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The Sydney Symphony has announced its 2013 season with a stellar line-up of musicians including pianist Murray Perahia making his Australian debut.
Other top artists featured are conductors Charles Dutoit, Kristjan Järvi and Mark Wigglesworth, violinists Arabella Steinbacher and Leila Josefowicz, pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Jonathan Biss and cellist Pieter Wispelwey.
In 2013, Vladimir Ashkenazy, in his fifth year as principal conductor and artistic advisor, will conduct the orchestra three times, in February, May and November. Ashkenazy begins the year by conducting two works by Sibelius – the powerful Lemminkäinen Suite and his pioneering Kullervo – and ends the season with the Fifth Symphonies of Mahler and Sibelius, Britten’s War Requiem, and performances of the Bruch Violin Concerto with soloist Pinchas Zukerman.
The incoming chief conductor David Robertson celebrates the 200th anniversaries of Verdi and Wagner in 2013 with two programs in July. Robertson will conduct Verdi’s Requiem and two opera-in-concert performances of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman with video and projections designed by S. Katy Tucker.
The Sydney Symphony will continue to build closer ties with China through performances with conductor Long Yu, two Martial Arts Trilogy concerts with composer-conductor Tan Dun and the world premiere of a concerto by Zhao Jiping, commissioned for the Sydney Symphony and pipa virtuoso Wu Man, who delighted audiences at the 2011 Sydney Festival.
Charles Dutoit conducts two programs, presenting works by Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky, including The Rite of Spring, which is 100 years old in 2013; and Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts the Labèque sisters piano duo in a Latin-fuelled program.
Dame Edna Everage (and her alter ego Barry Humphries) comes out of retirement for her Sydney Symphony debut, to narrate Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf; while Australian composer Nigel Westlake joins forces with singer-songwriter Lior in a new work, Compassion.
For film music fans, there are three performances of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with live orchestral accompaniment.