Australian composer GEORGE PALMER (b.1947) studied piano with several eminent teachers and has been composing since he was a teenager. However, he graduated in law, practiced as a barrister, and in 2001 was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. He retired as a Judge in 2011 to devote himself entirely to composition.
In 2003 Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, broadcast a concert of his orchestral music and a television program devoted to his emergence as a composer. ABC Classics subsequently released two CDs, Attraction of Opposites, containing his orchestral music, and Exultate Dominum, containing choral music. His Concerto for Two Clarinets and Chamber Orchestra, It Takes Two, has also been released by ABC Classics.
Palmer’s opera of Tim Winton’s best-selling novel, Cloudstreet, was premiered by State Opera South Australia in May 2016 with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. It received standing ovations and rave reviews and was acclaimed by the music critic of the leading national newspaper, The Australian, as “a resounding triumph.” In 2008, his Mass for soloists, massed choir, and large orchestra, Benedictus Qui Venit, commissioned for the Pope’s visit to Australia, was performed to an outdoor audience of 350,000.
His works include music for large orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir a cappella, and with orchestra, song cycles, and concertos for a variety of instruments. His music has been performed throughout Australia and New Zealand, and in the USA and Europe.
From 2004 to 2011 he was President of the Arts Law Centre of Australia, a nonprofit organization funded by Federal and State Governments to provide legal and business advice pro bono to artists in all mediums, with particular focus on Indigenous artists. From 2003 to 2015 he was Chair of Pacific Opera, a not-for-profit company devoted to encouraging and developing the careers of Australia’s best emerging opera singers.
In 2010 Palmer was made a Member of the Order of Australia “for services to the law as a judge and to music as a composer and in leadership roles.” photo: John Feder
Breaking the Silence
Australian cellist Catherine Hewgill studied with Mstislav Rostropovich before touring Europe with I Solisti Veneti. Returning to Australia, Hewgill joined the Australian Chamber Orchestra and, in 1990, was appointed Principal Cello of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She has performed as soloist with the SSO under the baton of Dimitri Ashkenazy and Charles Dutoit and with the Australian World Orchestra under Zubin Mehta and Sir Simon Rattle.
Hewgill plays a 1729 Carlo Tononi cello.
American-born John Lynch is an international conductor, having performed throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He is the recipient of the American Prize and is presently a member of the conducting faculty at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Andrew Haveron is Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and is one of the most sought-after violinists of his generation. In 2007 he became Concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, he has performed with conductors such as Colin Davis, Roger Norrington, Jiri Belohlavek, and David Robertson. From 1999 to 2007, Andrew was first violin of the internationally acclaimed Brodsky Quartet and he has appeared with many eminent chamber ensembles around the world.
Haveron plays a 1757 Guadagnini violin.
Francesco Celata is Associate Principal Clarinet of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and has performed frequently as soloist throughout Australia and New Zealand and as Guest Principal Clarinet with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Clarinet with the Australian World Orchestra, under conductors such as Lorin Maazel, Ricardo Muti, Sir Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Charles Dutoit.
Sandro Costantino (viola) and Timothy Nankervis (cello) are members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Nankervis is also a member of the highly acclaimed Seraphim Trio.
Shefali Pryor is Associate Principal Oboe of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and has performed as soloist with orchestras around Australia and in New Zealand. She is also a teacher at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Dr. Jeanell Carrington, AM (piano) is Associate Professor in the Collaborative Piano Unit at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has performed throughout Australia and Europe as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative duo partner. She has recorded many albums of Australian piano music.
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