Tag Archives: Omega Ensemble


Omega Ensemble principals for 2019.  Photo credit: Keith Saunders. Featured image : Anna Da Silva Chen (violin), Clemens Leske (piano) and Paul Stender (cello) performed Schoenberg and Mendelssohn at this concert.

Omega Ensemble began its Master Series for 2019 in the Utzon Room in fine style with a concert of piano trios before a standing room only crowd. Mendelssohn’s evergreen crowd favourite, his Piano Trio No 1 in D minor was flanked by arrangements of important ensemble works by Schoenberg and Beethoven. These condensed sextets and septets lost no dramatic focus in their trio guise and the principal Omega musicians and guest performers were all showcased well when presenting these versions.

Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht Op 4 in Eduard Steuermann’s 1932 arrangement for piano trio began the concert with shimmering atmosphere. Pianist Clemens Leske launched this concert’s three trio works with a great variety of nuance and effective tone colour choices to his pianism. Continue reading OMEGA ENSEMBLE : BEETHOVEN’S TRIO @ UTZON ROOM, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE


Pianist and Co-Artistic Director of Omega Ensemble, Maria Raspopova performs in the most intimate of chamber music settings: as solo pianist. Piano favourites from Ballades to the Bourgeois.

In this program she displays her fine ability to play technically demanding works as well as draw out subtle shadings of colour from the piano.

This finely balanced program of music includes Debussy’s deeply intimate and lyrical Claire de Lune and Rachmaninoff’s Etudes-Tableaux Op.33 No.8. The program also includes Chopin’s epic and dramatic Ballade in F minor contrasted by Erik Satie’s delightful Trois Gymnopedies and Prokofiev’s Visions fugitives, recently recorded for Omega Classics.

Maria Raspopova in Recital [Facebook Event] plays Sunday 2 December @ 2.30pm at Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House.

Sergei Prokofiev: Visions fugitives, Op.22
Claude Debussy: Claire de Lune
Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
Eric Satie: Trois Gymnopédies
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Etudes-Tableaux Op.33 No.8


A most exciting and captivating concert showcasing some ravishing, passionate playing. There was intense rapport between the Ensemble who concentrated intensely and were in fine form.

First we heard Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 87 . Violinist Anna Da Silva Chen led the quintet which was violinist Arena Nakamura, violists Amanda Verner and Neil Thompson, and cellist Howard Penny, guesting courtesy of the Australian National Academy of Music.

The first movement opened briskly and skittishly with scurries and flurries , becoming slightly slower and more sedate before jumping back to the brisk tone. The dynamic second movement was full of circular whirling interlocking melodies, with slinky slipping and sliding strings .The third movement was poignant, sombre and richly layered , wish some spiky sections contrasted with passionately explosive quiveringly anxious ones. The pulsating final movement was driven and relentless with brisk flurries .Each of the quintet had their own individual ‘voice’ but were a magnificently unified whole taking us to the tornado like conclusion.

David Bruce’s Gumboots was delightful and featured clarinettist Georgina Oakes. Celebrating “the rejuvenating power of dance , Bruce, in his program note, insists that the work is not ‘about’ the gumboot dancers of South Africa – the dance tradition, rooted in the horrendous conditions imposed upon black gold miners – but it is definitely inspired by them. It was in two contrasting halves, the first pulsating , rich limpid and fluid, the strings shimmering and throbbing in accompaniment, the second a series of five vibrant, fast bubbly dances full of emphatic, infectious rhythms as if scattering puddles while splashing in the rain .There was a bluesy/jazz feel and hints of Gershwin. For the first half Oakes used a bass clarinet at times .

After interval we heard a passionate heartfelt performance of Schubert ‘s String Quintet in C major, D. 956, the “Cello Quintet” in a fine, focused performance. Chen, Nakamura, Thompson and Penny were joined by Paul Stender who added his rich tones to the combination.The throbbing first movement was richly lyrical yet also emphatic and had a somewhat angry atmosphere, yet it ended in earnest, thoughtful discussion. The compelling second movement was slower lyrical and more reflective. It was turbulent and achingly Romantic – a heated yet courteous group discussion that built in ominous intensity. The third movement had a spiky dynamic beginning , the main melody line stated taken and embroidered upon. There was a buoyant start to the fourth movement, led by Chen, some of which was Hungarian inspired. It included scurrying and flourishes and leading to the conclusion it was almost as if the quintet were tripping over themselves .

A most bewitching performance.

Running time approx. 2 hours 20 minutes including interval
The Omega Ensemble in Momentum played at the City Recital Hall on 13 November 2018.


For more about Omega Ensemble : Momentum, visit {Website:10}


This image: Omega Ensemble                                                                                                                                      Featured image: Guest cellist Howard Penny (Image Credit: Keith Saunders)

MOMENTUM: SCHUBERT AND MENDELSSOHN.  Omega Ensemble is bringing three revolutionary quintets for their next concert.

Guest cellist Howard Penny joins Omega Ensemble in a performance of Schubert’s ultimate String Quintet in C major. Scored unusually for two violins, viola and two cellos, and completed during the final weeks of Schubert’s life, the ‘Cello Quintet’ ranks among the composer’s greatest accomplishments. Continue reading MOMENTUM: SCHUBERT AND MENDELSSOHN. NEXT FROM OMEGA ENSEMBLE. GIVEAWAY


Featured Image: Veronique Serret

JOY: is next up for Omega Ensemble, Co-Artistic Directors David Rowden and Maria Raspopova with Featured Artist: Veronique Serret.

Works of new beginnings.

Acclaimed violinist Veronique Serret and Clemens Leske join forces for a powerful presentation of Beethoven’s ‘Spring’ Sonata. This work for violin and piano celebrates new directions in music bridging the Classical and Romantic periods.

Included also is the exuberant Nonet by nineteeth century composer Louise Farrenc, a trailblazer for female composers to come, and Schubert’s Notturno, a gift of melody in all its glory. The evening concludes with one of Australia’s favourite composers, Elena Kats-Chernin and one of her most treasured works, Russian Rag, in a very special arrangement by the composer for Omega Ensemble.

JOY : FARRENC AND BEETHOVEN [Facebook Event] from Omega Ensemble [Facebook] plays September 25, 7.30pm at City Recital Hall.

Franz Schubert: Notturno in E flat major, Op. 148
Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.5 in F major, Op. 24, “Spring”
Louise Farrenc: Nonet in E flat Major, Op. 38
Elena Kats-Chernin: Russian Rag (Nonet arrangement by the composer for Omega Ensemble)


This image: Guest Artist – Lloyd Van’t Hoff
Featured image: Omega Ensemble (Photo credit: Keith Saunders)

Music inspired by romance, created with love, and presented with passion, LOVE: WEBER AND FRANCK is next for the Omega Ensemble.

Where words have failed, music has been the language of friends, lovers and admirers from afar.

From Franck’s endearing Sonata for Violin and Piano, composed for and performed at a friend’s wedding to Elgar’s lyrical Romance for Bassoon and Strings, these are works created out of great love, filled with passion, tenderness and musical friendship.

Also featured in the program is young-blood clarinettist (and winner of the Young Performer of the Year Awards in 2015) Lloyd Van’t Hoff who will be joining Co-Artistic Director David Rowden in a performance of Australian composer Gerard Brophy’s new work ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging.’

…a smorgasbord of chamber music…played by first-rate musicians.” Sydney Arts Guide

The Omega Ensemble [Facebook] with  LOVE: WEBER AND FRANCK [Facebook Event] will play City Recital Hall [Facebook] Wednesday 18 July @ 7.30pm.  See more of the Omega Ensemble on their YouTube channel.

Elgar Romance for Bassoon and Strings in D minor, Op. 62 arr. Cramer
Weber Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B flat Major, Op. 34
Brophy We Two Boys Together Clinging (2017)
Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major


Featured image – Omega Ensemble’s Artistic Director David Rowden.

“…not a single foot wrong…distinguished playing throughout.” Limelight Magazine

Enter a world of magical moments and refreshing musical interpretations in a celebration of music old and new. At the centrepiece of this concert is Schumann’s Fairy Tales. Composed late in life after a period of dark depression he was inspired by the young spirit of Brahms who had come to visit him and gave him the incentive to compose.

Also included is Samuel Hogarth’s brand-new Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano composed especially for Omega. Also featured are Bruch’s 8 pieces for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano. Written when he was 70 years old, these characteristic pieces are full of joy, passion and lamentation as Bruch’s lush and mellow sound world of Romanticism was being replaced by a new compositional language.

Concluding this concert is Borodin’s String Quartet No.2. It was composed for his wife to celebrate their anniversary and is based on a reflection of their first meeting.

FAIRY TALES  [Facebook event] from the Omega Ensemble [Facebook] will be   performed on Sunday 17th June @ 2pm. at the Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House.

The Omega Ensemble comprises  Artistic Director David Rowden (clarinet) with Catalin Ungureanu (violin), Airena Nakamura (violin), Neil Thompson (viola), Paul Stender (cello), Maria Raspopova (piano), and Samuel Hogarth (piano).


Above : Omega Ensemble members play Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la fin du temps at City Recital Hall. Featured image: string quartet from the concert’s first half- Alexandra Osborne, Airena Nakamura, Neil Thompson and Paul Stender. Photo credit : David Vagg.

The latest Omega Ensemble concert triumphed by presenting three well-known and loved works of the chamber miusic repertoire. All quartets have stood the test of time and are something of landmark compositions in their respective styles.

Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings began the event. This interpretation was full of beautifully measured organic growth. The performers resisted any temptation for overplaying in the opening
sections. As with all works throughout the evening, moments of hushed and restrained playing were true highlights of the programme. This exploration of the lower dynamic levels succeeded in the responsive City Recital Hall acoustic. Continue reading OMEGA ENSEMBLE : ETERNAL QUARTETS @ CITY RECITAL HALL


Omega Ensemble Co-Artistic Directors David Rowden and Maria Raspopova

…some of Australia’s finest string and wind players.” Sydney Arts Guide

Three quartets of time, mortality and eternity for Omega Ensemble‘s ETERNAL QUARTETS.

Death and music have always made an unlikely couple. But perhaps no two composers have directly reflected on their own mortality more than Schubert and Messiaen. Continue reading ETERNAL QUARTETS @ CITY RECITAL HALL


The Omega Ensemble.                                                                                                                                                        Banner image: Sally Walker. Photos: Keith Saunders

A musical voyage for winds with panoramic summer views of Sydney Harbour.  Set sail in a discovery of the mystical and mythical with a celebration of all things woodwind with The Omega Ensemble for one performance only Sunday 25 February @ 2.30pm in the Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House. [Facebook Event]




Above : Composer of Songs From The Bush, Ian Munro. Featured image : Omega Ensemble clarinettist and Co-Artistic Director, David Rowden.

Omega Ensemble again presented a chamber music concert in the delectable Utzon Room setting which championed works combining the clarinet with string quartet.

David Rowden’s seamless and sonorous clarinet tone across all instrumental registers and compositional style spoke beautifully to us throughout the event, sensitively supported by the Omega Ensemble strings.

The five versatile musicians blended expertly in an eclectic programme featuring two recent Australian works. A rarely heard clarinet quintet from the late nineteenth century was introduced to the audience and a popular Mozart string quartet was thrown elegantly into the mix. Continue reading OMEGA ENSEMBLE : SONGS FROM THE BUSH @ THE UTZON ROOM

Julian Morrow at Recital Hall

This month at the City Recital Hall the Omega Ensemble joins forces with comedic guest narrator Julian Morrow to present its new concert CARNIVAL FRANCAIS, a rarely performed concert of the best French chamber music, including Saint-Saens’s piece CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS with an amusing and entertaining twist.

The concert is to take place at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place on Friday 15th August at 7.30 pm.

The City Recital Hall is offering one complimentary double pass to the Concert to the first person to email the Editor on editor.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com and nominate their favourite CHASER episode.

Additionally, the City Recital Hall is offering 25% off all adult tickets. Simply use the code FRANCE when booking or click this link below-