Victoria School Music Festival

Orchestra

2020 Dates:

VSMF Orchestra Section
Video submission date:
Fri Sept 18th - Fri Oct 16th

Key:

BSG = Beginner String Group/Primary Orchestra, JSO = Junior String Orchestra, ISO = Intermedia String Orchestra, SSO = Senior String Orchestra, SO = Symphony Orchestra

Festival Administrator
Michael Jongebloed
Victorian School Music Festival
228 Auburn Road
Hawthorn Vic 3122
PH: 03 98188520
Mobile: 0419 556 460
Email: michael@vsmf.com.au

2020 FESTIVAL REGULATIONS

Registration Process

  1. Registrations open on Monday August 24th 9am & close Thursday August 27th 2020.
  2. Registration can only be submitted on-line at www.vsmf.com.au
  3. Requests made after Thursday August 27th 2020 (close of applications) will be considered if
    possible.
  4. Package 1: $130 per ensemble for Online Adjudication and streaming of performances
  5. Registration fees are inclusive of GST.
  6. Registrations will not be accepted without a school order number. Tax invoices will only be issued after videos have been received for adjudication.
  7. Each Ensemble will provide a video with high quality audio in a performance situation for Adjudication & Streaming. Videos can be submitted from Friday September 18th until Friday October 16th

Participation Criteria

SCHOOL ENSEMBLES

  1. The festival is open to students who are currently attending primary or secondary school, and who are participating in school/college orchestras.
  2. Combined school groups may participate if that ensemble rehearses on a regular basis.
    Confirmation of this arrangement must be sent with the registration form & co-signed by
    the principals of the schools involved.
  3. Teachers may not play with the ensemble except in the beginner strings section or primary school orchestra section, refer to the category information for further explanation.
  4. No school may register the same ensemble or an ensemble comprising of 80% of the same performers in two different levels within the same genre of ensembles (eg. Junior string orchestra & Intermediate String Orchestra)

Performance Criteria

CHOICE OF REPERTOIRE

  1. Each section has a set repertoire list of suitable pieces indicating the standard of each
    section.
  2. In 2020 it is not compulsory for ensembles to play repertoire from the set list. It is
    expected, however that all ensemble repertoire is reflective of the section they are
    performing in.
  3. Please refer to category information for specific regulations regarding choice of music.
  4. Any ensemble that fails to meet the performance criteria as set out for each category may be excluded from receiving a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze award. This decision will be at the discretion of the Chair of Adjudicators.

Performance Video

  1. Video quality: A professional video is not expected, however, we urge you to create the
    best audio and video quality possible. Inadequate audio and/or video quality can lead to
    an entry being unable to be adjudicated.
  2. Video editing forbidden: The video must not be edited in any way and must run
    continuously from beginning to end as a live performance.
  3. Sound recording: The performance recorded for the video entry must be acoustic and
    not amplified or altered electronically in any way.
  4. Announcement of works: Each Ensemble must introduce their School name, ensemble,
    section and complete program as if a live performance.
  5. File name of the video: The video for the 2020 VSMF Online must be titled as follows:
  6. “2020 VSMF [Name of School & Section]”; all words should be separated by a space, e.g.
    “2020 VSMF Fine Music HS Junior String Orchestra Section”.
  7. Only the following video formats will be accepted for your performance to be streamed:
    .mp4, .wmv, .mov, and .avi. If providing separate audio recording please supply on the
    following formats .aiff or .wav file formats due to their superior fidelity over .mp3.
  8. Upload your Video and digital scores to any of the File Sharing platforms you use:
    Dropbox, Googledrive, OneDrive and email the link to michael@vsmf.com.au
  9. See details below for recommendation on making your best recording

What are Some Basic Ensemble Recording Tips?

Choose the Best Space
Where you choose to record your ensemble can make a huge difference in the sound. If possible, look for the following characteristics in your recording space:

  • A large room with high ceilings – this will help with the blending of the instruments and reduce the harsher sounds that can occur in smaller rooms when the musicians are too close together.
  • Make sure to minimize background noise, such as outside sounds from traffic or passersby, air vents, any buzzing or vibrating lights and other noise that could be picked up by your microphones.
  • Before you go to all the work of setting up your equipment and scheduling your musicians, do some test recording in the space. Using something like Zoom H1n Handy Recorder will help you make sure it sounds how you want and that there aren’t any ambient noises that you didn’t previously notice.

Select the Appropriate Equipment
While it’s likely that you’re operating on a limited budget, try to use the best ensemble recording equipment you can afford, such as condenser microphones and high quality cables and headphones. Contact your Media Department to see if they can be involved in the recording project. If you’re short on funds, you could rent some equipment or see if another music program might allow you to borrow from them.

There are a number of options for recording your ensemble, see details below

  • Record your performance on a Video camera that has high quality audio or that has inputs for high quality external Microphones
  • Record your performance on a Video camera and record the audio separately. Record your performance Audio only, use a USB Audio interface to record directly into your computer using software or Record you performance Audio only, recording directly into a Digital Recorder. Using products such as -Tascam DR40x or Zoom H4N
    Provide both files for us to merge.
  • Record your performance on an iPad, use a USB Audio interface to allow you use the audio from external Microphones.

Microphones
High-quality microphones are probably the single most important piece of equipment to successfully record your ensemble.

Set up the equipment properly
This may be the most intimidating part of recording your ensemble, but it doesn’t have to be! These simple set up tips will have you well on your way.

  • Use two condenser microphones on a bar on one stand, or you can use two stands and place them about 4 feet apart.
  • For a smaller ensemble you can place the microphones about 5 feet in front of the musicians on a mic stand about 4 feet high. For larger ensembles, you’ll want to position the microphones quite a bit higher above the musicians – 3 meters if possible. In this situation, you could use a fifteen-foot mic stand with a stereo pair bracket or mics hanging from the ceiling.
  • Be sure to follow the instructions on your equipment to ensure that all the cables are plugged into the appropriate input and output sockets. Do some test recording to confirm you are capturing sound from all your microphones.

Perform Some Test Recordings
Before you bring your students in for final recording, it’s important to work out the kinks in the room and equipment set up by performing some test recordings. Using the tips from above, set up your equipment in the way you think will work best for your room, your ensemble and your musical selections. Ask a small group of students to help you make several brief recordings. You should carefully note the setup, adjust the equipment and seating for each test recording. Once you have several tests completed, listen to the recordings and note which set up gave you the best sound – you’ll use this setup for your final recording.

Recording Your Ensemble
Now you’re ready to record your ensemble. Set up the equipment and the musicians in the manner that gave you the best test recording. Set the recording levels carefully and check them using the loudest passage of the selection. Recording experts recommend you set the levels just under the loudest level on the meter. If you are using a mixer, set levels in this order: input level, mix, main and finally recorder levels.

On the day of your recording, allow enough time to do a sound check. Ideally, you’d also allow enough time to do more than one recording so you can get the absolute best results possible. Resist the temptation to adjust levels during the recording. Once you have set things up, performed your testing and sound check, then just let the musicians play. Be patient and give yourself time to learn and adjust. This is why it’s great to have time to do a second session – you could make minor adjustments after the first one if necessary.

Provision of Conductor Scores

  1. Participating groups are required to provide one digital (1) copy of each work being
    performed, including any set works performed from the VSMF list.
  2. All changes to the work must be clearly indicated
  3. All pieces provided for the adjudicators must have each bar numbered.
  4. Please refer to category information for specific regulations regarding performance criteria.
  5. Each ensemble will receive an award being Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze. Refer to Concert
    Band information for eligibility.
  6. Excess performance of more than two (2) minutes may result in exclusion from receiving a
    Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze award. This decision will be at the discretion of the Chair of
    Adjudication.
  7. Any ensemble that fails to meet the performance criteria as set out for each category may be
    excluded from receiving a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze award. This decision will be at the
    discretion of the
  8. The decision of the panel of adjudicators is final. No further correspondence will be entered
    into.

Adjudicator's Comments

Adjudicators will provide both a written adjudication sheet and recorded comments.
Adjudication comments are recorded and made available to all participating schools.

Beginner String Group

Primary School Orchestra
Beginner String Group/ Primary School Orchestra
  • Open to any string ensemble that has not performed in any festival or competition before
    2020. Primary School Orchestra is open to any primary age string ensemble. Instrumentation
    should be appropriate to the repertoire chosen.
  • The ensemble must have a minimum of eight (5) players.
  • Performance time must not exceed eight (8) minutes.
  • Each ensemble must play at least two (2) contrasting published pieces of music.
  • It is recommend that at least one piece must be selected from the Beginner String list
  • One teacher may accompany the ensemble, either on piano or playing from the podium.
All ensembles will receive a Performance Award plaque acknowledging their performance.

Grade: .5 – 1.5

It’s recommend that each Ensemble perform at least one work from the prescribed list below.

Title Composer
Instinct Brian Balmages
Sky Suite (Any Movement) Katie O’Hara LaBrie
Spring Fever Kathyrn Griesinger
Sunchasers Tanner Otto
The Lone Cowboy Neridah Oostenbroek
Two Australian Sea Pictures Stephen Chin
Water Music (Minuet and Bourrée) arr. Carrie Lane Gruselle
Junior String Orchestra

PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

  • An ensemble consisting of: Violin 1, violin 2, viola/3rd violin, cello & double bass.
  • Minimum number of performers is ten (10).
  • Performance time not to exceed ten (10) minutes
  • Each ensemble must play at least two (2) published (in print & commercially available) movements or pieces of music showing contrasting styles.
  • In 2020 it is not compulsory for ensembles to play repertoire from the set list. It is expected,
    however that all ensemble repertoire is reflective of the section they are performing in
  • All ensembles are eligible for a Platinum, Gold, Silver & Bronze award.

Grade 1.5- 2.5
Each Ensemble must perform at least one work from the prescribed list below

Title Composer
Flying Fiddlesticks Jeremy Woolstenhulme
Lady of The Lake Jeremy Woolstenhulme
Legend of the Ghost Stallion Richard Meyer
Rondino Fritz Kreisler / Dabozynski
Silver Moon Nishimura Yukiko
The Water of Tyne arr. Morgan Denney
Ukrainian Dance Mussorgsky / Baker Monday
Intermediate String Orchestra

PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

  • An ensemble consisting of: Violin 1, violin 2, viola/3rd violin, cello & double bass.
  • Minimum number of performers is twelve (12)
  • Performance time must not exceed fifteen (15) minutes
  • Each ensemble must play at least two (2) published (in print & commercially available) movements or pieces of music showing contrasting styles.
  • In 2020 it is not compulsory for ensembles to play repertoire from the set list. It is expected,
    however that all ensemble repertoire is reflective of the section they are performing in
  • All ensembles are eligible for a Platinum, Gold, Silver & Bronze award.

Grade 2.5 – 3.5
Each Ensemble must perform at least one work from the prescribed list below.

Title Composer
Autumn Harvest Chris Thomas
Josephine’s Waltz Roger Tallroth
Land of Dragons Chris Thomas
Luna Yukiko Nishimura
Polovtsian Dances Borodin / Gelfer
Slavonic Dance Op.46 No.3 Dvořák / Palmer
Witch’s Fiddle Robert Buckley
Senior String Orchestra

PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

  • An ensemble consisting of: Violin 1, violin 2, viola/3rd violin, cello & double bass.
  • Minimum number of performers is twelve (12)
  • Performance time must not exceed twenty (20) minutes
  • Each ensemble must play at least two (2) published (in print & commercially available) movements or pieces of music showing contrasting styles.
  • In 2020 it is not compulsory for ensembles to play repertoire from the set list. It is expected,
    however that all ensemble repertoire is reflective of the section they are performing in.
  • All ensembles are eligible for a Platinum, Gold, Silver & Bronze award.

Grade 3.5 +
Each Ensemble must perform at least one work from the prescribed list below.

Title Composer
Long Way From Home, A Arr. Carrie Lane Gruselle
Jambo Paul Basler
Prelude to Die Meistersinger Wagner / McCashin
Serenade for Strings Dwight Gustafson
Sinfonia in D Minor, 1st Movt. (Opus 10, No. 5) Cannabich / McCashin
Suite Versailles (Any 2 Movements)
Mov 1 | Mov 2 | Mov 3 | Mov 4
Brian Balmages
Velocity Neridah Oostenbroek
Symphony Orchestra

PERFORMANCE CRITERIA

  • A balanced ensemble consisting of a full string section with additional woodwind, brass & percussion. The usual instrumentation for an orchestra is: violin 1, violin 2, viola/3rd violin, cello double bass, flute x 2, oboe x 2, clarinet
    x 2, bassoon x 2, French horn x 4, trumpet x 2, trombone x 3, tuba x 1 and percussion.
  • The minimum number of performers is thirty-five (35).
  • Performance time is not to exceed twenty (20) minutes
  • Each ensemble must play at least two (2) published (in print & commercially available) movements or pieces of music showing contrasting styles.
  • The suggested repertoire is to be used as a guide for standard of entry into this category.
  • All ensembles are eligible for a Platinum, Gold, Silver & Bronze award.

SUGGESTED REPERTOIRE STANDARD The following repertoire is used as a guideline only for standard of entry for this category. These pieces are not compulsory.

Title Composer
Academic Festival Overture Op.80 Brahms / Bergonzi
Dream Machine Brian Balmages
Radetsky March Strauss / Meyer
Romeo and Juliet Overture Tchaikovsky / Meyer
Symphony 6th (Pastoral) Beethoven / Leidig

Ben Northey

Benjamin Northey is the Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Conductor in Residence of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has previously held the posts of Resident Guest Conductor of the Australia Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra (2002-2006) and Principal Conductor of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (2007-2010).

Ben also appears regularly as a guest conductor with all major Australian symphony orchestras, Opera Australia (Turandot, L’elisir d’amore, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Carmen)
, New Zealand Opera (Sweeney Todd) and State Opera South Australia (La sonnambula, L’elisir d’amore, Les contes d’Hoffmann). His international appearances include concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia, the Malaysian Philharmonic and the New Zealand Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras.

Ben studied conducting with John Hopkins at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. In 2001, he was awarded first prize in the Symphony Australia Young Conductor of the Year Competition under the direction of Jorma Panula. In 2002, he was he was accepted as the highest placed applicant to Finland’s prestigious Sibelius Academy where he studied with Leif Segerstam and Atso Almila until 2005. He completed his studies at the Stockholm Royal College of Music with Jorma Panula in 2006. In 2009/10, he was chosen as one of three conductors worldwide to participate in the Allianz International Conductor’s Academy with the LPO and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan has spent more than 38 actively advocating for the development of quality music programs in schools. He has worked in over thirty schools in Australia and the USA, teaching strings at all levels. He has directed outstanding String and Symphony orchestras and designed the curriculum and policy documents to support emerging programs.

Mark was awarded the inaugural ABODA Queensland, Outstanding Ensemble Director’s award and in 2011 was awarded the NEiTA National Inspirational Teaching Award. He has also been a guest presenter at conferences including the National Positive Schools
Conference, Maryborough Music Conference and ABODA state conferences.

Mark is committed to enhancing the quality of instrumental music teacher training and was appointed as a State advisory teacher and an advanced skills teacher. He has also worked as a part time lecturer at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology. He maintains a broad interest in the wider community, leading camps and clinics, adjudicating at festivals and eisteddfods and was the founder of the Brisbane Regional Youth Orchestra.