A unique concert opportunity

April 20, 2018 by Fraser Beath McEwing
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Although the now celebrated Australian World Orchestra is scheduled to perform early in May, it is not a symphony orchestra that anybody has ever heard before or will ever hear again…writes Fraser Beath McEwing.

Fraser Beath McEwing

Yet it is anticipated to enchant those who attend its three concerts in The Sydney Opera House and Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.

Every couple of years Australian classical music audiences are offered a unique concert experience: the formation and performance of the Australian World Orchestra. And it really is a formation, because each time it brings together a different combination of Australian players who take time out from their tenure in leading orchestras around the world to come home and make music.

The assembly of these established musicians has attracted outstanding conductors such as Simone Young, Zubin Mater and Sir Simon Rattle. This year it will be under the baton of Italian maestro, Riccardo Muti. He will conduct a program of two major works, the Brahms 2nd Symphony and the Tchaikovsky 4th, both of which call for fully laden orchestras and will ideally showcase the capabilities of the AWO.

In summing up his calling, Mui says: “My duty is to keep believing that music is one of the main possibilities in the world to connect people of different cultures, religion, and ethnicity. This is what I experienced during my many trips abroad. My duty is to bring a possibility of ‘symphony’ in my trips, meaning playing together, hearing together, feeling together.”

The Australian World Orchestra first performed in the Sydney Opera House in 2011 after some monumental spade work by Australian conductor Alexander Briger and leading oboist Nick Deutsch. They imagined how grand an orchestra comprising the best Australian musicians might sound. And they were not disappointed, simply because the AWO, virtually by definition, is a team of champions.

This time around the orchestra will comprise 86 Australian musicians from the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin, Vienna and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras, the Chicago and London Symphony Orchestras, and musicians from the Australian state orchestras and local music ensembles. Molly Collier-Boyle, principal violist Australian Youth Orchestra, is the 2018 AWO Academy recipient and will perform in all three concerts.

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