Enjoy, Learn, Discuss Series

 All talks are held at Fine Music Sydney, 72-76 Chandos Street, St Leonards
Tickets: $10 for Fine Music volunteers, subscribing friends and concessions or $20 general
Online bookings only. Phone enquiries 9439 4777


The Interpretation of Gregorian Chant

Presenter Neil McEwan

Sunday 16 February

​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.

Does Great Literature Make a Good Opera?

Presenter: Mary Jo Capps, AM

Sunday 15 March

Synopsis: Mary Jo will survey a number of great operas, from Mozart to the present day, exploring trends in the literature chosen for their libretti. The Magic Flute has some of the most sublime music and the silliest plot, while Verdi struggled to transfer Shakespeare from the theatre stage to operas. Are modern composers better at this? She will invite discussion about your favourite operas and their literary sources – the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

About Mary Jo
Mary Jo has held senior management roles in the Australian cultural industry for 40 years, beginning as Manager of the WA Symphony Orchestra after leaving her native Canada.

She recently stepped down after nearly 20 years as CEO of Musica Viva Australia and is now managing a portfolio of board roles and leadership consultancies. She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 in recognition of her services to the arts.


What’s the Sting in Scott Joplin?

Presenter: Jeannie McInnes

Sunday 19 April

Synopsis: Scott Joplin died over 100 years ago, 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.

About Jeannie
Jeannie McInnes has been involved on 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

Presenter: Anne-Louise Luccarini

Sunday 17 May

Synopsis: 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.

About Anne-Louise
British born, Australian raised, a lifetime of hands-on dabbling in the arts has been enabled by earning my keep in conventional ways. Long residence in France and Italy provided fluency in both languages plus a smattering of German which has broadened my historical research.


If You Knew Sousa!

Presenter: Owen Fisher

Sunday 21 June

Synopsis: A wonderful and varied sampling of Band Music as broadcast on 2MBS FM, including entertaining video clips of live performances and radiothons held in our studios. Owen is Fine Music’s expert on all forms of Band Music and is in contact with the most famous bands and bandmasters all across the world.

About Owen
Owen was a subscriber with FineMusic Sydney from day one and has broadcast 587 band programs over the past 40 years.

Flanders and Swann

Presenter: Christopher Waterhouse

Sunday 19 July

Synopsis: 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”.

About Christopher
Christopher presents the Friday Jazz Session on Fine Music 102.5, 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.


Composers Writing for their Instruments

Presenter: Robert Small

Sunday 16 August

Synopsis: 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.

About Robert
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’s with topics including Carlo Gesualdo and Louise Dyer.

Conducting, What’s all the Fuss About?

Presenter: Lachlan Snow

Sunday 20 September

Synopsis: 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.

About Lachlan
By day, Lachlan is the Philanthropy Manager for Musica Viva Australia. By night and outside of 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

Presenter: Robert Gilchrist

Sunday 18 October

Synopsis: 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.

About Robert
Robert has been a presenter at FM102.5 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 financial services sector.

Lost in Translation?

Presenter: Angela Cockburn

Sunday 15 November

Synopsis: 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.

About Angela
Angela is mezzo-soprano, professional actress and founder 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 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?

Presenter: Andrew Dziedzic

Sunday 13 December

Synopsis: 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?

About Andrew
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 on Schubert’s Winterreise.