Dean’s tribute to Iwaki premieres in Melbourne

14 Nov 2011

Composer and Dean of our Faculty, Professor Barry Conyngham’s symphonic tribute to the former Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Hiroyuki Iwaki (1932-2006), will have its World Premiere by the MSO at the Melbourne Town Hall on 18 November 2011.

Iwaki was Chief Conductor of the MSO from 1974 to 1989 and worked regularly with the Orchestra until 2005. Professor Conyngham regarded the revered Iwaki as both friend and champion.

The memorial symphony, entitled Gardener of Time (Toki no entei) (2010), celebrates the vibrancy of Iwaki’s life and career, and reflects Professor Conyngham’s deep respect for Iwaki as well as the intense influence of Japanese culture on his own career.

As the MSO program notes say, “In Western tradition, purpose-composed memorials tend to take the form of laments or elegies. Perhaps, this is why so few have been written commemorating conductors.”

“Hiroyuki Iwaki was a vital person, who conjured every mood and tempo.  He was someone who, according to Japan’s indigenous Shinto tradition, reincarnated all the spirits.  And that’s what I have endeavoured to reflect in the score.” Professor Conyngham said.

Professor Conyngham, who studied in Tokyo in the 1970s, took the theme for the memorial work from an essay by mutual friend, Tōru Takemitsu, who meditated on musicians as “gardeners cultivating infinite time”.

“My friend Maestro Iwaki was a Gardener of Time, an exciting, energetic, unpredictable, but also thoughtful, tender, and full-of-life person”, he said.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concert program will feature Professor Conyngham’s Gardener of Time, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33 and Elgar’s Symphony No.1 in A flat major, Op.55, conducted by Tadaaki Otaka, with cellist Alisa Weilerstein.

Rococo Variations
Melbourne Town Hall
Friday 18 November 7:30pm and Saturday 19 November 2pm
Bookings: or 13 61 00

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