Friday Music
February 2018

St Stephen's Uniting Church
197 Macquarie St, Sydney
(opposite Parliament House)

Donation welcome

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2 February

Rajah Selvarajah (tenor)

Jayne Oishi (soprano)

Bransby Byrne (pianoforte)


1: Angels ever bright and fair (Theodora) - G F Handel (1685 - 1759)
2: Waft her angels (Jeptha) - G F Handel (1685 - 1759)
3: Mein glaubiges Herze (Cantata BWV 68) - J S Bach (1685 - 1750)
4: In Native Worth (Creation) - J Hadyn (1732 - 1809)
5: With verdure clad (Creation) - J Hadyn (1732 - 1809)
6: If with all your hearts (Elijah) - F Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
7: Hear Ye Israel (Elijah) - F Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
8: He counteth all your sorrows (Hymn of Praise) - F Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
9: Thy song shall be alway thy mercy (St Paul) - F Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)


Rajah Selvarajah was born in Malaysia and undertook most of his early musical education there, studying the piano from an early age and performing widely as a treble. After a break, he continued to sing as a tenor throughout his later education, singing  solo roles with SUMS at Sydney University.

After completing a degree in Dental Surgery, Rajah returned to serious vocal study with Maureen Callinan, completing an Associate Dip.(Performance) through Trinity College, London. At this time, he also worked with "Pacific Opera", in their inaugural seasons. In recent years, Rajah has sung with a number of vocal ensembles in Sydney as well as performing as a soloist, specialising in the area of Oratorio, studying this area of performance with Andrew Dalton. At present Rajah is working with Bransby Byrne towards a Licentiate Diploma in vocal performance through Trinity College.

His  performances as a tenor soloist have included: Handel's "Foundling Hospital Anthem" - St. Andrew's Orchestra; "Messiah" - Christ Church St Laurence; Charpentier's "Messe de Minuit" - Ku-Ring-Gai Symphony and ABO; "Carmina Burana" - Malaysian National Symphony; Bach's Magnificat - CCSL. He also continues to indulge his first love, musical theatre, performing  Frederic in "Pirates of Penzance" and Antony in "Sweeny Todd" with Ashfield Musical Society.

In his spare time, Rajah maintains a busy dental practice in Macquarie Street and has a teaching position at the Dental School of Sydney University.


Jayne Oishi (soprano) was born in Brisbane and has been based in Sydney since 2002. Jayne trained at the University of Southern Queensland and Queensland Conservatorium under the tutelage of Gregory Massingham before continuing her studies in London under the late Amanda Thane OAM. Jayne has worked with esteemed conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Masaaki Suzuki, David Zinman, Edo de Waart, Richard Gill and Brett Weymark. Jayne is a Baroque specialist and has been a soloist and ensemble singer with leading orchestral and choral organisations in both Australia and the UK including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Baroque, Cantillation, The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and The Sydney Symphony. Her major roles include The Fairy Queen (The Fairy Queen), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), Fiordiligi (Cosi), Papagena (The Magic Flute), Ida (Fledermaus) and Venus (Thésée). Jayne performs with Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers with whom she has recorded with Lior, Delta Goodrem and Guy Sebastian. In 2014 Jayne performed as backing support with The Rolling Stones when they toured Australia.


Bransby Byrne
His private studio in Parramatta, and in more recent years in Pitt St, Sydney, has been a centre of teaching for many students of Singing, Pianoforte, Organ, Conducting, Theory, Aural Training and Harmony. Many students have gone on to professional careers as performers or teachers.

Bransby has held several musical positions over the years:

• Organist and Choirmaster All Saints' Church Parramatta for 13 years directing a boys' choir of 20 voices and an adult choir of 18 voices. An occasional choir of 25 singers was established to present larger choral works with orchestra [eg. Stabat Mater (Dvorak), Magnificat (J.S. Bach), 'Nelson' Mass (Haydn), Ceremony of Carols(Britten)].

• Director of Music at The King's School, Preparatory School for 5 years.

• Repetiteur with Opera Australia for the opening season of the Sydney Opera House. Productions included- War and Peace (Prokofief); Tannhäuser (Wagner); The Magic Flute (Mozart); The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart); Il Trittico (Puccini); The Barber of Seville (Rossini); Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni); Pagliacci (Leoncavallo); Nabucco and Requiem (Verdi) working with conductors, Sir Edward Downes, Sir Charles MacKerras and (Sir) Mark Elder.

• Musical Director of The Sydney Gilbert and Sullivan Society for 14 years, conducting all the G. & S. operas at least twice. In 1975 Bransby conducted the first complete G. & S. (Mikado) in the Sydney Opera House, which was then followed by The Gondoliers (1977) and the Golden Jubilee Season of the Society.

• Assistant Organist at St Andrew's Cathedral. During this time the Cathedral Choir toured to New Zealand as well as England where services/recitals were sung in 10 cathedrals including Canterbury, Salisbury, York and St Paul's London.

• Bransby also established a symphony orchestra of 60 players — The Western Sinfonia, together with The Western Choral Society and a chamber choir, The Brabyn Singers. For 16 years these ensembles presented subscription concerts at Macquarie University, Sydney University, Sydney Town Hall, Sydney Opera House and St Andrew's Cathedral (where St Matthew Passion (Bach) and Messiah (Handel) were presented, alternate years on Good Friday). He also toured extensively around Australia for many years as official accompanist to June Bronhill.

Bransby Byrne has been involved in the music-making of Sydney and Australia for many years, as Organist, Pianist, Accompanist and Conductor.




9 February

Richard Rourke (clarinet)

Sumiko Yamamura (pianoforte)


Concertino - G. Tartini (1692 - 1770) arr. Gordon Jacob
I Grave
II Allegro molto
III Adagio
IV Allegro risoluto

"Larghetto" from Clarinet Quintet - W.A. Mozart (1756 - 1791)

"Tremor" from Three Dreams - Alan Holley (1954 - )

Sonata for clarinet and piano - F. Poulenc (1899 - 1963)
I Allegro Tristamente
II Romanza
III Allegro con fuoco



Richard Rourke graduated with merit from the Sydney Conservatorium in 1988, having studied clarinet with Gabor Reeves and John St George.

He spent two years freelancing in London, studying under Margaret Archibald and John McCaw.

Since 1992 he has been a permanent member of the Opera Australia Orchestra, performing at the Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet. He has worked under many international conductors such as Richard Bonynge, Simone Young and Richard Hickox, and with singers such as Luciano Pavarotti and Brynn Terfel.

Richard has recorded and performed widely as a soloist and chamber musician, and is a member of the contemporary ensemble "The Gallery Players", under the directorship of Sydney composer Alan Holley, with whom he has had a close association for 20 years.

He has also worked with the Sydney Symphony and the Australia Ensemble. In 2010 he played with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on their trans-Atlantic tour, performing at Tangelwood Festival in USA, and major European summer festivals.

In October 2014 Richard received grants from the George and Nerissa Johnson memorial scholarship fund and the PPCA performers trust in order to undertake professional development in New York with past and present clarinettists of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.



Sumiko Yamamura was born in Japan, and is a very active freelance accompanist. She completed a Bachelor of Music in performance with Elizabeth Powell, and a Graduate Diploma in piano accompaniment with David Miller at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She is an active ensemble pianist. She has worked with many musicians, both instrumentalists and singers, including recitals with former SSO Principal bassoonist John Cran (with ABC-FM), Orana Trio (ABC-FM), Kammer Trio, Sirius Ensemble, TSO Principal trombone Jonathon Ramsay (Fine Music FM recitals with Young Performers Awards) and many others. She performed in the premier of Christopher Gordon's Quintet for Bass Trombone for the International Brass festival in 2014.




16 February


Andrew Sords (violin)

Luke Severn (cello)

Elyane Laussad (pianoforte)



"Sonatensatz" - Scherzo for Violin and Piano, Op. Posth. - J. Brahms (1833 - 1897)

Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66 - F. Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)
    Allegro energico e con fuoco
    Andante espressivo
    Scherzo: molto Allegro quasi Presto
    Finale: Allegro appassionato


Andrew Sords (violin)

Following collaborations with nearly 300 different orchestras on 4 continents, American violinist Andrew Sords has garnered accolades for his performances combining visceral virtuosity and ravishing tone. Hailed in the press as "a fully formed artist" (Kalisz-Poland News), "utterly radiant" (Canada's Arts Forum), and "exceptionally heartfelt and soulful" (St. Maarten's Daily Herald), Sords has received numerous awards and distinctions reflecting his career trajectory, including the Pittsburgh Concert Society's Career Grant, the National Shirley Valentin Award, and the NFMC Young Artist Award. A recent debut with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra (Sibelius concerto) prompted the Arizona Daily Sun to declare: "[the Sibelius concerto] is a formidable challenge for any violinist, and Sords met that challenge in a flawless performance displaying not only mastery of his instrument but also maturity and sensitivity in the interpretation of this complex work."

Born in Newark, Delaware, Sords began piano lessons at 5, and shortly thereafter asked for a violin. Sords studied for seven years with Liza Grossman before becoming a pupil of Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Chee-Yun Kim at both the Cleveland Institute of Music and Southern Methodist University. Early competition successes led to international management and various debuts: of Sords' first Australian performance, the Melbourne Age declared, "Sords made a voluble soloist in the A Major Turkish concerto, forging his statements with an admirably firm clarity and bringing out the work's virtuosity as often as possible. His bowing arm showed an attractive suppleness and an attention to variety of phrasing that made even the episodic finale a pleasure."

Andrew Sords has appeared with celebrated conductors and orchestras. The 2017/18 season features appearances with the Flagstaff Symphony, Pueblo Symphony, Spartanburg Philharmonic, Southeastern Ohio Symphony, Des Moines Orchestra, Grand Junction Symphony, Durham Chamber Orchestra, Longmont Symphony, and the Guatemala Bravissimo Festival. In recent seasons, concerto collaborations have included the Oakland Symphony, Windsor Symphony, Motor City Symphony, Kalisz Philharmonic, North State Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Cleveland Philharmonic, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, Gulf Coast Symphony, Melbourne Chamber Symphony, and the Dvorak concerto at Toronto's famed Glenn Gould Studio. Sords made his UK concerto debut in Edinburgh and Scotland (Tchaikovsky) with the Glasgow Philharmonia, and has a forthcoming Croatian debut (Mendelssohn) with Miran Vaupotic. In 2016, Sords returned to his childhood orchestra, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, with the Barber Concerto (Liza Grossman). A recent outdoor performance of the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra was heard by an estimated audience of 30,000. Additionally, Sords has worked with myriad conductors including Robert Franz, Michael Morgan, Sidney Harth, Mario Mateus, Andrew Sewell, Charles Latshaw, Carl Topilow, Scott Seaton, Luis Biava, and Matthew Kraemer.

As a prolific recitalist, Sords has appeared in St. Croix, Washington, D.C., Maui, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and at St. Augustine's (FL) EMMA Series at Flagler College. In Fall 2016, Sords returned to Australia to present the Mendelssohn concerto and Vaughan-Williams "Lark Ascending", and collaborated with cellists John Walz and Joseph Johnson in performances of the Brahms "Double" concerto. A 2015 Canada tour with the Mendelssohn Piano Trios and Violin Sonata was reprised with Cheryl Duvall and Luke Severn in 2017 with the Brahms Trio Cycle in Montreal, Guelph, and Toronto. First invited by San Miguel de Allende's ProMusica Series in 2011, Sords has returned with six varied recitals, and performed two programs for West Palm Beach's Norton Museum Series. As a frequent soloist in the Caribbean, Sords has appeared in Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Grand Cayman, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a series of performances with the Trinidad and Tobago Youth Philharmonic was profiled by "STRINGS MAGAZINE". From a Cleveland recital with Eriko Izumida, the review enthused: "Expertly performed, he brought a full and rich sound and gave a heroic performance of Ravel's 'Tzigane', powerful and in control of the many notes. Sords impressed with his total command of technique, consummate musicianship and bravura as he tossed of scads of notes and sang out like a diva…he and Izumida kept the audience in the palm of their hands all afternoon." (Cleveland Classical)

Sords has appeared on the festival circuit including summer appearances in Fairbanks, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and the Republic of Georgia with Liana Isakadze's World Virtuosi. With Ms. Isakadze's ensemble, Sords appeared in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. In 2018, Sords will collaborate with pianist Elyane Laussade at Australia's Brunswick Beethoven Festival. After a successful debut at the Glenn Gould Theatre in 2016, Sords will return with the Elgar Violin Concerto celebrating 2018's Canada Day. Appearing annually in Canada with Cheryl Duvall, their collaborations next season include a return engagement on the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society.

A man of diverse and inclusive interests, Sords competed in the charity fundraiser "Pittsburgh's Dancing With The Stars" as the first classical artist to do so. Sords has performed numerous times for LGBT outreach, including both the Tchaikovsky and Beethoven Violin Concerti in repeat collaborations with the Minnesota Philharmonic and Atlanta Philharmonic. Sords was featured four times as a guest on Sirius XM's Derek and Romaine Show, profiled by "OUT Magazine", NPR'S Morning Edition, and has been interviewed by hundreds of media outlets. Sords performed the National Anthem for ESPN2's WNBA Pride Game in 2014, and in 2017, Sords opened a sold-out Cleveland Indians game with the National Anthem at Cleveland's Progressive Field. Sords's recent collaboration with Sean Christopher on the New-Age album "Transcendence" has been a commercial and critical success, with reviews stating: "much of this is owed to the gorgeous and precise playing by Andrew Sords, whose violin adds a thrumming undercurrent of pure life throughout the album's stainless steel structure." This album is available on iTunes,, and CDBaby.



Luke Severn (violoncello)

Australian cellist Luke Severn is noted for his performances and compositions alike. In recent seasons, Mr. Severn was awarded Monash University's Concerto Award, the Peers Coetmore Memorial Scholarship, and the Vice Chancellor's Ensemble Leadership Prize. As a composer, Mr. Severn is the two-time winner of the Australian Children's Music Foundation National Songwriting competition.

In recent seasons he has performed the Elgar Concerto with the Monash Academy Orchestra and the Essendon Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 made his North American debut touring Canada with an all Brahms Programme alongside noted North American virtuosi Andrew Sords (violin) and Cheryl Duvall (piano). He looks forward to making his debut in the USA in 2018.

The 2018 season will include many special projects and performances including the inaugural launch of "Humanation", a recording and performance project featuring the works of LGBT+ composers throughout history and from around the world. He looks forward to many recitals through the year with his duo partner pianist Elyane Laussade.

Mr. Severn holds a Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours from Monash University in Melbourne. He has studied with noted pedagogues Karine Georgian and Josephine Vains, and performed in masterclasses for Lynn Harrell, Richard Aaron, and Maria Kliegel.

As a composer he draws most of his inspiration from fellow performers, working with soloists and ensembles alike to create his work. He has written for a variety of musicians and musical groups, including The Australian Children's Choir and Melbourne based pianist Elyane Laussade.



Elyane Laussade (pianoforte)

Originally from the USA, Elyane has now established herself as one of Australia's finest pianists. She has appeared in the MSO's Metropolis Festival with Marcus Stenz and has been featured many times by ABC Classic FM and 3MBS in studio recordings and live broadcasts. She performed St. Saens' Carnival of the Animals with the MSO in Hamer Hall with pianist Benjamin Martin under the baton of Anthony Ingliss.  Elyane performed De Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in the Myer Bowl in a concert which was broadcast across Australia.

As a soloist, Elyane has performed in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the USA and Europe.  She has toured Taiwan where she performed recitals in Taipei, Tainan, Chaiyi, and at the National Concert Hall in Taichung.  Elyane was also invited to perform at the first recorded performance at the Elizabeth Murdoch Recital Hall in the Melbourne Recital Centre which aired on the ABC television program "Catalyst." She has also been asked this season to give a lecture/recital at the Performers' Voice Symposium in Singapore. Elyane's current recital tour in the USA includes two different solo programs, one of which is the program that she has recently released on a cd entitled "Just for You." Early in 2013 Elyane will be joining 27 other pianists from around Australia to perform in the Beethoven 32 Sonatas Marathon at Federation Square's BMW Edge for 3MBS Radio.

Elyane enjoys a rich chamber music involvement along with her solo career.  Sometimes in out of the ordinary venues, she recently joined colleagues from the MSO in Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time, which had a special late-night performance in the Old Melbourne Gaol.  Her love for the musical experience as a close encounter has inspired her to run a special series of intimate recitals at the Laussade Studio in Melbourne, both as a soloist and in collaboration with Australian musicians and leading soloists from abroad.





26 February

Hamish Wagstaff (organ)


Praeludium in C (BuxWV 173) - Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

From 24 Pièces en style libre - Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

Marche Moderne - Edwin Lemare (1875-1934)

Benedictus - Max Reger (1873-1916)

Fugue in G Minor (BWV 578) - J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

Folk Tune - Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)

Carillon-Sortie - Henri Mulet (1878-1967)


Hamish Wagstaff commenced his organ studies in 2012 with Robert Wagner as a student at Sydney Grammar School. As former Organ Scholar of the Church of St John the Evangelist, Dee Why, Hamish accompanied and frequently directed the Parish Choir at weekly Solemn Mass and Evensong, standing in as Acting Director of Music before leaving in February 2016. Until December 2017 he was Organist at St Matthew's Church, Manly, and currently is in high demand as a relief organist. Apart from the organ, Hamish plays the piano and is highly involved in choirs as both a singer and a director. Recent recital appearances have included the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Town Hall, St Andrew's Cathedral, and St Clement Dane's, London. He will begin his studies for a Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in early March.



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