23 September 2019

New Concertmaster to lead CSO for first time at Queanbeyan's Music by the River

| Ian Bushnell
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The CSO performs last year at Music by the River in Queanbeyan. Photos: Supplied.

The banks of the Queanbeyan River will be filled with orchestral favourites and festivities once again this Saturday as the Canberra Symphony Orchestra hops the border to present its third Music by the River concert at Queen Elizabeth II Park.

Presented by Icon Water in partnership with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, the now award-winning concert will see the CSO perform a number of instantly recognisable orchestral classics, including Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro Overture, Handel’s Queen of Sheba from Solomon, Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, and much more.

Music by the River 2018 received the Community Event of the Year award as part of this year’s QPRC Australia Day awards and celebrations, and the signature event attracts music lovers from across the region.

This year violinist Kirsten Williams joins the orchestra as Concertmaster, and she will be leading the orchestra for the first time in Music by the River.

“I am delighted that my first concert as Concertmaster of the amazing Canberra Symphony Orchestra is Music By the River in Queanbeyan. We will be performing a smorgasbord of recognisable orchestral classics that are guaranteed to enchant, delight and move the audience,” she said.


Violinist Kirsten Williams joins the orchestra as Concertmaster this year.

Williams studied with Alice Waten at the Sydney Conservatorium and graduated with a High Distinction in the Performers Diploma at the age of 16. She then studied with Igor Ozim in Switzerland before joining the first violins in the Royal Opera House Orchestra at Covent Garden and spending two years with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. She has been a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra as Associate Leader, and guest Concertmaster of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. In 2000 she was appointed Associate Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

As a soloist, she has appeared with the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Neuchatel Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonische Akademie Bern, as well as the Metropolitan Orchestra, ACO and the West Australian, Queensland and Sydney symphony orchestras.

She also has a passion for playing music for healing purposes: she has recorded two CDs for the Australian Bush Flower Essences and in 2014 was named Volunteer of the Year for her work playing to the babies in the Intensive Care Unit at Westmead Children’s Hospital. That same year she became patron of the Goulburn Strings Project, designed to bring music education to low-socioeconomic and disadvantaged children in regional Australia.

A CSO spokesperson said the orchestra looked forward to the impact Williams’ musicianship and leadership will bring to the Canberra community and surrounding region.

With the forecast for Saturday being sunny and warm, the river banks will make a spectacular setting as the sun goes down. Audiences are encouraged to bring their picnics and rugs, and experience the local gourmet street food that will be available.

The Program

  • MOZART Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K.493: Overture 4’
  • HAYDN Symphony no.104, D major (London). 1st mvt. 8’
  • MASSENET Thais Meditation. 5’
  • BEETHOVEN Coriolanus Overture, op.62. 7’
  • HANDEL Solomon: Entrance of the Queen of Sheba. 4’
  • MOZART Symphony no.40, K.550, G minor. 1st and 4th mvt. 7’, 5’


  • ROSSINI L’Italiana in Algeri: Overture. 9’
  • HAYDN March for the Royal Society of Musicians. 4’
  • BARBER Adagio for strings. 8’
  • FAURE Pavane, op.50. 7’
  • MENDELSSOHN The Hebrides, op.26 (Fingal’s Cave). 10’

Music by the River
Saturday 2 March, 2019
Queen Elizabeth II Park, Queanbeyan, 6.00pm.

For more information and ticketing services, visit cso.org.au or qprc.nsw.gov.au.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

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