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And the winner is Din Din Wang

At Melbourne Recital Centre’s Annual Bach Competition on Sunday 26 June 2016 the Inaugural Australian Bach Society Encouragement Award was presented to 10 year old Din Din Wang (violin) who played J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E (BWV 1006), Preludio & Loure so superbly.

Now in its seventh year, the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Bach Competition is dedicated to young musicians who are aged 17 years or under with a passion of music of J.S. Bach. The ABS Encouragement Award was awarded for the first time this year as part of ABS' mission to ‘support talented young musicians'. The Australian Bach Society Encouragement Award carries a cash prize of $500 plus a concert engagement within our Annual Concert Series.


The Award was presented by our Hon. Treasurer Rebecca Nowak pictured her with Din Din. In her laudatio Rebecca said:

'It is so enthralling to witness so many young musicians develop their skills and their appreciation of Bach, and to dedicate their time to something that is so demanding yet rewarding. Especially when there are so many competing demands on your time! But I think after watching today, it has all been well worth it, plus such a great opportunity to perform on stage with your proud family and friends watching. I therefore hope that this encouragement award is not only financial, but a token of appreciation for your work in music, the music which reminds you of the wonder of life, and the incredible marvel of being a human being.'

Din Din is currently studying violin with Fintan Murphy. She has been determined to be a professional violinist since she was 6. Bach is her favourite composer and she is obsessed with playing his music. Din Din loves performing in public. She has accomplished her Grade 8 AMEB exam with High Distinction and she is working on her A.Mus.A. Din Din is a member of the Melbourne String Ensemble (MSE).

Congratulations once again to Din Din Wang! We will see and hear her at the Bach to the Future violin concert on 8 April 2017. The 2017 Bach Competition will be on 25 June 2017 at 3pm at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Photo credit: Michael Christian

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First Rock, than Baroque: 
My unorthodox journey to western music’s greatest composer

By Robert Macfarlane (Leipzig)

While putting together my program for the Australian 
Bach Society’s concert ‘The Path to Bach’ on 7 May 2016, 
as the snow gently falls on Bach's Leipzig outside my 
window, I took a moment to reflect on my own path to
 his unique genius. For me there were two clear 'light bulb
 moments' and a good deal of luck that brought me to
 this seminal music.

The first of two ‘light bulb moments’ that led me to Bach,
 and classical music generally, came when taking my first
 singing lessons in my last year of high school. My generous 
and patient teacher struggled to find something that
 would interest me: I'd grown up playing rock music in 
the garage, and songs from hit musicals and light classical
 repertoire did absolutely nothing for me. It wasn’t
 until he threw me a few songs from Schubert’s masterpiece
 Winterreise that I finally saw something in Classical 
Music which thrilled me in ways that not even the
 Rock music of my childhood could. I immediately dove 
head first into this tremendous wealth of song literature,
 and six months later auditioned successfully for the 
Bachelor of Music at Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium.

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Thank you, Nikolaus Harnoncourt!

The Australian Bach Society would like to pay homage to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who passed away on 5 March 2016 in Salzburg at the age of 86. An unparalleled interpreter of Bach, one of the great conductors of baroque music and a pioneer of historically informed performance. While still a student, Harnancourt took a great interest in old music and historical instruments. He collected systematically a set of suitable instruments, brought together a highly qualified ensemble of musicians and, in 1953, founded the ensemble CONCENTUS MUSICUS. 1962 was the year of the great breakthrough into the field of records: Harnancourt played the Brandenburg Concerts in the original version and with original instruments. This was followed by St. John Passion, Mass in B-minor, St. Matthew Passion and the greatest recording project in the history of records: all of Bach’s cantatas.

Thank you, Maestro!

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Ensemble Nobile: an interview with the five 'noble lords'

Ensemble Nobiles was founded in January 2006. The five young singers met during their nine-year education as members of the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig. Their repertoire ranges from late medieval mass songs to modern age works. They are: Paul Heller (*1991) - Tenor voice  + Christian Pohlers (*1989) - Tenor voice + Felix Hübner (*1991) - Baritone voice + Lukas Lomtscher (*1989) - Bass voice + Lucas Heller (*1991) - Bass voice

The five ‘Noble Lords’ present themselves in this interview (provided by Sascha Hille) published in the ABS Newsletter No. in February 2015

What was the reason for founding Ensemble Nobiles? 

Paul: As a special treat for one of our Thomaner teachers at a Christmas party, a few classmates got together to form a male-voice choir. 

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HIP – another buzzword in musical performance? An interview with Rachael Beesley

Rachael Beesley is one of Australia’s finest violinists and a highly sought after concertmaster, director and educator. Internationally known as a leader in Historically Informed Performance (HIP), she has worked with some of Europe’s most distinguished ensembles. Since returning to Australia in 2009 she has been involved in a growing number of projects, the most recent a very rare soloistic performance of J.S. Bach’s ‘Mass in B minor’ by The Song Company and chamber ensemble Ironwood combined featuring one voice per part vocal scoring.

ABS Committee Member Meredith Beardmore spoke to Rachael. The Australian Bach Society is very grateful to Rachael for this interview.

What drew you to Historically Informed Performance?

As a performing musician, I am constantly studying and researching composers and the performance practices of the times, as well as discovering and rediscovering repertoire on period instruments. By learning about and absorbing the history of the music, I enjoy the challenges this creates as well as the versatility this gives to me as a performer and the ultimate affect on audiences. 

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