17.1.09: Youth Symphony Orchestra of
North Sydney Girls' High School at GRg3


Young Australian musicians inspire Austrian students

The Youth Symphony Orchestra of North Sydney Girls' High School performed at Vienna’s GRG3 Grammar School on January 16, 2009.
The ninth-graders of GRG’s 5B had done a great job preparing everything for our Australian guests: there were self-made posters to greet them, and enjoying the home-made buffet after the performance lay the foundation for new friendship between Austria and Australia.
The large Coliseum was filled to the last spot when the Sydney orchestra gave an exclusive performance in Vienna as part of its six-city European concert tour.
After a welcome speech by our principal Marion Waldmann, Steven Hillinger took centre stage. The orchestra director caught the audience’s attention not only by courageously embarking on a few German phrases, but especially by flavouring his musical comment with lots of humour …
and even some Australian “veggie paste”.
The 44 female musicians, aged between 13 and 17, started off with a splendid performance of Bizet’s Carmen Suite No.1.
Selections from Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’ were followed by Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni, a tribute to both Vienna and Prague, another city on the orchestra’s European tour.
The highlight of the third movement of Howard’s Flute Concerto was the flawless performance of the dazzling young soloist.
Curnow’s „Down Under“ brought wonderful Australian music to Vienna, considered by many to be the music capital of the world.
The audience was especially moved when Steven Hillinger announced J. Strauss’s Emperor Waltz. The orchestra did such a terrific job at performing waltz rhythm that for a few magical minutes Australia seemed to turn into Austria.
The applause after that piece was so euphoric that it seemed insurmountable … had it not been for Steven Hillinger and his idea of giving a quick lesson in conducting to one of our students.
The volunteer did not need much instruction: Kohki Totsuka, a 9th grader, asked for no advice but boldly demanded the baton to direct the encore. Steven Hillinger was no less amazed by the expert conducting than were Khoki’s peers who offered standing ovations to the orchestra and its guest-conductor.
When the students had to leave the concert to get back to their classes they felt truly inspired. And the inspiration was twofold: On the one hand, youngsters could witness wonderful artists of their age up stage. On the other hand, chaperons and teachers could have their faith restored in the timeless nature of classical music.


North Sydney Girls' High School
Pacific Highway & Cnr David Street
Crows Nest 2065
Sydney New South Wales

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