Arts / Mandolin orchestra to shake the rafters

Carlo Aonzo

THE largest mandolin orchestra in the southern hemisphere will perform in Canberra on Saturday.

Over 60 mandolin players from Australia and NZ have converged on Canberra this week to participate in the Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles Mandolin Festival, which runs until Sunday, January 13.

Cozmo, photo Peter Hislop

The main activity of the FAME Festival is a week of intensive rehearsing by more than 50 musicians from mandolin ensembles in Australia and New Zealand leading to a finale concert which presents a range of classical, folk and contemporary music, jointly hosted by the Canberra Mandolin Orchestra and COZMO, Capital of Australia Mandolinata.

Canberra Mandolin Orchestra

Interspersed with rehearsals are social events and outings, in-house concerts and jam sessions in which the various orchestras or small ad hoc ensembles or individuals perform for the other festival participants.

The orchestra will be led by mandolinist and conductor Carlo Aonzo from Savona, Italy, who has performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala in Milan, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the McGill Chamber Orchestra in Montreal, the Philharmonia of San Petersburg, the Minsk Chamber Soloists an at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. Aonzo will also perform a 20-minute solo piece in the concert.

The concert will feature the premiere of a commissioned piece by Australian composer Michelle Nelson, “Viaggio del Mandolino,” a musical description of the mandolin’s journey from Italy to Australia.

FAME Festival Finale, Albert Hall, 7.30pm, Satruday, January 12. Bookings to


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