Australian World Orchestra back together

June 28, 2019 by Arts Editor
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Following last year’s sensational response to the concerts led by Maestro Riccardo Muti, the AUSTRALIAN WORLD ORCHESTRA (AWO) is returning with an eclectic and bravura program for this July, and to present the newly formed AWO SIX, an elite ensemble of AWO all-stars.

Australia World Orchestra

Returning to the Arts Centre Melbourne and performing in Canberra for the first time, internationally renowned conductor Alexander Briger will lead 90 of Australia’s finest musicians in performances of Leoš Janáček’s Taras Bulba, a rhapsody based on the tragic novella by Nikolai Gogal, and Australian composer Nigel Westlake’s Flying Dream with the program ending with the grandeur of Sibelius’ masterpiece, Symphony No. 2, described by the composer as “a confession of the soul.”

For musicians and audiences alike each gathering of The Australian World Orchestra is a miracle. Not just because of the logistics involved in bringing together 90 of Australia’s finest musicians – gathered together from across the globe, schedules freed from other commitments, but because of the living organism it creates.

Michael Mulcahy, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, said: “The blending of Australian musicians working within Australia and around the world creates an extraordinary energy, as players react in real time to the sounds nurtured in Australia and stimulated by the greatest orchestras in the world. The reaction is palpable and astonishingly quick.”

Alexander Briger

AWO’s Chief Conductor and founder Alexander Briger is a Janáček specialist, having been gifted the original scores by his mentor, the acclaimed Australian conductor, Sir Charles Mackerras (1925 – 2010), who was instrumental in bringing the early twentieth-century Czech composer’s operatic masterworks to the rest of the world. The Mackerras scores are housed at the Royal Academy of Music London and Briger has created his own interpretation which will be performed for the first time in these concerts.

 “If ever music was a direct reflection of the rhythms and modulations of its composer’s native language, it has to be Janácek’s’, says Briger.“His sound world is unique; his corpus of work a tribute to the benefit of being a late bloomer. Although its premiere took place just before his seventieth birthday in 1924, Taras Bulba is Janáček’s first really significant orchestral piece.

Briger will be conducting AWO in Australia for the first time in 3 years. He added: “The AWO is a huge celebration of everything our Australian musicians have achieved worldwide, locally and abroad. It introduces audiences to extraordinary musicians they didn’t even know existed. The orchestra’s sound is totally unique. One can’t describe it or the passion and excitement on stage when they play. It’s something one has to experience live.”

Following these orchestral concerts, violinists Natalie Chee and Daniel Dodds, violists Andra Darzins and Tahlia Petrosian, and cellists David Berlin and Julian Thompson will form the AWO SIX for a single performance of Mendelssohn’s passionate String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, written when the composer was just 18 years of age, and Brahms’ String Sextet No.2 in G major, known as “Agathe” for its reference to Brahms’ infatuation with Agathe von Siebold. The concert will be held at Sydney’s City Recital Hall.

The Australian World Orchestra (AWO) brings together Australia’s finest musicians from home and overseas, celebrating the excellence of Australian classical musicians. It is the only professional orchestra representing one nationality globally, making it a uniquely dynamic and exciting orchestra in Australia’s cultural landscape, dazzling audiences in Australia, India and Singapore. Musicians come from the world’s leading orchestras including the Vienna and Hong Kong Philharmonic, Chicago and London Symphony Orchestras, as well as our state orchestras, to present unrivalled performances of musical virtuosity while encouraging and developing new talent. Critics have described performances as ‘superb’, ‘joyous’, ‘stunning’ and ‘immaculate’. AWO has produced 4 live Orchestral recordings: Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 ‘Choral’ Alexander Briger (2011); Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring and Mahler, Symphony No.1 Zubin Mehta (2013); Bruckner, Symphony No.8, Sir Simon Rattle (2015); and Kats-Chernin, The Witching Hour Alexander Briger (2016). The AWO was honoured to win the Helpmann Award for Best Symphony Orchestra Concert in 2016 and the Limelight award for Best Orchestral Concert in 2011.


Nigel Westlake – Flying Dream

LeošJanáček – Taras Bulba

Jean Sibelius – Symphony No.2

Conducted by Alexander Briger

Friday 26 July • Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

Sat 27 July • Llewellyn Hall, Canberra

Felix Mendelssohn – String Quintet No. 2 in B flat major, Op.87

Johannes Brahms – String Sextet No.2 in G major, Op.36, “Agathe”
Tues 30 July • City Recital Hall, Sydney

Bookings & Information: 02 8283 4527


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