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General public

27 May at 10am


Thursday 23 September 2021

7:30pm at Hamer Hall


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Xian Zhang conductor
Christian Li violin


Nokuthula Ngwenyama Primal Message
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
Beethoven Symphony No.4

About this performance

Beethoven’s Fourth may not be the most regularly programmed symphony in any orchestra’s repertoire, but as a critic wrote, “there are no words to describe the deep, powerful spirit of this work from his earlier and most beautiful period."

  • Composer and violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama rose to prominence at 16 when she won the Primrose International Viola Competition and is now gaining acclaim for her compositions. Her work Primal Message – originally written for viola quintet – was orchestrated for Detroit Symphony Orchestra and conducted in its premiere by Principal Guest Conductor of MSO, Xian Zhang.
  • Prodigious violinist Christian Li returns to the MSO to perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto – a work written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky during a period of great difficulty. His marriage was a disaster, and his other compositional work was not really going anywhere, but his Violin Concerto brought him back to his creativity in the most stylish and virtuosic way.
  • Sitting between the Eroica and the famous Fifth Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No.4 doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves, despite it being a favourite of colleagues and critics. It was premiered privately in 1807, and there was almost no published criticism, which may have something to do with its lack of popularity!

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