lunchtime concerts

"A Little Lunch Music" continues throughout 2012 with a monthly lunchtime concert presented at City Recital Hall Angel Place in association with Selby & Friends and curated by Kathryn Selby.

An article on "A Little Lunch Music" appeared recently Lifestyle Asia Magazine. The interview with Kathryn Selby, written by Mingyue Zhou, can be read below the following list of lunchtime concerts for 2012.

lunchtime concerts Q & A

When did A Little Lunch Music begin? What was the consideration for making classical music available at lunch hours at City Recital Hall?

KS: A Little Lunch Music began in 2008 in the foyer of City Recital Hall Angel Place. I went to the General Manager with the idea of making classical music a treat for lunchtime audiences as it makes it possible for busy people who may not have time to go to a full concert in the evening the opportunity to enjoy this medium whilst grabbing some much needed break time from work. As it turned out, the monthly series of just ten concerts became extremely popular very quickly so that by 2009 we had moved the series into the main venue in order to cater to the demand. As a result of the growing audience, my programming has begun to slightly alter as well. The initial idea for allowing people a peek into the mindset of not only the performers but the composers who provide the music has continued. Each performer is aware that this is an unusual setting which allows their personality to shine through as much as their musical gifts. So as a result they speak to the audience about their work, demonstrate various aspects of the work(s) they will perform, discuss interesting aspects of a composer’s life and times with the audience and generally welcome the audience into their world. The programming has seen a shift from straight classical music to an emphasis on all forms of music including world music, jazz, chamber music, symphonic music and vocal music. One important aspect of the series is also the opportunity each year given to young and emerging stars of the future who are given a platform on which to perform and introduce themselves to our audience. I often speak to the performers on stage during concerts in order to allow them to get comfortable on stage and this provides for some fun and unplanned moments on stage. Each year we also invite an Australian composer to the stage to speak about their work which is to be performed. It has been an exciting series and has continued to grow each season.

In the media kit it said “Bring your sandwich and a taste for music, and enjoy a real treat.” Can you describe the premises of the concert space? What kind of alternative would the audience expect compared with a formal concert experience at perhaps Sydney Opera House?

KS: The General Manager has very generously thrown open the venue to allow audience members to eat their lunch whilst enjoying the musical experience presented on stage. This is most unusual as venues traditionally do not allow people to eat inside for live concerts. There are many examples of outdoor concerts that certainly allow this but it would be rare indeed to find a beautiful venue, the quality of City Recital Hall Angel Place to throw open its doors and allow food inside. City Recital Hall is considered a formal venue for concerts but it provides an unusually intimate atmosphere for a venue that sits upwards of 1200 people. Inside you feel very close to the stage from wherever you sit in the venue and the acoutsics are second to none. It is a brilliant treat for both city audiences and those who choose to come into the city and spend some time there to have access to the venue at such an affordable price with the added luxury of being able to eat their lunch at the same time.

What are the backgrounds of the musicians? Academically trained? Playing with other orchestras? Freelance musicians? Any musicians with Chinese background?

KS: The musicians performing in the 2012 ALLM series are extraordinary. They come from all over the world and are internationally renowned. Many are principal members of our most prestigious orchestras, leading members of our premiere chamber ensembles, highly awarded soloists in their own right or extremely talented emerging artists. It is incredibly exciting to see so many world class artists who are keen to share their craft with our audiences and many take time from their already frantic schedules to come along and perform on the series. We have had musicians of Chinese background perform many times on the series – last year alone, two of our Emerging Artists were from Chinese background and wowed the audience with their incredible talent. Many members of the Sydney University Symphony are of Chinese background as are members of Dr V’s Swing Thing. The series provides a cross section of talent from around the world which is especially gratifying to all of us involved in the series who wish to present the extraordinary range of gifts and talents in Australian musicians.

If you could summarize the music style of the concerts, what it is? What kind of audience, as you expect, would be most interested and benefit from these concerts?

KS: Each concert presents a different aspect of music making which is what makes the series so exciting, popular and accessible to a wide audience from children to the elderly. Therefore it is impossible to predict who would be most interested in the concerts as they appeal to people with such varying tastes. There is of course the traditional classical music concerts with duos, a piano recital, a piano quartet, wind quintet with piano and string quartet. But we also have programmed to very different jazz ensembles: a trio and a large big band style group. We are introducing the classical piano accordion to audiences with a range of music covering three centuries, there is a symphony orchestra to present works by Mozart, a contemporary ensemble to present works composed within the last 10 years and of course our exciting stars of the future in Emerging Artists. All in all it is treasure trove of experiences for an audience with a taste for both traditional and new experiences, guided by artists with super personalities and outstanding gifts.

Are there any benefits if one becomes a regular patron?

KS: The benefits to regular patrons, and we have many hundreds of them who attend each concert, is that they are treated to an unusual mix of personalities and musical styles in a very relaxed format with extraordinarily talented artists eager to share their gifts with those in attendance. The humour, vitality, stimulation and inspiration leading from these performances has led to the incredible growth in the audience numbers which is a direct result of word of mouth and I can only say it is a testament to City

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