A unique orchestral concert not to be missed

September 8, 2016 by Fraser Beath McEwing
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The renowned Australian World Orchestra will perform at the Sydney Opera House on 28th and 29th of September to celebrate its fifth year of formation and performance.Sir Simon Rattle, who conducted the orchestra last year said: “there are just a few great orchestras in the world and the Australian World Orchestra is undoubtedly one of them.”

Sir Simon Rattle conducts The Australian World in Orchestra in 2015 Photo: Prudence Upton

Sir Simon Rattle conducts The Australian World in Orchestra in 2015 Photo: Prudence Upton

One of the reasons this orchestra is so good is that it draws it members from Australian musicians who have won places in the finest orchestras around the world and puts them together with the best players in Australian state orchestras. In other words, it is the A team of musicians’ A teams.

Artistic director and chief conductor of the AWO, Alexander Briger, says that apart from a remarkable orchestral sound, the attraction of the project has a lot to do with uniqueness. There is no other orchestra in the world like the AWO. It comes into existence only occasionally and then dematerialises for long periods, only to be reformed with a percentage of different players.  Initially planned for assembly every second year, it has been so well received by public and critics alike that it may become an annual happening. But never more than that, because Briger is aware that its rarity is also part of its magic.

The AWO will play two different programs over the successive nights and will be under the batons of two different conductors: Alexander Briger for the opening night and Stanley Dodds (also Australian) for the second. The opening night will offer Ravel’s Bolero, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5 and a work commissioned for the concert, The Witching Hour – a concerto for eight double basses and orchestra by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin.  The second night under Stanley Dodds will play Beethoven’s Symphony No 7 and Dvorak’s Symphony No 9. The Dodds family will also feature in the orchestra with brother Dan Dodds heading up the violins and sister Kyli also in the violins.

Having heard the AWO on two previous occasions, once under Simon Rattle and the other under Zubin Mehta. Both times the experience was breathtaking. I’m looking forward with great anticipation to this latest incarnation.

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Concert details

Fraser Beath McEwing is music reviewer for J-Wire 

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