The Ensemble’s triumphant 2022 Season will be marked by a national tour with Australia’s leading didgeridoo virtuoso and composer William Barton (Two Breaths, February 2022).
Artistic Director David Rowden says this national tour is a fitting way to welcome the Ensemble and audiences back to the concert hall in 2022.
“William and I have crossed paths many times over the years. But with William’s busy schedule, we’ve not had the opportunity to work together before now,” says Rowden.
“William’s performances continue to redefine the boundaries of musical expression and language, and we’re honoured to not only have him perform with us, but to also mark the occasion by premiering his new work written for the Ensemble.”
Acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading chamber music ensembles, Omega Ensemble is recognised for their commitment to presenting premiere works to Australian audiences. The 2022 Season includes six world premiere works from leading Australian and international composers.
In addition to the new work by William Barton (written for didgeridoo, clarinet and string quartet) the 2022 Season also includes two world premiere clarinet quintets, from celebrated Australian composer Carl Vine AO (Refractions, July 2022) and Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy-nominated American composer Chris Cerrone (Ex Machina, Sept 2022).
Of collaborating with Carl Vine, Rowden says: “The opportunity to work with one of our country’s most celebrated composers is a career highlight. Carl’s compositional output has been nothing less than encyclopedic over his celebrated career, but somewhere along the way, he forgot to write a clarinet quintet! I’m absolutely honoured to be premiering his very first,” said Rowden.
Of this collaboration with Omega Ensemble, Carl Vine says: “I was thrilled when they asked me to write a new clarinet quintet featuring Artistic Director David Rowden,” says Vine.
“This is a rich and beautiful chamber music configuration that I haven’t had the chance to work on before and I can’t wait to write for such talented musicians with such palpable dedication to ensemble performance.”
American composer Chris Cerrone’s clarinet quintet, a co-commission in partnership with three leading North American chamber ensembles, is also his first, as well as his first Australian premiere.
“This is my first commission from an Australian group,” says Cerrone. “I am absolutely thrilled to have my work premiered in Australia and to work with this exciting group.”
The 2022 Season also includes some of the special collaborations that were missed in 2021 due to cancellations, including premiere works by Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung composer Lou Bennett AM (Continuum, April 2022) and American composer Nico Muhly (Ex Machina, September 2022).
Omega Ensemble will also give the Australian debut of Philip Glass’s arresting Piano Concerto No. 3 (Refractions, July 2022), a work that moves delicately between shadow and light in Glass’ unmistakable musical language.
Accompanying these premiere works, the Season includes many cherished classical favourites in revealing concert programs, including Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Quintet, Brahms’ mighty Piano Quartet No.1, Copland’s jazzy Clarinet Concerto, and Messiaen’s hauntingly beautiful Quartet for the End of Time.
In a colourful finale, Principal Horn with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Nicolas Fleury, will join the Ensemble for their final 2022 tour (Melodies and Melodrama, December 2022), performing Dohnanyi’s melodramatic Sextet and accompanied by a world premiere work from French composer Laurent Lefrançois.
In addition to mainstage performances, the 2022 Season also includes a two week regional tour of NSW, presenting the Ensemble’s sellout 2021 program Night and Now, featuring Elena Kats-Chernin’s Flute Quintet, commissioned by the Ensemble and performed by flautist Sally Walker, for whom the work was written.
After the cancellation of much of the Ensemble’s 2020 and 2021 Season performances, Artistic Director David Rowden says in 2022 he hopes audiences will rediscover the power of the shared concert experience.
“Planning for our 2022 Season was an unusual experience. As we were putting the finishing touches on our 2022 programs, we were simultaneously cancelling many of the plans in our 2021 Season.”
“Despite this, our ambitions and hopes have not been extinguished, and I hope this optimism shines through in the music offered in our 2022 Season,” said Rowden.
For more information about Omega Ensemble’s 2022 Season, visit: www.omegaensemble.com.au for details.
Image: Omega Ensemble Artistic Director David Rowden – photo by Keith Saunders