Mathisha Panagoda

Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, (1895), 1st Movement

By Antonín Dvořák  


A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium, Mathisha Panagoda is also the founder of the Sydney Camerata, an ensemble with a focus on Australian music and finding innovative ways to bring music to new audiences. He was a member of the 2011 YouTube Symphony Orchestra that performed at the Sydney Opera House and in 2012 was a resident artist at The Banff Centre in Canada. He was also selected to play with the Aldeburgh World Orchestra at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and BBC Proms. Mathisha is a casual cellist with the Sydney, Queensland and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras and has toured with artists including the Hilltop Hoods, Tina Arena and Angus & Julia Stone. He writes a regular online blog for ABC Limelight Magazine:,mathisha-panagoda.aspx

Favourite concerto?

Perhaps the top 3 would have to include Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no. 2, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and of course the Dvorak Cello Concerto.

Career Highlights?

The Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics; at Amsterdam's Concertgebouwn with the Australian Youth Orchestra; performing with the Aldeburgh World Orchestra at the BBC Proms in London and at the Sydney Opera House with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.

What inspired you to choose this piece?

It was my final recital at the Sydney Conservatorium and I wrote my thesis on its interpretation over the past four decades. I’ve taken masterclasses on it all over the world, and changed my own interpretation as I've gained a deeper understanding. It’s a great example of how music adapts to time and space. Every time I perform it, I hope to be creating something new.

What should the audience look out for when listening?

The raw emotion and passion in this music contrasts with beautiful lyrical songs, inspired by folk songs from Dvorak's native Moravia (now Czech Republic). The audience should try to listen out for the way Dvorak skillfully takes the listener on a journey and the role the solo cello plays as the main character interacting with different instruments in the orchestra.

How has technology changed your relationship to making and listening to music?

My initial auditions for the YouTubeSymphony and the Aldeburgh World Orchestra were done online. Websites like YouTube are great for promoting your music and bringing it to new audiences regardless of geographic location. Social media then allows us to share the music we like. Readily accessible software gives us the means to respond by making remixes, covers, arrangements and more. I love the portability of music with my iPod and the access to just about any track with applications like Spotify. But nothing can replace the experience of hearing live music by real people in front of my own eyes!