Ballarat has always provided excellent opportunities for young musicians to develop their performance skills, particularly with orchestras and bands. The Ballarat Symphony Orchestra's "Stars on the Rise" concert in the Art Gallery of Ballarat was an expansion of this process, giving young soloists valuable experience in performing concertos with an orchestra. Conductor Gyula Cseszko has been at the forefront of this nurturing and support.
Eight-year old 'cellist Lachlan Reid gave a highly creditable performance of Vivaldi's Concert in C (RV 399), displaying great potential in realizing the energetic contrasts and technical demands. Year eleven Grammar student Ilija Pantelich put style and polish to the Cimarosa Oboe Concerto in Cm, shaping a warm tone from the expressive instrument. Pianist Quilby Nelson, in her second year at the Melbourne Conservatorium, gave a confident reading of Mozart's 23rd Piano Concerto while displaying an excellent relationship with the orchestra.
Pianist/composer Jack Stacey joined the orchestra in the world premiere performance of his "Into the Storm", a colourful and dramatic work which showcased Stacey's imagination. It was an entertaining performance, with perhaps some orchestration and structure needing further compositional development.
The orchestra bookended the concert with an exciting performance of Rossini's popular "The Barber of Seville Overture" and Arturo Marquez's "Dancon No.2". The energy of both works was maintained throughout, with the Latin rhythms of the Danzon irresistible.
The use of the Art Gallery for this concert highlighted the wonderful "cross-pollination" of the arts and the shortage of concert standard pianos in Ballarat. For a city of this size the options are limited.