Camerata of St John’s Season 2015 Program Launch
Thank you, Brian. I too acknowledge Minister John-Paul Langbroek, representing Arts Minister Ian Walker, Camerata Board Members, Founder Elizabeth Morgan AM, senior staff, supporters, friends. I am delighted to be here this evening, not only because I have a deep and enduring love of classical music, but as Chancellor Emeritus of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane and as a member of the Chapter of St John’s Cathedral, I had been very aware of this exceptional orchestra almost since Elizabeth Morgan assembled that very first group of emerging artists, more than a quarter of a century ago.
My first formal association with the Camerata of St John’s was in two thousand and eight when I was asked, as Queensland’s Chief Justice, if I would join Dr Brett Dean as one of the orchestra’s Patrons, to support Queensland’s best young string musicians in their efforts to build professional careers here in their home State.
Of course, I did not hesitate – and equally, I did not hesitate when asked if I would continue in my role as Patron after I was sworn in as Governor of Queensland earlier this year.
Serendipitously, within a week of my swearing-in, I was proud to hear Camerata perform in the Governor’s Gala in the Queensland Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. But the performance in Townsville was not the first of the exceptionally satisfying experiences we have had while supporting these extraordinary young musicians – I was particularly pleased to be able to offer them the opportunity to conduct a fund-raising performance in Brisbane’s Banco Court in 2009, and (as we all quipped at the time) to “see them in court again” the following year when they also launched their first CD. Most recently, in 2012, they were back in court again, performing for a distinguished national audience at the official opening of the new Queen Elizabeth the Second Courts of Law.
The orchestra was described in The Australian newspaper recently as “one of Brisbane’s enduring musical delights”. This is a description Camerata richly deserves – it tours regionally each year; it has an interactive online education program; and it appears in festivals and events across Australia including at last week’s Gala Dinner for Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society, and a ‘rock star’ appearance at the opening of the G20 Cultural Celebrations.
But, most importantly, they continue their core commitment to providing audiences with exceptional music which surprises, engages, and delights. Their guest artists (including their quartet in residence, Orava Quartet) are true collaborators, enabling the ensemble to present programs which include poetry, film, vocal music, dance and drama, and to perform repertoire ranging from little known gems to the unashamedly popular.
As Patron, I congratulate Camerata on the stimulating and interesting program devised for 2015. I also thank the sponsors, donors and volunteers for the commitment and generosity which have made it possible to develop such a program. In particular, I thank QPAC for their support, and note the presence of CEO John Kotzas here this evening – I know it has been invaluable to the orchestra to finally have a ‘home’ in QPAC’s premises in Merivale Street, and that they are most grateful that this studio has been made available for tonight’s launch.
Everyone here is already a ‘Camerata convert’, proud that this ensemble is now recognised throughout Queensland and, increasingly, interstate, as a chamber orchestra which has a collaborative spirit, offers adventurous, innovative programming, and projects infectious energy and passion in performance right down to the soles of their bare feet.
However, I also know that Camerata is still one of Queensland’s best-kept secrets, so I urge everyone here, as music-lovers and supporters, not only to become subscribers themselves, but to share Camerata’s story with their families, friends and colleagues and encourage them to join us on this exciting journey with Queensland’s only professional chamber orchestra.