Every year Conservatorium High School undertakes a varied and comprehensive program of concerts which demonstrate the ongoing music education of our students. These concerts are not only showcases of the best music secondary schools across the state can produce but are educational experiences in and of themselves. We frequently avail our students of the opportunity to work acclaimed conductors including, Stephen Williams, Nicholas Milton, Paul Terracini, David Stanhope and Cristian Cimei. Our four main whole school concerts (Term, Annual, Chaos and House Concerts) are performed at least twice, the educational benefits include the development of an understanding of a concert series and of making improvements at subsequent performances of a work. The main components of our concert program are as follows:
Every term in the year, the groups in our Large Performing Ensembles Program perform a concert as the conclusion of the program of study of a specific set of repertoire. These concerts involve the whole school and are choral/orchestral in nature. These concerts represent outstanding corporate music making of the highest order. The Annual Concert and the Chaos Concert are but two examples of Term Concerts, all of which are held in Verbrugghen Hall.
The Annual Concert is often the most musically demanding concert of the year’s program. While the first half of this concert often involves the performance of shorter contemporary works, it has also been the occasion for performance by the winner of the Yr 12 Concerto Competition. The second half of this concert is often dedicated to a several sections of a large scale choral work, or possibly one performed in its entirety. Chaos Concert Once a year we are joined in our concert program by a soloist or soloists from our Alumni Association, CHAOS (Conservatorium High Association of Old Students). While much of the repertoire in this concert is choral and orchestral ensemble music such as Mass movements and Symphonic movements, it also includes Concerto type movements featuring the CHAOS soloist/s.
One of the highlights of our concert calendar is the End-of-Year House Concerts. Each of the three houses, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, prepares a half hour concert under the direction of their Yr 12 students. The repertoire is chosen, rehearsed and conducted by the House Captains and their Yr 12 colleagues and is performed by members of each house respectively on two successive nights. The concerts are adjudicated on their educational and their artistic merits with awards being given for “Best Orchestral Item”, “Best Choral Item”, “Best Conductor”, and many more, leading up to “Best Concert”. Points garnered in the House Concerts contribute to the final awarding of the House Cup.
Due to the academic demands on Yr 12 students and the desire to showcase the repertoire of our other Large Performing Ensembles we hold a number of Ensembles Concerts each year. These concerts often occur in close proximity to HSC exams and as such may not include Yr 12 students. They also demonstrate a broader conception of repertoire appropriate to a Conservatorium of Music, including music composed for String Ensemble and Concert Band or Wind Orchestra. Ensembles Concerts are held in either the Music Workshop or Verbrugghen Hall as required.
Chamber Music Concerts
The Chamber Music Concerts are a direct consequence of our Chamber Music Program with 4 or 5 concerts throughout the year highlighting the work of small ensembles from across the school. The first two of these concerts tend to feature our Yr 12 students presenting the works they will perform as Music Extension Ensemble Performances and a smattering of younger groups. The third concert provides the opportunity for the better small ensembles from across the rest of the school. These concerts are usually held in one of the Recital Halls. The Jazz Cafe and Government House Concerts are 2 of our Chamber Music concerts.
Jazz Cafe Concerts
This concert, regarded as part of the Chamber Music Program, is dedicated to performances from the Con High Jazz Band. This group rehearses each week under the direction of Jazz legend Judy Bailey and performs repertoire as diverse as popular standards, Big Band repertoire and BeBop charts. This concert takes place in the informal surrounds of the Music Cafe.
Government House Chamber Music Concert
The Con High contributes at least 2 concerts a year to the Con Tertiary Lunchtime Concert Series. Depending on the Tertiary program, this concert may coincide with one of the term concerts and as such play a part in our educational experience relating to “subsequent performances of works”. These concerts also occur as discrete entities and as part of a concert series, are used to highlight Large Performing Ensembles, Chamber Groups and soloists deserving of particular attention.
This Con High P&C initiative effectively complements the School Concert Program by providing more opportunities for the performance of Solo repertoire. While the School Concert Program focuses on ensemble music making with some opportunities for those exceptional soloists in the school, the Soloist Concerts are open to all students wishing to perform. These concerts are usually held in one of the Recital Halls.