A Burning Desire

The Song Company’s 2014 season marks its 30th anniversary and the final stage of a four year cycle based on the elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire.  The anniversary year program represents the heat and passion of Fire and the music which expresses it. The season will feature two international Guest Directors; Scottish-based multidisciplinary artist Josh Armstrong, and from Denmark, composer and conductor, Bo Holten.

Artistic Director, Roland Peelman says: “Our Elements Cycle started with Bach in 2011, a reminder of where we all come from and the earth we return to. The Cycle finishes in 2014 with Bach, nothing less than his magisterial B Minor Mass, a work of galvanising fiery determination and conviction. That is the fire that sustains and nourishes us through the many activities The Song Company is involved in: concerts, education, tours, recordings and special projects that move the boundaries of our vocal artistry.”

To purchase tickets, click on the corresponding city.


Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong, Blue Mountains/Western Sydney



Fire of Love

The Fire of Love explores the nature of love across the ages.  Fire, perhaps the most powerful of all elements, signifies heat, purification and change.  Young love, sweet love, old love, any kind of love is worth a song or two.  From the courtly romance of the troubadours to the sensuous madrigal musings of Marenzio, this concert explores the fire of emotion stretching all the way to the classic songs of Jacques Brel and Cole Porter.  And some recent but equally poignant love songs by Bon Iver and Pink prove our point: love is eternal.

Program includes:

  • Pink and Billy Mann, Glitter in the Air
  • Raimbaud de Vaqueiras, Calenda Maya
  • Songs from Carmina Burana
  • Luca Marenzio, Baci Soavi e Cari
  • Josquin Desprez, Baisez-moi and other chansons
  • Jacques Brel, La chanson des vieux Amants
  • Martin Wesley-Smith, Together
  • Bon Iver, Skinny Love
To purchase tickets, click on the corresponding city below.
Blue Mountains/Western Sydney Sat 22 February, 3.00pm Blue Mountains Uniting Church, Blackheath
Canberra Sat 1 March, 6.00pm Parliament House
Melbourne Tues 4 March, 6.00pm Melbourne Recital Centre
Newcastle Thurs 27 February, 7.00pm Newcastle Conservatorium
Sydney Sun 23 February, 3.00pm City Recital Hall Angel Place
Wollongong Sun 2 March, 3.00pm Wollongong ART Gallery

The Little Match Girl Passion

For Easter 2014 we combine a near-forgotten historic masterpiece with a recent Pulitzer Prize winning score.  Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, The Little Match Girl Passion is presented movingly in collaboration with acclaimed Scottish company, Cryptic.  David Lang sets the well-known fable as a highly personal passion using biblical texts and crowd responses from Bach’s St Matthew Passion exploring Easter’s theme of purification.

Well before Bach’s iconic passions, Christoph Demantius wrote polyphonic settings of the passion play that rate amongst the most richly expressive statements of the late Renaissance.  The pairing of Demantius’ pathos and Lang’s insightful narrative takes us to the heart of the Easter sacrifice.

The Little Match Girl Passion will be presented in semi-staged theatrical form by Cryptic (Glasgow) directed by Josh Armstrong in the atmospheric space of St Mary’s Crypt, St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.


  • Christoph Demantius, St John Passion
  • David Lang, The Little Match Girl Passion
Blue Mountains/Western Sydney Mon 21 April, 6.00pm St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta
Melbourne Tues 22 April, 6.00pm Melbourne Recital Centre
Newcastle Thurs 17 April, 7.00pm Tantrum Theatre
Sydney Tues & Wed 15 & 16 April, 7.30pm St Mary’s Crypt
Wollongong Sun 13 April, 5.00pm Wollongong ART Gallery

Vocal Fireworks

Marking the final stage of a four year cycle based on the elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire, The Song Company celebrates the heat and passion of Fire and the music which expresses it.  In this first-time collaboration with The Song Company, Danish Guest Director and composer Bo Holten leads a fiery program of neck-breaking speeds, hair-raising leaps and awe-inspiring harmonies. 

Bo Holten is one of Denmark’s most admired musicians.  His Operation Orfeo is his country’s most performed opera.  Holten’s impressive oeuvre includes concertos and vocal works, and music for Lars von Trier’s film The Element of Crime.

Program includes:

  • Carlo Gesualdo, three madrigals
  • Luca Marenzio, three madrigals
  • Luciano Berio, Sequenza for voice
  • Bo Holten, Rota Veneris
  • Raffaele Marcellino, Due Madrigali
  • Mateo Flecha, El Fuego
Blue Mountains/Western Sydney Sat 30 August, 3.00pm Blue Mountains Uniting Church, Blackheath
Canberra Sat 6 September, 6.00pm Wesley Uniting Church Forrest
Melbourne Tues 2 September, 6.00pm Melbourne Recital Centre
Newcastle Thurs 28 August, 7.00pm Newcastle Conservatorium
Sydney Sun 31 August, 3.00pm City Recital Hall Angel Place
Wollongong Sun 7 September, 3.00pm Wollongong ART Gallery

Bach Mass in B Minor

In a rare soloistic performance, the singers of The Song Company and Ironwood Chamber Ensemble combine to present Johann Sebastian Bach’s magnificent Mass in B Minor featuring one voice per part vocal scoring.  It took a Lutheran composer to write the most expansive and profound setting of the Latin Mass ever conceived.  Initiated in 1733 in order to obtain the title ‘Electoral Saxon Court Composer’ from the Catholic sovereign Augustus III, the full mass was only completed towards the end of Bach’s life.  Widely regarded as one of the supreme achievements of classical music, this monumental work combines Bach’s stylistic and technical brilliance.


  • Johann Sebastian Bach, Mass in B Minor BWV 232
Canberra Sat 25 October, 6.00pm St Christopher’s Cathedral Forrest
Newcastle Thurs 23 October, 7.00pm Christ Church Cathedral
Sydney Sun 19 October, 3.00pm City Recital Hall Angel Place
Additional 2013 Concerts

The Arrangement

Ken Unsworth, one of Australia’s greatest living artists, never ceases to think of gritty grand projects that are hard to categorise. ‘The Arrangement’ is a new future project that kicks off in the AGNSW this year with a concert performance of the beautiful score written especially for this work. Using words by Housman, Lorca, Auden, Googe and Rilke, UK composer Jonathan Cooper wrote a colourful cantata for voices and instruments, a work that easily stands alone on its musical merits and poetic scope.On 16 August 2013 6.45pm, the work will be premiered by the combined forces of the Song Company with Lamorna Nightingale, flute, Jason Noble, clarinet and Geoffrey Gartner, cello. The ensemble will be directed by Roland Peelman from the piano.For more information and tickets click here

A Cappella by the Sea

Join The Song Company on Friday, 6th of September at Star of the Sea Theatre, Manly at 8 pm as we join in this inaugural festival to showcase the depth of talent in the field of a cappella.

For more information and tickets click here

Uplift Yourself

The Song Company 2013 Concert Season

The Song Company’s 2013 Season turns to the element of ‘Air’ for inspiration as part of a four year cycle investigating Earth, Water, Air and Fire.

The Prophet will feature voices and oud in music composed by Joseph Tawadros and influenced by both Eastern and Western traditions.

Our tribute to John Dowland features the lute, that most intimate of instruments, bringing together the greatest living lutenist of our times, Nigel North, and performing John Downland’s exquisite and moving music written for the lute.

The Season concludes with a return to the extensive repertoire of Christmas music featuring a selection of angelic music from Germany, Italy and France and, of course from Australia. Of Birds and Angels will include Isaac’s Christmas Motets, Monteverdi’s Sacred Psalms and Edward’s Kingfisher Psalms.

Dowland’s Lute

with Nigel North, lute

One of the great delights of musical discovery in the last century has been the steady revival of John Dowland (1563-1626) by artists as diverse as Percy Grainger or, more recently, Emma Kirkby or Sting. As a way of celebrating Dowland’s 450th anniversary in 2013, the Song Company has invited the greatest English lutenist of our time, Nigel North for an all-out tribute to the elusive English master and his time. Dowland spent the peak of his career as private lutenist to the Danish king, Christian IV, but yearned for London and a posting at the English court. His work owes as much to the changing personal patronage he depended upon as to the subtle meanings and allusions of Elizabethan English. Whilst Shakespeare himself tred the boards, Dowland’s lute and pen produced some of the most heart-breaking music of all times.


John Dowland (1563-1626) solo songs, ensembles and lute pieces

John Ward (1571-1638) madrigals

Thomas Ravenscroft (1582/92-1635) songs, rounds and catches

Performance Schedule:

Sun 1 September 5pm Christianity, Barton – purchase tickets
Mon 2 September 7.30pm Wollongong Town Hall – purchase tickets
Thur 5 September 7.30pm City Recital Hall Angel Place – purchase tickets
Sat 7 September 7.30pm Newcastle Conservatorium – purchase tickets
Tue 10 September 6pm Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre- purchase tickets

Of Birds and Angels

angelic, magical Christmas music from Australia and the world

Mirth and magic from all creatures celestial provide the substance of this trademark Song Company Christmas program. Angels and birds intertwine in a concert that blends the best of pagan and Christian traditions in Australia and in the world. Carols in Catalan, in Ukranian and in Spanish, but also beautiful pieces by composers living in our midst: Ross Edwards and Christopher Willcock. With a twinkle in the eye and a smile from the heart, these songs connect us to the great mystery of life.


Clement Janequin, Le chant des oiseaux

Thomas Ravenscroft, There were three ravens

Claudio Monteverdi, Psalm 113 Laudate pueri

Heinrich Isaac, Puer natus est – Ecce Virgo Concipies

Ross Edwards, Sacred Kingfisher Psalms

Christopher Willcock sj., Etiquette with Angels

Selection of stories and popular carols from around the world including Britten’s Corpus Christi carol and William James’ Carol of the Birds

Duration: 100 mins including interval

Performance Schedule:

Sun 24 November 3.00pm Blackheath Uniting Church – purchase tickets
Mon 25 November 7.30pm Wollongong Town Hall – purchase tickets
Wed 27 November 7.30pm City Recital Hall Angel Place – purchase tickets
Sat 30 November 7.30pm Newcastle Conservatorium – purchase tickets
Sun 1 December 5pm Centre for Christianity, Canberra – purchase tickets
Wed 4 December 6pm Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre – purchase tickets

Past Subscription Series

Ship To Shore (2-14 November 2012)

The Song Company with guest artists Slava and Leonard Grigoryan (Guitar)

Ship to Shore features the extraordinary talents of the Grigoryan Brothers in a spirited performance for the end of the year.

The brothers Grigoryan are stellar performers. Seamlessly crossing the boundaries of classical and popular guitar styles, they are the perfect collaborators for this rollicking, swashbuckling program of shanties and songs about the sea.

From the coast of Newfoundland to the shores of Ireland and from the ports of Portugal to the sundrenched beaches of Brazil, the men that laboured on the tall ships were expected to sing. Back home, the women left behind found their own expression for loss and longing.

This concert contains some of the most memorable sea shanties written as well as adaptations of classic sea songs and a variety of music from around the seafaring world.

Sunken Dreams (5-15 August 2012)

The Song Company with guest artist Claire Edwardes* (vibraphone/water percussion)

Two halves, two very unique and contrasting performances that fuse contemporary and classical music influences, prepare to drift away.

Monet’s paintings of waterlilies are as iconic as Debussy’s delicately traced musical miniatures. In Sunken Dreams we delve into the heart of European impressionism using six voices and the liquid sounds of the vibraphone played by Claire Edwardes.

Genuine water percussion, including the rare waterphone and submerged gongs, form the context for a classic work by New Zealander Jack Body. His beautifully balanced sequence of lullabies and dreams breathes the wind of the Pacific and was specially conceived for the Song Company.

Love in Venice

The Song Company with guest artists Tommie Anderson (Lute/Theorbo/Guitar) and Laura Vaughan (Lirone/Gamba)

A hilarious comedy set in the waters of Venice which tells the story of an unlikely encounter — complemented by nine mind blowing madrigals. Prepare to laugh and fall in love.

Venice’s power at sea once seemed indestructible. For centuries, the city’s economic super status was reflected through an incredible flowering of the arts, demonstrated in painting and in music. The palaces and churches alongside its famous canals became the repositories of extraordinary work; to this day the envy of the world.

For this all-Venetian extravaganza, Roland Peelman has selected nine beautiful madrigals by Monteverdi as counterpart to Banchieri’s 1623 ‘Boat from Venice to Padua’. This hilarious and early musical comedy sees the Song Company expertly flit between a set of dubious commedia characters who share an encounter on a small boat.

Tears of Peter (St Mary’s Cathedral Crypt, Sydney only)

The Song Company with guest artist Satsuki Odamura (koto)

“This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times”

Matthew 26: 34

This Easter, witness one of the greatest musical achievements of the 16th century fully re-imagined featuring the evocative sounds of the Japanese koto.

A new Easter project presented in the superb vaults of St Mary’s crypt is this production of Lassus’ last opus, an intricate cycle of twenty-one spiritual madrigals and one of the greatest musical achievements of all times. Written for seven voices and dedicated to Pope Clement VIII, three weeks before the composer’s death in 1594, the work depicts the stages of grief experienced by Peter after his denial of Christ.

Traditional koto music from Japan, as played by Satsuki Odamura, adds a contemporary human counterpoint to this masterpiece of the past.

Subscribers from around Australia are invited to select this concert as a fourth concert in their 2012 package. Please note this concert can only be selected as part of a four concert package. Seating is limited and single tickets to this event may not be available

Past Concert

THE PROPHET – March 2013

a collaboration with Joseph Tawadros

with Joseph Tawadros, oud

Few books have left such a profound impression on so many people in East and West. The Prophet, the best known book by the Lebanese poet, philosopher and artist Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), is one of the most widely read books around the world and still touches the hearts of young and old. Millions of Arabic-speaking people consider him one of the greatest thinkers of his age, yet his influence has spread far beyond the Middle East. Living in Boston and New York for a major part of his life, his reputation and his unique quasi-Biblical style is now an intrinsic part of Western spirituality.

Joseph Tawadros has risen to prominence in Australia by succesfully developing the ancient traditions of Arabic music in a western environment. His engagement with the writings of Gibran has resulted in one solo disc for oud (The Prophet, 2009), as well as a number of works recorded for ‘Concerto of The Greater Sea’, recently released to great acclaim. This new collaboration with the singers of The Song Company delves into the origins of musical expression, guided by the writings of Gibran.


Joseph Tawadros, settings of The Prophet

Hildegard von Bingen, selected chants

Fyodor Krestyanin, Gospel Sticheron

Coptic Hymn Golgotha

And other ancient chants and early organum

Duration: 75 minutes no interval.

Performance Schedule:

Tue 19 March 6pm Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre
Thur 21 March 7.30pm City Recital Hall Angel Place
Sat 23 March 7.30pm Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle
Mon 25 March 7.30pm Wollongong Town Hall
Thurs 4 April 6.30pm Dunstan Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Fri 5 April 7.30pm Dunstan Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Mon 8 April 7.30pm Riverside Theatres, Parramatta
Wed 10 April 8.00pm Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Bathurst
Sat 13 April 6pm St. Christopher’s Cathedral, Forrest, Canberra
Past Concert

>Waltzing Matilda

A collection of traditional and contemporary music which pays homage to Australia’s colonial heritage. Presented by Blue Mountains Concert Society. For tickets visit or phone 1800 984 460.

Saturday 27th August 2011 at 8pm

Springwood Civic Theatre

Past Concert

>Time Traveller – A musical map of the world

A musical map of the world

Pack your bags and head to the departure lounge, the Song Company is taking you on a journey of musical exploration and discovery. Time Traveller creates a musical map of the world with a collection of stories and songs from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, by composers who chronicled the changing view of the world. Celebrating music from around the globe and across the ages, Time Traveller transports you to musical destinations in time and space.


Ayo visto mappamundi (Sicilian folksong, anonymous)

Gloria from Missa ‘ayo vista mappamundi’, Johannes Cornago (ca 1470)

Asia-Africa-Europa, Andrea Gabrieli (1510-1586)

Thule, the period of cosmography, John Weelkes (1576-1623)

Selection of songs, Francesco Guerrero (1528-1599)

Voltaire from ‘The Dream of Plato’ Airs a gogo, Frank Nuyts (1994, revised 2009)

Going to Sichuan Province, trad. Chinese arr. Na Lin Shen Feng Yang Flower Drum, trad. Chinese arr. Julian Yu Songs from the Torres Strait Islands, arr. Roland Peelman Two Peter Sculthorpe songs Selection of songs from the Americas and Australasia.