The Australian World Orchestra will perform in its inaugural season in August this year, and apart from this great Australian orchestra will feature Simone Young, Andrew Briger, Brett Dean, Cheryl Barker, Elizabeth Campbell, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Steve Davislim.
One of the most exciting orchestral initiatives in Australia, the Australian World Orchestra’s (AWO) vision is simple: to bring together Australia’s finest classical musicians from around the world to form one of the country’s most electrifying orchestras.
On the weekend of the 26th-29th August 2011 that vision will be realised when over 90 musicians, representing over 45 orchestras, all at the top of their game, will join together at the sydney opera house and riverside theatre, Parramatta to present its inaugural season of four concerts and celebrate the true essence of Australia’s musical talents.
Australian musicians will come home from playing in leading world orchestras such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. They will combine with Australia’s own wonderful local musicians, and be directed by AWO’s Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Alexander Briger (pictured), and Conductors Simone Young and Brett Dean.
When asked about the motivation for creating an all-Australian orchestra, Briger said, “Most Australians are unaware what we have produced in the field of classical music on a world scale, and it’s time to show them. Also many of the musicians haven’t played in Australia since leaving. It’s an opportunity to show the whole of Australia exactly what we have produced in the field of classical music, and to show younger musicians what can be achieved.”
For Briger it has been an experience of discovery too. “It’s been incredible to find so many Australian musicians holding key positions overseas. Bringing all these musicians together, surely the sound will be incredible!”
Central to the concerts is the music, with works from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Wagner, Sculthorpe and Dean. The first concert, held on Friday 26th August, will be conducted by internationally acclaimed Australian conductor Simone Young. Featured will be one of Young’s orchestral specialties, Wagner’s Prelude and Venusberg Music from Tannhäuser. The concert will also include Australia’s dazzling soloist William Barton on didgeridoo, performing Peter Sculthorpe’s Earth Cry and will conclude with Tchaikovsky’s immense Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique).
The second concert, on saturday 27th August, features Brahms’ majestic Academic Festival Overture, followed by the east coast premiere of Brett Dean’s Vexations & Devotions, performed by the Philharmonia Choirs and Gondwana Voices, and conducted by the composer. The crescendo will come with Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 9 (Choral), conducted by Alexander Briger. For this performance the AWO will combine again with the Philharmonia Choirs and with soloists Cheryl Barker, Elizabeth Campbell, Steve Davislim and Teddy Tahu Rhodes.
The third concert, on sunday 28th August, is a matinee family concert, which will feature excerpts of the previous two programmes, along with Mackerras’ Pineapple Poll. The fourth concert, on Monday 29th August at Parramatta Riverside Theatre, is an after school concert aimed at students and the wider community.
The 2011 programme is dedicated to the late Sir Charles Mackerras, who is the inaugural patron of the orchestra. “We’re dedicating these concerts to him because of his extreme interest in the AWO and to celebrate the success of all these amazing Australian musicians, of which he was a forerunner,” said Briger.
All musicians in this orchestra were trained in Australia and feel very strongly about continuing this tradition of excellence in Australian musical education, so another key component of AWO is its youth education Programme. Devised to support music education in Australia, the programme is being offered to a myriad of schools throughout NSW and the ACT, with invites to open rehearsals, master classes and performance opportunities.
Since it’s inception in 2009, AWO has attracted a number of key industry supporters, including Director Baz Luhrmann, who describes the AWO as “one of the most exhilarating projects in our recent history,” Composer Peter Sculthorpe, says “The idea has my whole-hearted and enthusiastic support,” and Artistic Director and Leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra Richard Tognetti, who says, “to create this musical homecoming is a worthy enterprise and one which will give audiences here in Australia the chance to hear en masse the qualities of our many musical exports.”
AWO’s inaugural season performs in Sydney, between 26th and 29th August 2011. Tickets range from $45 to $189 and are on sale through Sydney Opera House, Parramatta Riverside Theatre and AWO.