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Melbourne String Ensemble's Benchmark Concert 2014

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by Vanessa ★ (subscribe)
WeekendNotes Chief Editor / Chief Writer / PR & Communications.

The Melbourne String Ensemble is proud to present their annual Benchmark Concert event on Saturday 2 August 2014, featuring charismatic violinist Jennen Ngaiu-Keng performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro. MSE Music Director, Fintan Murphy describes Vivaldi's Four Seasons as wonderful pieces that give the soloist and the ensemble the chance to show high levels of virtuosity and intense emotional engagement.

"I took the Melbourne String Ensemble (MSE) to Germany in 2003 with Jennen as soloist playing the Four Seasons. He had been a member of MSE for many years and had played concertos with the group but had never played the complete seasons. The performances were wonderful and I still get comments from German colleagues who heard him play. He has continued to develop as a passionate violinist over the last decade and we are privileged to have him return for this Benchmark Concert. "

This stellar classical music event will be held at Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School, from 7:30pm and will showcase the talent of Benchmark Soloist, Jennen, who obtained a Master of Music Performance degree at UTAS under the guidance of TSO's concertmaster, Jun Yi Ma.

From the age of five, Jennen has won over 100 awards and prizes in music competitions, performed over 50 concertos with orchestras, and has acted Guest Concertmaster of orchestras including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Vic Opera Orchestra.

This is a unique opportunity to see a distinguished and dynamic professional perform alongside the Melbourne String Ensemble, one of Melbourne's finest youth ensembles.

The concert programme also includes performances of Vaughan-Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Rossini's Sonata No. 1.

Fintan anticipates this concert will appeal to a wide-ranging audience, in particular to VCE/IB and A.Mus.A string students. "Just as reading Shakespeare's plays is essentially different to live performance in the theatre, we need to hear live performances of such works to understand them. Studying the dots gives us only the underlying structure of the music and each performer needs to develop a musical story from these dots to engage the audience. Vivaldi wrote sonnets telling us that this passage represents a cuckoos call, a storm or a boy crying, but the performer needs to find the colours on the instrument to make such events come alive for the audience. It is important for students to see people like Jennen perform especially as he was recently a student himself."

Tickets are available at the door and are priced $25 for adults and $15 for concession holders.

For more information on the Melbourne String Ensemble's Benchmark Concert 2014, please visit and

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When: Saturday 2 August, 2014, 7.30pm
Where: Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School, Ivanhoe VIC
Cost: $25 adults, $15 concession. Students groups of 10 or more will receive a group discount
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