Brisbane’s renowned chamber music ensemble, Southern Cross Soloists will mark their 20th anniversary this year with an exquisite celebratory concert series featuring internationally acclaimed guest performers presented at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas congratulated Southern Cross Soloists on their special celebratory program.

“I applaud the Soloists for their 2015 program which brings together an impressive list of some of Australia’s most talented artists as their guests. The Soloists should reflect on the many successes of the company as one that has helped set the benchmark for Australian chamber music over the past two decades. I am sure their anniversary program will be popular among their loyal audiences and newcomers alike.

“2015 is a special year for both the Soloists and for QPAC – we are both celebrating milestones with QPAC celebrating 30 years and the Soloists’ 20 years. There is a synergy between QPAC and the Soloists, who are one of our Companies in Residence; we are curating strong programs that engage Queensland audiences, and over past decades have helped shape the local arts industry as one that is dynamic and innovative,” said Mr Kotzas.

The special 2015 program commences with a sizzling start on Sunday 1 March. In Bella España, the Soloists will perform with multi-award winning guitarist Slava Grigoryan and 2014 Australian National Piano Award winner Alex Raineri. The fiery program will feature Latin-influenced works celebrating dance and romance and include music by Rodrigo and De Milan paired with the flaming sounds of Villa Lobos’ Guitar Concerto and the enchanted De Falla piano concerto – Nights in the Garden of Spain.

On Sunday 28 June the celebrations continue with a program of exquisite French ‘musique pour la chambre’ with special guest London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane, who is widely acclaimed for his engaging live performances and Marshall McGuire, hailed as one of the world’s leading harpists in contemporary and baroque repertoire. French Revelations will present an array of French masterworks including Jean-Fery Rebel’s Chaos, Poulenc’s famous wind music and the magnificent Allegro and Presto finale from Saint Saens’ legendary Piano Concerto No 2.

The final performance in the Southern Cross Soloists’ anniversary season at QPAC on Sunday 22 November entitled Great Legends will feature celebrated operatic bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, who joins the Soloists for the first time in a concert dedicated to great composers and legendary characters. Direct from London, Australian pianist Jayson Gillham, acclaimed as one of the finest pianists of his generation, will also take to the stage with the Soloists as a guest in this exciting concert.

This not-to-be-missed 2015 finale concert includes a world premiere commission from Hollywood-based Australian composerJoseph Twist based on speeches by great minds of the 21st century including Stephen Hawking and Steve Jobs. Powerhouse works from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Purcell and Grieg also feature, highlighting the talents of the Soloists and their guests.

Creative Director Southern Cross Soloists Tania Frazer said the ensemble is excited to present the special 20th Anniversary Concert Series program which features a record number of super star guest artists of any season program to date for the ensemble.

“In creating our anniversary program we looked to the past and the future. We wanted to acknowledge the people who have been part of our journey and Brisbane as our city of origin.

“Some of the guest artists in our 2015 season concerts we have had long associations with such as Slava Grigoryan and Marshall McGuire. We recorded a CD with Slava in the early days of our ensemble and both of these artists we toured extensively with.

“As for the wonderful Teddy Tahu Rhodes, we both were soloists with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and I have been trying for many years to get him to join us as a guest and in 2015 the stars have finally aligned.

“Our program also features three outstanding pianists, who are all originally from Brisbane and are international stars each at different stages of their careers. We are delighted to showcase these superstars and to highlight the fact that Brisbane has produced three such talented pianists who are all in demand currently on the world stage.

“Our program and calibre of our guest artists have already attracted increased interest from people living interstate who plan to fly up to Brisbane for the concerts.

“We invite you to join us in celebrating our anniversary year as we proudly share the stage with a stellar line up of guest artists,” said Ms Frazer.

The Southern Cross Soloists performances are presented in Concert Hall Reverse Mode with the audience seated in close proximity to the performers on the Concert Hall stage. Instead of performing to the main auditorium, the artists face the choir balconies and choir retractable seats. This seating arrangement is known as reverse mode and creates an intimate and relaxed atmosphere.

Established in Brisbane in 1995 and now an internationally successful ensemble, Southern Cross Soloists has helped set the benchmark for Australian chamber music. With a well-deserved reputation for artistic excellence, the Soloists continue to delight audiences with their constantly evolving repertoire and annual programs.

The ensemble enjoys a busy schedule of regional and national performances and is regularly joined by visiting international artists. The ensemble presents the Bangalow Music Festival, held in August each year, and develops Australian youth musical talent through their award-winning Music School regional education program.

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