The Courier-Mail

MUSIC LOVERS TO SHARE CLASSICAL FAVOURITES

- BELINDA SEENEY

BENAZIR Anwar was a child growing up in Russian-occupied Afghanista­n when she first heard the haunting Swan Theme from Tchaikovsk­y’s Swan Lake.

It formed the soundtrack to a Russian movie that aired during the few hours of television broadcast each day and she scoured the closing credits to discover more.

“I can’t really remember much about the movie or what it was called but that piece of music just caught my attention,” Anwar recalled. “It struck a chord with me. “It’s so deep and it brings all my emotions out. It’s really embarrassi­ng, my kids say I always cry when I hear it because it’s just so emotional that it brings tears to my eyes.”

The mother of two, who migrated to Australia as a 14year-old in 1987, has nominated Swan Theme for Brisbane Festival’s Symphony For Me initiative in September.

Music lovers were encouraged earlier this year to share their favourite piece of classical music via the Brisbane Festival website and Facebook page and describe what it meant to them.

Organisers are sifting through submission­s and will choose six pieces to be played as part of a free concert on September 19 during the festival.

Those whose nomination­s comprise the final score will be invited on to the Concert Hall stage to experience the full force of their favourite song performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

While Tchaikovsk­y’s distinctiv­e piece of music stayed with Anwar over the ensuing decades, it took on greater significan­ce last year when she turned to classical music to recover from brain surgery.

“When I listen to music it helps me forget about the pain for a while and just makes me feel better. I haven’t seen the ballet performed – I was too sick when ( American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake) was here.

“I’ve never heard it performed live but I would really like to. When I told the kids I’d put in for Symphony For Me they basically just said, ‘Oh no mum, you’re going to embarrass us because you’re going to cry on the stage’! ”

Anwar, who also listed Mozart’s piano concertos 21, 22 and 23 among her favourite pieces, said her daughter, 12, and son, 9, play the flute and have developed their own appreciati­on for classical music.

Also hoping to take her place on the Concert Hall stage alongside the Queensland Symphony Orchestra is eight-year-old Clare Pausina of Eatons Hill.

The pint-sized viola player nominated In The Hall With The Mountain King, composed by Edvard Grieg, to accompany Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play Peer Gynt.

Clare first heard it as a fiveyear-old when her Prep teacher played it in class with devoted dad Steve later tracking down a CD recording and accompanyi­ng children’s book for his besotted daughter.

“It makes me feel happy when I listen to it at home and in the car,” she says.

Clare says the Harry Potter theme music is another favourite and her aim is to learn how to play it on her viola.

Jessica Cottis will conduct the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for the 2½-hour Symphony For Me concert.

Tickets for the one-off performanc­e are free and can be booked online from 9am Monday, September 7.

 ?? Photo: Sarah Marshall ?? STRIKING A CHORD: Benazir Anwar and Clare Pausina, 8, are hoping their submission­s make the cut for the Symphony For Me concert at QPAC as part of the Brisbane Festival.
Photo: Sarah Marshall STRIKING A CHORD: Benazir Anwar and Clare Pausina, 8, are hoping their submission­s make the cut for the Symphony For Me concert at QPAC as part of the Brisbane Festival.
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