The National Gallery of Australia presents a new classical music concert series Hosted by Emma Ayres of ABC Classic FM. The inaugural Music at the Gallery series will run over four Sunday afternoons during July 2011 in the stunning new Gandel Hall.

Feature artists Simon Tedeschi, Amelia Farrugia, Rosario La Spina and the Lurline Chamber Orchestra performing repertoire from the classical, baroque, renaissance & romantic periods.

Photograph: John Gollings

Series timetable

Performances commence at 2.00pm.

  • Sunday 3 July Opera Australia soprano Amelia Farrugia, who has performed for the Pope, the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark will open the series celebrating the repertoire of the late great Australian Opera soprano Dame Nellie Melba.
  • Sunday 17 July Immerse yourself in the sounds of the Lurline Chamber Orchestra, with the 10-member ensemble, filling the Hall with soaring orchestral classics of Handel, Bach, Haydn and Mozart.
  • Sunday 24 July Described as one of Australia’s finest artists of his generation, acclaimed and awarded pianist Simon Tedeschi will perform pieces by Schubert, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Gershwin.
  • Sunday 31 July The series is completed with Australian Opera star, tenor Rosario La Spina, who debuted at La Scala with Placido Domingo. His prolific career has included national and international performances and his concert will feature popular operatic songs from his repertoire covering Romantic and Neapolitan periods.

Series presenter

Emma Ayres, presenter of Classic Breakfast , is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Berlin Hochschule der Kunste and London’s Royal Academy. She credits her desire to break down the barriers surrounding classical music to the period she spent studying with William Pleeth, Milan Skampa and members of the Amadeus Quartet. 

Following her studies, Emma worked with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra for many years as a violist. She arrived in Australia in 2003 and after the classic new immigrant job of dishwasher, began working for ABC Classic FM in 2004. She has been hosting Classic Breakfast since the beginning of 2008.

About the performers

3 July - Amelia Farrugia - Soprano

Amelia Farrugia is one Australia’s best-loved sopranos. Since her opera debut in 1994, she has sung many leading roles for Opera Australia, performed with all the ABC Orchestras and appeared internationally with distinguished conductors Richard Bonynge, Edo de Waart, Richard Hickox, Carlo Felice Cillario, Markus Stenz, Simone Young, Emmanuel Plasson, Paul Dyer, Andrea Licata, Alexander Briger, Brad Cohen, Robin Ticciati, Giovanni Reggioli and composers Gian Carlo Menotti, Richard Mills and George Palmer. View website

17 July - Lurline chamber orchestra

Immerse yourself in the sounds of the Lurline Chamber Orchestra, with 10-member ensemble, filling the Hall with soaring orchestral classics of Tchaikovsky and including a specially written violin concerto by Tommy Tycho. The Lurline Chamber Orchestra was established in 2009 by sisters and co artistic directors Marie & Angela Lindsay.  Maria and Angela along with the orchestra members have performed with the Australian, Adelaide and Vienna Chamber Orchestras. This unique ensemble has the power to stimulate the imagination, move the spirit and soul and communicate with the audience in a very special way. View facebook page I View website

24 July - Simon Tedeschi - Piano

Simon Tedeschi is often described by critics and musical peers as one of the finest artists of his generation. At age 28, he has performed in recital and in concert in cities throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Central America and Australia.

Over the years, Simon has earned many international prizes and scholarships, including first prize in the keyboard section of the Royal Overseas League Music Competition in London (2002), the Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year and a Queen's Trust Overseas Study Award. More recently, Tedeschi was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal. While based in the US Tedeschi has also received the Young Jewish Pianist Award and featured in 'New York's Emerging Artist' series held in New York's Museum of Jewish Heritage. View website

31 July - Rosario La Spina - Tenor

Rosario La Spina trained at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music continuing his studies at RNCM, Manchester under the tutelage of Joseph Ward OBE. 

Having gained first prize in the tenor competition held by L'Accademia di La Scala in 2000, Rosario embarked on the two-year Young Singers’ Course at La Scala, Milan, where he studied with Luciana Serra and Leyla Gencer.  This culminated in his La Scala debut as the Messenger in Samson and Delilah, where he appeared with Placido Domingo and Olga Borodina.  In 2002, Rosario won first prize in the Mario Del Monaco International Opera Competition and made his principal role debut at La Scala as Riccardo (Oberto) reprising the role in Genoa. View website




Single concert or series tickets on sale now through the Gallery. Ph 02 6240 6528
or Email NGA

  • Single performance: $60 ($55 Members)
    (lunch / high tea +$45 / +$35)
  • Full series: $220 ($200 Members)

Lunch or High tea option

Lunch (12 - 2.00pm)

High Tea (3 - 4.30pm)

Download menus (PDF)


The National Gallery of Australia is located in the Parliamentary Triangle on the south side of Lake Burley Griffin. It is adjacent to the High Court of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery and is within walking distance of from the National Library of Australia and Old Parliament House.

View Larger Map


  • We recommend Music at the Gallery patrons park in the underground gallery car park (entry from Parkes Place) which is open from 9.50 am – midnight each night.
  • Additional parking can be found throughout the Parliamentary Triangle including a large carpark at the back of the Gallery off Bowen Drive. Most parking is within a 5–10 minute walk from the Gallery.


The Gandel Hall is a majestic new multipurpose venue. The hall is spacious, light-filled and exquisitely detailed with gold-leaf doors and red ironbark floors. It opens onto the new Australian Garden in which James Turrell’s monumental Skyspace Within without offers guests an extraordinary experience of Canberra’s skies.

Gandel Hall

Gandel Hall Photograph: John Gollings

Produced by AGB. Presented by the National Gallery of Australia

Background image:
Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot (designer)
Benigno Bossi (engraver)
(Detail) from the Suite de Vases tirée du cabinet de M. du Tillot 1764 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra