Thoroughbass in The Birch Tree: Shaun, Angus, Lucy, Jo, Diana. Photo by Shaun Ng

Thoroughbass is an early music ensemble whose members play period instruments, but who have trouble staying in the past. Established in 2009 by director and harpsichordist Diana Weston, we love to perform contemporary music as much as old - giving new sounds to music of the present and recent past, while staying true to our early music background. The result is varied, innovative and original programming that dares to step outside the expected square.We now have a number of recordings to our credit, all available from the website, In addition, Diana’s interest in poetry and art has resulted in some gorgeous productions – a toddler’s introduction to music with Magpie Baby Book and CD and a set of greeting cards The Birds in the Orchard, both illustrated by Kymba Burrows of SoulfulCreative.

Preview 2017

Young Handel: Cantatas and Sonatas composed while Handel was in his 20s and early 30s capture the inspiration and energy of a musical genius finding his voice. Soprano Anna Fraser’s insight and experience brings them vibrantly to life with the help of Shaun Ng (viola da gamba) and Diana Weston (harpsichord). The Independent Theatre March 26 as part of the Prelude to Tea Concert Series, The Rose Room Burradoo March 11.

Overture and Concerto: We are honoured with the return of Michael Tsalka to Australia for another series of concerts with us in a feast of concertos. Bach’s Concerto in D for harpsichord and strings, concertos by Benda and A. Scarlatti, and arrangements of Vivaldi’s violin concertos,  Ricercar a 6 from Bach’s Musical Offering, an Overture by Fasch, and a wildcards - all for 2 harpsichords. Burradoo June 3, All Saints Cathedral Bathurst June 4, Mosman Art Gallery June 17

Fans, Fantasias and Fandangos: A concert replete with Spanish flavours with music from the 16th c. to the 20th by Ortiz, Rodrigo and D. Scarlatti. With Shaun Ng (viola da gamba), Shaun Warden (violin) and Diana Weston (harpsichord). Burradoo Sep 23, St Luke’s Anglican Church, Mosman Sep 24

The Child in Us: This is not children's music. This is us as adults remembering our childhood – its innocence and confusion, the intensity of joy and disappointment and, sometimes, conflict..  Music by Debussy, Carl Neilson, Chick Correa, Yann Tiersson, Astor Piazzola with Diana Weston (harpsichord, piano) and jazzman John D’Arcy (piano). Burradoo Dec 2

Past History

In 2016 with international keyboardist Michael Tsalka, a regional tour of NSW showcasing music for 2 harpsichords. Later in the year, at the Geelvinck Fortepiano Festival in The Netherlands directed by Michael, Diana performed as soloist in a concert entitled The Laughing Kookaburra; and with Michael in concerts for multiple historic keyboards.

Thoroughbass has undertaken a number of major projects in collaboration. As Ondine Productions it has presented: -

In 2012 a fully staged opera - Francesca Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero d’all isola d’Alcina

In 2013 a scented opera, semi-staged. Scenes from Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten

In 2014 Britten’s long cantata Phaedra/Gorecki’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings

 

Thoroughbass in association with St Luke's Anglican church, Mosman: As part of St Luke’s concert series Thoroughbass has presented concerts annually since 2009. Programming themes have included:

*An exploration over the course of 5 concerts of some of Handel's less performed works (his early cantatas), through comparisons of national style (2009).

*A focus on female baroque composers (2013)

*Benedetto Marcello's rarely performed oratorio Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni, in collaboration with members of The Song Company.

 

Commissions and gifts of new work

*Nadje Noordhuis for Magpie Baby: A Childhood Suite (commissioned by Diana Weston, 2012/13)

*Isabel Doraisamy for front cover of Blue Skies, Magpies and Goldfish (commissioned by Diana Weston 2013), for artwork for Akhnaten (2013) and artwork for Cock Crow (2016)

*Kym Burrows for illustrations for Magpie Baby book (commissioned by Diana Weston, 2013/14)

*Ann Carr-Boyd for Flying West (gifted by the composer, 2013/14)

*Elena Kats-Chernin for The Birch Tree (commissioned and gifted by Dr Paul Ryan, 2014)

*Chiaki Namura for Akhnaten scent (commissioned by Alex Moskvin, gifted by International Flavors and Fragrances)

*Ann Carr-Boyd for Suite for Diana (commissioned by Diana Weston, 2014 for the recording The Birch Tree)

*May Howlett for Flutter-by, my Butterfly for the recording The Birch Tree (commissioned by Diana Weston, 2014)

*Ann Carr-Boyd for Crimson Rosella: suite for 2 harpsichords (commissioned by Diana Weston, 2015).

*Kymba Burrows for sketches for Bird in the Orchard set of greeting cards, set to a poem by Diana Weston (commissioned by Diana Weston, 2016).


 In rehearsal for Phaedra: Shaun, Julia, Tara, Steve, Cathy, Angus, Lucy, Hester, conductor Sarah