Music Australia News

Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra

Rhonda Davidson-Irwin
| July 31, 2018

I had the opportunity last month to go to wonderful concert performed by Camerata. The concert aptly titled Up Close had me sitting in the middle of the front row. In true chamber music style I was able to witness firsthand the bow striking the strings, the inhaled breath before a musical phrase and in fact at times, I was able to observe perspiration formulating on the brow after a particularly strenuous passage of notes. The intimacy of chamber music is what makes it so sublime. The facial expressions revealing secret communications as the musicians, fluently and musically, seamlessly made their way through thousands of notes, melodies and rhythms.

The program consisted of three pieces. First a piece by Reinhold Gliere for violin and double bass, then Frank Proto’s work for violin, viola and double bass and finally Johannes Brahms Sextet, a giant in the repertoire. These works were brought to life with great technical ease and musicality.

Camerata has established itself as a chamber orchestra of national significance with an outstanding track record of artistic achievement. A company-in-residence at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Camerata’s vision is to empower artists, inspire audiences, and enrich communities through music.

Camerata was founded in 1987 by acclaimed string educator Elizabeth Morgan AM, as an ensemble of emerging artists which she then formed into a professional chamber orchestra in 2005.

Performing without a conductor, the 18-member core ensemble and their guest artists proudly take full ownership of the music-making in the spirit of chamber music to form a thriving, refreshing and acclaimed voice. Under Artistic Director Brendan Joyce, the group undertakes an annual regional Queensland tour and a subscription concert season in both Brisbane and Toowoomba. Their audiences continue to grow with over 16,000 people experiencing a Camerata performance in 2016.

As a Queensland ensemble, Camerata provides career and performance opportunities for string players who wish to build an international career from Brisbane, and as a point of attraction for those returning from overseas. There are a large number of freelance orchestras in Queensland that are professional, semi-professional and amateur.  The Queensland Youth Orchestra also provides a wonderful platform for musicians to hone their craft.  Being a professional chamber orchestra, Camerata provides a level of excellence for its core players to shine.

This unique orchestra has a reputation for innovation and interesting, adventurous programming. The ensemble is extremely flexible in its repertoire and in the way it combines works in programs, playing the core classics as well as new music and Australian music. Camerata also regularly works with performers outside the classical sector. In 2016 it was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Chamber and/or Instrumental Ensemble Concert for its concert Home featuring an all-Australian music program.

Brendan Joyce has led Camerata appearing frequently as a soloist with the group, and has instigated a number of milestones including its first recordings, tours, broadcasts, collaborations, world premieres and in acclaimed performances at the Tyalgum Festival, Darwin Festival, Queensland Music Festival and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Brendan curates Camerata’s renowned programming and is an alumnus of the original version of Camerata that played to high critical acclaim 1987-1997.

I look forward to attending more exciting performances of Camerata. If you have the opportunity to attend any of their concerts, I am sure you will discover many new chamber work compositions as well as revisiting the great classics in the chamber music repertoire.

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