Saturday’s Bendigo Chamber Music Festival Community Concert with the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra and Luke Severn featured two Bendigo-born soloists in contrasting concertos. Mozart’s popular Horn Concerto No. 2 with soloist Andrew Young and Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with Noah Lawrence as the cello soloist.

Capital Theatre, Bendigo. Photo supplied

Cellist Luke Severn is the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra, Bendigo’s premier musical organisation. There were a few esteemed extras snuck amidst the Bendigo musicians including Natsuko Yoshimoto, the Concertmaster of the fabulous Queensland Symphony Orchestra. With such a range of talent, the locals had the rare opportunity to shine amongst internationally acclaimed musicians.

The first stellar solo was from local Andrew Young in his third solo performance with the Bendigo Symphony, playing Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2. Young has a promising future as he is trialing for Associate principal horn with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was a flawless rendition bursting with bodacious Bendigo bounce.

Young and his first horn teacher Catherine Moore, who was also performing with the orchestra, treated the audience to the jaunty first duet of Mozart’s Twelve Horn Duos. It was a touching performance, ending with Young giving his first music teacher a big hug.

The audience was treated to a comical interlude when a music stand was moved backwards and forwards several times by the stage hand and then violinist Sophie Rowell. When Bendigo cello soloist Noah Lawrence moved the stand again ready to play, he was surprised by the giggles of amusement from the audience.

Cally Bartlett and Noah Lawrence at the Capital Theatre, Bendigo. Photo © Bendigo Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Luke Severn thanked the BCMF organisers, Chris Howlett and Howard Penny, which is now in its fifth year. Penny is also Lawrence’s mentor at the Australian National Academy of Music.

Severn described the concert as typically “Bendigonian” as Lawrence’s first cello teacher Cally Bartlett, was also playing in the orchestra, commenting on how wonderful it was to watch the Bendigo musicians branch out and return to perform at their musical origin.

Lawrence was fascinating to watch performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1. He was seemingly in a trance with wide unseeing eyes and jerking head, while his long fingers caressed the strings with virtuosity. It was another brilliant “Bendigonian” performance, especially of Haydn’s epic final movement, earning Lawrence tumultuous applause and a hug from his first music teacher.

The Bendigo Chamber Music Festival’s Saturday Community Concert was lively and entertaining, showcasing two promising musicians amongst a talented musical community.

Selected concerts from the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival are available to stream via Australian Digital Concert Hall.

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