Students join virtuoso for Bowie concert

Friday, 15 March 2019

University of Adelaide music students will play with American ensemble Ambient Orchestra and cello virtuoso Maya Beiser in a classical arrangement of David Bowie’s final album at Elder Hall this weekend.

The concert, during the last weekend of the RCC Fringe at the University of Adelaide, will see musicians play Blackstar Concerto, Evan Ziporyn’s note-for-note adaptation of David Bowie’s final masterpiece, for cello and orchestra.

Soloist Beiser will take on the challenge of simultaneously channelling both Bowie’s unique vocal style while also carrying the mantle of lead guitar and solo saxophonist.

Elder Conservatorium of Music violin student Paris Williams – in her second year of a Bachelor of Music (Advanced) majoring in Classical Performance – said the concert was an exciting chance to play a true “fusion of genres”.

“I’m really looking forward to performing Evan Ziporyn’s arrangement of David Bowie’s Blackstar album,’’ she said.

“Evan has transcribed the album into a concerto for cello and orchestra, and the combination of traditional orchestral instruments with contemporary rock music makes for an exciting fusion between genres.

“Ambient Orchestra has offered us a unique and valuable opportunity to work alongside with and learn from professional musicians from the United States. Participating in this project has offered us insight into the workings of the professional music industry, whilst also giving us the chance to explore a wide variety of music from different genres.”

Professor Jennie Shaw, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide, said the concert is an exciting opportunity for Adelaide audiences to experience conductor Evan Ziporyn’s “energetic arrangement and a new, young orchestra’s exciting interpretation of Bowie’s Blackstar.”

“Ambience in this instance refers both to the audience’s immediate surroundings and also to the influence, mood or ‘feel’ that surrounds a particular work or composer,’’ Professor Shaw said.

“So it’s especially fitting that these last RCC Fringe performances in the University of Adelaide’s beautiful Elder Hall features several of the Elder Conservatorium of Music’s own ‘rising star’ student musicians working alongside established Ambient Orchestra members and acclaimed cello soloist Maya Beiser.”

• March 16 – 8 pm Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar Concerto featuring Maya
• March 17 – 1 pm Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar Concerto featuring Maya
• All performances at Elder Hall at RCC Fringe

Tickets are on sale now through FringeTIX at


Contact Details

Ms Elisa Black
Manager, News and Media
University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 (0)466 460 959