To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, QYS performs his extraordinary War Requiem .
The War Requiem is an enormous work of astonishing emotional power. It was first performed in 1962 at the reconsecration of St Michael’s Cathedral at Coventry, England, following the destruction of the original cathedral in a Nazi bombing raid in 1940. It has enjoyed enduring popularity ever since, and remains one of the few large-scale works written in the latter half of the twentieth century that is regularly performed to large audiences all over the world.
Britten’s War Requiem belongs to a centuries-old tradition, alongside the Requiems of Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz and Fauré. As earlier Requiem composers had done, Britten built his work around the Latin text of the Catholic Requiem Mass, but he broke with tradition when he overlaid the liturgical text with the starkly realistic war poems of Wilfred Owen. Owen was a young British army officer who was killed in action a week before the Armistice that ended World War I; he is now regarded as one of England’s finest war poets.
Britten divided the performers into two distinct groups. The main orchestra accompanies the chorus and soprano soloist (Mirusia) as they sing the text of the Requiem Mass, parts of which are also taken by the boys’ choir. The tenor (Kang Wang) and baritone (Shaun Brown) are accompanied by a smaller chamber orchestra as they present Owen’s poetry. The three lead vocal parts were originally written for three specific singers, hailing from the Soviet Union, England and Germany respectively—a symbolic acknowledgment that all sides had suffered in the war, and that all could come together to voice a mutual wish for peace.
Learn more about Benjamin Britten, his anniversary and his work at Britten 100.
Conductor John Curro AM MBE
Queensland Youth Symphony
Queensland Festival Chorus
Chorusmaster Alison Rogers
Tenor Kang Wang
Baritone Shaun Brown
Conductor John Curro AM MBEJohn Curro AM MBE
is both the founder and Director of Music of Queensland Youth Orchestras
, conducting the Queensland Youth Symphony
since its beginning in 1966. Last year, Mr Curro undertook his 12th international tour with QYS, conducting ten concerts in Asia and Europe, including the orchestra’s first ever performances in Singapore and Malaysia.
Mr Curro has conducted many of Australia’s professional orchestras as well as many opera and ballet seasons in Australia. His guest conducting appearances include the London Virtuosi
, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra
, the Australian and Bavarian Youth Orchestras
, the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra
, and Principal Guest Conductor with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra
Throughout his distinguished career, Mr Curro has received many prestigious awards including Member of the Order of Australia
and Member of the British Empire
. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Queensland
and Griffith University
, Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellow Award
, the Australian Music Centre (Qld) Award
, the Don Banks Music Award
, the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award
, the Orchestras Australia Lifetime Achievement Award
and the Queensland Premier’s Millenium Award for Excellence
in the Arts. In 2012, he was a QLD finalist for the Australian of the Year Award. Queensland Festival Chorus
The Queensland Festival Chorus
is a Brisbane based Chorus under the direction of Chorusmaster Alison Rogers
It consists of singers who devote their passion, time and considerable talent to perform as an outstanding chorus in large-scale symphonic projects. The Chorus performs in the community and with orchestras in venues around the world. The ensemble consists of choristers from the Brisbane community and artists from the Vocal Manoeuvres Academy
who have joined forces specifically to create an outstanding symphonic chorus.
Highlights for the Chorus have included performing Holst "The Planets"
with the Orchestra of the Music Makers
under the baton of Tze Law Chan
in Singapore's Esplanade Concert Hall
and Mahler's Second Symphony also with the Orchestra of the Music Makers
in the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore.
The Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS) is widely recognised as a world-class youth orchestra and is the leading ensemble of Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYO). QYS performs an annual concert series at the QPAC and Old Museum Concert Halls, and thrills audiences with music from the baroque to modern periods, with a focus on works from the late 19th and 20th century, and contemporary Australian composers.
Throughout its 45-year history, QYS has toured and performed extensively throughout Australia and internationally in eleven overseas tours (Europe, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand) to much critical acclaim. Past members of QYS hold positions in all of Australia's major symphony orchestras and orchestras of renown throughout the world.
Learn more about Queensland Youth Symphony and QYO on www.qyo.org.au