Meet Yarmila Alfonzetti

Monday 14 November 2016

If she goes a week without her regular concert fix, Yarmila Alfonzetti begins to go through serious symphony withdrawal. She listens to podcasts about Beethoven, curates some of the most prestigious music programs around the country and wears her classical music loving heart on her sleeve. Meet our Classical Music programmer.

Where did you grow up?

Katoomba in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, before moving to Sydney on my own for high school and to go to the Conservatorium of Music.

What drew you to classical music?

Well, everything. I love the challenge of it, the technicality of it, the artistry, the need to absorb, the neverendingness of it all. It’s my one escape in life. I love to disappear into a concert.

What does a program associate do?

Mostly think, help, listen, network and invest a lot of time, care and love into the industry. I love spending time around music and musicians – so none of this is difficult at all.

What do your kids think you do for a living?

Ha! Well I have three jobs – CEO of Sydney Youth Orchestras, Program Associate of PIAF and Curator of the Utzon Music Series for Sydney Opera House – so they just think I am an incredibly busy loser who loves classical music! They are 19, 18 and 17 years old though – teenagers! I love to work and I love to be productively involved in things. I don't believe in doing things half-heartedly. I feel pretty lucky, actually.

How do you pick an act for your program?

A musician or ensemble must have something to say about the music. They must interpret the music. It's no good to just play well. Everyone plays well these days. I want to hear the music anew, and when a musician does that, they get the gig.

Can tell us about the 2017 Chamber Music Series?

Well, I love chamber music. I always say that you graduate from symphonic music to chamber music. In 2017 I want things to get deep and messy. These concerts are not light and fluffy, and they are not background music. The Chamber Music Series is going to require attention, and that will make it worth attending.

How many classical music performances have you seen this year?

Enough that my marriage is in a state of constant risk! I generally go to a couple of concerts each week ... and if I haven't been to anything, I feel strange.

What makes a great classical music program?

All sorts of things. Great company, great wine, a good venue, a nice meaty program booklet, charming and talented performers, a sunset, a date, hearing something for the first time, a performer starting to sweat, a joke, a reveal, the ability to turn off the phone, snuggle into a seat, and let your mind wander to places it can never go at any other time of the day or night.

What’s playing on your iPod?

A Canadian podcast where different people volunteer to read all the letters of Beethoven (he really got into the detail of his illnesses!)

What inspires you?

The work I do with young classical musicians as the CEO of Sydney Youth Orchestras. I’m passionate about giving Australian musicians the best of what the world has to offer.

Program Associate: Classical Music

Written By Yarmila Alfonzetti

If she goes a week without her regular concert fix, Yarmila Alfonzetti begins to go through serious symphony withdrawal. She spends her days curating some of the most prestigious music programs around the country, her weekends surrounded by hundreds of young classical musicians and her spare time listening to podcasts about Beethoven.