Orkeztar vision for a different kind of big band for Lismore

WORLD FOCUS: Orkeztar Lismore musical director Pietro Fine and volunteer Megan Hale throw around ideas before the first meeting on July 26.
WORLD FOCUS: Orkeztar Lismore musical director Pietro Fine and volunteer Megan Hale throw around ideas before the first meeting on July 26. Marc Stapelberg

A COMMUNITY orchestra that plays everything from Frank Zappa and disco to traditional Egyptian and Turkish folk music.

That's Pietro Fine's vision for Orkeztar Lismore, a world music ensemble he is putting together that will have its first gathering at the Italio Club.

Mr Fine is a musician, teacher and performer who spent 15 years at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium before moving to Melbourne in 2007 where he started the Orkeztra Glasso Bashalde; a collective of 20-plus musicians with an interest in playing Klezmer, Balkan and Middle Eastern music.

"I want to take what I learned in Melbourne, that it belongs to the community, not to me," he said.

"Since I left the group has continued, with four different musical directors. It has a life of its own."

He moved back to the Northern Rivers in 2010 and said he hoped to replicate the success of that group in Lismore, but make it bigger.

"I'm hoping we'll get up to 60 people," he said

"I want that really big orchestra sound with huge string, woodwind and brass sections, with a couple guitarists and percussionists and singers."

Mr Fine said about 10 people had committed to join, and the group would be a mix of professional, semi-professional and amateur musicians.

There would be scores for those who could read music, but because the repertoire would be "arranged folk music", there will be room for improvisation.

Mr Fine said his love of Klezmer, and other Middle-Eastern music stemmed from his Jewish heritage, but when he heard the USA's Klezmer Conservatory Band playing live at WOMAD on a Radio National broadcast, "everything just hit the spot".

The first gathering will be on Saturday, July 26, from 2-5pm.

Mr Fine said musicians were invited to attend with a music stand, and there would be regular gatherings, with an aim to have gigs.

Topics:  music

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