Bach in the Barns – Umberto Clerici (cello), Emma McGrath (violin), and Erin Helyard (harpsichord)
Soloist, chamber musician, principal cellist, teacher, cultural innovator: Umberto Clerici’s multifaceted artistic and creative activity can be summed up in these five dimensions.
Born in Turin, Italy, Umberto began studying cello at the age of 5, continuing later at the Conservatoire of Music in Turin. Clerici mastered his art with Mario Brunello and David Géringas, both of whom opened to him new musical dimensions of fantasy and rigour.
At the age of 19 he won the Italian Regional Orchestras contest, and began his career as a soloist. Other international prizes followed: the Janigro Competition in Zagreb and the 2011 International Tchaikovsy Competition (the only Italian cellist in the history of that competition, other than Mario Brunello, to be a Prize winner).
Clerici has played as a soloist all over the world including, among many, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Moscow Russian State Orchestra, the Philharmonia Wien, the Zagreb Philharmonic, Rome, Milano and Florence Orchestras. He has performed in the prestigious concert halls of Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Great Shostakovich Hall in Saint Petersburg and the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome. In 2012 he also played Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo theme with the Turin Teatro Regio Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev.
While his solo concerts increased in number, Clerici maintained his chamber music and teaching, finding that these gave him even greater satisfaction than pure performance. At the age of 23 he became assistant Professor at the Salzburg’s Mozarteum Summer Academy.
He joined the Trio di Torino in 2001, but also pursued separate projects with Luis Lortie, Jeffrey Swann, Itamar Golan, Sergej Krilov, Claudio Martinez Mehner, Andrea Rebaudengo, Mario Brunello.
Wishing also to explore the orchestral repertoire and experience a wider music ensemble, Clerici chose to embark on playing in the orchestra, as the principal cellist, with Lorin Maazel’s Toscanini Philharmonic Orchestra. For 4 years Clerici he was Principal cello the Teatro Regio di Torino.
In 2014 Clerici was appointed principal cello of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Cello Lecturer at the Sydney University. He made his debut as a soloist with SSO in 2017 with his interdisciplinary project centred on Strauss’ Don Quixote.
He recorded concertos, solo and chamber music and, in 2017, he is realising 2 new solo recordings with ABC Classic.
Umberto plays a 1722 Matteo Goffriller from Venice and a 1758 Carlo Antonio Testore from Milan.
Heralded as a “First-magnitude star in the making” by the Seattle Times, British violinist Emma McGrath made her London debut aged 10 in the Purcell Room, and at 14 she performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, broadcast live on Classic FM.
She has since performed as a soloist with numerous professional orchestras such as the Seattle Symphony, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Northern Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and has toured France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Brunei, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Russia, Israel, Australia, the UK and the USA as a soloist and chamber musician.
Emma is currently the Concertmaster of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Australia. Prior to this she was the Associate Concertmaster and Acting Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and the Assistant Concertmaster of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. She has been Guest Concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and will be a Guest Concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2018. She has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and toured Australia and Japan with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Emma received her BMus (Hons) First Class from the Royal College of Music, where she received the Chamber Music Prize, and her MMus and Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University, where she won the Concerto Competition, and was awarded the Violin Prize twice.
A multi-faceted musician, Emma is also a professional singer, composer, folk musician, and baroque violinist! When she is not making music, she enjoys hiking and travelling.
Erin Helyard has been acclaimed as an inspiring conductor, a virtuosic and expressive performer of the harpsichord and fortepiano, and a lucid scholar who is passionate about promoting discourse between musicology and performance. Erin graduated in harpsichord performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with first-class honours and the University Medal. He completed his Masters in fortepiano performance and a PhD in Musicology with Tom Beghin at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal.
He was named the Westfield Concert Scholar (Cornell University) on fortepiano for 2009-2010 and from 2003 to 2012 Erin was a central member of the award-winning Ensemble Caprice (Montreal). Helyard is particularly active in reviving in both score and performance neglected seventeenth- and eighteenth-century opera. As Artistic Director and co-founder of the celebrated Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes (Sydney) he has forged new standards of excellence in historically-informed performance.
In 2017 he won a Helpmann Award for Best Musical Direction for Handel’s Saul at the Adelaide Festival in a fêted revival of a Glyndebourne production directed by Barrie Kosky. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Historical Performance and Musicology at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and appears by kind courtesy of that institution.
Umberto Clerici (cello)
Emma McGrath (violin)
Erin Helyard (harpsichord)
Suite no. 2 in d minor BWV 1008
Violin Partita in E major BWV 1006
J. S. Bach Toccata in E minor BWV 914 (7’)
J. S. Bach Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro BWV 998 (10’)
J. S. Bach Toccata in D major BWV 912 (13’)
Clarendon Barn and House
234 Clarendon Station Road
Nile TAS 7212
16457 Midland Highway,
236 Wellington St,