It’s no secret that Western Australia is the breeding ground for some of the best artistic talent in the world; and what better way to open West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 season than with a celebration of talented West Australian musicians in WASO’s Favourites.

Paul O’Neill, James Clayton and Shuan Hern Lee will join WASO to perform their personal favourite pieces, in this concert bursting with classical hits.

Tenor Paul O’Neill graduated from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) before becoming a Young Artist with WA Opera. He was awarded Opera Foundation Australia’s Covent Garden National Opera Studio Scholarship, and studied at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice with Dennis O’Neill. He was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Awards, the Australian Singing Competition’s Opera Awards and the Mathy Awards. Paul’s career has gone from strength to strength with performances in opera houses and concert halls throughout Europe and Australasia.

For this very special concert, Paul has chosen to perform Nessun Dorma, an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. He will also team up with Baritone James Clayton for a powerful duet, Bizet’s The Pearlfishers. Bizet’s first significant opera, The Pearlfishers has become increasingly popular and showcases the incredible vocals of Paul and James.

After 10 years as a professional horn player, James Clayton turned to singing and became a Young Artist with WA Opera in 2006 and 2007. Making his opera debut in Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, James has become a celebrated artist with critics and audiences alike with his performances in Australia and New Zealand.

James’s favourite piece is Mozart’s Don Giovani: Madamina, il catalogo e questo, which he has a personal connection to, having performed as Leporello, Don Giovanni’s long-suffering manservant during his time with WA Opera.

Raised in Dianella, 16-year old Shuan Hern Lee, started piano lessons with his father at just two and a half years old.  By 14 he had become the youngest person to ever receive the Fellowship of Music of Australia diploma (AMEB). Currently a second year music student at the University of WA, he is concurrently studying with Ingrid Fliter at the International Piano Academy Incontri Col Maestro, in Italy.

Shuan Hern has received first prize in international competitions including the recent Kerikeri Piano competition in New Zealand and the Tchaikovsky competition for Young Musicians in Russia and has performed all over the world as soloist and with professional symphony orchestras including Minnesota, Ukraine, Moscow and Jakarta.

Shuan Hern joins WASO’s Favourites as soloist, performing one of his favourite works, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. This instantly recognisable piece is one of Gershwin’s most-loved works.

Former assistant conductor Elena Schwarz, now Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, returns to Perth to conduct your West Australian Symphony Orchestra in this spectacular concert which concludes with two of the most loved works by George Gershwin and Aaron Copland.

‘WASO is a truly wonderful orchestra, as well as a welcoming family that I was fortunate to be part of as assistant conductor during the 2017 season. Collaborating with the orchestra and with chief conductor Asher Fisch was a great opportunity to learn from the best in the business. I’m looking forward to returning soon to WA and to conducting this exciting program featuring talented local soloists and an eclectic choice of concert favourites.’ – Elena Schwarz


WASO’s Favourites
Perth Concert Hall
Friday 8 February – 7.30pm
Saturday 9 February – 2pm

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