The university semester is in full swing and May is bursting with concerts by student ensembles. These can be some of the most interesting and energetic concerts of the year.

On May 2nd Paul Wright conducts the UWA symphony orchestra playing early classical repertoire and on May 19th the orchestra is joined by the school of music choir and John Septimus Roe school choir for an epic performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  Also at UWA the Keyed Up piano series features Stephen McIntyre – one of the grand OLD men of the piano –  on May 11th. Over at WAAPA the percussion students are performing a program of Latin American percussion music titled Fiesta! from May 1-3rd.

My pick from the student concerts would be the debut of new music group Ensemble Hackett on May 23rd. There hasn’t been a new music ensemble at UWA for over 15 years I’d reckon. Ensemble Hackett is led by new Artist in Residence and wunderkind Ashley Smith and in their first concert they are profiling minimalist composers.

The fascinating Chinese ballet group Shen Yun is finally coming to Perth with concerts May 1-4th. The group has become a world wide phenomenon with their blend of incredible artistry and ancient Chinese religion.

The WA Symphony Orchestra are performing Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony on May 2nd with Alexander Lazarev conducting, and on May 23rd Daniel Sumegi sings songs by Brahms (the Glanert version) –  also Stravinsky’s Petrouchka and the Australian premiere of Erki-Sven Tuur’s De Profundis.

Also on May 23rd the Australian String Quartet will perform Mozart’s Requiem but WITHOUT the words! The fascinating program also includes Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite.

Musica Viva are bringing over the American Brass Quintet for a national tour that stops in Perth on May 22nd.

The Pipe Organ Plus series continues with a concert on May 18 at the Basilica of St Patrick in Fremantle. Organist Dominic Perisinotto has put together a stunning program of works by Bach and Arvo Part, featuring WASO cellist Louise McKay and flautist Andrew Nicholson.

So there we have it, lots to choose from, enjoy the month of music!