Welcome to Salut’s 2024 Concert Series paying tribute to our Musical Personalities

Music is dramatic, passionate, tragic and reflects our cultural identity. It inspires, creates joy and conveys mood and emotion. At times, music is synonymous with politics and power.

We owe an enormous debt to our musical pioneers: the composers, patrons, publishers and the librarians who conserved the music we still perform. Completing the picture were the 17th and 18th century historians who give life to the period – describing their friendships with composers, how first performances were received, and sharing the gossip of the day.

Join us in 2024 for a year of musical journeys as we explore music beyond the notes to the stories that helped create the musical masterpieces that continue to enchant us.

CONCERT 1

The Genius

CPE Bach described his father’s house as “like a pigeonry, and just as full of life”, with Johann Sebastian keeping an open house where “no master of music was likely to travel through [Leipzig] without making my father’s acquaintance and letting himself be heard by him”. Bach was a genial host, in contrast to his combative relationship with authority. The complex character behind the music we admire so greatly was not always so well regarded during his life, and it was often his rivals who enjoyed the greater success. This program places the genius of Bach’s music beside the composers who most impacted his life and work. See the program here.

Performers: Anna Fraser (Soprano), Sally Melhuish, Alana Blackburn (Recorders), Sally Walker (Baroque Flute),  Meg Cohen, Sarah Papadopoulos (Baroque Violin), John Ma, Baroque (Viola, Canberra concert), Suzie Kim, Baroque (Viola, Sydney concert), Tim Blomfield (Baroque Cello), Simon Martyn-Ellis (Theorbo), Monika Kornel (Harpsichord)

Friday 16 February 2024, 7.30pm
Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Sunday 18 February 2024, 3.00pm
Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

CONCERT 2

The Influencers

Expectations were high for salaried composers during the Baroque period. Constant demands for new repertoire required inspiration and creativity as well as talent. Influence ebbed and flowed between composers, nations, styles and beliefs. Bach was inspired by his devoutness and his vast collection of other composers’ works; Handel reinvented himself between German, Italian and English styles, depending on where he was living and what was fashionable; Purcell loved theatrical spectacle; and Rameau was fascinated by the exploration of culture from abroad. In turn, our curious composers influenced generations of musicians to continually discover new horizons of musical creativity. See the program here.

Performers: Andrew O’Connor (Bass-Baritone), Sally Melhuish (Recorder), Jane Downer (Baroque Oboe, Recorder), Meg Cohen (Baroque Violin), Julia Russoniello (Baroque Violin), Karina Schmitz (Baroque Viola), Suzie Kim (Baroque Viola), Tim Blomfield (Baroque Cello), Simon Martyn-Ellis (Theorbo), Monika Kornel (Harpsichord)

Friday 3 May 2024, 7.30pm
Wesley Church, 20 National Circuit, Forrest, Canberra

Sunday 5 May 2024, 3.00pm
Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

CONCERT 3

The Historian

Travelling widely throughout Europe and befriending musicians from Handel to Haydn, it is hard to believe that Charles Burney began his career as an indentured servant musician. With his intellect and extensive networking, Burney embarked on cultural pilgrimages, leaving a legacy of strongly opinionated letters, three books and four volumes of the History of Music. These reveal some of the most extraordinary aspects of daily and cultural life during the baroque period. Burney’s historical accounts, replete with gossip and withering observations, enrich our appreciation of the compositions and provide us with a rich source of cultural history.

Friday 21 June 2024, 7.30pm
Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Sunday 23 June 2024, 3.00pm
Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

CONCERT 4

The Networker

With his exceptional networking skills and his 43-year association with the Dresden Court Orchestra, including 27 years as concert master, Johann Georg Pisendel was the beating heart of the most famous orchestra in 18th century Europe. Pisendel gathered and inspired a remarkable group of musicians and composers, including Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Albinoni, Quantz and Zelenka, many of whom dedicated works to him. Pisendel was a fastidious music copyist during his tenure. He also amassed a collection of more than 2,000 music scores from his trips to Italy and France, giving the orchestra unparalleled access to repertoire.

Friday 11 October 2024, 7.30pm
Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Sunday 13 October 2024, 3.00pm
Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music