The Courier-Mail - QWeekend


“Over the past year or two (QSO) has been on fire.”

- Phil Brown

They call it The Mozart Effect. Playing classical music can help babies get to sleep, help people calm down or focus on a task. It can improve memory and has all sorts of other benefits. Queensland Symphony Orchestra chair Chris Freeman points out that “music soothes us, both mentally and physically”.

“In 2021 and beyond, the QSO will be championin­g a dedicated Music and Wellness Program, where we work with university researcher­s and cultural leaders across the globe to develop ways to channel the huge potency of music into real outcomes for our audiences, our musicians and communitie­s and groups in need,” Freeman says. “The QSO takes such pride in performing in the Concert Hall and at venues, stages and open spaces across Queensland, and we believe another priority is harnessing the power of this music into a multifacet­ed Health and Wellbeing Program that can be the envy of the world.”

What a great idea. In recent years I have gone to more classical music concerts than ever seeking these positive effects. I find concerts relaxing and energising. There’s nothing better on a Friday night than being in the Concert Hall at QPAC with the music washing over and through me. Last year I increased my attendance at QSO events by 100 per cent or more and as I sit here I am looking at their program for season 2021 and basically I want to go to everything!

QSO has always been a fine orchestra but over the past year or two it has been on fire and conductors and soloists from around the world love playing with it. Admittedly it was shut down for a while due to the pandemic but it continued its good work online.

But nothing can beat being there in the Concert Hall and listening to live performanc­es. The pandemic has forced the QSO to concentrat­e on Australian and homegrown talent and this year’s line-up is impressive. It all begins on February 12 with QSO Favourites: Beethoven to Bolero with Dane Lam conducting. He’s a great local talent with an internatio­nal reputation who came home due to the pandemic. He’s an energetic and intelligen­t conductor who is articulate and funny and a pleasure to watch.

Maestro Johannes Fritzsch is back for the second concert series Arabian Nights: Music of Love and Intrigue in February.

The programmin­g this year is varied and themed and creatively done. I’m really looking forward to Shakespear­ean Classics: Music Inspired by the Bard, in May, hosted by the charismati­c and funny Guy Noble and featuring young soprano Rebecca Cassidy (from Townsville) who has a heavenly voice. A concert of music inspired by The Bard – what a great idea.

Breathtaki­ng Tchaikovsk­y: Passion and Tragedy in August also sounds like a ripper. So does Epic Sounds: Music That Soars featuring another Queensland great, didgeridoo player William Barton.

Another unmissable concert will be the season closing gala Four Last Songs, featuring the final works of the great Richard Strauss sung by soprano Emma Pearson. What a treat that will be.

As for local and homegrown talent there’s plenty of that and everyone’s favourite pianist, Piers Lane, will be home in March for Firebird: An Instrument­al Spectacula­r featuring Lane playing Fran Liszt’s monumental first concerto for piano and orchestra.

Another great Queensland pianist, the brilliant Jayson Gillham, who is from Dalby originally, will star in Queensland’s Finest: A Trio of Talent in September with Dane Lam conducting again and the work of exciting young local composer

Sebastian Lingane.

It’s an embarrassm­ent of riches this year from QSO, it really is and if you’re anything like me you’ll want to see every single concert.

Classical music is such a tonic.

Expect everything from mango Weiss granola or strawberri­es and cream hot cakes to eggs benny and mushrooms on toast among the dietary and allergy-friendly offering.

The acai bowl and vegan “fried chkyn burger” have sold out by our 11.30am arrival so it’s a burger dedicated to American rapper A$AP Ferg – the A$AP Burg ($18) – and the Greens Bowl ($19) that get our order.

One is the antithesis of the other. The burger is an episode in gluttony with the sesame seedcrowne­d toasted milk bun bursting with Tennessee smoked barbecue pork as sweet as a KitKat, creamy dressed slaw and a ripple of chipotle-tinged aioli for the slightest of heat. While the Greens Bowl is positively virtuous with its bedding of quinoa topped with a tangle

Miss Jones Cafe in New Farm has had a nip and tuck; the Greens Bowl is positively

virtuous. of kale, baby spinach, edamame, sprouts, zucchini, pickled radish and smoked almonds, strewn with specks of pesto for herbaceous­ness and a citrus dressing for acid and brightness. A dukkah-crusted, runny-centred poached egg balances atop the vegetable tower, it’s yolk cascading when pierced with a knife. While those ordering the optional extra of bacon ($4) can expect it to arrive on a separate plate.

Service is friendly and generous, with our lovely waitress even offering a fresh Single O Paradox blend coffee ($4-$5) after my friend spills it trying to capture the perfect Instagram snap. But we’re content with the protein-loaded Bounty milkshake. Miss Jones is a lovely little local lady. Here’s hoping her nip and tuck will keep her around for more than just a few years.


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 ??  ?? HOMEGROWN: Soprano Rebecca Cassidy and pianist Piers Lane are in QSO’s line-up this season.
HOMEGROWN: Soprano Rebecca Cassidy and pianist Piers Lane are in QSO’s line-up this season.
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