residence in France and Italy provided fluency in both languages plus a smattering of German which has broadened her historical research.
If You Knew Sousa!
Sunday 20 June, 2.30pm
A wonderful and varied sampling of Band Music as broadcast on-air, also including entertaining video clips of live performances and radiothons held in our studios including a few surprises, a 40-member choir in Studio C, plus personalities Julie Simons, Ron Walledge and Veronica Crowe in this presentation of five Fine Music broadcasts.
Presenter: Owen Fisher
Owen is Fine Music’s expert on all forms of band music and is in contact with the most famous bands and bandmasters across the world. Owen was a subscriber with Fine Music Sydney from day one and has broadcast 587 band programs over the past 40 years.
Flanders and Swann
Sunday 18 July, 2.30pm
This talk explores the musical genius of the British duo Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. Flanders was a gifted lyricist with a penchant for political satire and comedy, whilst Donald Swann was a gifted pianist. Their songs include a variation on Mozart’s French Horn Concerto K495, the famous ‘Gasman Cometh’ and a whole series of animal songs, including ‘The Hippopotamus’ – with its chorus “Mud, mud, glorious mud”.
Presenter: Christopher Waterhouse
Christopher presents the Friday Jazz Session on Fine Music Sydney, is a board director and regularly presents other special broadcasts and events at Fine Music. He is the Director of the St James’ Institute and the former General Manager of London’s St James’ Theatre and Operations Coordinator of Sydney Theatre. He’s an experienced actor and award-winning public speaker and was Director of the ABC Giving Tree Children’s Choir and the Tasmanian Song Company.
Hidden Measurements: Architecture and Mathematics in Music
Sunday 15 August, 2.30pm
The fascination of hidden measurements: architecture and mathematics have always played an important role in musical compositions as composers sought to balance their musical ideas. Fibonacci may come to mind in the proportion of musical works. So too Phi, or the Golden Ratio, its appearance in musical form showing that many composers were aware of it when writing their works. We’ll discover some intriguing information in looking, listening and discussing a selection of composers’ works from medieval to modern times and seeing what hidden measurements we can uncover!
Presenter: Neil McEwan
Neil 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.
Conducting, What’s all the Fuss About?
Sunday 19 September, 2.30pm
What exactly does a conductor do? Do they really affect the “sound”? Are they even necessary? Do you have what it takes to be a conductor? In an engaging and entertaining manner, Lachlan will answer these questions and more about the little known role of the conductor.
Presenter: Lachlan Snow
By day, Lachlan is the Philanthropy Manager for Musica Viva Australia. By night and outside working hours, Lachlan facilitates the enjoyment of many in the community for music making, including both choirs and orchestras. Lachlan also presents pre-concert talks for the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
The Emperors of Waltz
Sunday 17 October, 2.30pm
The Strauss family of Vienna took Europe and North America by storm in the 19th century. They were The Beatles of their era! Three generations of the Strauss family composed and performed ‘music to make you happy’ for the masses and for the aristocracy. This talk will showcase the family, their challenges and, of course, their wonderful music.
Presenter: Robert Gilchrist
Robert has been a presenter at Fine Music Sydney since 2011. He learnt the violin as a child, led the school orchestra and has never lost his taste for classical music, especially the Strauss family! In the real world he is an IT Consultant working in the financial services sector.
Lost in Translation?
Sunday 21 November, 2.30pm
What does a librettist actually do? What happens when the language is changed from the original? This is a fun look at such topics as Gilbert and Sullivan in French and Yiddish, Offenbach and the Sadlers Wells translations, plus other singable and un-singable texts. Boito’s settings of Shakespeare in Italian will be included, as well as some Victorian versions of well-known arias that don’t quite say what they’re supposed to say.
Presenter: Angela Cockburn
Angela is mezzo-soprano, professional actress and founding member of Murder By Design, for which she has written many scripts. As a student, she translated Paul Claudel’s L’Annonce faite à Marie and later adapted it for the libretto of Edward Grantham’s opera Bitter Innocence. She was also involved in the translation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Both translations presented the challenge of needing to be both singable and true to the original.
Purcell – the greatest English Composer?
Sunday 12 December, 2.30pm
Purcell died young of a fever – yet the legacy he left us was enough to establish him as perhaps the greatest ever English composer. How did he establish his reputation?
Presenter: Andrew Dziedzic
Andrew first volunteered as a presenter in 2006 fulfilling a life-long ambition. He can be heard on air frequently and trains new presenters. He helped set up ELD in 2012 and has given several talks on Bach’s cantatas and masses as well as Schubert’s Winterreise.