Sydney's youngest and most exciting orchestra has graduated to a new phase, last night debuting under the new name The Metropolitan Orchestra. In honour of the occasion, I was invited to the third performance of their current series. I was enormously impressed by the quality of the music, and the overall experience.
All orchestras take themselves, and their music, seriously - and the TMO is no different. Yet, they also manage to inject the whole thing with a sense of energy and fun. Maybe it was the decisiveness, precision and passion of conductor Sarah-Grace Williams; the intimacy of the setting; or perhaps I was simply swept away by the spectacular dress worn by solo violinist Katherine Lukey.
There is something special about live music in any setting, from your local pub to the Opera House, but TMO took it a step above. It's probably heresy to say it, but I enjoyed this performance more than my visit to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra earlier this month.
The violin was undoubtedly the hero of this particular collection. It began with Sibelius' whimsical Valse Triste, to whet the imaginative appetite. The star piece was Mendelssohn's dramatic Violin Concerto, which has inspired me to become a committed fan of soloist Katherine Lukey. Finally, Beethoven's Pastoral brought the night home with its countryside-inspired contrasts.
There are three more performances this series. For full details, check out the calendar here. Based on the snippets of flute I got to hear last night, I particularly recommend the next one, in which the impressive principal flautist - Svetlana Yaraoslavskaya - will take the spotlight.