World-renowned violinist Jonathon Glonek is on a mission.

Determined to give all Aussies an equal opportunity to experience and be inspired by classical music, he has set up a project to bring the country’s finest to the outback. 

Fine classical music should not only be heard in the finest music halls of the capital cities, he says, having himself performed at St James’s Church, Piccadilly and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

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“Classical music is a great gift to everyone but there are not that many opportunities to hear it in the bush. 

“I am trying to change that by bringing work that is not often played even in the cities to rural and regional audiences.”

Mr Glonek has long been committed to bringing classical music to areas where people may not have the same level of exposure – he has played for underprivileged communities in Southeast Asia too. 

The group he put together – called the Bendoc Philharmonic after the town in rural Victoria where he owns a farm – came about after a series of conversations with fellow musicians lamenting the poor offering of classical music in regional centres.

“There is a wealth of talent in the cities who are passionate about their music and I thought, ‘Why not use that passion to touch the hearts of people in the country, too?'” he said.

So far, Bendoc Philharmonic has performed in the Naracoorte Caves in South Australia, Broken Hill and Delegate in NSW, and – of course – Bendoc in Victoria.

Their repertoire has included the complete works for unaccompanied violin by JS Bach, the full cycle of Mozart and Beethoven and Brahms Sonatas.

But on the next tour, the big guns are being rolled out.

Mr Glonek will perform the complete collection of 24 Caprices by Paganini in a series of concerts at Cooma, Berry and Merrimbula in NSW, and Lakes Entrance in Victoria over June and July.

The rarely-performed works are the biggest challenge there is for a violinist, he says.

“The Paganini 24 Caprices is part of the repertoire you practice your whole life just to stay on top of the instrument.”

Paganini’s music is so difficult to play because he had a rare medical condition that gave him very large hands and hyper flexible joints, making his performances quite challenging to replicate.

It’s not uncommon for performers to damage a tendon attempting to play his music, Mr Glonek says.

“It is truly spectacular music that moves all over the violin and something that had never been done before.

“I recall spending hours being defeated by only a handful of notes chosen from these works.”

Mr Glonek hopes making it easier for Australians from rural and regional communities to listen to live classical music will be inspiring.

“Who knows? Maybe we can inspire young people in the country with a love of music that can quite literally change their lives,” he said.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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