RE:CLASSICAL Omega Ensemble

Rebecca Varidel
22nd Mar 2024

RE:CLASSICAL is a transformative musical experience that sounds entirely new and yet full of familiar delights. This foot-stomping performance features Max Richter’s chart-topping The Four Seasons Recomposed performed by violin powerhouse Véronique Serret, alongside two world premieres from Grammy Award-winning American composer Jessie Montgomery and Australian musical legend Elena Kats-Chernin.

MAX RICHTER — The Four Seasons Recomposed
Véronique Serret, solo violin
JESSIE MONTGOMERY — Concerto Grosso [World Premiere] *
ELENA KATS-CHERNIN — Ornamental Air **
David Rowden, solo clarinet

Full performance details >>


Artistic Director of Omega Ensemble, David Rowden says there’s no denying Max Richter’s global impact on classical music since the release of his chart-topping concept album The Four Seasons Recomposed in 2012.

“Richter’s signature blend of contemporary and classical elements is one of the most recognisable sounds in music today,” says Rowden. “Richter is one of the few composers who has achieved both critical acclaim in traditional circles while also making a distinguishable mark on the popular musical zeitgeist.”

Described by the esteemed music website Pitchfork as having “shape-shifting powers” and “capable of evoking joy and pain in equal measure”, Richter’s post-modern masterwork The Four Seasons Recomposed is a mesmerising fusion of classical tradition and contemporary innovation that expertly retouches and re-imagines Vivaldi’s equally popular The Four Seasons.

Leading this genre-bending showcase is one of Australia’s most versatile violinists, Véronique Serret. Effortlessly traversing both classical and contemporary art forms, Serret has had a notable career collaborating with artists across the spectrum of Australian music, from the Australian Chamber Orchestra to didgeridoo virtuoso Willam Barton. “A musical chameleon and virtuosic violinist, Véronique cannot be defined by any single genre, style or tradition,” says Rowden. “The world’s greatest interpreters have taken on Vivaldi’s original and Richter’s reimagining of The Four Seasons, but Véronique brings a singular mastery and edge to the work that should not be missed.”


Recently winning a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Composition (2024), the music of American composer Jessie Montgomery interweaves classical traditions with elements of popular vernacular, improvisation and social consciousness.

Her first commission by an Australian ensemble, Montgomery’s Concerto Grosso was commissioned by Omega Ensemble in partnership with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, receiving its international premiere in Chicago earlier this month.

David Rowden describes it as a ‘coup’ for Omega Ensemble to be the first Australian group to collaborate with Montgomery and an exciting opportunity for Australian audiences to hear Montgomery’s new work only weeks after its US premiere.

“As one of the most in-demand and exciting new classical music voices, it was a coup to be able to secure a new work from Jessie for this tour,” says Rowden. “For those who witnessed our performance of her work Strum in 2023, they will remember her unique and infectious musical style that creates an incredible dynamic on stage.”


One of Australia’s most celebrated and prolific musical voices, composer Elena Kats-Chernin has achieved worldwide success by straddling two seemingly irreconcilable camps of musical intellectualism and accessibility.

Originally composed in 2007 for British clarinettist Michael Collins, Kats-Chernin’s riveting Clarinet Concerto titled Ornamental Air is a tour-de-force packed with virtuosic arpeggios and explosions of colour wrapped in the composer's exuberant musical style.

Having assisted the composer in the development of the original work, clarinettist David Rowden asked Kats-Chernin to rework her concerto for Omega Ensemble, compressing the forces of an orchestra into a powerful new chamber work.

“Elena’s contribution to Australian music is nothing short of extraordinary,” says Rowden. “Her music reflects the vibrant Australian cultural landscape, while also resonating with audiences worldwide. Having been involved with this work at its inception, I am thrilled to revisit it in this challenging and dynamic new version.”

RE:CLASSICAL premieres at City Recital Hall in Sydney on Friday 12 April 2024 followed by performances in Melbourne, Newcastle and Penrith.

* Commissioned by Omega Ensemble, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival.
** In a new version by the composer commissioned by Omega Ensemble and Penrith Performing and Visual Arts.

Photo credit Laura Manariti.