Sydney Youth Orchestras’ (SYO) Flagship ensemble begins 2021 in celebratory mood with a concert that pays an anniversary tribute to one of the twentieth century’s greatest composers, featuring two powerhouse women performers.
Making her Sydney Youth Orchestras début is the internationally-acclaimed Australian conductor Jessica Cottis, whose recent appearances include the London Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and concerts at the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall, marking her as one of the most significant maestras of her generation. The concert features the SYO’s Principal Clarinet Katherine Howarth, as soloist in Debussy’s First Rhapsody.
The programme includes three works by Stravinsky, the Scherzo à la russe, the Symphonies of Wind Instruments, and his Pulcinella Suite. Fifty years since the death of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) the SYO turns to music Stravinsky composed at the tail-end of the ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic, in which he explores writing for smaller ensembles. His ballet Pulcinella is a witty and typically unsentimental homage to the eighteenth-century’s commedia dell’arte theatre tradition, based on music of the time by Pergolesi. The Symphonies of Wind Instruments blows away the late-Romantic large orchestral sound in an austere tribute to Stravinsky’s recently-deceased friend Claude Debussy who also features in the concert with his sensuous Première rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra.
The perfomers: Sydney Youth Orchestras, Jessica Cottis, conductor, Katherine Howarth, clarinet.
The programme: Stravinsky Scherzo à la russe, 1945/ Stravinsky Symphonies for Wind Instruments, 1920 (first performed 1921)/ Debussy Première rhapsodie, 1909/10/ Stravinsky Pulcinella – Suite, 1920