Olivia Bell, winner of the 2016 Concerto Competition, will take centre stage in Symphony Central Coast’s Spirit Unleashed concert on 25 June. The competition is held every two years and is keenly contested by emerging orchestral musicians as a chance to show their virtuosity. Olivia was born and bred in Ourimbah, studied at the Central Coast Conservatorium with teachers Chris Bearman, Suzanne Borrett, Olena Zaporozhets and Peter Garrrity, and is now attending the Sydney Conservatorium.

Olivia won last year’s competition with a piece for viola written by her father, Adrian Bell, who is a professional cellist, teacher and composer. The viola, Adrian says, “is an unsung hero, an instrument that is able to merge, balance and sympathise.” On June 25, Olivia is performing Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, written by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů. This work was written during World War Two while Martinu was working in Paris. He was unable to return home because of occupation so he wrote this piece to express his longings for home. The piece is very rich in melodies; many are Moravian folk tunes and the work ends with a prayer for the future.

Dr Steven Stanke, conductor of Symphony Central Coast, said, “We’re really looking forward to working with Olivia again. Her performance last year to win the competition was outstanding. She had such a personal connection with the music and performed with great maturity.”

Also on the program is Beethoven’s uplifting and energetic Seventh Symphony and Emil Reznicek’s jaunty overture to the opera Donna Diana.

Spirit Unleashed. Central Coast Grammar School, Arundel Rd, Erina Heights.
2:30pm, 25 June. Tickets at the door or


Information courtesy of SCC publicity


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"About the Central Coast" is a FREE monthly ezine, supported by an online blog, that provides readers with a one-stop shop for information and reviews on all their favourite theatre groups, bands and artists on and around the Central Coast. Subscription to the magazine is free; just send an email with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to The magazine is distributed by email on the first Thursday of each month. If you have an event you would like me to promote in the magazine, please send details at least three days prior. Items for the blog may be sent any time.
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