Diego Matheuz returns to Melbourne as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

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A graduate of the Venezuelan El Sistema program, 29-year-old Matheuz exploded onto the Sidney Myer Music Bowl stage in February 2012, dazzling musicians and audience alike. In his return to Melbourne he will lead the MSO through The Russian Festival, which focuses on the music of two of Russia’s greatest composers, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky.

Matheuz, who was named by Gramophone magazine as one of the ‘new conductors on the verge of greatness’, will conduct these concerts, which celebrate the 100th anniversary of the infamous premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the music which influenced the work’s composer.

“I’m thrilled that this Festival is my first project with the MSO as the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor,” Matheuz said.

“By celebrating the centenary of the Rite of Spring in this wonderful festival, we have a chance to reflect on a time (1913) and a place (Paris) where art was so crucial to a society’s vision of itself that it could be the cause of a riot,” he continued.

The Russian Festival, to be held at Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall will include three concerts and featuring the works Stravinsky composed for Sergei Diaghilev’s ballet company the Ballets Russes, between 1910 and 1913; The Firebird (Wednesday 7 August), Petrushka (Saturday 10 August) and The Rite of Spring (Tuesday 13 August).

Stravinsky had a deep affection for Tchaikovsky, a fact evident in much of his music and in The Russian Festival three of Tchaikovsky’s most widely loved pieces – the Violin Concerto, Variations on a Rococo theme and his Piano Concerto No.1 – will sit alongside Stravinsky’s major works.

“Stravinsky was influenced profoundly by his Russian musical heritage. His love for Tchaikovsky’s music was life-long and we honour it in this Festival with performances of some of Tchaikovsky’s major works for solo instrument and orchestra,” Matheuz said.

Matheuz is already widely known as one of the most promising developing talents from the Americas. As well as being Principal Guest Conductor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra he is Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra Mozart in Bologna and Principal Conductor of Teatro la Fenice in Venice.

He has conducted Orchestras around the world including London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Frankfurt Radio, Hamburg Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic and the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa

During the current season Matheuz’ debuts include the NHK Orchestra in Tokyo, Czech Philharmonic, Orchestre, Philharmonique de Radio France in Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Castilla y León Orchestra in Spain and the City of Birmingham Symphony.