Helf­gott shines in the Sara­ton spot­light

Pro­gram a hit with orches­tra and crowd

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - Adam Houri­gan adam.houri­gan@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

IN­TER­NA­TION­ALLY renowned pi­anist David Helf­gott took a ca­pac­ity crowd at the Sara­ton Theatre on a musical jour­ney on Sun­day.

The guest artist, whose enig­matic life story was cap­tured in the Os­car-win­ning film Shine, showed his vir­tu­os­ity in a se­ries of pieces, as well as a spe­cially ar­ranged piece with the Clarence Val­ley Orches­tra.

His unique style shone through, singing along with some of the beau­ti­ful melodies, talk­ing his way through tech­ni­cal sec­tions, and greet­ing his fel­low mu­si­cians and the crowd, who glee­fully fol­lowed, stand­ing to ap­plaud af­ter every joy­ous per­for­mance.

IN­TER­NA­TION­ALLY renowned pi­anist David Helf­gott got a lit­tle help from some new lo­cal musical friends to head­line the an­nual Af­ter­noon at the Proms con­cert on Sun­day.

With a hug and a kind word for every mu­si­cian back­stage, Mr Helf­gott played a piece with the Clarence Val­ley Orches­tra, and solo works to a cap­ti­vated full house at the Sara­ton Theatre, the au­di­ence ris­ing from their seats af­ter every per­for­mance.

“I think it’s fan­tas­tic for Grafton to have an in­ter­na­tional artist play, and to have our lo­cal orches­tra be able to play along­side is just won­der­ful,” con­cert direc­tor Greg Butcher said.

“It is rare to be able to have an orches­tra and cho­rus of this size and qual­ity in a re­gional area.”

Along with Mr Helf­gott’s head­line per­for­mance, the orches­tra and cho­rus played a range of mu­sic in a pro­gram ar­ranged by Mr Butcher, in­clud­ing dra­matic well-known works such as Khacha­turian’s Sabre Dance, Peter Allen’s I Still Call Aus­tralia Home, and a spe­cially writ­ten pizzi­cato strings work com­posed by Mr Butcher.

And it wouldn’t be a Proms with­out the tra­di­tional end-of-show sin­ga­long and flag wav­ing which sent the crowd out with a roar.

Mr Butcher said the pro­ceeds from the an­nual con­certs had raised more than $40,000 for the com­mu­nity, with the orches­tra’s next event a Christ­mas car­ols con­cert at Alumy Creek in De­cem­ber, as well as west at In­verell and Ten­ter­field.

PHOTO: ADAM HOURI­GAN

SHIN­ING LIGHT: Guest per­former David Helf­gott speaks back­stage at the Sara­ton Theatre af­ter per­form­ing at the an­nual Af­ter­noon at the Proms con­cert.

PHOTOS: ADAM HOURI­GAN

BUZZING: Guest per­former David Helf­gott glances up at the au­di­ence as he plays his en­core piece Flight of the Bum­ble­bee at the Af­ter­noon at the Proms con­cert.

Clarence Val­ley Orches­tra direc­tor Greg Butcher con­ducts the Af­ter­noon at the Proms con­cert.

The Clarence Val­ley Orches­tra and Cho­rus.

Patricia He­witt in the orches­tra cho­rus.

David Helf­gott reaches out to the ap­plause of an au­di­ence mem­ber af­ter his per­for­mance.

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