Maestro Robert Rÿker conducts Brahms, Haydn and Verdi

Nov 14 2023.

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To commemorate the launch of the artistic partnership between the Tokyo Sinfonia Orchestra, Japan and the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo,  a concert will be held on November 22 at the Lionel  Wendt Theatre. “Maestro Robert Rÿker conducts Brahms, Haydn and Verdi,”  is the ninth concert of the 2023-2024 season of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo. We had a chat with Srimal Weerasinghe, Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo.

Q WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR UPCOMING CONCERT AND WHEN AND WHERE WILL IT  BE HELD? The name of the concert is, “Maestro Robert Rÿker conducts Brahms, Haydn and Verdi.” It will be held on Wednesday, 22nd November, at 07:30 pm at the Lionel Wendt Theatre, Colombo 07.

Q WHAT IS THE REASON FOR HAVING THIS CONCERT? This is the ninth concert of the 2023-2024 season of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo, which we opened in May. This concert marks the launch of the Artistic Partnership between the Tokyo Sinfonia Orchestra, Japan and the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo. We are really excited to work with a top-class guest conductor as maestro  Robert Rÿker. We are also eager to welcome back cellist, Takaya Anada from Tokyo Japan who will be performing as a soloist at this concert.

Q WHAT WILL THE CONCERT INCLUDE?  SOME OF THE MAIN COMPOSITIONS ETC. WHAT WILL BE PLAYED? The programme of the concert will be Giuseppe Verdi’s Overture to  La Forza del Destino, Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No 1 in C major and Johannes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Haydn.

Q WHO ARE THE GUEST ARTISTES AND WHAT ROLE WILL THEY PLAY AT THE CONCERT? We have American conductor, maestro Robert Rÿker as guest conductor for this concert. He currently serves as the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Tokyo Sinfonia Orchestra, in Japan. He has founded and conducted several major orchestras all over the world. Then we have cellist Takaya Anada, Principal Cellist of the Tokya Sonfinia who joined us earlier this year performing for us at our Season Opening Concert. He was also recently appointed as the Guest Principal Cellist of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo. We also have violist, Chiharu Moriyama, Principal Violist of the Tokyo Sinfonia who will be performing with the Orchestra.

Q HOW DOES YOUR UPCOMING CONCERT COMPARE TO SOME OF YOUR PREVIOUS CONCERTS? This time, we will have an orchestra of completely string instruments. Even though we have done string orchestral concerts before, this time the orchestra is preparing for a fresh experience, where the string section of the orchestra is expected to perform as a big chamber ensemble.  What happens usually is that each section of the orchestra plays a unique part. But in this new configuration, each player is entrusted with a unique part. This new style is full of moments of intimate conversation among a quartet converging into rich dramatic melodies reinforced by tutti sections. This brings us the best of both worlds. It will be like going to a chamber music concert and an orchestral concert at the same time!

Q CAN YOU TELL US BRIEFLY ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN MUSIC BOTH IN SRI LANKA AND OVERSEAS?
My ongoing engagements in Sri Lanka are as the Chief Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo and the National Unity Orchestra of Sri Lanka. I also serve as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Visual and Performing Arts Sri Lanka. I also conduct the National Youth Orchestra of Sri Lanka and the Colombo Wind Orchestra as well. My most recent overseas concert tour was last year where I conducted and worked with a set of amazing orchestras in Tokyo; The Japan German Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonia, Etoile Ensemble and Victoria Wind Orchestra to name a few.

Q HOW HAS THE GUSTAV MAHLER ORCHESTRA OF COLOMBO CONTRIBUTED TOWARDS THE CLASSICAL MUSIC INDUSTRY IN SRI LANKA?
The Gustav Mahler Society of Colombo (GMSC) was established in 2018 with the goal of revitalising Western classical music in Sri Lanka, inspired by the life and music of the legendary composer Gustav Mahler, who
rose to the top of the classical music world, from nothing, overcoming all the obstacles thrown in his way. We designed the GMSC to be a space where any hard-working, skilled musician could perform and learn Western classical music irrespective of age, where they came from or any other circumstances. Since its inception, the GMSC grew rapidly to host the largest symphonic orchestra in the country, the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo, with over 150 local and foreign musicians. My vision for the Gustav Mahler Orchestra has been that it becomes a place of learning for musicians as much as it is a performing orchestra delivering for audiences. We have multiple educational initiatives with internationally renowned musicians and teachers aimed towards the development of the musicians of our orchestra and also several events targeting music students in Sri Lanka, throughout each season conducted by the principal players of the Gustav Mahler Orchestra of Colombo. I am humbled to mention that within the last six seasons, our orchestra has performed some of the most difficult pieces in the orchestral repertoire for the first time in the country, including the music of Gustav Mahler. Furthermore, our orchestra is well-known for our commitment to encourage and perform works by Sri Lankan composers, in addition to the staple classical orchestral repertoire.

Q HOW ARE THE TICKETS FOR THE CONCERT PRICED AND FROM WHERE CAN THEY BE PURCHASED?
Tickets are priced at Rs. 10,000 | 7,000 | 5,000 | 3,000 | 2,000 | 1,000 (balcony – unreserved). Tickets can be
purchased in person at the Lionel Wendt Theatre.

TEXT Kshalini Nonis
(Pix courtesy - GMOC)

 



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